I’ll Have a “Blue” Thanksgiving

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Though Thanksgiving’s merely hours away, consumers and retailers are preparing themselves for something that goes against everything this holiday represents. While many are stuffing the turkey and gorging on apple pie, others will begin gathering outside storefronts across the country to nab “Brown Thursday” deals before “Black Friday” commences. On a day where we’re supposed to give thanks and convey gratitude, shoppers will be scrambling for bargains, while employees forego family dinners to perpetuate the public’s obsession with material goods.

Take a moment to read my latest blog entry for “Think Customers: The 1to1 Blog” and explore how this emerging tradition may mark the downfall of “quality time” as we know it:

Thanksgiving has always been a convoluted mess. Our predecessors plundered the Native American land, the occasion wasn’t recognized as an official holiday until 1863, and I’m not even certain as to why we specifically target turkeys for the main course. But one thing’s for sure–“thanks” and “giving” no longer go together like peanut butter and jelly. (Continue…)

 

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10 Guys That Deserve the “Sexiest Man Alive” Title More Than Adam Levine

Adam Levine, that whiny, little man-boy from ‘The Voice’ and Maroon 5, has been deemed People Magazine’s ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ (as chosen by blind, brainless morons, apparently). Yet, while there will surely be women drooling all over your local newsstand in the near future, not all of us think he’s the bee’s knees. In honor of People’s poor choice, here’s my personal list of gentlemen who deserve the title (in no particular order):

1. Idris Elbaidris-elba1

2. Tom Hiddlestontom_hiddleston_05

3. Derek Hough

 

4. Neil Patrick Harris39-neil-patrick-harris-1348868163

5. Christopher Plummerchristopher-plummer-2005_must_love_dogs_015

6. Bryan Cranston444690057_640

7. John Krasinski

Click here to see this lovely man in action!

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8. Stephen Colbertca. 2006 --- Stephen Colbert --- Image by © F. Scott Schafer/Corbis Outline

9. Anderson CooperCooper1

10. Lenny KravitzLenny-Kravitz

Life is Like a Box of Jellybeans

slow-time-passing-300x300Time may be infinite, but our lives are not. Yet, when you consider how much time we spend doing the things we “have” to do, it becomes rather hard to gauge how much time we have left to do the things we enjoy. We spend our youth learning and striving to obtain the grades necessary to secure future success. We spend early adulthood scrounging and scraping to put together the life society tells us we were meant to lead. We spend middle age raising children and caring for ailing parents as we work to maintain financial security for all our loved ones. By the time we reach a point in life where we might be able to slow down and breathe for just one moment, we are too old, and potentially too ill, to enjoy the freedom we’ve so desperately earned.

 

Life has become nothing but self-imposed obligations that must be cared for and controlled. Generations before us established guideposts that, for some reason, everyone has adopted as gospel. We assume our lives must all follow the same trajectory, yet while we are all traveling the beaten path, we neglect to see that there are opportunities and excitement lurking in the brush. Luckily, as more people become frustrated with what’s expected, our collective focus has begun to take detours, spreading out in myriad directions to embrace what’s been lingering alongside us throughout the journey.

Many are beginning to recognize the fact that we are wasting away our most precious, youthful years, forcing generation after generation to succumb to the same expectations. We lock ourselves away in classrooms and cubicles only to emerge as carbon copies of one another—zombies destined to repeat the same day over and over until our days are up. We need to gain perspective and grasp the concept of time as it truly stands, for it’s not just measured by the ticking of a clock, but also by the memories made and dreams fulfilled. Most may say such thinking is merely hopeful, and that the “real world” will inevitably squash any sort of optimism. But what is the “real world” except a construct we created to impose control on something we cannot fully comprehend? We have formed these mundane, miserable scenarios for ourselves, and we can use that very power to change how we proceed. Just take a look at your life and time spent as portrayed by this box full of jellybeans (above). Understand your impermanence and do what you must to savor the sweetness of each passing day.

Meet Mr. Happy Man

Every now and then, my mind reaches its breaking point. I can’t think straight or concentrate on any single task. I begin to question every little detail of my life. I find solace in nothing but a fluffy pillow and warm blanket. But, at one point or another, we all feel defeated. We all question the meaning behind what we do each day.

