Monthly Archives: September 2010

Dead Pitch #4: Birthday Eats

Granted, the weakest of the bunch. But can I really be blamed? ‘Tis September…

No one may care about them again until they break up or until the next season of The Bachelor begins, but Bachelorette Ali’s birthday celebration from Roberto last week included a cake presented on-air during her morning TV segment for Fox 5 San Diego, dinner at Nobu and champagne at the Hard Rock Café.

All in all, not a bad way to ring in 26. I just made plans to go to Atlantic City and try Bobby Flay Steak to, err, not ring in 26. Birthdays are good excuses to let yourself eat whatever you want or to try out a new place. And…we could have asked readers about their most memorable birthday cakes or meals?

Image via normanack/Flickr

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Dead Pitch #3: Location-Based Eating

A McDonald’s Foursquare campaign in April upped foot traffic by one-third by offering $5 and $10 gift cards for check-ins.

I wrote a story about a Barbie Foursquare campaign a few months ago and that was the first time I ever played around with it. It’s interesting, but I haven’t gotten into it as much as Twitter or Facebook. Then again, I haven’t seen any $5 or $10 rewards anywhere on Foursquare…and the idea of a free meal would certainly be motivating.

There’s also an iPhone app called ShopKick that rewards “kickbucks” to users when they check in at various retailers –- including grocery stores (and big box stores) – in four major markets. Kickbucks can later be exchanged for gift cards and other rewards. And, according to the NYT, you don’t have to alert the world to your whereabouts with ShopKick.

Had I been given a green light, I argued this would have enabled us to ask readers if a comparable meal discount in exchange for a check-in would prompt them to eat at a particular location? Or if discount groceries would motivate them to try out ShopKick? Or if location-based anything, no matter what the reward, is off-limits? But, alas…

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Dead Pitch #2: The Real Harland Sanders

Granted, I hadn’t settled on a *precise* angle quite yet…but I still think this Time story about Harland Sanders is really interesting.

I probably would have used it as a hook to write something on other interesting little-known fast food facts. Alas, the world will never know…but I CAN still promote this super-interesting piece on the founder of KFC:

Did you know, for example, that he failed at over a dozen jobs?

And he really wore white suits every day — with a lighter jacket for the summer and a heavier one for winter?

And he drove a Cadillac with his face on it to promote his chicken?

And he once SHOT a man?

And that he was a lawyer and a real honorary Kentucky colonel?

Put *that* in your pipe and smoke it, Taco Bell.

Image via kerryvaughan/Flickr

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Dead Pitch #1: Truth in Food Marketing

So…last week wasn’t such a good week for me pitch-wise. But instead of letting these ideas shrivel up and die, I thought I’d turn ol’ TL into a graveyard of sorts. (Time will tell whether this is a good idea…)

The first:

Pom Wonderful, a producer of pomegranates (and juice by the same name), has filed a lawsuit against the FTC over truth in marketing, according to a story last week in Ad Age.

Pom says the FTC’s recent regulations to curb false marketing hinder its First Amendment rights. Pom’s ads say its pomegranates have beneficial polyphenol antioxidants. (I’m not exactly sure what they do. Wikipedia wasn’t much help. But, colloquially, we can say that antioxidants are good, right?) However, the new standards require a company to get FDA approval before making claims about any health benefits. Pom’s complaint says this bans both deceptive and non-deceptive speech.

As a consumer, I sometimes rely on claims made on packages to make purchase decisions and I sort of assume those statements are true. (When I interviewed some bigwig scientist guy for my master’s project, he told me he was developing a nutrition rating system for this very reason and used bread as an example — it’s hard to decipher all those competing claims, right? So his point was that a universal rating system would make it easy to see which bread was most nutritious, etc.) So…as a consumer, I think forcing companies to put their money where their mouths are and get FDA approval doesn’t seem like such a bad thing…and then I argued that doing a post on this topic would give us an opportunity to ask readers for their input and whether they think Pom is the victim of an overzealous FTC or if food companies really should get FDA approval before they make health claims? But now I can ask you instead! Fire away.

Image via JOE MARINO/Flickr

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My Beef with Lucky Brand Jeans Continues…

Wow — totally useless response from Lucky Brand Jeans regarding my defective purse.

