Free Beef!!!

I think Les Schwab is doing something right. If case you haven’t seen the ads on TV, Les Schwab is giving away free beef with the purchase of new tires. Free Beef! Are you hearing me people? Buy tires, get free beef. It’s marketing genius, and they’ve been doing it for years. After all, when it comes to closing a tire sale, nothing sweetens the pot like red meat.

I can only imagine how this promotion came to pass:
Customer (hesitantly): “Well, the warranty is good, and the price is right… but I’m just not sure…”
Salesman: “Alright, you’re twistin’ my arm here, but how ’bout I throw in a big hunk of raw meat and we call it a deal?”
Customer: “Sold!!!”

The marketing team at Les Schwab apparently studied their key tire-buying demographic and reached this conclusion:
1. Let’s face it, vegetarians don’t buy tires.
2. The tire-buying public are all bloodthirsty carnivores.

With this in mind, they knew that offering “Free Salad!” with every tire purchase would get them nowhere. And thus, the free beef campaign was born.

To fully appreciate the brilliance of this promotion, we need to understand their use of two seemingly unrelated products. They combined tires and beef into complimentary goods. First of all, this promotion could never succeed with other products. Can you imagine: “Buy a Home Pregnancy Test, Get Free Beef!” or “Buy Tires, Get a Free Nipple-Piercing!” Because of this campaign, beef and tires now go together like peanut butter and jelly. You almost can’t imagine one without the other. And therein lies the genius.

Finally, speaking as a man that eats six servings of red meat per day, this is a dream come true. How many times do I find myself making two special trips for both tires and beef? This promotion by Les Schwab is one stop shopping, at it’s best.

Wait! You Forgot Your Receipt!

The previous post by DA got me thinking about my own issues with receipts:

First, I hate the yellow, carbon-copy receipt some places give you. First, the store is immediately giving you second-class-citizen status. Essentially, they are putting you in your place by saying, “No, you’re not good enough to get the special top copy, with the clean white paper, fresh ink and legible printing. No! That’s our copy! You can’t have the original! You get this worthless, retread copy!”

To begin with, the yellow copy is only readable if there was so much excess ink from the good copy that it bled thru the paper to create your hand-me-down copy. And if it does bleed through, half the time they are impossible to decipher anyway.

Clerk: “Ok sir, here’s your receipt. Have a nice day.”
Consumer: “Uhhh… wait a second. This is just a blank piece of carbon paper… It doesn’t even say anything on it.”
Clerk: “Alright, look… We don’t even have the capability to print receipts. We just give everyone a blank piece of paper because people think they need something after we take their money. People need to feel secure, nestled in at night. This receipt is their security blanket.”

Now, a receipt is essentially a meaningless piece of paper, but somehow it can make any transaction or dealing seem official and legal.

Black-market organ dealer: “Ok, I put the kidneys in the cooler, and here’s your receipt.”
Buyer: “Well, seems like everything is in order… thanks.”

Conversely, not getting a receipt when one is expected makes people very suspicious. It’s an immediate red flag to question the whole operation. The cashier is suddenly as trustworthy as a back-alley three-card Monte dealer. When they do finally present the receipt to me, I look it up and down, pull out a 10-key machine, and perform an IRS-like audit to make sure sale prices, coupons, and all the senior citizen dicsounts I’m entitled to are credited properly.

Finally, I hate it when you purchase a candy bar or something, take your change, and quickly make for the exit, only to have the cashier call after you, “Wait, sir! You forgot your receipt!”

Now, what do I do here? It’s obvious I’m in a hurry. Perhaps the cashier is worried that I’ll be ten miles down the road, realize my gaffe and have to turn around to retrieve my receipt. This person obviously assigns some value to this piece of paper, they are trying to deliver good customer service, and it would possibly hurt their feelings to yell back at them, “Throw it away! I don’t want it! I just wanted to buy a candy bar and get on with my life!”

Instead, what usually happens is I walk back over, and have to endure an awkward moment for all parties involved. The cashier is left holding the receipt out over the counter, knowing in hindsight that she should have just thrown it away. Those waiting in line are annoyed by this unnecessary prolonging of the transaction, and I’m forced to muster an insincere “Thanks” for this worthless piece of paper that I was going out of my way to avoid getting in the first place. It’s just one of the many socially cumbersome moments in our society.

