Posts tagged money

Living Well in a Recession – $3,000 T-Shirt

Stumbled upon this t-shirt today at Zazzle.com that reads, “Fuck the Recession. I’m Still Rich.” You may not have a problem with it, but I think this is an awful idea. Don’t get me wrong – I get the gag – based on irony. A t-shirt that says something like this is usually not actually worn by somebody who has money. That’s what I thought, until I saw the price tag. $3,325.00! Ridiculous. I thought maybe the price itself was a joke, but I added the item to my cart, and sure enough, it costs $3,300! 

Tshirt Front

Tshirt Front

Tshirt back

Tshirt back

$3,325 at checkout

$3,325 at checkout

Here’s my problem with it. When we’re in a “recession,” you should not (as an individual or a business or organization) show signs of living or spending opulently. It’s tacky. It’s insensitive. I guess I just don’t think it’s that funny or novel to spend $3,000 on a t-shirt in this economy. People are hurting. Genuinely hurting.

To waltz around with signs of spending money lavishly is really socially insensitive to me. There are some companies that are doing this – sending out postcards that are gilded, printing Annual Reports with ornamental and lavish features. Stop doing this! Granted, in my line of business (advertising and marketing), I wish clients were spending more money – but I think it makes such poor business sense. If you even look like you’re spending a lot of money right now, you will offend customers. I don’t care if you got a good deal. Perception is reality – if you look like you spent a ton of money, you spent a ton of  money. Be aware of the messages you’re sending.

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Verizon Caught Saving Customer Money. WTF?

 

photo by Thomas Hawk

photo by Thomas Hawk

I stumbled upon an article on The Consumerist about Verizon calling a customer to tell him he could save money on his plan. Yeah, yeah, yeah – I’ve heard that a million times… “can we look at your account to try to save you money?” Then they up-sell you and you end up with a 5-year contract or some other ridiculous commitment.

BUT, that wasn’t the case here. It seems as though they actually wanted to save this customer money (and they DID). It seems like they actually cared that he had a good experience. It seems like they actually wanted him to be a satisfied customer. ((Check out the full story at the end of this post))

This is weird. I don’t know how to deal with this. Companies aren’t supposed to do that. Companies are supposed to extort you and squeeze every last dime out of you and then move on to the next poor sap. So, big kudos are in order for Verizon. THIS is exactly the way a company should treat it’s customers. This is exactly the way to keep a customer – do right for them. Hmm – that’s a pretty good idea.

(FULL STORY):

“…another call. This time it was from Rosanne. I am pretty sure that was her real name too. I was talking to somebody in Verizon’s customer service department whom is apparently tasked with reviewing new accounts and making sure everything is okay (kudos to you for having QA/QC on your plans Verizon!). She asks if my phone is for corporate use. “No”. But you have a corporate plan. “Yes I know, it is for the discount program at work”.

It turns out that she wanted to save me money, and she did to the tune of $40 per month! Basically for somebody who is not a corporate user, doesn’t need to get email from an exchange server or have access to the intranet at work, the $45 per month Blackberry plan (hence forth, VZW BES) was not required. Instead, I should have the $30 per month plan (hence forth, VZW BIS). Now, the VZW BES is labeled on Verizon’s website as “Unlimited Data” while the BIS is just “Internet and Email”. I confirmed with the CSR at least 3, maybe 4 times that both plans included unlimited data (that is, until I suck down 5 gigs worth to my Storm!). She told me that they were (she did go and confirm some things either with a supervisor or the computer, and I was on hold for the 2 or 3 instances for no more than 45 seconds).

So BAM, right there switching the Blackberry plans saves me $30 a month over both lines with zero change in services I am actually going to be using. I am not paying for things I won’t use now. This is awesome. Further more the CSR decides to check our minutes usage. We have a 700 minute share plan at this point, the smallest / cheapest they offer. We barely use 300-350 total peak minutes between the two of us on a busy month. Turns out, there is an unadvertised “loyalty” plan that is used for “loyal customers” (and probably also for those threatening to leave VZW) that is a share plan of 550 minutes and is $10 per month less. As a bonus we were given 500 additional minutes that is a “reserve” of sorts. If we do go over rather than getting billed the minutes come out of that reserve first. Cool eh?

So after 14 minutes and 3 seconds on the call, I am not saving $40 per month. How cool is that?”

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Good for Goodness Sake

 Lakresha Moore is overcome by emotion after being handed a $100 bill by a Secret Santa  

 

Lakresha Moore is overcome by emotion after being handed a $100 bill by a Secret Santa

I came across an article today that really made an impact on me. It is about pure giving because it is the right thing to do. 

Here is an excerpt from the article:

At a suburban Goodwill store on Friday, Theresa Settles selected a large, black comforter to warm her family until she can raise the money to turn the gas heat back on. A petite woman approached, her face obscured by dark sunglasses and a wrapped winter scarf, and handed Settles two $100 bills stamped with the words “secret Santa.” “The only condition,” she said, “is that you do something nice for someone. Pass it on.”

Apparently, this is the doing of a gentleman named Larry Stewart, who died of cancer a couple of weeks ago. He had been “street giving” for the past 30 years or so, and asked that his tradition be carried on. And so it was. 

This is a pretty inspiring story to read in a holiday season when people are really hurting financially and need to lean on the kindness of fellow human beings. The reason to give was simply to give. The reason to be good was simply to be good. This guy, Larry Stewart, has nothing to gain (I don’t think) by giving so much of his money. 

I have to admit, when I first read this article, I thought: This is a great guerrilla idea. How can I use this idea for one of my clients? How can I help brand them as community servants?” But, I had to turn off the marketer’s part of my brain and simply realize that the real impact of this story is NOT the fact that people were being given $100 bills, but the fact that it was done without regard for credit. It was done without need for recognition or a newspaper article. (However, I then wondered how they got a photo and got this article to the AP… hmmm…). The impact of the give could not be leveraged if this was a planned give with planned coverage and a PR pitch – you kill the essence.

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