Thursday, November 4, 2010

Finger Lickin' Good

Consumers return to restaurants mostly because they enjoy the taste of the food the restaurant has to offer. However, the experience the customer has with the employees of the restaurant can also be the deciding factor as to whether or not the customer returns. Stereotypical employees at fast food restaurants are non-relational, monotone, and always seem to be in a rush. My friend and I have experienced situations far from this during our visits to KFC on Scatterfield Road.
The man at the register greeted us with a big smile and started to speak small talk with us as we were deciding what to order. He was very patient with us as we looked at the menu board for a good five minutes before ordering. I ordered several things off the value menu and my friend ordered a meal that included popcorn chicken. The employee notified us that no popcorn chicken was currently being cooked, and there would be a three minute wait. We were starving but my friend was willing to wait for his meal. My friend paid with a debit card that wasn't able to "swipe". The numbers on the card had to be manually punched into the computer for the card to be accepted. The man at the register did this without any hesitation or complaining, and we were very impressed.
After one or two minutes of waiting for our meals, the manager of KFC came up to the counter and offered my friend a free large drink because he felt bad for making us wait. My friend denied the offer, but the manager refused to accept defeat. He followed that offer up by offering my friend two free biscuits. Again, my friend denied the offer. Finally, the manager went to the fridge and came back with a luscious slice of Reese's pie. My friend's eyes got huge and gave in to the pie.
Even though my friend and I are passive complainers, and showed no sign of dissatisfaction with the service, the manager of KFC went beyond the call of duty to make us happy and satisfied with our experience at his restaurant. He took very quick action and was very relational. My friend and I left the store very satisfied. The food was delicious, and we ended up coming back three days later.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Food and Friendship

Food and Friendship I am a server, and have been for almost two years now. I like having a job, but am glad I will not be in server forever. Why this is important though is because my paycheck is different every week. What I make each night in tips is all I make. So when I am planning my budget I have to plan a little bit more short term, I generally know how much I can make given the same shifts and same days, however serving is never a guarantee. Now with this background I can say, that my week starts off the same, I figure out how much I made over the weekend and what my shifts are going to be for the coming week, and decide from there what kind of money I have to spend that week. Yes, I am aware that this is not out of the norm for responsible adults. However, where my weakness lies is with food and friends. I say almost every week that I should not spend very much money, if any on going out for food. I live off campus, so it makes more financial sense to eat at home more. Without fail though every week, I usually go out to eat at least two times. It isn’t really about the food though, it’s about the relationships. I have discovered that how I connect with people is to go out to coffee, lunch, or dinner, I value time. So no matter how poor I am that week, I can almost never turn down going out to dinner with people that I care about. It is just such a casual neutral environment to go out to dinner and talk. The real lesson here is, always tip your server well!

Sunday, October 31, 2010


As Halloween comes to an end I reflect over the past few days that have led up to one of my favorite holidays. The amount of time that I put into my costume, the planning, and finally wearing it in front of my friends to see their reactions. It was of course a fun weekend, but when thinking about the amount of money the american population spends on this one holiday amazing. Whereas you have some people who would rather not spend money and make a costume that they want, you will always have those who want to go buy something that they like. I of course put a lot of thought into doing this, being a college student normally means that you do not have the extra money to spend on luxury things such as an expensive costume you will wear once or twice in a year. But, I had been watching my spending enough to allow myself to go purchase a fairly cheap costume. So in the days leading up to Halloween I racked my brain to figure out what I thought would be an entertaining costume for the weekend.

After deciding on a specific one I made my purchase, and being very content with what I selected I an did not bother with it until the weekend came and it was time for me to finally put it on. Now given no costume is perfect, but this one needed some adjustments luckily I had given myself enough time to make those before going to the costume party that night. Finding things I had left over or laying around my apartment helped and it turned out to be a decent costume, I got some laughs from my friends and a few other comments. Needless to say I enjoyed the holiday very much and it was fun to dress as something that I am not used too. And if you were wondering, I was dressed a golf pro from the early 80s with the high socks and sweatvest.

