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"Why Choose Between Fun and Content When You Can Have Both"

The inappropriate employee conversation that provided a great customer experience

Waiting for my Caramel Macchiato I couldn’t help but eavesdrop on the conversation going on between 2 Big Brand Coffee Shop employees and a third person who was either an employee who just finished her shift or was a customer. Without going into details here are the important words and phrases that caught the attention of quite a few of us:

  • Drag queen
  • Transvestite
  • Dressing like a woman
  • Started hormones
  • Was never comfortable as a man
  • Why do gay people feel they need to tell everyone they are gay, I don’t tell everyone I am straight. Is it part of a cause. I don’t really care if you’re gay or not.

I was standing there amused. The guy sitting behind me was trying so hard not to bust out laughing. Even the redneck was enjoying Big Brand Coffee Shop theater.

But when one of the employees recited these words the 6 of us just could do nothing to control the laughter. His words “I don’t need to tell anyone I’m gay. The minute I open my mouth there’s no question.”

So was this an inappropriate conversation to be having in front of customers? I’m almost betting that those corporate folks would not be happy. Diversity, blah, blah blah. But this afternoon 3 customers had a different type of Big Brand Coffee Shop experience that was even better than my Caramel Macchiatto – which was very delicious.

As I grabbed my drink I turned to the girl and told her I would have never guessed her for being straight. The laughter continued. I love seeing employees and customers laughing together. Makes me want to return.




When is $6.50 more than $10 and 2 hours of your time?

So you have a choice. You can go pick up the goods from the online vendor you enlisted for your latest marketing idea or get them shipped to you.

$6.50 to ship. 2 hours of time and $10 gas to pick up.

Now re-read the title. The answer is pretty simple. Right?

Pay for it to be shipped!


Not so fast my friends………….

  • Or drive down to meet the online vendor you purchased from and learn more about them
  • Or drive down and see what other goods and services your vendor has available; the ones you overlooked as you were frantically trying to tackle the immediate need
  • Or drive down and determine if you could use that vendor as an extension of your program, marketing, creative or idea team
  • Or drive down to meet the employees of your vendor and see how eager they are to share their excitement about projects and how they can help you further
  • Or drive down because taking a little Recess to get out of the office and connect with people is how relationships are forged
  • Or drive down and perhaps become a resource for them
  • Or drive down so you can get ice cream or candy and bring it back to the office!


Time is money. Yes it is. But are there instances where saving time might be costing you money when you should actually be investing time?


If you can’t live 100% up to your brand maybe you should change it

Before you read this post please think about your brand. What does your brand represent and are you and your employees constantly looking for ways to improve or align better with your own brand?

Now continue reading.

I love the recent availability of envelope free ATM machines. And while they are a little slower than “shove deposit into envelope, insert into slot” they do help in the worldwide effort to be a “green” corporate citizen.

A couple of weeks ago I walked into an ATM vestibule and needed to endorse a check. No pens. Yep, when the envelopes were eliminated so were the pens. Although inside the TD Bank branch there are enough pens to stretch from one end of CT to the other – the long way.

So I did what any customer might do…..popped my head into the branch manager’s office, told her I love the new machine but mentioned how the pen would be “convenient.” They still have them at the ATM’s using envelopes.

Enthusiastically she said “That’s a great idea. I am going to bring it up at the regional manager’s meeting next week.” I just shook my head.


You see TD Bank brands itself as America’s Most “Convenient” Bank. Well if you’re going to brand yourself as “the most convenient” shouldn’t you be looking for new ways to make it even more convenient for me? What if it was after branch/store hours and I wanted to make the deposit? Haven’t we all had checks returned for not endorsing them?

So yesterday when I popped in to make a deposit at the window I was asked how I was today. I said I would be better if you made it convenient for me and put some pens in the ATM lobby.

I was given every reason why there aren’t any:

  • We’re not allowed (So they’re going to fire you if you put some out there and test an idea?)
  • We don’t have approval (if you need approval to put a pen outside and to make a customer’s life a bit more convenient that is just pathetic)
  • People will take the pens. (You’ve got 6,000,000 inside)


Don’t get me wrong, I like TD Bank. They’ve actually provided me with one of the best banking experiences I have had in my lifetime. But when you brand yourself a certain way and leave yourself wide open to people challenging you on your brand statement, you shouldn’t need a manager’s meeting, a committee, 102 signatures or a test market to make your customers happy.

So it’s not an original idea. Guess again.

  • You can make it better
  • You can make it different
  • You can make it more fun
  • You can make it more interesting
  • You can go rogue and change the model
  • You can complement it
  • You can obliterate it
  • You can change how it is perceived
  • You can figure out a new or better use for it
  • You can learn from it
  • You can partner with it

Often times the great idea you have is already out there; in some form. That should not stop you. every idea is original when it has your fingerprints on it.

Right? (See bullet points above)