Contrarian Consumer – Part I

STICKY SHOES INSTEAD OF STICKY FINGERS? So I had a great time at the Stones concert on Monday night in Chicago. My wife and I scored on some inexpensive tickets in Section 111 so we knew we’d have a good view of Mick and company. Whether at the Hawks, Bulls or Stones concert, these seats were good except for one thing, the floor around the entire row was sticky. Look, I know the United Center has been busy these last few years alternating between the Chicago Blackhawks and Rolling Stones, in fact, the Blackhawks just defeated the LA Kings less than 24 hours before Keith, Ronnie, Charlie and Mick would entertain about 20,000 adoring fans but seriously, does the maintenance company that contracts with the United Center not have a mop? I don’t think beer or other material was just spilled around my seat last night — I think the entire row appeared sticky. When you are trying to pretend to dance as well as Mr. Jagger and your feet stick to the cement floor, it sucks – literally and figuratively!

Rolling Stones at 50...

Rolling Stones at 50…

COMMON SENSE DEALING WITH  RESTAURANT BILLS…I think it was nice for Lizzy’s waitress in downtown Indianapolis to offer to provide separate checks after the fact — a customer focused approach but then it should not take 30 minutes to execute the separate checks for a party of 12? If so, then don’t offer because there’s too much cost and minimal benefit. Perhaps the waitress should make that offer before we order. It’s inconvenient to do separate checks but they did receive a 20% gratuity, so their time is well compensated.

DOUBLE YOU, DOUBLE YOU, DOUBLE YOU… Years ago, my brother complained to whomever would listen on why business and communication channels could not effectively deal with the ‘WWW’ that precedes many website addresses. In other words, why say www.cnn.com (or double you, double you, double you) when cnn.com would suffice? Once this is brought to one’s attention, you may be more prone to hear this from the media – those 9 syllables that typically precedes the domain name. It’s not a big deal although I’m not sure why people haven’t reverted to shortcuts to bypass those 9 syllables. Unfortunately, every time I see or hear this, the association to his complaints is my primary focus regardless of the subject matter.

PUNCTUAL BIRTHDAY WISHES…If you’re organized like my wife, you have the penchant to send birthday cards perhaps a few days before they really need to be sent. If you ever send birthday cards early, even if it’s 2 or 3 days early, I don’t think you should need to apologize. No justification is needed.

It reminds me of that saying that you should never apologize for being 10 or so minutes early for a meeting or appointment. Is it not roughly the same thing?

INSPIRATION FROM STUDENTS? So some of us hear about an excellent teacher or a teacher who does tremendous work who may be nominated for the teacher of the year award. This is great. I’m sure you have many great teachers out there who are inspired and inspire their students but what about the other way around? How come you never hear of inspired students or hard working students who inspire teachers? Because it’s not their job? Who says the students don’t have a role in how well a teacher teaches? Perhaps students in the States should look at things differently and view education as a privilege rather than a right. Perhaps students who appreciate education could appreciate some of their teachers or show a zeal for learning? Who knows what impact they may have with their passion and appreciation for learning?

DOES THIS MAKE SENSE? About 5 years ago, I bought my wife a Giant bicycle for about $300 – it was a hybrid designed to be used for trails and street riding. Not a fancy bike but one that appeared to be well built and durable.

Today, I helped her bring that same bicycle into the bike store for a tune-up. As I steered it into the store, I noticed a broken spoke – I thought to myself, “another $10.” After fixing the spoke, replacing both brake pads and giving it a full tune-up, the total cost will exceed $150.00. I may be math challenged but a thorough tune-up will cost me about half of what we paid for the bike. Imagine spending $30,000 on a car and having to fork over half that amount 5 years later for thorough maintenance? Is that a fair comparison?

 

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.