Xbox Live Goes Up In Price

Since Microsoft's release of the original xbox, gamers have enjoyed the benefit of playing games online with xbox live. Since the release of the Xbox 360, Xbox live has skyrocket with the innovation of presentation and features it has to offer. Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, Video Messaging and the soon to be released Kinect, are just a few features that xbox live has to offer. It has amazed me to see the dedication gamers have to Microsoft and the products they offer. Currently xbox live costs $49.99 for a year gold subscription. With this subscription, you get access to online gaming and downloads, as well as other features that require an xbox live gold account. The biggest competitor of xbox is the PlayStation 3 system offered by Sony Entertainment. The PS3 offers free online game play and the system also offers blue ray playback. So if PS3 is just as good, offers blue ray features, and free online game play, why are consumers still choosing to pay for xbox 360's when they have to purchase a subscription for online game play? What may be even more puzzling is why are people continuing to buy when the cost for a subscription is now going up to $59.99 a year. The only reason I can give is from my personal experience. I am very loyal to xbox, I am not necessarily excited about the rise in price, and I won't have to worry about it for another year because I recently purchased it at the lower price. I love the features xbox has to offer and they appeal to my liking more than that of PlayStation. I feel that until my heuristic of liking xbox changes, I will continue to pay for xbox live and xbox games.

Birthday Ideas

So basically I am at a loss of what to write for this blog. I have not really bought anything lately worth writing about. So I thought hey I could help people out with comments and get some ideas for what I should get for my b-day. I am turning 21 in a week and I do not really know what I want. I do not have a whole lot to spend, but I thought I would treat myself to something. I may do some more with my car or get a new iPod or something, but I thought it could be fun get some input from others as to what, if anything, I should buy. I usually don't consult others before buying things. I just go and get it, if I want it. So this is a little different for me.

I know most people would have no clue what to even suggest, but if you don't know me or anything I might like just suggest something random. Those are always fun, just to hear what stuff others like and would get. Then explain why I should spend my hard earned dineros on that. My previous two posts are a little hint. I love cars and music. So if it has to do with those then there is a better chance I will like it. So start commenting and I will probably do my next post on the decision I make from suggestions, whether I choose one or not and why.

No More Bad Hair Days?

I have a problem. I have an 8 o'clock class every day of the week. Which means I have another problem. Waking up. I can't even count how many times during this semester I have woken up late and had to throw my hair up in a pony tail.

Being a girl, I hate not being able to wash my hair. It makes me uncomfortable and I just feel icky all day.

Over fall break I finally saw the solution. I was sitting at home watching House and my solution made it's debut. TRESemme's Fresh Start Dry Shampoo! I immediately went the store to buy it. As crazy as that sounds, I am serious. Luckily it was on sale, so naturally I bought two.

Since the product was a TRESemme product I had the feeling it was going to work. (Hence why I bought two). I regularly use Garnier Fructis products, however I have used TRESemme before and I really liked it. Unfortunately, the dry shampoo was a bit of a bust and I found myself having buyers remorse. It did take out the oil in my hair, however it left my hair feeling really...odd. Almost like it had a lot of hairspray in it. It just didn't feel natural. So both bottles are now sitting under the sink and they probably will stay there for awhile, because I don't think I will be using dry shampoo again any time soon.

The Best Part of Fall

I am a big fan of many different kinds of beverages. Pop, tea, juice, milk, water, you name it. But when Fall comes around, there’s just one beverage that takes the cake: apple cider. Just any old apple juice won’t do. It has to be apple cider. Already this season, I’ve gone through about 3 gallons on my own. Every year my family goes to a small festival in my town called the ‘Pumpkin Festival’ (kinda lame, I know) which is where we usually go to get the apple cider. Now, this is not just any apple cider, this apple cider is probably the best I’ve ever had. The flavor is just right; just enough cinnamon so as not to drown out the sweet apple taste.

When it comes to apple cider, I am extremely brand loyal. The kind we get comes from the Beiersdorfer Orchard in Guilford, IN, which is only about 20 minutes from my hometown. I’ve had cider from other orchards, but it’s just not the same. I’ve tried to buy the Beirsdorfer cider from the store but it’s usually out of season and definitely not as good as the stuff that we get fresh from the Pumpkin Festival. I also don’t really care for hot apple cider. I feel like when it’s hot, that takes away from the taste, and I’m not all about that. Even though the apple cider isn’t as great during the rest of the year, I’ll still probably buy it because I have a bit of an obsession.

