This week Starbucks announced changes to their rewards program. What does it mean?
Don’t worry. I’m here to break it down brevity-style. No, not breve. Starbucks “baristas” don’t know that word.
Why the change? According to Starbucks Newsroom official website it was done “based on the #1 customer request” to have more stars. In other words, you asked for this. Look what you made us do!
In the way back I’d heard about Starbucks stars. I drank there when it was in my face and I wanted coffee so I enthusiastically figured, “What the hell?” I signed up and gave it a try.
It was beautiful! I felt alive. I loved everything I could see. I sprinted out into the street and hugged the garbage man. He was beautiful. He looked really surprised. Maybe I should have worn pants but there was no time for that.
In my hands I held a Christmas card. It was even addressed to me. To me! Someone had sent me a Christmas card. A bona fide recipient of the Ribbon of Participation. I was finally somebody.
“God bless us, every one!” I yelled at the top of my lungs. I’d never felt a stronger sense of belonging.
Yes, it was time for a let down.
The new gold card’s here! The new gold card’s here! I’m somebody now! Millions of people look at this card every day! This is the kind of spontaneous publicity, your name in print, that makes people. I’m in print! Things are going to start happening to me now.
I walked confidently into the corner coffee shop. I got in line and waited a quarter hour. Finally it was my turn. I cleverly placed my order. “I’ll have a chestnut praline latte with a twist. Shaken, not stirred. Make it a grande.” I whipped the gold card out of my camouflage wallet and presented it to the barista. Light from the trendy overhead track lighting reflected and momentarily blinded her. “The name’s Taker. Tom B. Taker.”
Several women in the vicinity immediately swooned and removed their tops. Decisions, decisions.
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So you want to be in the mail order business. Whether traditional “brick and mortar” or hanging out your shingle online, you have decided to ask the same question: How easy is it to rip me off?
Mail order is a retail system where fulfillment takes place at a remote location outside of your field of view and control. Think of it as the fog of war. By definition you are operating with less than full information. By design. Remember, this was your choice.
You might as well go in a dark alley and roll some dice. You might get better odds.
Here’s a typical scenario:
- Customer/criminal visits your website and loads up on plastic crap made in China. (Let’s be honest, that’s all you sell.)
- Payment is made with a credit card.
- You rub your hands together in glee, shout “Squee!” and box and ship the crap.
- Customer/criminal fiend receives the crap.
- Customer/criminal fiend then claims crap was never received and “disputes” the charges with the credit card company.
- The credit card company (aka The Vig) is, in this situation, the sole arbiter of truth, justice and the American way. You agreed to this policy.
- You submit all of your detailed records regarding the transaction including: customer order, shipping receipt, emails, phone records, retina scans, DNA samples and a electronic facsimile of thumbprint.
- The credit card company says, “Well, there just ain’t no way to know!” and decides in the
customer’scriminal’s favor. There’s a giant sucking sound as the money is extracted from your account.
Let’s review. What just happened? The customer isn’t out one single penny and the customer has your stuff. Bazinga! And there’s no magical fairy in the universe that’ll ever do one thing about it. Welcome to your new reality.
Those of you who watch Orange Is The New Black may recognize this tactic as employed by the criminal mastermind Lorna Morello during her pre-prison flashbacks. People really get caught for this? No. Remember, OITNB is fiction.
The bottom line is that shipping product mail order to a customer is a supreme act of faith. You’re basically hoping it’ll all work out. And when it doesn’t, there’s isn’t too much you can do about it.
The point is that when this happens the boss is furious and that, of course, is hilarious.
The people in the self-described “weird” city of Portland, Oregon are serious about many things. Like roses, microbrew, recycling, bridges, kale, bicycling, front yard gardens, cafés with garage doors, beards, fedoras, the Trailblazers, dogs and, last but not least, trees. These are but a few of our favorite things.
We were lucky enough to be the recipients of a new tree in our front yard courtesy of a non-profit organization that plants and cares for trees in metro areas. We also routinely have a CAR2GO parked down the block but that’s another story.
What we didn’t know was that this tree was the harbinger of a new long-term relationship in our lives. These trees like to put down roots.
