Monday, December 27, 2010

Starbucks Planner Brings Out The Worst In People

The dictionary defines promotion as-

something devised to publicize or advertise a product, cause, institution, etc., as a brochure, free sample, poster, television or radio commercial, or personal appearance.

also as

to encourage the sale of (a product) by advertising or securing financial support .

The original title for this was "Tis The Season For Self Entitlement". At least you have an idea where I am going with this. Every year since 2004 Starbucks Philippines has their planner promo. Every year I have qualified for one since I do frequent that establishment.Yes, I pay regular price for whatever I get. Notice it's a planner promo and not a planner giveaway. You will be surprised how many grown adults don't know the difference.

Let me just put my disclaimer that I do not work for Starbucks nor have I ever worked there. If they have good sense and taste they would never invite me to work there. Having said that, every year people ask ME for the Starbucks planner. How this germinates in their brain I don't know. They perceive that I myself am entitled to one and they are entitled to mine. Not sure how that computes.

In this blog piece I am speaking for myself and no one else. But as distantly removed as I am from the Starbucks food-chain I get requests no matter how ill thought out. I can imagine the deluge the people who actually are connected to Starbucks Philippines get.

Take the case of someone who I have known for 11 years. He/ she called me out of the blue late last month. Within a minute they bring up the topic(if I can get a planner for them) . No mention of compensation whatsoever. In plain English "something for nothing". I tell them the absolute truth. I was never given one. I don't have one now and I will eventually get enough stickers to get mine. As of Dec 28 I am actually six stickers away. You could not get this person to finish the call semi politely fast enough. In the words of Bob Hope "Thanks for the memories".

I am sure there are times in my life I have exhibited a sense of self entitlement. I would just really be embarrassed if it was obvious and memorable to someone else. If I noticed it, I hope I corrected it. Self entitlement flies directly into major themes in my blog. My war against vanity, narcissism and socialist thinking. It's exactly the point I was getting across with an old blog entry of mine of the legions who thought Barack Obama was their gate way to a buffet of self entitlement.

Starbucks is a private company which is put in place to make money. I am not sure what mental gymnastics some people use to justify in their cranium that even if they don't spend a cent in Starbucks that they are entitled to their promotional planner. Even if they have make the leap that planners fall on my lap, what makes them think I am benevolent enough to share anything with them?


Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas from CDR King

At about 12:20 today (Dec 24 2010) I was purchasing an item from CDR King Greenbelt 1. The older one by Watsons. The newer one is by the GB1 Cinemas. They told me the item has a one week return policy. I asked them if they take into account the fact that they have Christmas Day off. Well, turns out I have my facts wrong. They will be there Christmas Day. I asked the three girls three times and they said each time that they will be working on the 25th of December. I told them in my busted Tagalog that I felt sorry for them.

I may have my facts wrong but does it mean CDR King has their policies right?? Retail store with non essentials opening on Christmas Day? Taking employees away from their families on Christmas Day?? Ask them yourselves. Phil Jackson will agree with me. Click here.

If you think it's OK then fine. If you don't think it's OK: write management , write about it , react to this blog, tell the employees at your local branch that you feel bad. I won't go as far as boycotting the place mind you. But if you do go that far, tell them that you are and why. Then let others know. If you read this blog you know I value capitalism but I also value families and I think both can coexist. The management of CDR King seems to value one over the other on Christmas Day.


Related note

Phil Jackson Christmas Day thoughts.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

God Bless You Kirk Douglas

God Bless You Kirk Douglas

His son Michael was in the news quite recently for his bout with cancer. Hard to believe Kirk is still alive. He looked really old jogging in Central Park in the movie It Runs In The Family and that was seven years ago.

In the last little while I have seen two movies with Kirk Douglas in them. Two movies both released before I was born. Obviously these movies are superb. The reason why I picked the clips below is because in both these movies Kirk plays really heroic but really flawed men. Not easy to pull off.

I want to pay tribute to this man while he is still among us just like I did with John Wooden earlier this year. Before everyone starts jumping on the bandwagon.

The people who know nothing about movies can have all the Twilights they want. I will stick to watching quality stuff like these Kirk Douglas movies.

