Meme machine

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“Like” if you remember this and still use it from time to time.

Sweepstakes for a debt-ridden world

It’s getting harder and harder to get people’s attention. Tha’s the conclusion we draw from the new tone of notices sent by one of the magazine clearinghouses famous for running a big-money sweepstakes promotion.

In the most recent notice sent to a friend, the sweepstakes come-on leaves behind the familiar carnival barker approach.

Instead, perhaps as a reflection of the times, it reads more like a collection notice:

History: Ignored Prior Notices
According to our records, you have ignored prior notices from us regarding past numbers. You are hereby forewarned your new Superprize Number enclosed will be permanently withdrawn from the $6,000.00 A Week For Life Winner Selection List if you do not respond by the deadline.

Ohio sues debt settlement firms

If the top end of the financial industry holds customers in disdain and can’t be trusted with their money (have you read Greg Smith’s letter of resignation from Goldman Sachs?), how do you suppose the bottom-feeders behave?

According to The Plain Dealer’s consumer affairs writer, two debt settlement companies based in California are being sued by the Oho Attorney General’s office for a range of allegations including:

  • Charging more the twice the maximum allowed fee in Ohio for an initial debt-reduction consultation;
  • Failing to make adequate effort to negotiate down the debt of customers as promised;
  • Advising customers to stop making payments directly to creditors, causing them to fall farther behind when the firm failed to renegotiate terms with those creditors.

Here’s a copy of the suit.

Both firms – Jackson Hunter Morris & Knight, and Nelson Gamble (which is no longer in business) are operated by Jeremy Nelson, according to The Plain Dealer.


Best Buy WiFi tapped to air in-store porn

Sometimes companies are stupid; other times greedy. But occasionally, they are just victims of something no reasonable person would predict.

Take, for instance, the unscheduled demonstration of capabilities of the new generation of smart TVs on display at a Best Buy store in Greenville, S.C.

While families were browsing around the display of 55-inch televisions, someone used the built-in WiFi capabilities of at least one set to upload and play hard-core pornography. The skin show aired for several minutes before a store employee disabled it, according to local television station WSPA.

Best Buy has apologized, saying:

Two individuals accessed our store’s wireless signal to broadcast inappropriate content on a smart television display. In both cases, we worked immediately to disable the inappropriate content. We greatly apologize for this unfortunate incident and we are working to ensure that it does not happen again.

However,  despite identifying the number of perpetrators, the retailer has not directly answered the question whether it knows who did it – or how it knows there were two, according to WSPA’s report.

Apology notwithstanding, local police have received formal complaints from shoppers – who might have simply switched off the TV – and will investigate whether the incident represents a state or local legal violation.



Customer-focused packaging: A brief lesson

Back panel of an over-the-counter cold medicine. The information you really need is circled.

Why down there? Why so small.

Thought for the day … Not more storage

Not more storage; less stuff.


McDonald’s: No more pink slime

Good news. McDonald’s has announced that it will no longer use “pink slime” in its hamburgers.

It may even change the dining habits of Twitter’s @MuzzaFuzza, who participated in a short-lived viral campaign by the hamburger giant when he tweeted: I haven’t been to McDonalds in years, because I’d rather eat my own diarrhea.

That’s all I’ve got to say about that.

Outbound RIM CEO says he’s wanted to step down for years. It shows

Mike Lazaridis, who is giving up his job as co-CEO of RIM said in an interview recently that he has been planning to step down from the CEO job for years.

Based on earnings and RIM’s recent record of following through on commitments to customers and investors, we think he did.

12 months of futility reflected in RIM's stock price


Is Herman Cain an intellectual property thief?

Erstwhile GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain is not a man of details. Take, as evidence, his lack of  concern about foreign policy (remember Ubeki-beki-beki-stan-stan?); his assumption that the over-simplicity of 9-9-9 would be enough to get him elected; and his failure to even consider the need to buy the silence of however many girlfriends, mistresses and lost female souls remain adrift in his wake.

It’s not that we particularly like being snarky (though it feels pretty good on a Monday morning). But were was it wrong to feel somehow vindicated upon hearing that he is now being sued by an advertising agency for alleged theft of intellectual property?

Adventure Advertising claims in court papers that Cain never obtained rights to use the photo that graces the cover of his overconfidently-titled book, This Is Herman Cain: My Journey to the Whitehouse.

According to

Adventure Advertising is asking for profits from the sale of the book and an order allowing it to seize remaining copies from publisher Simon & Schuster (NYSE: CBS) which is also listed as a defendant. The book hit #4 on the New York Times (NYSE: NYT) bestseller list last fall.

If the allegations stand in court, it could turn out to have been a simple but unfortunate clerical error. Or it could be that Cain employed the same damn-the-torpedoes decision-making that doomed his presidential campaign; the book was rushed to press in October 2011, while Cain’s candidacy was already sinking. (One of the unsettling characteristics of WWII-era U.S. torpedoes was their tendency, upon missing a target, to travel in a large circle; more than one U.S. sub accidentally sunk itself) .

Either way, a loss in court could be expensive for Cain. Achieving rights in advance to use a photo in a book can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. But having to pay after the fact usually comes with a punitive price tag.

Our feeling about Candidate Cain was the he was a one-trick pony; take away the dubious tax proposal and what was left? Just a motivational speaker who makes decisions without full regard for their impact.

Hey, it’s for napping – not strategy meetings

The Ostrich Office Sleep Bag has gone viral on the Internet. and you’ve gotta wonder if it’s the source of information underload at the highest levels of commerce.

Featured on the website of architecture and design firm Kawamura Ganjavian, the Ostrich is described as:

a micro environment in which to take a warm and comfortable power nap at ease. It is neither a pillow nor a cushion, nor a bed, nor a garment, but a bit of each at the same time. Its soothing cave-like interior shelters and isolates our head and hands (mind, senses and body) for a few minutes, without needing to leave our desk.

Information Underload: Ostrich Sleep Bag. Photo by Alfonso Herranz Fotografo

Unfortunately, it seems as if quite a few executives at places like RIM, Hewlett-Packard and some of our other favorite hotbeds of corporate mediocrity didn’t read the instructions. We’re afraid they’re wearing these all day.