Yet, when I’m feeling down—much like I have today—I can’t help but recall this video and the abundant joy one human being can offer complete strangers:

 

The description reads, “Come rain or shine, 88-year-old Bermudian Johnny Barnes devotes six hours every day to an endearing traffic ritual that has made him one of the island’s most cherished citizens.” (via Matt Morris Films)

You see, life isn’t just about our internal state. Life doesn’t revolve around what we can do to better ourselves. In the grand scheme of things, we are not individuals working independently to advance our own mission. We are one extended community, all operating (or at least we should be) to preserve the human condition and make the world a better place for everyone. We need to push our worries aside when they start to overcome our ambitions and remember that, no matter our struggles, we each have something very important to offer the world—love.

‘Woof’ is a Four-Letter Word

No matter how hard we try, we will never be able to adequately demonstrate our appreciation for those men and women who have sacrificed so much to protect our country. No words will ever convey the gratitude we feel for those who’ve fought the wars their fathers started to preserve the freedoms we so casually take for granted. Facebook posts, tweets—words of any sort—will never express how indebted we are to both those that serve and their families.

Dogs, however, have the genuine ability to communicate the emotions we all feel but cannot show—love, excitement, and pure joy. These animals are the only creatures that will ever truly show our veterans how grateful we are for their existence and how relieved we are upon their safe return. The video below only offers a brief glimpse into the energy and exhilaration, so here are even more videos to send your tear ducts into overdrive.

‘Scandal’ Slaps Sexism in the Face

 

Lisa Kudrow has come a long way since her time as Phoebe Buffay. Yet, while her main claim to fame may be her role as Monica and Rachel’s goofy, blonde gal pal, the former ‘Friends’ actress now stands as a beacon for truth in a political landscape cluttered with lies and deceit. From ‘Smelly Cat’ songstress, to ‘Scandal’ star, Kudrow’s role as a congresswoman running for president on the hit ABC show has been turning heads. Her character calls out the men in her field for inserting subtle, but intentional, sexist remarks throughout the campaign in an effort to subliminally convince voters that no woman will ever “have the balls” to withstand the demands of being commander-in-chief. Take a look at the accompanying clip, for this scene sums up the sentiments better than anything else in recent memory (…or ever).

At Your Service!

1to1-MediaFor those who weren’t aware, I spend much of my writing life working for 1to1 Media. We focus on customer experience topics, so when I get the chance to infuse my ‘Think Customers’ blog posts with some ‘Stop & Smell the Roses’ pizzazz, I do my best to incorporate the best of both worlds. Here are some of my favorite entries from the last year just to whet your whistle:

Where Are You, Thanksgiving?

Santa Claus and his happy helpers began working only days after Halloween, Christmas songs are playing ad nauseum in every store, and Black Friday has evolved into Black November, with deals spread throughout the month to entice customers to shop early and shop often. Sadly, we’ve come to accept and expect such gimmicks, but nothing pushes the envelope more than companies willing to open their doors before our turkey dinners even have the chance to settle.

The “Miracle on 34th Street” Guide to Customer Service

When Macy’s hired Santa Claus, their main goal was to have someone push the goods that most kids didn’t want. But, by hiring the Kris Kringle, the department store found a miracle they didn’t bargain for. You see, Mr. Kringle refused to put profits before people. Though that young boy asked for an item the store did not sell, Mr. Kringle made the child’s Christmas wish his main concern, thus directing the boy’s mother to another store altogether. The woman, shocked by such an unorthodox strategy, expressed her newfound loyalty to Macy’s and her delight over “putting the spirit of Christmas ahead of the commercial.”

Demystifying the Millennial Misconception

When you tell someone you remember card catalogs in a time before online databases, they immediately assume you have three grown children and a mortgage. But, once people discover you’re really a 25-year-old woman with the countenance of a teenager, you suddenly become the enemy–a lobotomized creature that cannot function without the support of their smartphone. To most companies, I am not an individual, but one of many. I am just another piece in a puzzle they cannot seem to solve.

Retail Customer Service in the Time of the Millennial Mindset

When it comes to customer service, retailers are constantly searching for new techniques to personalize the shopping experience, catering to the specific individual, not the masses. However, this modern mindset seems to fly out the window when we speak about Millennials. This group of young consumers–myself included–rarely seems to warrant the same attention, as we are seen as a single entity, one often deemed mysterious, narcissistic, and lazy. Yet, while this definition appears to be widely accepted, what most retailers fail to recognize is that these descriptors apply to nearly the entire population. (Especially the lazy part!)