Friday, September 26, 2008


The last "atta boy" I received was a bottle of spring water. Before that, my incentive was a t-shirt with some slogan that guaranteed that I would never wear that t-shirt. I have received lapel pins, certificates, desk calendars, figurines, ink pens, posters, towels and the list is endless. Multiply that with all the other people receiving similar junk. How much of the economy is wasting money on programs that are senseless and serve no positive purpose? The only entity that benefits is the company that makes all the giveaways that end up in landfills. I wish I had all the money that had been spent on all that junk that I received that I neither needed nor wanted. I would never have chosen to buy a poster that said "Life is a daring adventure". If I want motivation, I will look for whatever speaks to me, not what someone else thinks will motivate me. Where should I store all that "free" stuff or how do I discard an endless stream of trinkets? These "free" items really aren't.

If I pay membership dues to places like a fitness center or a club, I don't need trivial rewards for that. I would, however, like to have my membership fee lowered so I don't have to pay for all that garbage that is handed out as a reward for joining. Whoever is deciding to purchase and give away all the trinkets has to make a "One size fits all" decision that ends up fitting no one and it only impresses me that it is a very wasteful project. Maybe that person gets to put on their resume that they pioneered an incentive program, I would look at it totally differently. I would say they have no judgment and waste members' money on junk. The best incentive is to lower membership dues.

For years, I have received trivial junk on the job. Again, raise my salary, and I will decide how I want to spend that money, but don't give me junk that has been bought with money that could have gone into my paycheck. Every time one of those giveaway programs comes through, the workers say the same thing, "We got junk, the person with that lack of judgment got promoted." Cold, hard cash speaks louder than t-shirts, lapel pins, calendars, ink pens, or caps.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


It is amazing to see how many magicians live among us. Every day, driving down the roads of our country, are magicians who open their car windows, toss out scrap paper and for that magician, the scrap paper has disappeared. It is no longer in his car, so it ceases to exist. Follow a magician out of a convenience store, and watch as he opens a candy bar. He drops the paper on the pavement, removing it from his hand, so for him, it ceases to exist. Watch the next magician that you see who is smoking. The ashes are flicked to the wind, disappearing for him. The cigarette butt soon follows to either the street or pavement, disappearing from his hand, and ceasing to exist for the magician smoker. The whole world is his personal ash tray. Our neighborhoods are filled with magicians in the fall who rake their yard leaves into the street. For that magician, the leaves are off his grass and cease to exist for him. If these magicians are so successful in making things disappear, why do we need more magicians coming along behind them trying to make all of it disappear a second time?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Discontinued Products

My favorite hairspray was just discontinued. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, we are all supposed to go to the Aussie hair products web site and take the "no-helmet hair" pledge, so why the meltdown? I like my helmet hair! I refuse to vow to wear long, flat, thin hair, as if that were even an option. Since less than three hundred have taken their pledge, obviously, I am in good company. Hair spray is the only thing that gets me through the day with my dignity in semi-respectable status. I used to be eighteen too. I used to have long, flowing tresses, even though I wasn't one of those people gifted by birth with beautiful, thick, manageable hair, but when you reach a certain age, Mother Nature says, "I want your hair to look awful. I want it to go gray, get thin and disappear." Health issues force people to take medications that also wreak havoc on hair quality. Every day becomes a bad hair day. Hair spray is the only product standing between me and a loony bin.

So why do they discontinue products people like and buy? They want you to have to buy a dozen more products before you find another one you like. That means everyone who liked a discontinued product will have to buy a dozen more products than if they had just continued buying the one they liked. The market flourishes while the landfills pile up more unused, unsuitable products that we discard. Not only did my favorite hair spray disappear, so did my favorite razor, lipstick, bra, briefs, hand cream, and the list goes on and on. They claim that they put out a new, improved product. Isn't that what Coke said when they decided to remove the old reliable, successful product that people loved and caused a world-wide revolt? An improvement is when a company puts my favorite hand cream in a bottle with a pump dispenser instead of in a bottle with a tiny hole that you can't squeeze out the cream. An improvement isn't to discontinue the product altogether. An improvement is to change the color on the package. We have a joke in my family that if we visit a furniture store and actually buy something and pay the one-year extended guarantee on the fabric, that furniture store is doomed to close within the year. The same seems to be true of any product that I find that I like. It is going to be discontinued in short order.