May 31, 2007

Follow up...

I was pleasantly surprised to see a semi-personalized response from Ice Mountain in my inbox. To their credit, they did a good job of getting back with me ahead of their stated time frame and exceeded expectations:

May 30, 2007

Dear Mr. Lukens,

Thank you for contacting Ice Mountain® on the Internet. We welcome questions and comments from our consumers.

Our goal at Ice Mountain® is to provide the highest quality products, and we would like to assure you that we have reported your experience to our Quality Assurance Director so that he can follow up with the appropriate personnel. We value you as a consumer and feel confident that you will be completely satisfied with our product in the future. You can expect to receive a follow up letter from us via regular mail that will contain product replacement coupon(s). Please allow seven to ten business days.

We appreciate your interest in our products and hope you'll visit our website often for latest information on Ice Mountain® products and promotions.

Annmarie Kratz
Consumer Response Representative

May 30, 2007

We'll get back to you...

I wrote a letter to Ice Mountain water this morning. Some time ago they changed their bottle caps and now when you sip from the bottle, it tastes like plastic. It's not good, and I thought they want to know about it, because I've been a good customer for a while, fairly brand-loyal, and I'm about to bolt for another water.

Not only did they require that I submit my full address and phone number when I sent them my note, which I personally disagree with (an email and name is all that should be required), I got a auto-responder page that said:

"Thank you for contacting IceMountain. We will get back to you as soon as we can, within the next seven business days."

Seven business days? That could be almost 10 days. In my businesses, it's a 24-hour rule during the week and a first-thing Monday after a weekend. I want my customers to feel like I value them and their inquiries. What Ice Mountain's practice says to me (screams, really) is that, "We'll get back to you when we feel like it. We've got enough customers we really don't have to hire any additional people to respond in a more timely manner."

I'd better choose another water...

May 29, 2007

Time OUT!

My wife informs me that my five year old son now understands the concept of consequences. She had a conversation with him that quite clearly mapped out his crystalline understanding.

I was thinking about this and it could quite conceivably be the single greatest breakthrough moment as a living being. Think about it -- if you stick your arm in the fire, you're gonna get burned. If you stick your sister's arm in the fire, you're gonna lose out on something BIG. I mean, there's degrees... and my son now gets it.

This means the world of child disciplinary tactics can take on a whole new realm in my household. One that involves reason, logic and consequences...

Love it!

May 23, 2007

"You want fries with that...?"

I bought some pizza coupons from co-worker as a fund raiser. They were for a long-standing, local ice cream and deli outfit here locally that has gone through several owners in just the past few years.

I grab 5, 1-topping 12-inch pizzas and proceed to the checkout counter. I hand them my 5 free coupons. The clerk gives me a blank stare; "I ain't never seen these...", she says flatly. Now we wait for the manager to get off the phone with her buddy/boyfiend/whatever. Five minutes. The manager walks over and quickly says she hasn't seen the "Free 12-inch, 1-topping" coupons I offered for payment either. Another five minutes while they try to extract some sort of answer from the cash register, as if what an idiot puts in, the machine will translate into some sort of higher-order thinking.

Finally, I say politely, "These are clearly your company's coupons, right?"


"Then, we're good here, right? I mean, I can leave and you guys can figure this out without me, right?"

"Yup, thanks..."

No -- thank you -- for reminding me why I never shop here...

May 15, 2007

Outsourcing the Commander-In-Chief

Bush takes delegation to a whole new (unprecedented) level.

May 13, 2007

Fried, Green...?

Proud to a Wisconsinite (I think).

May 8, 2007

Summer is Welcome

May 8th, 2007

April 11th, 2007

May 7, 2007

Just Desserts

It's nice to see that Giddell's new conduct policy is resonating with individual clubs as well. This kind of behavior shouldn't and won't be tolerated within the NFL.

By the way, maybe Carroll should be a boxer, 'cause he sure can grab at people on the run.

PS - They couldn't find a picture of the guy in Jags gear...?!

May 2, 2007

The power of suggestion

My wife came home the other day with five boxes of Yogos snacks for the kids. Five boxes? They were 5 for $10, she said. Today she came home with three bags of Chex Mix -- and again I got the "3fer" response. Now, of course, I explained that it's not that you HAVE to buy that many, it's just an old merchandising trick -- but it works.

I recently read a Seth Godin blog about the marketing strategy of "triangualtion". If you have two products, one lower price and one a little higher, chances are you're going to sell a lot more of the lower priced product. But, if you have a third product at a pricing level that's significantly higher than the other two, chances are now that you may choose the middle-priced item.

There are a million ways to merchandise and market -- sometimes the best ones are the simplest.

Speaking of Eddie Izzard...

You should check out the new show called "The Riches" starring Minnie Driver and Eddie Izzard on FX Network. Very good TV.

Cake or Death

Of course, the Episcopal church will take everybody with issues.

I still like the Onion's headline a while back -- "Gay politician admits he's governor of New Jersey".

May 1, 2007

Another dead ender

A major corporation and marketing might like MSN and others should never allow things like this to happen.

I can understand a small business and cutting them some slack. Pay a recruit $30K a year to do nothing but scour your sites ALL DAY LONG and report problems.

It's unbelievable to me...

Gas pricing and the NEW normal

I find it interesting that you can look almost daily in the press and find an article talking about how gas prices are going to ease this summer in the sub-$3.00 range. Conversely, as with nearly every other issue from sports predictions to the weather, you can easily find another that's talking about how we'll be at $4.00 in no time.

Here in the Midwest, we may have it easier than others (Minneapolis recently had the lowest average price in the country) but I doubt people have hit their breaking point yet, where it actually may affect their lifestyle. I overheard a guy at the Chrysler dealership this morning (while my wife's minivan was ousting a bad fuel injector) that he was "parking the truck in the garage" and driving his company car instead.

Once a threshold is reached and people adapt to it for a period of time, I think it beomes the new normal. I think your average person will probably admit that the days of $2.00 gallon gas over a consistent period of time are probably over.

Can you imagine being at sea for 1000 days?

A very interesting blog from a couple doing just that, right now.