Advertising, Canada, COVID-19, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Humor, Marketing, Montreal, Opinion

C’mon IKEA You Can Do Better

Unlike many people, I’m a fan of IKEA. I like many of their products and particularly enjoy our traditional annual trek to get a Christmas tree. The trees are all about the right size, they only cost $25 and you can get that money back after Christmas if you spend over $100. Not a bad deal.

Mind you, managing a store during a pandemic may, however, not be IKEA’s best example of common sense

Their ads used to say that IKEA was Swedish for common sense. And in many cases that is true. Mind you, managing a store during a pandemic may, however, not be IKEA’s best example of common sense. It may also go some way to explaining why Sweden is a world leader in COVID-19 cases.

Although I’m not a marketing expert by a long chalk, I do understand the IKEA tactic of having a maze-like exit route. Certainly they post emergency routes to emergency exits, but to just get to a point where you can pay for your DVALA sheets or whatever you have selected involves weaving through several departments. Impulse buyers beware!

IKEA’s maze-like layout. Diabolical at the best of times; dangerous during a pandemic.

I have often said to just about anyone who will listen to me, and not a few who didn’t want to, that come Christmas tree season, IKEA should have, especially on weekends, dedicated check-outs for those folks – me – who only want a tree. There was a time when you could ask a cashier in between customers to process a Christmas tree sale. No waiting in line behind people with carts full of hundreds of dollars of goods just to buy a tree. But not any longer. Now when you approach a cashier, they tell you to get in line.

IKEA, during this pandemic please put dedicated Christmas tree cashes outside where the trees are located to reduce the potential spread of the novel coronavirus. Tack!

Okay, that’s not the end of the world, you simply go into the store, squeeze through a cash in the wrong direction, and join the end of a line. But today we found that, under the auspices of COVID-19 precautions, we were herded through a maze of kitchen goods, picture frames, candles, napkins, and dried flowers to arrive at the point where we could buy our tree.

Is this wise?

Perhaps from a marketing point of view it makes sense. But during a pandemic, when social distancing is required, forcing people to make their way through several hundred other shoppers, when they were only there to buy one item – an item that is actually outside – is irresponsible at best and ignorant at worst.

IKEA, during this pandemic please put dedicated Christmas tree cashes outside where the trees are located to reduce the potential spread of the novel coronavirus. Tack!

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DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Humor, Montreal, Opinion

Time To Rethink Public Work Station?

IKEA

Yesterday while taking a short physical-distanced stroll I noticed the above-pictured work station near Montreal’s Atwater Market. I was truly struck by the sense of such an installment for public use.

It has a raised part to save your back while working. It also has several handy basic tools on chains to secure they remain in place. Screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, and various Allen keys hang on one side ready to help out.

But one thing has me stymied. When you leave IKEA with your not-yet-assembled bookcase, desk, or wall unit it is neatly packed and fits in most cars easily. But once you stop at this public  IKEA assembly station, and put the item together, there is a very real possibility it will no longer fit in your trunk.

Good idea, but perhaps a little more thought should have gone into it.

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Advertising, Christmas, Daily prompt, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Marketing, Opinion

IKEA Swedish for Common Sense – Sometimes

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Recently we made our annual trek to IKEA to purchase our Christmas tree – contrary to yesterday’s post.  I understand IKEA isn’t everybody’s cup of Glögg, but I enjoy the occasional foray into the madness that is a Saturday in the big yellow and blue building. I don’t want to relocate to Sweden, but IKEA is a little taste of their traditions that I like.

ikea-showroom-floorI know personally a number of people who will not go to IKEA mainly because of the method they use of herding you through every inch of the store to get to the exit, just in case you might pick up a dozen more items on the way. Following those light arrows on the floor can be very annoying if you have made all the purchases you want. There are, of course, emergency exits throughout the store, and if you know the short-cuts you can get out much faster.

Our visit often involves a bit of shopping, the traditional hotdogs and lingonberry drink, a package of cinnamon buns then the tree selection. But there have been several years when we have not gone into the commercial maelstrom, but merely enjoyed our feast, paid for the tree and gone outside to claim it. This was just such a year; upon entering the store my wife made her way to the food line while I approached an employee to pay for the tree. For the first time in all the years I have been doing this I was told I would have to wait in line to buy a tree.

I looked back into the area where the line ups formed and could not see the end for people with carts and buggies chock-a-block with items. You want me to go all the way back there and wait just to buy a tree, I asked her perplexed. She confirmed that she did indeed mean for me to do that. I explained that I had never waited in line, but would just ask an employee to process the purchase and give me the coupon and receipt. She told me those workers were wrong!

…a store-wide conspiracy. One that lacked even an iota of common sense – which is rich for a store with the motto “IKEA-Swedish for Common Sense”

I made my way along the row of check-outs and tried my luck with another employee only to get the same response. I was now convinced it was not one person’s power trip, but a store-wide conspiracy. One that lacked even an iota of common sense – which is rich for a store with the motto “IKEA-Swedish for Common Sense”

Defeated I found a five items or less check-out that only had half a billion people in line and waited like a good customer to buy my tree. Just my luck, it was the same woman I had encountered originally from whom I bought the tree. It would have been so much simpler twenty minutes ago thought I.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Canada, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, driving, Media, Montreal, News, Opinion, Public Relations, Public Transit, Wordpress

Uber Taxi Service Uber-Gouges Clients

Uber: to an extreme or excessive degree
                                Merriam-Webster.com

The Uber taxi alternative has been getting lots of media attention over the last year or so. Most of it positive. That is until the recent New Year’s Eve debacle. Since the first of the month Uber has been in the news not for providing a service, but for uber-gouging its clients.

