Maybe a wrong decision

stihl-adStihl makes chainsaws. The recently ran this ad campaign trumpeting the fact that they do not sell their products at Home Depot or Lowe’s (giant DIY stores for those of you outside the US). They sell exclusively through independent dealers and want to keep it that way.

When the iPod was introduced, it was only sold at Apple Stores or online through Apple’s Store. Maybe a year later, they opened it up to just about any retailer. Good choice. Stihl? Pay attention.


Inflation is a funny thing

kenya-shillingWhen this coin was minted in 1971, it could buy a lot more than it will today.

I will never understand world economies. Why does the price of petroleum go up and down? Why does the stock market dive when there is a the slightest whiff of a rumor about some economic change, even if it is fully unsubstantiated? Why do the supermarkets drop prices on staple foods all at the same time when if they kept the prices higher, they would profit more?

I think the real answer is that no one knows except God.


Salesperson guilt

ADT_Flat_LogoSaturday, a salesperson for a security company came to our door. I cut him off after about 2 sentences — but felt guilty doing so. The guy was a bit worn-around-the-edges, and he looked like he could have used the sale. But we cannot afford to pay the monthly fees for such a system. And thankfully, our neighborhood has low enough crime that we really don’t need it. (Nor do we have that much a thief could fence easily — except the computer I am typing this on.)

Should I have felt guilty? Or should I have felt good about not wasting his time in presenting a pitch that would have fallen on deaf ears?

One way to kill the guilt has been this… When it’s hot outside, we offer door-to-door salespeople a cold drink. But I didn’t think to offer him a hot cup of tea.


Expect less than perfection

wsj-defectThe Wall Street Journal used to be a pinnacle of perfection. No more. This mistake (Dec. 31) slipped past the copy editor.

The problem? Their budgets are shrinking like everyone else’s. It used to be that they could afford enough copy editors so that this kind of mistake would never happen. Now? We need to expect more mistakes. Perfection is just too expensive.


Kashi got it wrong

kashi-badI like natural cereal, when I can afford it.

I was surprised when I opened this package of Kashi cereal. There was a full 5 1/2 inches of air between the top of the cereal and the top of the package. I might expect that from Kelloggs or Post — but not from a manufacturer who says they care about the environment.

I realize the “contents may have settled during shipping”. But that percentage of settling is huge.

I also understand the need to give consumers a sense that they are getting a lot for their money. But that feeling wears off very quickly when the consumer is shocked like this. And I understand the need for a product to be a “billboard” on the shelf.

If manufacturers could all agree to use real packaging, the playing field would be level. (Ha — that will never happen!) Transportation and packaging costs could be saved. Be courageous, oh you cereal manufacturers! Make your small packages a statement of how you care for your customers and the environent!


A sense of occasion

dove-occasionDove got it right. I received this chocolate bar for Christmas. When I opened the package, I was surprised to find three individually-wrapped bars. They were wrapped in gold foil and in a “pouch”.

The chocolate? Nothing extraordinary. But the package gets high marks.

Takeaway: How can you add a sense of specialness to what you are presenting? How can you make your recipients feel special?

Note: the outside is shown smaller than the inside. I just thought you might enjoy seeing both.


Seared conscience

titles-on-billDuring the new year’s holidays, we broke away from normal life for a family overnight at a nearby hotel. It was a fitting way to see in the new year. We had a great time. The kids spent half the time swimming. Heather and I joined them some but enjoyed reading a bit by the side of the pool.

One of the times they were swimming, I did a little channel surfing in the room. I was shocked to see the way the default channel advertised “risque” movies. It basically said, “Rent whatever you like — it will not appear on your bill.” Implication — your spouse or boss will not know how you spent that lonely hour or two.

Reality (I hope) — your conscience will know how you spent that lonely hour or two. Or if your conscience is seared enough that it won’t bother you, the ripple effects later will. I’ve seen that secret habit destroy two marriages. It’s not worth it.