What Were You Thinking?

BILLBOARD SIGN IN ILLINOIS
Illinois has a history of good lawyers with only a picture of Lincoln. Great job Illinois. Way to market your state but who can you sell besides Lincoln in this state? And besides, didn’t Lincoln practiced law in Illinois about 150 years ago? Where are the others?  

 
 
 

Illinois' history of good lawyers

 

TYPICAL HIGHWAY SIGNAGE IN THE LAND OF LINCOLN
Most of the time, you see the highway sign displaying the intersecting highway but rarely in Illinois do they indicate East-West or North-South. Some may argue that you don’t need this with GPS systems or a car compass. Au contraire! Even before Global Positioning Systems, this state has done a poor job indicating which direction when confronted with intersecting highways. Poor signage hasn’t improved at least over the last 20 years or more. Just ask the folks north of Illinois how well the signage is in Illinois and Chicagoland in particular!  

I LOVE PANERA BUT WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?
Panera is one of those convenient and fun restaurants that I enjoy when I get the chance – especially when I travel. Considering the 20 mile Interstate stretch between Kenosha and Racine in Southeastern Wisconsin, there’s only one Panera conveniently located off the expressway. That exit is Exit 333. The issue here is the billboard sign for this Panera is located on the opposite side of the highway some 500 yards or so from this exit (Exit 333).  

In other words, if you’re in the left or center lane and see this sign, it’s too late. If you’re in the right lane and see this sign, it may be too late. Of course, if you travel this highway regularly and you enjoy Panera, you’ll know to look for the exit but that certainly doesn’t help the first timers.  

GENERAL QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS
Is a 5% discount on a retail item ever a big deal?  

I heard that in an office building in Chicago, a bottle of water cost $1.05 through the vending machine. Yes, it was one dollar and one nickel. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was not $1.25 or $1.50, it was $1.05. I think I’d rather pay $1.25 not because I’d like to pay more for bottled water but having a quarter available is easier to locate than a nickel. If they change the price in the near future after much negative feedback, please either keep it $1 or raise in $.25 increments.  

When you visit a retail store or see an online add that says Up To 90% Off, what comes to mind? Do you wonder if you’re going to get a good deal? Or find something you’re looking for at a good value? Do you wonder how many items are 80-90% off? Is this just a marketing gimic?  

I was working on a marketing project and one of my roles was to call some local businesses to get some general information about their business. I was amazed at how often I got the businesses voicemail as I made calls throughout the day. I was also amazed at how many of my messages were not returned. I was also amazed at how casual many of the businesses were — not appearing to take their role seriously. It’s only business and if you’re going to take it casually or not seriously you never know if you may be replaced at some point who’s just a little bit more hungry.  

JOB INTERVIEW CONFUSION
During a job interview, an HR screener asked me at the end of the interview, “Do you have any questions?” I proceeded to ask 3 questions and none of these did she want or intend to answer. She kept deferring to the IT department. She can tell her manager she responded to all of my questions even though she answered none of them. If you’re not interested in really serving me by answering my questions, don’t even pretend to care and ask me if I have any questions.

Kevin Schwarm

I have over 25 years of professional experience in business, information technology (IT), and customer service. Industry experience in retail, medical insurance, higher education, non-profit, financial services, and property and casualty insurance. Customer focused professional interested in providing value (save time, money and aggravation) by evaluating and analyzing information, services and products with a unique perspective.