Half Marathon Litter

Lazy, ignorant runners... Carry it out, carry it back.

If you’ve read any of my previous posts you know I’m a runner, and more than that, I’m a social runner (and like a good High-5) and like to think that runners around the world belong to a loose fraternity of like-minded individuals.

You also know that I’m also a staunch supporter of recycling and protecting the environment (see my post on supposed Green Energy solutions).

Imagine how proud to be a runner I was when, while on a walk tonight after dinner with my kids, along the route of the Chilly Half-Marathon past my house I counted more than 40 used gel packs littered on the ground over 2K. My kids even made a game of it.

COME ON! If you brought the freaking gel with you on your run, it was in a pocket – so put it back in that same damn pocket when you’ve sucked it! How lazy can you be? And how contradictory to the activity!

I am so incredibly disappointed and pissed that runners would do this sort of thing. I use gels. I have pockets. One plus one, folks.

You’re running, so you can’t be lazy. You’re just ignorant.

Recognize the sign of the HI-5

Know how to spot a high-five

Runners, like boaters and bikers, have an unspoken rule that when passing a fellow enthusiast, it is common to acknowledge a comrade with a slight wave.

I like to take it a step further by actively seeking a high five.

In fact, when on a race, I will go out of my way to get a high-five from each and every volunteer police officer helping to direct traffic. Both as a sign of respect and thanks, as well as the funny looks you get on the approach and the warm smiles you get on take away.

Much to my chagrin, while on a stupid long run this weekend, lo and behold I happen to pass a group of fellow runners and I throw up the hand… and get completely snubbed.

How uncool. How un-fraternal. How come?

Please, lets all try a little harder next time to recognize the sign of someone looking to share in your enthusiasm and spirit and also to help perhaps motivate you to push through your next mile.

Stings, folks.

If you use, or are required to use, a CRM tool at your current job I am sure you’ve got something negative to say about it.

No disrespect to Salesforce, NetSuite, Oracle, ACT!, or any of the other 46,000 ‘tools’ available, but honestly, stop and think about what you’re building. Then take a good hard look at what a CRM tool is supposed to do, by definition.

Why not let me, the user, decide what to call a campaign and what to call a template. Why not let me link things together sensibly instead of forcing me to use whatever architecture your developers came up with? Why not give me better and more convenient control over my sales territory information? How about drag and drop simplicity for building ROI and participation reports?

Most importantly, why can’t anyone give me a tool that actually lets me manage/monitor/maintain my customer relationships by synching up my entire staff’s communication with my customers, in a drill-down dashboard view (Google), with look-back and trending (Google)?

I don’t know about you, but I’d kick and scream to get the budget for a product like that (Google). If only to see, in real-time, how happy my customers are with my products, and how my staff is working to keep them happy.

Case in point: I received a call from a Bell customer service rep the other day, inquiring about my satisfaction level with their products and services and seeking to upgrade my subscriptions.

I asked them, politely, if they were kidding.

They paused then started into paragraph 2 of the canned speech.

I asked to speak with their supervisor, which took them a bit by surprise as to this point I hadn’t said more than 3 words to them. They told me that they would be only too happy to answer any questions I might have, and wondered if I had a problem I needed to discuss.

“Do you have my customer record in front of you?” I asked.

“Sir?”

I clarified by saying, “Do you have my customer record in front of you showing what Bell products or services I currently subscribe to?”

Stammering, he replied, “Sir, I have your name and phone number that is part of your account…”

“And what does it say about my current Bell services?” I interrupted.

Hesitantly, he says “That is why I am calling, sir, to see if you are happy with our…”

“Clearly you’re in a call centre, so tell me, what products or services are listed under my name in front of you on your screen?”

From the other end I could hear the hundreds of other reps chatting gayly away, but my guy is dead silent.

“I haven’t used Bell for phone or any other service for almost a year because of their deplorable lack of customer empathy. Please take my name off your list now.” and I hung up.

Summary: If you have customers, treat them well. If you lose a customer, update their record THAT DAY. If you’re inclined, conduct a post-mortem interview to identify what went wrong and how to prevent it from happening to another customer.

Sweet n Salty Breakfast Goodness

The late-for-work breakfast of champion dads everywhere.

Like most of you, I typically don’t have time for breakfast Mon-Fri – hit snooze twice, took longer to wash with that sliver of soap, kids not cooperating, rush to get them to school – so I tend to carry myself through to lunch on coffee and, if I remember to grab one, a Sweet ‘n Salty bar.

Come the weekend, I’m all about breakfast. Brew a pot of joe and weigh out what I’m going to tuck in to: bacon and eggs, pancakes, or my private guilty pleasure, a big bowl of Cap’n Crunch. Damn I love that stuff! My wife doesn’t like it when I come home from shopping with a box because she doesn’t want the kids eating the sugary junk, but if I see it on sale (or even if it’s not), I can’t help but pick me up some.

