Monday, October 16, 2006


I'll be upfront with you. Sometimes I’m a grammar nerd. I mean, I’m not perfect. I do occasionally end my sentences with a preposition. Or maybe I start a sentence with a conjunction. But for the most part, I identify dependant clauses. I properly set up my indirect appositives. Even using a gerund is commonplace for me. But one thing that has been bugging me lately is corporations intentionally misspelling words.

I recently noticed a bottle of weed killer in my mom’s garage. The name of this product is Weed-B-Gon. Just the name of this bottle pisses me off. Doesn’t it piss you off, too? It pisses me off. First, it is misspelled. Second, it is hyphenated to make a single word. Actually, it is an attempt at smashing a full sentence into a single word. A better attempt at this would be “Weeds-will-be-gone.” Or “Kill-weeds-with-this-chemical-spray.”

I am trying to find the reason for the improper spelling and hyphenation of this product. Are they marketing to illiterate yard workers? Do complete sentences turn away consumers? Is there research that proves that hyphens increase sales volume? Are they trying to piss of grammar nerd bloggers with journalism degrees?

Another example is Toys”R”Us. I can’t even type the name of the store, because my keyboard does not have a backwards R key. (Dammit, where is the backwards R? Control-function-F4? Nope. I give up.)

Like Weed-B-Gon, Toys”R”Us likes to mash an incomplete and incorrect sentence into a single word, this time using quotation marks. Just in case you were wondering, it should be Toys”Are”We. I wonder if there is a study that proves how many cases of dyslexia are even partially influenced from that damn backwards R. I know that it set me back a month or two in Forth”Grad”English”Klass.

In conclusion, just name your company or product with a short name. Maybe just a word, maybe two. People will figure out what kind of product your selling. The first word in Toys”R”Us is toys. We get it; you sell toys. Weed-B-Gon is in a similar shaped bottle (with the handle and the pump-spray nozzle) and on the same shelf in the garden section as all the other weed killers.

And please, if you do need to have a long name, take a look at the positive example executed by the fine folks at "I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!"

Footnote: Geoffrey the Giraffe, I do not like the way you spell your name. I'm more of a "Jeff" fan than a "Geoff" fan. I feel like I should pronounce your name "Gee-off." We can work through this in the meantime. I'm a Giraffe. You're a Giraffe. It's cool. But be warned, if I see you on the street and I'm with people I know, I will not talk to you.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Apple iTree

(This blog may or may not be relevant by the time this is posted to the internet. The products mentioned in the blog will probably be already out of date.)

Dear Steve Jobs,
First, let me say that I like your work. I like Apple. I like your products--the simplicity, the functionality, the sleek design. I own a couple—-a laptop, two iPods, and some smaller peripherals. I’m a repeat customer, and I’m mostly pleased.

That being said, I am frustrated. Why? Because five minutes after I buy one of your Apple products, I feel that the new product is obsolete. The joy and excitement I had for owning this cool, new, top-of-the-line Apple product disappears. It happens every time. And do you want to know why? It’s because you release a newer, slimmer, faster model right after I’ve broken the seal on the shrink-wrap.

I have to hand it to you. Your company seems to know what you’re doing. I am still satisfied with the product, but just disappointed that it isn’t top of the line anymore. I keep coming back to Apple. Nothing is wrong with my product-—it still functions well, looks good, and does what I bought it to do. It just isn’t as... new. All of your upgrades are significant enough to diminish the last version, but not large enough for me to trash it. You seem to be walking this thin line of almost pissing me off and getting me excited for the next generation of Apple gizmo.

For example, I bought an iPod Photo almost two years ago. It was the first iPod with a color screen, and I paid extra for that feature. I had what others didn’t have—-a color screen. And I was happy. For about three months. Because then the iPod Video came out. All the new iPod Videos have color screens now, and they are slimmer, and they play video, and they cost less. Well, shit! I wish I had known that three months ago!

Another issue are my laptops--12” G4 Powerbook at home, 15” G4 Powerbook at work. They are pimped out with software and ramm. They are good computers, but not great anymore. They aren’t a G5, or even an MacPro Intel Duo. I don’t even know what version of OSX we’re on anymore...Panther, Cheetah, Orca, Grizzly? My laptops suit me fine. They get the job done. But Apple has me wanting the newer, faster laptops.

