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Sage Thoughts

I thought I’d try my computer’s ability to take dictation, using Microsoft Word’s Dictate function and the speech recognition tools of my new computer and Windows 10.

I carefully and slowly recited, with painfully obvious pronunciation, the lyrics to an old classic. (No, I didn’t sing.) Here’s how it came out:

like the rolling stone by bob Dylan once upon a time you expressed so fine through the bombs and dined in New York flying that didn’t you?  People call, Sadie where doll, you thought they were all kidding you.  You used to laugh about everybody that was hanging out.  Now you don’t work so well do know you don’t seem so proud about having to be scrounging for your next meal.  How does it feel?  How does it feel?  To be on your home and what rolling stone a complete unknown with no direction home.

Mediocre, at best. Good thing I didn’t try “Subterranean Homesick Blues.” If anyone has suggestions on how to make this work better, I’m all ears.

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Kroger sells a product they call “Fat Free Half & Half.” Half & Half is supposed to be half cream, half whole milk, with a butterfat content of about 12%. TWELVE PERCENT. What’s the story, Kroger?

I invite spokespeople from Kroger, all members of the dairy industry, and anyone who has ever tried this product to comment.

If you don’t live in Arkansas (and there’s a good chance you don’t) you’re missing the fun of Arkansas advertising.  Today in my fair city of Little Rock I was listening to a local radio station and the spokesman for a Chevrolet dealership pitched the Impala as “the car for the man who’s not trying to impress anybody.”

I doubt that’s what the folks in Detroit had in mind for copy, but you have to admit it’s unique. Not unique in the way Rosser Reeves intended for a USP.  I’d bet nobody else positions it the way we do in Arkansas.  The 2014 Impala. Shown here in Razorback Red.

The 2014 Chevy Impala. It's nothing special, and that's what's special about it.

The 2014 Chevy Impala. It’s nothing special, and that’s what’s special about it.

 

Conroe store ACADEMYIts name is simple, its logo features a capital A, but too many people call it “Sports Academy.” WRONG!!  It’s Academy Sports. OK, officially Academy Sports + Outdoors (with a plus sign).  Maybe people confuse it with Sports Authority, a smaller competitor with little to no retail presence in my neck of the nation.  Drives me nuts. It’s a good store with good stuff.  Get it right.

Have a nice day, and enjoy the 4th of July weekend, States United of America.

 

 

I feel like the kid who just found out about Santa Claus, or, in keeping with the season, the Easter Bunny.  My illusion has just been shattered.

Ozarka® water is not made in Arkansas.

I just assumed it was.  But what do I know, I live in Arkansas.  Nonetheless, I was just being logical, or intuitive, at least.  “OZARKA” sounds like it’s from around here, our “Natural State” of hot springs and rolling hills and trout fishing.  And the Ozark Mountains.

2014-04-15 Ozarka 2

Ozarka’s packaging boasts it’s made in Texas.  Texas?  Texas water?  Is that supposed to be good? I grew up in Houston.  I think the tap water in Little Rock tastes better. And there’s no such place as Hot Springs National Park, Texas.

Pull back  the curtain, Toto.  Egad, the Wizard of Ozarka is just one of many brands pumped out by Nestlé Waters North America.  Thus we have an Arkansas-sounding label coming from the Texas operations of a North American company based in Switzerland. Yodelayheehoo.

2014-04-15 Ozarka 1

Oh well, it’s just water, the commodity that’s increasingly never common.  Last time I checked, a liter of Evian was selling for $1.99 at the local Kroger.  A liter of Kroger’s store-brand water was 69 cents.  That’s a 188% premium for Evian. Some people take this brand thing way too seriously.  And the marketers smile.

Tide Cleaners

It’s as difficult to grasp as seeing Michael Jordan wearing a minor league baseball uniform.

Tide, the iconic Procter & Gamble brand of heavy-duty laundry detergent, is now a dry cleaners.

https://www.tidedrycleaners.com/WebPages/Home.aspx

Their website says, “We’ve been in your home for over 60 years. It’s about time we got our own place. Discover a fresh approach to dry cleaning…We combine GreenEarth® technology with amazing stain removal, color maintenance, and a clean so fresh you can smell it. All to bring your clothes back to life with an experience you’ll love from your very first visit.”

A bold move in brand extension.  It will be interesting to see how this goes.  Will consumers, awash in a mix of mostly local and regional dry-cleaning brands, move to something so popular yet so foreign?  Will Tide lead the pack?

Tide Car

Maybe it was just a bad run of their label-making press. Maybe it’s my inability to discern fifty shades of pink. Maybe I just don’t grasp the concept of subtlety in packaging.

I’m having a hard time reading the label on this bottle of Aquafina Flavor Splash Sparkling Berry Loco Four Berry Blend Flavor, a product of Pepsico under its popular Aquafina bottled water brand.

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I like the beverage, but I can’t read the label easily.  It doesn’t jump off the shelf at me.

In British slang, the word “bottle” means “courage” or “mettle,” as in “He’s a skilled footballer, but he lacks bottle.”  Pepsi had the bottle to design a pink-on-pink bottle, but I don’t think it scored a goal.

IMPORTANT UPDATE – 11 DECEMBER 2018:  THE KIOSK HAS BEEN REMOVED! THERE IS NO LONGER THE KIOSK OPTION AND THE CUSTOMER HAS TO WAIT IN LINE AT THE COUNTER! WE HAVE GONE BACKWARD IN TIME!

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”                                                                                – Henry David Thoreau

I have spent too much of my life waiting at the Kroger deli counter.  A fortnight of quiet desperation and longing for my Private Selection Honey Turkey to be sliced at 1.5 thickness. It has always been a dreaded task, especially during peak shopping hours.  A necessary sacrifice of time to get the good stuff. Prepackaged meat never tastes the same.

My wait is over. Kroger’s self-service, touch-screen deli ordering system. Kroger must have taken a took a cue from the queueless – the Fastpass® system that’s made visits to Disney theme parks so much more efficient and enjoyable.

fastpass roger r

Kroger’s process is very similar to getting a place in line at a Disney World ride.  You enter your order in detail, you get a ticket, you come back fifteen minutes later, and wham-bam there it is, sitting in a wicker basket with your number on it. The greatest thing since sliced pastrami.

deli ticket

Kroger Deli Order station 2013-12-05
Cross Sell Cheese2

Kroger has smartly included a cross-selling function. When I ordered turkey, Kroger pitched me some Swiss cheese. I almost took them up on it. Maybe next time. And there will be a next time. This is how I roll now.

On the busy, pre-ice-storm day I was at Kroger, I seemed to be the only one taking advantage of this automated ordering system. Other shoppers stacked themselves two-deep, ignoring the new process and loudly repeating their desires for meat and cheese across the glass case to the deli staff. Good service includes self-service. It takes time for customers to catch on to that.

My order was there on time and Kroger even attached a $1-off coupon.  Who said you can't have "Good, Fast and Cheap" all at the same time?  Oh yeah, I did.

My order was there on time and Kroger even attached a $1-off coupon. Who said you can’t have “Good, Fast and Cheap” all at the same time? Oh yeah, I did.