Lucky, if you really wanted to piss me off, this is how to do it:

Dear Lisa,

Thank you for contacting Lucky Brand.com. We are always interested in hearing from our customers!

We apologize for your experience with our product(s) and appreciate you bringing it to our attention. We assure you that this is not standard for our product(s). Unfortunately, we are unable to process refunds or exchanges for product(s) purchased in stores. At this time, we do not have a repair service available. Please contact our Store Customer Service for additional assistance at: 888-943-2653 or email at: storecustomerservice@luckybrandjeans.com

If you require a more urgent reply please call us TOLL FREE at 1-866-975-LUCK (5825), Sunday-Saturday 7am-11pm CST or email us at customerservice@luckybrand.net. Thank you for contacting LuckyBrand.com. Sincerely, Lucky Brand Customer Care

1. I don’t think you can say that “this is not standard for our product(s)” as this Macy’s review clearly mentions that there is a problem with the handles. I am not alone.

2. No refunds, exchanges or repair services? In other words, nothing? Buyer beware? This does not inspire confidence.

3. An automated response? My complaint is not worthy of the attention of an actual human being? Sheesh.

I loved my first Lucky purse, but between the crappy handle and the crappy customer service response, I’m done. I wrote Consumerist, too. They may not publish anything, but at least I’ve done my part to warn the world of Lucky’s shoddy craftsmanship!

PS: I found a Fossil bag I like very much. I think it will be my new signature bag…

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A Letter to Lucky Brand Jeans, Regarding Its Defective Pathwork Mailbag

Anyone who has seen me in the past 3+ years knows my purse. As you’ll read below, I bought Lucky’s large patchwork mailbag about that long ago and absolutely loved it. However, when it came time to replace it, I couldn’t find the large version and settled for the smaller bag. It also came with a different handle…which turned out to snap off every so often, requiring constant repairs. It has been, in a word, inconvenient. (And if I was to give a really good scolding, I’d say, “Disappointing,” too.)

I just read a review online that warned of this defective handle — so I’m not the only one.

So — a warning: They’re cute, but be careful when considering a handbag from Lucky Brand Jeans…unless you have a leathersmith in your household who delights in fixing the shoddy handle.

I just read a story about a man whose parents had a relatively new GE stove and the glass on the front exploded and broke into a million pieces. The dad had trouble getting anywhere with customer service and so the son contacted GE via Twitter and they were enormously helpful and his dad was super-happy because the oven was fixed almost immediately.

I realize my case is in all likelihood a matter of “buyer beware,” but I was so mad the darn thing broke again the other night, I emailed customerservice@luckybrand.net *and* I called them out on Twitter. We’ll see if Lucky is as concerned about its online rep as GE was…

Dear Lucky,

About three years ago, I bought one of your large patchwork mailbags. I loved it. It became my signature bag. In fact, my mother liked it so much that *she* bought an identical bag and whenever she visited me, we walked around with matching purses…

Eventually, however, the bag became a bit worn out and I realized I needed to replace it. I wanted the same bag. Sadly, I could not find the large bag anywhere — not on the Lucky site and not on Amazon. I eventually decided to go with the smaller version. I bought it at Macy’s on September 26, 2009 — my birthday.

As you know, it is almost September 26, 2010…and the strap on the second bag has broken countless times already. At first, I was able to glue it back together and make said repair every few weeks (cheaper than taking it to a professional who works with leather, although, in hindsight, I could have perhaps saved myself a lot of grief by getting a pro to fix it in the first place). At the same time, however, it’s not like this is a cheap knockoff I bought off the street. Sure, there are lots of more expensive purses out there, but I still paid decent money for this one.

And, alas, I was out with friends the other night and the OTHER side of the strap snapped off and now the bag is completely useless again. I am tired of trying to fix this defective handle. It’s a pain to glue it and it’s a pain to take it to a repair shop and to be without a bag for several days. When I spend $150+ on a purse, I expect it to at least make it to its first birthday in one piece.

So…even though I loved my first large patchwork mailbag more than any other purse I’ve ever had before, I’m afraid I don’t trust Lucky enough to risk buying another bag that might have shoddy craftsmanship. It’s a shame, but my next signature bag will not be a Lucky. And you’ve lost what was once a very happy customer.

Images attached so show the defective handle from both sides, as well as the now-useless purse in its entirety.

Best,

Lisa Lacy

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