Quaker Goes Green

Every morning I always try to grab some sort of cereal bar or piece of fruit before heading to my 8 o'clock class. Until about two weeks ago I was obsessed with the Banana Bread Life Cereal Bars. They taste heavenly, they are that good. However, the Life Cereal bars were really expensive and hard to find. Also, only 6 bars came in a box and so I would have to buy about 3 to get me through the month. So recently I have become an avid supporter of chewy bars. They aren't very healthy for you and they are sort of basic, however their new packaging caught my attention. Chewy Bars have gone green!

Chewy Bars are now almost "box-less". Instead they are connected together in the middle and you can easily rip one off and go. You no longer need to have that troublesome fight to open the box. The packaging also contains more bars and allows you to easily store them in your pantry. I thought this idea was so cool. So cool in fact that I shed a few extra dollars for name brand chewy bars rather than the Kroger brand.

Not only is "being green" important to society but my roommates and many of my friends advocate recycling and not wasting precious resources. As soon as I got home I showed them off. I thought it was so creative and opened a whole new window to packaging for many cereal and food products. Bravo, Quaker. Great choice on going green.

Black Ops is on the way!

Living in the dorms I have had a chance to see a lot of consumptive behavior patterns. From clothes, movies, video games, etc, everyone seems to have a pattern of consumption. One particular pattern I have seen and experienced myself is the purchase of video games. Video games offer a form of entertainment, and on my floor they offer a way of finding common interest among the guys on the floor. Currently the "hot" game to play is Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2. If you were to walk down the hall, you would at least see seven rooms with students playing Call of Duty or some other type of video game. Video games can be very fun but there downfall is they are very expensive, an average new game costs $59.99. You may be asking yourself why would people pour so much money into a video game? I ask myself the same question sometimes. When new games come out, it is common for store such as gamestop and walmart to offer a pre-order on the game. Pre-order for Call of Duty Black Ops was something I was contemplating for the past couple of months. Yesterday I finally brought myself to terms that I wanted the game bad enough that I decided to pre-order it. I only had to put five dollars down to reserve it, which was a bonus because I didn't have to pay for it in full. By pre-ordering the game I am also guaranteed a a copy of it the night it releases. I can honestly say I probably won't do a whole lot the day it releases, I am sure this will be true for most guys on my floor as well. The bottom line is video games are an addicting thing to play and buy, the industry is doing something right, that is why they are still in business.


The first time I had experience with merchandising (which I didn't even realize) was when I worked at Target in high school. When we had training we were told how to place the merchandise and how it had to be pushed the front of the shelf. This created the appearance that the shelf was full, even there were just a few items. Which sparks the thought "What else do retail stores do that we are not aware of?" The retail industry puts billions of dollars into to packaging and how to make an item look more appealing. It kinda makes me think twice when I'm buying a product. Okay is this appearance of the item or the actual item?

I flew to Chicago at the end of the summer and I sat next to a man that was the CEO of a huge merchandising company. After the plane ride I was pretty excited after talking to and the fact that I was offered a job in Indianapolis. But after the shock wore off I thought about what I would be doing. I would be doing what I was bothered by, creating an environment where people buy more. Gross!

What edition of Call of Duty is right for me?

I am an avid gamer. I love to buy many games at day one. Next week will be the new army game Call of Duty: Black Ops. As I finally came up with the decision to pre-order the game I was faced with a decision. The new game comes in three "editions" that cost between $60-150. the standard, hardened and prestige editions. each one comes with a the standard game but the hardened and prestige come with little bonuses that try to make it worth the extra cash to fans of the series.
But then what edition is best for me? I could use the Disjunctive model based on the price and decide how much am I really willing to pay for this game? I think that 90$ for a copy so the prestige edition is not a choice. Ok so the price for both the hardened and standard editions I am fine with but do I see the value in paying extra for what hardened contains? The hardened edition come with

-Call of Duty: Black Ops full game
- Premium, special-edition SteelBook™ case
- Limited edition Black Ops collector’s medal w/display case
- 4 additional co-op maps not included in the standard edition of the game
- Special Black Ops Xbox Live or PlayStation Home avatar outfit

For $20 more I get all of that? the medal is kinda a funny idea but extra levels to play with my friends? that sounds pretty cool. I think I will order the hardened edition this time. Next month: post purchase

That is Music to My Ears!