Here’s the thing: Cap’n Crunch tears the crap out of my mouth each and every time I eat it. And bacon? Bacon just hurts. Pancakes are painless but I almost always burn myself on the pan somehow… But despite all of that, I keep coming back for more Cap’n. And why? It actually hurts to eat it. The roof of my mouth, the gumline behind my bottom front teeth, the inevitable bitten cheek, it all adds up to pure unadulterated discomfort for the rest of the day, and yet I still love it.

Gotta love the Cap'n!

Why?

Nostalgia? Not really.

Because I get some kick-ass prizes in every box? Not a one.

Those ingenious mazes and puzzles printed on the back? Um…

It’s just that good? Well, yeah! I guess…

My point is that even though there are hundreds of other cereal choices of equal and greater sugar content, I would gladly pass them over (on sale or not) to grab a box of Cap’s chunks of chewy glass. Does that qualify as brand loyalty? It does in my books. And if anyone were to ask me, “What’s your favourite cereal that you would sacrifice all other cereals to have?”, I would sardonically reply with more than just a vote for the blue-suited skipper, but would highly recommend it to said inquisitor (and even footnote the endorsement with the caveat regarding the oral lacerations to come).

Would your customers do that for you? What would you have to give them to get that kind of sponsorship? What about you? What will you suffer through even though an alternative exists?

If you’re like me, grab a bowl of those crunchy, stick-in-your-teeth, scrape-the-shit-out-of-your-mouth, corn-based barrel-bites of awesome and skip on the hot sauce and lemonade for the day.

Looking for that last minute gift for that ‘impossible-to-buy-for person’ or your dad, who has everything?

It's not just a cute, cuddly, baby goat - it could save a life.

Get ’em a goat.

No, really, buy a goat or a fruit tree or clean water for an entire family or any number of amazingly simple, powerful gifts for someone in desperate need through The Plan or World Vision.

Please consider giving a gift that could change the life of someone you’re never going to meet – because you can, because they could really use your help, and because another “thing” will just end up on a shelf collecting dust. You’re going to have to get them something anyway, right? Make it meaningful, not mundane.

Is it sad that only around the holidays do we find ourselves thinking about the less fortunate? It is if we don’t act upon those thoughts and then try to think about it more often.

Best wishes for the Holidays!

Cam

I’ve been chewing on this since I caught some of Barbara Walter’s 10 Most Interesting People of 2009 a week or so ago, and have to say that the entire show was a total sell out.

It’s shows like that where the focus rests solely on the celebrity flavour of the month/year that perpetuates the coffers for the loathsome paparazzi.

Let’s go through this list of potential Darwin Award Winners:

  1. Jacko’s Kids

    ... creeeepyyyy ....

    • I’ll give her this one – these kids, and the life that they’ve led to this point is fascinating…
  2. Jenny Sanford
    • A senator’s wife who found out her husband was cheating on her. Holy shit! Seriously?! My God, what is this world coming to!!? Unheard of!! How the frick is this fascinating? So not only has she been in the American national spotlight as “that poor woman”, now she’s involved in an in-depth interview to probe and expose her emotions and her take on it? Talk about rubbing salt in a wound… Come on, Bahbah, that’s weak… but wait, it gets weaker…
  3. Brett Favre
    • Again, what the hell is fascinating about a guy who can’t retire? He had his time, he’s still good, done. Why the hell do I care about why he didn’t want to retire? Next year will Jay Leno make the list? Lame.
  4. Sarah Palin
    • Ahh, Sarah. Brunt of SNL jokes for months, water cooler subject at american offices, spank bank entry for any number of political pundits, Palin is(was) fascinating, but not for what Bahbah interviewed her about. She was fascinating because she said the most ridiculous things in her quest to become Vice President and didn’t seem to learn how to NOT do it over and over again. Think about it, this woman not only wanted to be, but came pretty damn close to becoming the second-most powerful political figure in the world, and it was through endorsements and support from the general public!! THAT is what is fascinating! So, ok, there’s two out of ten… what next?
  5. Adam Lambert
    • Whatever. He can sing. He’s come out publicly. He wears too much eye makeup. He’s the Freddie Mercury of 2009 but sorry, Adam, you’ve been done before. The only reason Adam was on the list is because of the controversy around his rise to “fame” after not being chosen as THE IDOL. Yeah? What about Clay Aiken, or better yet, that dude that lost in the first season to Kelly Clarkson? Surely he’s up to something more than tuna sandwiches and bus rides! Get him on the phone!
  6. Kate Gosselin

    What's the point?

