Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Irresistible Wawa Cross-Sell

If it's not already obvious, I'm developing something of a Wawa Obsession. From their amazing convenience store coffee bar, 'Coffetopia,' to the fee-free PNC Bank co-branded ATMs, and now my quickening addiction to their breakfast sandwiches, I'm fully in the gravitational pull of the Wawa Blackhole.

Strangely, I can't tell if its due to the quality of the products, the service, the convenience, the whole Wawa experience, in short, or my corporate jealousy as a marketer of what seems to be an enviably customer-centric and well run company pulling the strings behind this amazing retail experience. In the wildest skews of my self-image, I'd never foreseen myself gushing over a convenience store.

As an example of this crush-worthy ingenuity, I'd like to highlight the custom, electronic sandwich-ordering process pictured above, which removes the element of dual-operator error acute to traditional human-to-human sandwich ordering by giving the user no less than 3 chances to include bacon.

As an up-selling system, this is absolutely brilliant, at one stroke delivering mass-customization, ensuring order accuracy, and possibly doubling or tripling Wawa's peripheral bacon sales.

Would I like bacon? Of course I would.

Bacon is but one of dozens of up-sell possibilities baked into this interface from cheese to bread to veggies. In navigating this digital labyrinth of temptation, my accomplice Ben has already been tricked twice this week into upsizing from the 4" Breakfast Ciabatta to the 10" Breakfast Hoagie. But the great thing is both Wawa and Ben came out feeling like winners.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Important Information from the Consumer Electronics Association

I'm of the general opinion that the sense of hearing is not overrated in being at least in the top 5 senses. The good people at the Consumer Electronics Association apparently agree, and are willing to stump for the preservation of hearing, as opposed to say, smell, which sense probably doesn't help them sell anything as widely marketable as iPods. (But come to think of it 'SniffPods' might be worth looking into.)

So I unwrapped my new Sony IC recorder today and felt the warmth of a faceless corporate interest group giving me love and looking out for my interest with an informative pamphlet on the importance of enjoying sound at moderate volume. Because at CEA "We Want You Listening for a Lifetime." How's that for dovetailing consumer protection with the corporate interest of lifetime customer value? Peddlers of sound got to know that those who most love that sound stand the greatest risk of losing the ability to hear it. If only drug dealers were so conscientious.

The pamphlet goes into some examples of decibel levels to define the spectrum of suitable noise exposure. Your basic day to day experiences go from the 30 decibels of 'Quiet library, soft whispers' to the 80 decibels of 'Average city traffic, garbage disposals, alarm clock at two feet.' Koans of thumb for daily life in the great puzzle of preserving one's hearing.

But then we're stepped up to a curious array of warnings.
The Following Noises Can Be Dangerous Under Constant Exposure:
90    Subway, motorcycle, truck traffic, lawn mower
100  Garbage truck, chain saw, pneumatic drill
120  Rock band concert in front of speakers, thunderclap
140  Gunshot blast, jet plane
180  Rocket launching pad
Questions to the CEA: is this the best scenario you could think of to end your list? Was the Quality Assurance team getting expansive or somehow otherwise occupied when this list of bullet-pointed potential encounters snuck through approval?

Then, it's possibly just me who's way out of touch with that great swath of population living 'under constant exposure' to rocket launching pads.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Week's Gripes on Fantasy Football

Way back in early September during my Fantasy League draft, as things were going well and I picked up Drew Brees, I got real long on the Saints picking up Marques Colston, and their D, in addition to Brees. This has mostly worked out, paving the way to a 3-1 start in my league. But, I realized I needed a plan for Week 5 (today) when the Saints don't play.

So, cleverly I looked for the QB playing the Raiders in week 5 and got Eli Manning. He's playing great, but then the dude got Plantar Fascitis which put the week in doubt, but then he played and the Giants did so well that he was out for most of the second half while crappy David Carr completely ignored the Giants receivers on my roster (whom I also needed to fill the Saints gap this week.)

Then, Ben told me to play Jerome Harrison and Fred Jackson, both of whom sucked royally in the royal suckfest that was the Browns beating the Bills in a field-goal duel 6-3.

So I breezed from all-league scoring leader last week, to cellar dweller posting the league's puniest point total in Week 5 and my confidence is shot. This was the trap week for my team, and I've got to move on but I didn't want to drop it this miserably.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

University of Alask-Fairbanks Nanooks Hockey Hype Video

If you are like me, a fellow student of the Internets, you know that the tubes have been on fire for a few weeks over this gem of a hype video for the University of Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks Hockey team. But it merits some further analysis.

Consider the concept. We've got a polar bear (Nanook) going on a cosmic rampage in which he is born from the big dipper, supernovas, destroys a planet, the moon and the rival city of Anchorage, before finally tearing the roof off the Carlson Center and landing on the ice to pump up the crowd. Nanook gradually shrinks throughout his journey, as his rage subsides, much like the Incredible Hulk, whose strength and power also share a high P value with his level of anger.

Monday, October 5, 2009

It Wasn't a Dream

When I was a teenager, my brother had this dream in which my parents displayed an irresponsible largesse and bought him a Porsche. He woke from this lucid dream one school morning with the feeling that it was real and went downstairs with an extra bounce in his step, anticipating how awesome it would feel to roll up to Boise High in a hot new Carrerra GT.

Needs to say, his dream was crushed. There was no Porsche in the driveway, just our beat up Volvo 740 TurboWagon (which was fast and danger, but still no Porsche). Despite the readily dismissible fallacy of his expectations in this scenario, Pete stayed salty with our parents for failing to live up to his dreams.

For my part, I tended to expect the letdown of coveted ideals realized in dreams. But not this morning.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Early Season Dump in Sun Valley

That's 18+ inches so far today, October 4, and hopefully a good portent for the season to come.

See you in December and again in February!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Oh Monsieur!

Pump up the volume so you can enjoy what is so much more than just another 'guy gets hit in the balls' YouTube video.

Anyone know the name of this announcer? He's got zero empathy for the French. Genius!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Jim Harrison

I didn't get to attend the Sun Valley Writer's Conference, but thanks to Plum TV and YouTube, I can still get some idea of what my long-time favorite writer Jim Harrison was all about during his visit in 2008.

I'd equate the experience of seeing a video of him, hearing him talk and seeing his affect, to finally meeting someone with whom you've carried on a lengthy phone relationship. Your expectations are never met 100%. And not to say they're exceeded or disappointed either, it's just that the idea and the actuality of a person who you know intimately in one dimension are always different when you expand your perspective.