The Future of Grocery Shopping

At the current rate of increase, by the year 2210 A.D. you will get approximately 4,398 receipts at the supermarket after every purchase with a debit card. This will increase the chit-chat time with the cashier from “awkward” to “frequently verbally abusive.” It will, however, still not change the fact that you will throw all the receipts into the nearest garbage can upon exiting. Or the fact that you don’t write anything down in your checkbook because “it’s all online anyway.” The garbage can will just have to be emptied more often, but that will probably be a robot’s job, so you won’t feel bad. Plus, the back sides of the receipts will still have coupons and some of those will be worthwhile, so you will curse the fact that you can’t afford a robot of your own to sort through the receipt coupons. Instead you will watch as the robot who empties the garbage sifts through your receipts and in turn, gradually becomes the wealthiest robot in the galaxy.

The Innocence of Youth

When I was a young buck taking a dump was like pulling in to the pits at the Indy 500, the whole process took seconds. I would race in to the bathroom, take care of business, my hands like a pit crew, expertly hovering, wiping down surfaces, examining my nuts and bolts, and zoom, I was off again!

These days, my overwhelming thought when the time comes to lay some cable is “What did I get myself into?” The process is excruciatingly slow and it always feels like I’m in the middle of the Fellowship of the Ring in a Lord of the Rings movie marathon (with the extended footage). It doesn’t help that now I’ve got such a tangled web of crack hair that it’s basically like trying to poop through a cheese-grater.

FW: Zillionaire’s Tips for Office Email!!!

Email is quickly becoming today’s primary means of communication, replacing the telegram, the gramophone, the harpsichord, and the passenger pigeon combined. Urgent messages that used to take days, now come instantly (unless you are on hotmail).

As zillionaires entrenched in the electronic revolution, we’ve had access to email for quite a few weeks now and have learned a few things. Our advice will be useful to those of you who reside in the famed “cubicle farms” that are growing such beautiful cubicles these days. These tips will give you that leg up in the world where being just one leg higher means all the difference.

Tips for Office Emailing:

  • Always get the last email. Email is a lot like a gun-fight in the old west where the last one standing gets to ride the train with Doc back to the future.
  • Don’t let anyone waste your time with one-word emails. If your coworker sends you one of those worthless messages that says “Thanks” reply with an over-the-top introspective “Well it is certainly is nice to be appreciated. Thanks for the pat on the back. I’ve been wondering if all this work is really worth it, ya know? We’re all just gonna die in the end and some days it feels like what I do doesn’t matter to anyone. But I guess it does. You want to hang out, or get together this weekend? I’m free pretty much anytime.” That should hush them up real fast.
  • Mark every message you send with the urgent flag, no matter the content. A bold, animated, red flag next to your email subject line lets your coworkers know how critical your “FW: Find your true soulmate quiz” really is.
  • Botch every attachment you mean to send. Start your email with “Attached you will find…” and include no attachment. Don’t worry, they won’t even look for it until they see the next email thats subject line is “Oops… here it is.” Sure, you may be more email savvy than others, but you don’t want to stick out. Those who stick their necks out usually have them lopped off by an errant Koosh ball being whizzed across the “cube farm.” Sometimes, its best to refer to a phantom attachment that never appears. The resulting office confusion reduces the amount of work people expect from you.
  • When a coworker gets frustrated over an unfulfilled request for a specific file, offer the standard postal excuses for your lack of emailing. For example, admit that you forgot to affix the proper postage, or that inclement weather is slowing down the mail service. Or simply say you sent it two days ago, and advise them to be available to sign for it on arrival.
  • Meticulously log, backup, and categorize every email sent through your address. You never know when you’ll be asked to graph the price trends of black-market Viagra.
  • Create a three strikes and you’re out junk mail blocking rule. A strike against someone could be as simple as a typo in the message, an overly lengthy signature with too many types of communication listed, or a crazy colorful font that trumps your cool and collected black Arial 10 point font. It is imperative that you keep your inbox streamlined after all.
  • If the email server is down, resort to the most primitive methods of communication: cave drawings. Granted, this can be a difficult way to convey certain abstract and highly technical ideas. However, it will be an easy way to depict the outcome of a big buffalo hunt.
  • If someone complains that they want clarification over an email you just sent, refer their question to your organization’s customer support line.
  • Use subject lines that have nothing to do with the subject you’re emailing about. Write something like “FW: This is really funny!!!” when discussing the annual financial statements.

By following these guidelines, we think you’ll be rewarded with a cleaner inbox, less work to do, and few friends around the office. And after all, isn’t that the key to success?