But some folks found themselves being charged amounts equal to an airfare for a ride home from a downtown bar. This is a despicable uber-abuse of people trying to act responsibly.

Stories abound about New Year’s revellers acting sensibly and, after having a few drinks, opting to take an Uber ride home only to be charged as much as seven times the usual rate. Uber claims that the ‘surge’ pricing is an attempt to induce more drivers to make themselves available to fulfill higher demand.

But some folks found themselves being charged amounts equal to an airfare for a ride home from a downtown bar. This is a despicable uber-abuse of people trying to act responsibly.

I have never been a fan of the Uber concept.  In Montreal we are spoiled by an over abundance of taxis. I imagine many of us have experienced the phenomenon when waving to a friend across the street and having three taxis almost collide rushing to you thinking they are being hailed. Montreal taxis are regulated and owners pay a hefty price to get a taxi license. Uber is unregulated and anyone can sign on to be a driver. Seems to me that’s an attempt to jump the line.

Imagine a corner store selling batteries and bottled water at seven times the usual price during a power outage.

But now, with class action suits pending, the Uber folks have shot themselves in the foot. Basing a business on providing a similar service to regular taxis but at a lower price is one thing. Scalping customers when demand is high is another. Imagine a corner store selling batteries and bottled water at seven times the usual price during a power outage. Of course demand is higher, but does that mean you should gouge customers in the short-term, or provide service at the usual rate – or lower – to keep people on side for years?

Perhaps the best example of price gouging can be found in the travel industry. Airfares and hotel rates balloon during ‘high season’. But even these culprits don’t increase things sevenfold. That is both extreme and excessive, as well as a good incentive to stick with regular taxis.

IKEA gets it right. When it is not raining they sell umbrellas for $10 and when it is raining the price drops to $3. I imagine the increased volume on rainy days results in a profit.

DCS_Grad_2 DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

 

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Canada, Christmas, DCMontreal Light, Humor, Montreal, Wordpress

Christmas Tree Hunting

In Decembers past my significantly better half and I would drive down to the local market where umpteen different Christmas Tree vendors vie for our dollar. They are all selling essentially the same things for the same prices. Once a suitable tree was selected, they would saw off the bottom inch or so to allow for proper hydration and if you wanted they’d wrap the tree in mesh for convenient transport. After a few year this became very boring.

Needless to say we were surrounded by potential trees, yet with so many possibilities we often couldn’t see the tree for the forest. On a couple of occasions I shinned up a sturdy tree to get a better look.

So this year we decided to forgo the market and set out into the forest to bag our own tree. After an hour-long drive and armed with saws and axes we parked the car and made our way on foot into the deepest part of the forest in search of just the right tree. Not too skinny, not to wide, medium to tall in height.

Needless to say we were surrounded by potential trees, yet with so many possibilities we often couldn’t see the tree for the forest. On a couple of occasions I shinned up a sturdy tree to get a better look. It was on one such climb that I saw a group of beauties, and off we went.

Sure enough there was a copse of ideally shaped and sized trees not twenty yards away. Upon arrival we quickly selected one and, axe in hand, got to work hewing it. Once down and the traditional shout of “Timber” sounded – and a photo of our deep-woods conquest taken – we hauled the tree out of the forest and fastened it to our car for the return journey.

Let me assure you there is nothing like the sense of satisfaction from getting your own tree. Below is a picture of me proudly displaying our catch!

In the middle of nowhere with a fresh tree

In the middle of nowhere with a fresh tree

DCS_Grad_2 DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Canada, Hockey, Humor, Montreal, News, Sports, Toronto

Toronto’s media frenzy; a real barrel of monkeys

City getting attention for all the wrong reasons

It’s been a tough few weeks for my neighbours to the west in Toronto. For a city that craves notoriety and media attention (there are those who think the actual name of the city is Toronto-we’re-a-world-class-city; if you have to keep saying it …) they have been getting it, but for all the wrong reasons.

But for the real barrel of monkeys one need look no farther than Toronto City Hall

CBC

CBC

It started with the now infamous IKEA monkey caper. The video of the poor beast left in a parking lot at IKEA dressed like a person went viral. Animal rights activists were up in arms (paws?); now the court case opens as the owner of the monkey wants it back.

But for the real barrel of monkeys one need look no further than Toronto City Hall. The media frenzy over an alleged video of Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine has put Toronto in the spotlight. CNN is keeping tabs on the saga, other US media outlets are reporting on the crisis and of course it has topped most Canadian newscasts lately. While municipal politicians are no strangers to allegations and criticism, this one is particularly sensational not just for the topic – not kick-backs or corruption, but drug use – but for the arrogance of the mayor.

The Leafs were trying valiantly to shake off the 46 year Stanley Cup-less monkey from their back

Rolling_StonesEven the much maligned Toronto Maple Leafs drew negative media when the lost in the opening round of the NHL playoffs.  The Leafs were trying valiantly to shake off the 46 year Stanley Cup-less monkey from their back. The attention wasn’t because they were eliminated, but because they became the first team to cough up a three goal lead with less than ten minutes remaining in a seventh game!

And then those Toronto favorites, the Rolling Stones, came riding into town, giant gorilla with Lapping Tongue logo in tow, to rescue the city from all the negativity. But alas, the review of their show in The Star was significantly less than a rave.

Be patient Toronto; it’ll get better.

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