Ed (OK Corral) In Harm's Way (original post)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Customers Pay Your Salary

Record Lady
Record Lady
She's got the cutest little cartridge
That you've ever seen
She's a phonographic dream

Lyle Lovett "Record Lady" from the album I Love Everybody (1994)

I will never understand people who work for an establishment that are face to face with someone who wants to spend their money there and they treat that person almost nonchalantly.

Such a thing happened to me tonight. I am quite the fan of Western movies. The other day I saw two classics of the genre at my local retail store. O Music (formerly Odyssey) in Greenbelt 1 Makati. They were The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
and Gunfight at the O.K. Corral . I walked in that store tonight fully intending to buy them. Could not find it at first so I asked. I told them I saw it Saturday and was looking for it. The manager may have asked one or two people and about 20 seconds later told me they did not have it.

I spent the next twenty minutes looking for it myself with my goal being threefold: 1) I want that rare movie. 2) I wanted to shove it in that manager's face and 3) this would make a half decent blog.

Unless you think I am the type to forge a receipt to make a point , well here it is proving that I did find it. I also scanned the movie jacket. I obscured the people ringing in the sale because they did me nor their firm any wrong. It's their too casual manager who could not be bothered. I won't name names because maybe she conveniently went on her break when she saw me head for the counter. Anyway for my unnamed adversary here are a few common tips that may have never been taught to you:

  • A customer asking questions is a gift. They are exhibiting what is known as buying signs.
  • A customer looking for something in your store might actually buy what they are looking for.
  • The more people spend in your store the more likely you will keep your job.
  • As a manager, you set example to your staff.
  • People who come in to your store in this age of pirated DVDs and high speed downloads are gifts.

The rest of you don't need me to tell you that.

Ed The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957) (Record Lady)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

3 Movies in 24 Hours

Late Friday night I caught up with the latest season of Dexter. I then did something very rare which was watch three movies in the period of 24 hours. I can go months without watching three movies. And they are all from different decades. The following are not really reviews but just my thoughts and spoiler free.

1) Treasure of the Sierra Madre. (1948)

I love Maltese Falcon and Casablanca. I like African Queen and I thought it was high time I finally saw this Humphrey Bogart
movie. Down and out Americans try to find their fortune while enduring weather, bandits and each other. Story reminded me a bit of the original Oceans 11 (yes there was one) and Lord of the Flies. Great story. Also one of the rare times a son directs his father.

2) Shopgirl (2005)

I have always been a Steve Martin fan. Ever since I first saw him on the Muppet Show in the 70s and mistook him for Han Solo. Then listening to his genius stand up comedy. This is a relationship movie but brutal enough not to be a "chick flick. " Clare Danes is no one's knockout babe but so what? She was believable in her role and looked good enough in the scenes where she wears a dress. Speaking of relationship movies with grey areas.....

3) Sleep With Me (1994)

I first read about this movie in my Roger Ebert movie guide. There was a scene with Quentin Tarantino talking about the alternative meaning to a certain Hollywood blockbuster from years past. That video will one day accompany this blog but not today. The movie does quite well in my opinion without that popular scene. If you have been ever uncomfortable in your life with a couple "making a scene" in a party with friends well this movie is about 90% compromised of that. Who is right? Who is wrong? Who started it? Actually what made me uncomfortable watching this movie was everybody smoking so much I had to check if my T Shirt was still ok. Little play also on the famous song lyrics from Casablanca (There is Bogart again). A cameo from a certain Lost in Space in star for those of you into that kind of thing.


All I can say is to appreciate movies or just about anything else, you will have to read about them and not rely on massive studio funded campaigns. Look for good stories and good characters and not Michael Bay type explosions. Good movies are timeless. Two of the above were "relationship" movies but in my opinion not the type that make teen-aged girls flock to the cinema armed with Kleenex boxes. One last thing. Bogart Rules!!!

Ed (1948) (Shopgirl) (2005) (1994) Sleep With Me

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

30th Anniversary of John Lennon's Death

Don Mclean wrote American Pie and intended the protagonist to be Buddy Holly. At least that is how I understand it. So the phrase "The Day The Music Died" refers to Buddy Holly's tragic plane crash. Many people of my generation still remember the cover of Time Magazine that you see above. 30 years ago "When The Music Died". Yes I am a dinosaur.

The first video below is how I found out about his death. Watching Monday Night Football as an 8th grader. Witness the glory of Howard Cosell.

