Bailout advertising goes negative

Low-brow Staples Advertising
Just over a month ago, on December 10, Office Depot announced that they were closing several stores. Hardly the first to succumb a worsening market, Office Depot joined OfficeMax in announcing cuts that will leave additional workers looking for jobs.

The ink had barely dried on Office Depot's announcement when the dinging of my mail program played the new mail sound. There was the email from Staples asking "Will Office Depot closings affect you?" My initial thought was that this was a little bit of a cheap shot but would likely have some useful information. Instead upon opening the email it turned out that Staples was purely spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt. Far from offering solutions and providing information on how Staples might help, the email instead was designed to play on fears that Office Depot's troubles will cause my business to have problems.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night...

christmas_tree.JPG With a rapidity that defies comprehension a new holiday season is not only upon us but wheeling by and will soon be gone again. No doubt about it this is a tough year for celebrating. Personally we have so much to be thankful for. Professionally it would be hard to figure out how one could be on a better track. At the same time it is hard to ignore the collective concern and the grave economic and environmental situations we face as a country, a people, and a planet.

Personal responsibility

One of the refrains I see from time to time about the current economic mess we are slogging through is that it comes down to personal responsibility. I am of two minds on this. Sure everything is personal responsibility. Am I in a better position because I've made good decisions, dare I say better decisions than some others? You bet. All and all we've been and so far continue to be in a better position than most in this day.

Going green, going local

A story called Eco-nomical: Buying Local on Weekend Edition Sunday suggests buying local is the ecological win. The story mentions the benefits that buying from a local store has a greater impact on the local economy than does buying from a big-box national chain. Unfortunately it has some suggestions that just don't add up.

The story suggests that buying from local shops instead of big boxes will mean driving less. Certainly reducing driving is a good thing but does it work this way? With big box stores concentrated in one area it's likely to be that people drive less when they visit the big box stores. A certain number of local stores will be scattered around the big boxes but reaching the number of them necessary to pick up things that one can get in a department store takes quite a bit more driving. Internet shopping is mentioned as a last resort in the story.

Black Friday shaping up to be a mixed bag

The Idaho Statesman reports today that Boise Town Square mall won't open at crazy hours on Black Friday. Last year the largest shopping center in Bosie was among several shopping centers nationally which opened near midnight for sales that were billed as extraordinary. While there were some problems with last year's 1 AM opening it would not take much to imagine that the austere consumer spending reports figure into the decision as well.

Meltdown, bailout and aftermath

Anyone who is concerned about or affected by the crisis in the US economy (i.e.. anyone who is reading this) should take some time to listen to this week's This American Life. It includes detailed and understandable explanations of what is happening, the options for the bailout and the vastly preferable (for taxpayers) bailout option which was included in the bailout bill as an option and which we all need to make sure is actually used.

Round Table Pizza shows how not to do business

Round Table Pizza still has jobs listed in Boise. However for employees of the west-coast pizza chain the unemployment notice came in the form of a note posted on locked doors.

While I can understand businesses choosing to change directions and models this way of doing business deserves to have major repercussions for Round Table Pizza. Imagine for a moment if it were your rent check that was due on Monday and you found out on Thursday that you're out of a job. A couple of times a year we would frequent Round Table but not any longer. The unethical business practice of giving employees no notice that they are out of a job is just inexcusable. There are at times unfortunate situations where companies go dark overnight but those are associated with really and truly going out of business. This was apparently not related to a bankruptcy or dire situations. Rather it was a calculated well-planned move that was intentionally designed to catch employees off guard. How do I know this? Well things like this don't happen overnight. Sometime back, probably months back, they started looking at how to save some dough. They produced charts and looked at markets. Had meetings and analyzed the numbers. Between the time they closed stores on Wednesday night and the time employees came to work on Thursday they closed up shop.

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