Taking on the responsibility of a tree is a serious matter. It’s nothing to bark at.
We recently received our second report card (in the form of a flyer on our door) based on a personalized visit to our home. Yes, in a crazy mixed-up world where abused children often go unnoticed and sadly fall through the cracks, our baby tree is lavished with love, support and attention. If only the government could run with this much efficiency.
I thought I’d end this post by leafing you with a description of our tree parenting grades. I told my wife we should have redshirted the bastard but no one ever listens to me. Now our graduation ceremony marking us as successful tree companions is in danger of going timber.
Soil: Mixed. Ours was rated “a little dry.”
Mulch: Thumbs down. Ouch. But they said they’ll take care of it.
Root Zone: Thumbs up.
Bark: Thumbs up.
Canopy: Thumbs up.
Sucker Growth: Thumbs up. (Apparently we got a waiver for me to remain on the property.)
Overall Grade: Double secret probation.
There was nary a gold star on our report card. Apparently we’re falling down on the job. But we did get a nice thank you doing our part to help the “urban forest” grow.
In the comments section they also noted that we have failed to properly christen Junior with a name for his root certificate. I’ve purchased some baby name books and we hope to accomplish this soon. I’ve already got a bottle of champagne ready to smash on his/her trunk. Hopefully the christening procedure won’t hurt our Bark Rating.
No trees were harmed during the creation of this post.
celebrated suffered through a so-called milestone birthday. There was, of course, the obligatory birthday card with all the standard jokes about walkers, eyesight, driving, Geritol and Viagra, as required by law in all states (except Florida). As I desperately scrabbled at the card searching for currency a poem fell to the floor. (See below.) I threw out my back bending over to pick it up.
On the plus side, my wife took me to a strip club. Whoa! She cleverly got me wasted on tequila shots and pints of beer before revealing the destination so I wouldn’t enjoy and/or remember the experience. Still, it was quite a surprise and she treated me to the first “lap dance” of my entire life (I don’t get out much) which consisted of three-minutes of quasi-hugging a naked woman in a semi-private room for $40. (Which, by the way, came out of my wallet.)
Although drunk, I still possessed my math wits. I pulled my iPad out of my pants and used it to calculate the hourly rate of “lap dance” at $800 per hour. That is so not worth it.
To add insult to injury the
stripper adult entertainment professional was way more into my wife than she was with me. Downright handsy if you know what I mean. That hurt. There’s nothing quite like a birthday to reinforce your position on the food chain.
She says I can have my next lap dance in another 50 years.
Happy birthday to me!
Ode to My Husband
by Mrs. Abyss
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I really look up to my wife. She hates her job every bit as much as I hate mine, although, perhaps, for not exactly all the same reasons. To each their own! Vive la difference!
Hell, sometimes she even makes me feel like a negativity neophyte. Yes, she’s that good and I love her for it.
I made her company famous in a previous post about how they turned Christmas dinner into an H.R. event by making employees roll dice to determine where they would sit. You thought this was Christmas dinner? Nope. It’s a team building exercise!
So far in 2011 there have been layoffs, employees were told there would be no Christmas bonus, and management is forcing employees to use extra vacation days before the end of the year. My wife’s coworker was saving her days, in accordance with company policy, for a trip next year. Now that’s all screwed up. The scuttlebutt is that management wants fewer vacation days on the books so there will be less payouts during the next round of layoffs.
Recently my wife was summoned by the department head. She was informed that she was the worst “smiler” in the workplace and that she needed to improve on her smiling. The “or else” was implied.
The facts are clear. A computer report that tracks productivity in the department shows my wife at the top of the list. The best smiler in the department? She’s dead last.
The intimated threat to my wife: Do a better job at smiling or we’ll keep the most unproductive employee ahead of you. Smile more or you’re the next to go.
Believe it or not, she was actually called in for a meeting about this. Amazing, I know.
Then this same boss gives my wife a little Christmas card. It contained a $5 coupon to a coffee house and a personal note that said, “I hope this makes you smile.”
Using a Christmas card to deliver a shitty boss message like that? You gotta admire a subtly handcrafted and executed implied threat delivered with such festive deftness. I’m in awe.