What prompted me to write this blog is the latest fiasco. I just bought an iPod Nano last month. I was psyched. This is my first mp3 player upgrade in two years. The Nano is so small, lightweight, and just plain cool. My old iPod Photo feels like a brick compared to the Nano. But gosh darnit, what’s this? What’s this new commercial? New Nanos?!?! That have brighter screens, longer battery life, and double the storage capacity for no extra cost? And they come in five or six different color choices?

Apple just shat on me again.

This is my diagram describing Apple’s product strategy. I call it “The Apple iTree.” At the bottom of the iTree stands me and all the other Apple customers. Notice my hand picking a product off the the iTree. Within arm’s reach grows a 4GB iPod Nano. Unbeknownst to me, halfway up the tree, barely out of sight and barely reachable grows an 8GB Nano in five new colors. Soon it will grow closer to the customers. It makes my 4GB Apple not as sweet (get it? sweet? like fruit? it's a pun. i'm sorry). Lastly, at the top of the tree, way out of sight, is the new 15GB iPod Electron (or some other cool name that suggest it’s small size). Right now it's just a prototype, but just wait, because the iPod Electron is going to blow the socks off of the Nano.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


I was thinking about the local chain of discount "dollar stores"... you know the ones... The Dollar Store. The 99-Cent Store. 98-Cents Or Le$$. I'm just making up names here. But I'm sure there are ones with those exact names. Anyway, there's a chain here in Oregon called The Dollar Tree. I've never been. Actually, I've never been to any of the "dollar stores." I think I'm subconsiously scared of them, or something.

Issue #1.
I was a little T-O-ed to find out that The Dollar Tree sells items for MORE THAN A DOLLAR. What? Huh? That's bogus! They are still in whole dollar denominations, like $2, $3, $4, but that's BS. That's misleading. Everything should be a dollar. I'm told that some things are 2-for-$1 or 4-for-$1. That's fine. Less than a dollar is okay, but over a dollar is not. I think there is a law against that. Or at least there should be.

Issue #2.
If everything in The Dollar Tree is a denomination of a whole dollar, do they keep change in the cash register? Theoretically, they don't need any coins. Are the coin slots just kept empty? Do they make special register trays for "dollar stores" that don't include coin trays? What about the 99-cent stores--do they have absurdly large penny trays? If it is a regular cash register tray, are the tellers allowed to keep other things in those slots? Personally, I think they'd be perfect for candy. Great way to have a little snack in between breaks, you know. Like Skittles or MNM's. Or Neccos! Neccos even look kind of like coins! Or maybe even dog treats (not for the teller, but for a customers dog). The options seem endless.

I might have to ask my friend, Bryan, about these issues. He used to work at "The Tree." I might also ask if employees referred to it as "The Tree."

Friday, October 06, 2006

Cheap Labor Depot

A few weekends ago, my sister and I went early in the morning to the Home Depot by the stadiums in downtown Seattle. There is only one entrance/exit, and it had tons of migrant worker guys hanging around in the parking lot. I’m not saying that I’m ignorant about the whole day laborer concept. I’m just saying I’ve never seen it so blatantly out in the open. Surprisingly, they don’t have day laborers at my Home Depots in Beaverton and Hillsboro.

Maybe the one in Seattle is like a Mega-Home Depot with a larger gardening section, premium lumber, and also... day laborers. It was just weird to see. It was 7am in downtown Seattle. More than sixty Hispanic guys. Standing around, eager—no, primed and ready—to jump in our car. They were waving and yelling and advertising themselves as we drove in.

One guy held up two fingers and yelled, “Dos!” Sorry buddy, we already got dos. Me and my sister, and all we’re doing is hanging rods in the closet. Maybe next time.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Hush 'Lil Jon, Don't Say a Word

Can Lil Jon tell secrets? I imagine him leaning in closely, looking left and right to make sure no one is eavesdropping, then yelling "I'VE GOTTTT A SECCCREEEETTTTT. YEAHHHHHHHH!"