Many writing about John Lennon today will play you music by the Beatles or solo John Lennon like Imagine or Give Peace a Chance. But for those of you who really know me, you all know I hate being cliche. I want to give you a much different experience yet connected to this tragedy.

It's all about the second video. Though I rather you ignore video and go straight to the song. It is way more important that the song be good than the video be good. I have a Mediafire link below of you can download from the attachment in the Multiply version of this post. I have known this haunting song for about 28 years and only now have I seen the video. I did not miss much. Download the song and then either put it on headphones or loud in your speakers in a dark room, alone. Before you start that though just think of what it was like just finding out John Lennon had died. That is the circumstance this song was recorded. The band had many great songs after this, but this is the first one I remember. I hope you will find it as atmospheric as I did.

(original with song in the attachments )

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Counting Your Chickens Before They Hatch

"You're so vain you probably think this song is about you. "

- Carly Simon link

There is someone I know in Facebook. Vain does not begin to describe her. You might be asking why I am posting this in case she reads it. I am confident in saying, she reads nothing. The truly vain usually look at mirrors and rarely at books or rarely at anything more than two sentences long. Why spend money on books when you can spend it on makeup?

I was looking at her recent postings and noticed her surname has been transformed. She decided to change her name in Facebook to her married name. Well since married is past tense let's call it future married name. I asked if she is married and the answer is no. Don't count your chickens before they hatch has been a saying that makes sense to me. Maybe I'm old fashioned and I believe that sometimes the insides have to change before you change the outside. To do otherwise is to tempt fate.

More on my thoughts on vanity, here. I believe that marriage does mean something and all this last name metamorphosis should be announced after and not before. But based on my experience vanity overrides any sense of protocol and tradition.

For your enjoyment and enlightenment on our topic today I have included two very short videos.

1) How foolish some people sound to others when they obsess over their future married name. 44 seconds from the movie "Big"

2) The dangers of assuming. As told so poetically by the late great Dolph Sweet. 32 seconds.

technical note: if the videos don't appear, please click here.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Adventures In Food: Cheese Steak Hoagie

Where: Rockwell Powerplant Mall. Elbert's Cheesesteak Sandwiches

Cost : 240 for the Hoagie Sandwich (add 80 pesos for generous fries plus fountain drink)

Had the sandwich as they make it without adding or subtracting anything. Comes with lettuce, tomatoes and onions. I can't visualize this being much good if taken out.

Personal Verdict: yum!!


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Feels Like Home Again

I feel that I must tell you that I can relate somewhat to what the Cleveland fan is feeling in anticipation of the return of Lebron James Thursday Night in Cleveland. As I have said before I was fortunate enough to live in an NBA town for 5 years. Most people would be happy going second overall in the NBA draft.

In 1999 Steve Francis was not when he was drafted by the then Vancouver Grizzlies. He did come to town but was later traded to the Houston Rockets. When the Rockets visited town later that year I convinced my friend James 'Buck Henry' Clare to go to the game with me. I really forget what happened in the game but in Dan Russel's Sports Talk that night he took a call from a fan. The fan was determined to give Stevie Francis an earful and he even came early. If I recall Francis eventually got into a dialogue with his heckler and told him something to the effect of that the main reason he did not savor coming to Vancouver was that he felt he was a natural "1". That's point guard in basketball speak. The Griz already had Mike Bibby and playing shooting guard would be unnatural to him (Francis) . This is an 11 year old memory so if it's not entirely true just take it for what it's worth. Still if you want my opinion why I don't like LeBron and it's not even the Decision, make sure you listen to this.

A second thing happened in sports this week that reminds me of the NBA era in Vancouver. Much has been made about Cardinals QB Derek Anderson laughing on the bench in front of a national prime time audience while his team trailed 18 points. Below I include both the video of the laugh plus Anderson's tirade when he could no longer deny that he was indeed laughing.

Similar situation in Vancouver 11 years ago. Goes to show you that winning a championship with Duke does not guarantee NBA success, Cherokee Parks averaged 3.0 points and 3.3 rebounds in 56 games with Vancouver during the 1999 season.He was not even good enough to average double digits on a bad team. Yet he too was caught yucking it up on the bench in a loss.

Nothing really philosophical today folks, except that it's deja vu all over again.

Ed laugh (Original blog) (press conference)