    • If I hear the name Kate Gosselin one more time… well, I won’t do much more than rant about it, but Sweet Christmas give it a rest already! Once again, a woman finds herself the victim of infidelity and the whole world is forced to sit through her pain and strength, her sorrow and her bravery, her … whatever. She treated her husband like an employee on national television, in an extremely stressful family situation, with an ever-present film crew, making money hand-over-fist, and now that’s coming to an end and mother’s everywhere are at a loss for something to do from 8-9PM Wednesday nights… You want fascinating? How about Octomom and the shit she’s pulled to get her share of the spotlight? She’s WAY more crazy than Kate, and has more kids in a weirder situation.
  7. Tyler Perry
    • Who? Must be an American thing… never heard of him. Sounded like he had a pretty average upbringing, now he’s an actor. Bravo. Next?
  8. Glenn Beck
    • Finally! Somebody who actually fits the criteria! He was a nobody until he started bitching about politics, and now he’s infamous for it. He’s got his own regularly scheduled show with tons of traffic, he gets lamb-basted and takes it, he dishes it out too. I thought Beck was the only LEGITIMATE entry on this list.
  9. Lady GaGa
    • Get lost. Lady GaGa is fascinating? No, Lady GaGa is a character played by a girl from New York. I call bullshit on that one. It’s an act! It’s a show! Of course she’s going to be different and unique, that’s what gets noticed! But that’s not fascinating! Bullshit.
  10. Michelle Obama
    • COME ON! Way to kiss ass, Bahbah. She’s the first lady, so what?

Sure, Lady Ga-Ga is a weird person and Adam Lambert could be called unique, but honestly, who gives a shit? Ever heard of shock factor? These people do what they do because they know it will get them press! That doesn’t make them interesting? No, it makes them glory-hounds! And the worst part of it is that BahBah fed into their megalomaniacal egos by showcasing them on her show!

I must be retarded because I just don’t see how Kate Gosselin or Brett Favre are more interesting than, say, you or me. I’m sure you’ve done some weird shit in your time, you still manage to do weird and fascinating shit now (although you might find it mundane, clearly Bahbah sees things differently) and honestly, REAL life – not the above listed celebratrocities – hands out way more interesting stuff.

I am amazed on a daily basis at how pre-programmed we are as a society, and how stupid and lazy we are becoming.

Case in point: a 4-way intersection in a mall parking lot, one way has stop signs, one doesn’t. Inevitably, the people without the stop sign stop, while those with the stop sign wait for them to figure out the other doesn’t have to stop, and thus begins the cursing. Racoons have opposable thumbs that allow them to open garbage cans, just like we have eyes and a brain that allows us to see things and interpret what we are seeing. If you don’t see a stop sign, do you really need to sit and wait for that person in the car on the left yelling at you to go first?

Safety-wise, of course, by all means slow down and make sure you’re not going to kill someone. Stop, even! But for the love of Bruce, LOOK AROUND!

We are so programmed to expect certain criteria/rules/inputs/actions that we have lost the ability to not only assess a common situation, but also the ability to improvise and think for ourselves. This is just plain lazy.

I almost hope this would happen...

Saturday mornings I bring my daughter to dance class and while she’s there I step over to the Tim Horton’s for breakfast treats. This particular Tim’s has two fundamental problems:

  1. It’s too small for the Saturday morning traffic crowd (this is especially annoying when it’s below zero outside and assbag behind you is holding the door open because they can’t fit all the way in, and there ain’t no way he’s going to wait!);
  2. It’s staffed with really dumb kids.

Point 1 – This is a combination of a lack of manners and the inability to recognize that wind and cold do not subscribe to the Les Nessman book of Invisible Boundaries. But it does strike of a lemming-esque trait that forces people in lines to expect that the line will suddenly start flooding forward, despite having been in the same line time and again.

Point 2 – Let’s face it (and even as I write this I realize how old it makes me sound), but kids are just plain lazy/dumb. Dumber than just a few years ago. And NO, I don’t have a prescription for arthritis meds nor did I walk 5 miles in the snow uphill to school when I was a kid, but I just can’t believe how brainless teens are. Ask for a slight modification to your bagel and best of luck to you. It’s like throwing a couple of foreign words into a sentence “Can I get two bagels, please? One toasted with butter and one blungawallakop eentorpit?“. The blank stare was the tell that I had a snowball’s chance in Hell at getting what I ordered, and all because they don’t have a button for eentorpit and the poor cashier just couldn’t be bothered to ask for help or look to see if there was a way to punch that in.

I picked up come Corona the other day and dropped into the grocery store for some limes. 4 for $1. Bagged them, dropped them on the conveyor belt at the cash, and the chicken-hawk teller looks for the little sticker with the produce code on it, which unfortunately is missing. “Heh, heh… Ummm, what are these things?”, he says. Come on! So, without a sticker with a number that gets keyed into a database to help this poor schmo identify what type of commonly found fruit he was holding he was utterly lost… It’s a LIME! A LIME!! WTF!? You need your cash register to tell you it’s A LIME!?!

I guess what I’m really getting at is the fact that the evolution of our society, and adoption-bred dependence upon technology, has decreased our ability to think for ourselves and (Jeff help us) retain our own internal database of information, and has created a world where the GUI and accessibility of information makes or breaks things.

Take the metric on web traffic that says “you have 5 seconds to grab someone’s attention and let them know you have something that will interest them,” and apply that to life – if I have to look for something that I expect to be there and can’t find it, I will start over again. What ever happened to self-reliance? What about taking the time to figure shit out for yourself?

Welcome to the future of us –

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