Category Archives: Consumerism

iKnow What iWant

Hey, look -- I'm on an iPad!I got this up morning and there was an iPad sitting on the table. Woo-hoo! An iPad! Rather than the the usual routine of emptying the dishwasher and making sandwiches, I couldn’t keep my hands off the iPad. Oh, gorgeous and sleek iPad! I love you…

Ours was to be just a brief encounter; turns out my wife borrowed it from work for a client meeting. But, oh it was so… perfect. And then the stupidity of Motorola’s Super Bowl commercial struck me hard.

Yeah, I’m old enough to remember Apple’s 1984 spot. And I get what Motorola is trying to say, that we are all mindless sheep who bleat “Apple.” But there’s a flaw here: Apple products are genuinely good. I don’t want an iPad because it has an Apple logo, I want it because it’s well made.

Instead of just focusing on what the Xoom does well, Motorola couldn’t resit taking a shot at Apple. Sorry Motorola. I just don’t believe that the iPad sucks — or that everyone has one. Or that the people who use them are lemmings.

Don’t agree with me? Then imagine how absurd it would be if Microsoft made the same commercial, except for their Zune music player. Funny, right? You’ve never used a Zune — or for that matter, you’ve probably never even seen one or known anyone who uses one. And you’d never dream of buying one.

I rest my case.

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Snow, French Toast, and the Mob

“Hey. You ever go in the supermarket and see all those people buying crap because there’s snow coming?”

This was my same friend who explained how organized crime is behind New York’s construction of all those roundabouts. “You mean the bread and milk and eggs thing?”

“Yeah. You know who makes that happen?”

Uh-oh… here it comes.

“The mob. Everybody knows they control mozzarella cheese. What you don’t know is they’re all over eggs, milk… and bakeries.”

Wait a second. “But those sound like legitimate businesses…”

“They are! But here’s the thing: they get the weather guy on TV to say its going to snow like nuts, and all these people run out and buy things they don’t need. Look at this week. Weatherman says it’s gonna snow and everybody freaks out.”

“But how…”

“Payoffs. Extortion. Threats. Turn the screws on those guys and they’ll say anything. The mob’s got long arms. Forecast calls for two feet of snow, everybody runs to the store, and cha-ching.”

“Cha-ching?”

“Cha-freakin-ching, my friend. Cha-freakin-ching.”

It sounded plausible, but that was after a few drinks. Certainly something to think about the next time you make French toast on a snowy day.

Customer Service: Alive and Well in Portland, OR

A couple of years ago, I snapped the Diamond-coated File clean off of my Leatherman Wave. We won’t discuss exactly how that happened, but let’s just say the last time the blade was seen it was protruding from a log.

The rest of the tool was fine, but once or twice I found myself yearning to actually file something down. The log incident haunted me. “Oh, Jeez… if I only had that Diamond-coated File right now…”

Fast forward a couple of years. For some reason, I ended up on the Leatherman website and read the warranty information:

We take extraordinary measures so your Leatherman product will give you many years of dependable service. If it doesn’t, we will gladly repair or replace it, at our discretion, with one of equal or greater value under our 25-year guarantee for tools and 10-year guarantee for lights.

25-years? Oh, great! But then it goes on:

This warranty does not cover abuse, alteration, theft, loss, or unauthorized and/or unreasonable use of your Leatherman product. This warranty does not cover sheaths, accessories, imprinting, color finishes, cleaning, or sharpening.

Unreasonable is an interesting word — and abuse is certainly subjective.  Who’s to say that, oh, for example, chipping kindling off a log is abusive or unreasonable? Really, without being there? It’s not like I used it to cut my arm off.

So off it went to Leatherman headquarters in Portland. I expected an email questioning how I’d broken the tool, or if I’d used it for anything harmful to the environment, but nothing.

Then, about a week and a half after I mailed it to them, a package shows up in the mail. Leatherman didn’t just fix the blade, but sent a brand new tool, along with a fancy sheath to keep it in.

Thanks, super tool dudes. I promise not to abuse it or do anything unreasonable with my new Leatherman. Really.