It's interesting that as we talked about post-consumer purchase evaluations and the different outcomes, I realized that I have rarely experienced buyer's remorse in regards to the purchases I have made in the past. An experience that comes to mind is that of a recent purchase I made; over Fall Break, on a trip to Burlington Coat Factory, I decided I needed to buy a new coat for both informal and formal occasions. The need arose as I realized that time had indeed taken a toll on my old coat. As soon as I realized the need, the rest almost seemed automatic...I began looking through the coat isles for the type of product I needed: a medium length black coat that was stylish and of good quality, yet affordable. I found two coats that met the criteria I had mentally formed; one was a Calvin Klein brand and the other was a Lazetti brand. In mind I was thinking "Calvin Klein." Not only is Calvin Klein a well known brand name, I have heard of numerous positive things attributed to the brand. This should have been an easy decision but for the fact that I was watching my spending, and so, I reluctantly put the Calvin Klein coat back on the rack. The Calvin Klein coat was priced at $99.99 while the Lazetti had an original price tag of $75 but was now on sale for $53.99. I had little to no information on this brand name...however, I decided to try on the coat and was immediately filled with a sense of satisfaction; the coat was very comfortable and it fit my frame perfectly! It was a no brainer decision right there and then: it was affordable, stylish, very comfortable, and most of all, it was a perfect fit. Over the last couple of weeks when I have worn the coat, I have received numerous compliments and positive feedback on my purchase. Several people have told me the coat looks great on me, it looks very expensive and wondered how deep my pockets were to afford such an expensive looking coat, and even asked where I bought it. As stated earlier, I have rarely had regrets over the purchases I have made, and this recent experience is no different. My decision to make a purchase of a brand I knew little about has definitely paid off, and the numerous compliments I have received have been music to my ears!

My Lonely Drums

A few years ago, my friend and I had the brilliant idea to try and start a band. I decided that I wanted to play drums so I went to a little music shop in my town to look for a set. The owner found me a used one that was reasonably priced and in fairly good condition. I made several payments on it and was finally able to bring it home. I had this image of myself rockin’ out on stage and touring around the country with some of my favorite bands, but I forgot that in order to do so I actually needed to know how to play. I thought about finding someone to teach me, but I finally decided to just try and teach myself. For a few weeks, I would sit in my basement and listen to music and try to play along. After a while, I got burnt out and then just stopped trying.

My drum set is still chillin’ in my basement. The only time it ever gets played is when my younger cousins come up from Georgia and play around with it when they think I’m not listening. I don’t necessarily regret buying the drum set. At the time, I was very sure that it was what I wanted and I had the motivation, ability, and opportunity to buy it. However, I do regret the fact that it’s just sitting there. I think it would be better for me to just sell it or give it to someone who could actually make use out of it.


Up until high school I listened to what was on the radio, and in high school is when I started listening to music. The first style of music that really got my blooding pumping was classic rock. Stuff like The Who, Led Zeppelin, and of course the Beatles. With liking bands like that comes an interest in old vinyl. So my friends and I would search thrift stores to see if we could find some sweet old records, and usually we just find Christmas albums. So that made sense because it felt like we were in that time when those bands were popular. Something that I have realized over the past few years is that a lot of newer bands are releasing their albums on vinyls now, in fact some albums are solely on vinyl. This started a huge trend and now you can buy anything from Snoop Dogg, Death Cab for Cutie, and Celine Dion on vinyl. I've noticed that this has been something that distinguished a band "Ah they have vinyl," and now it has become a thing where if a band doesn't they lose 10 cool points. Depending on the band I fall into this trend, thinking that the vinyl is so much better. I think that it interesting how far we have come and yet we still like big discs because they are cool.

Why Brick and Mortar Blockbuster's are going the way of the Dodo.

My friends and I decided to go see the social network last weekend. On the way to the movie we had to stop at a traffic light. as I was sitting in passenger I was observing the view from my window. to the right was a gas station. Now this gas station was like any station anyone has seen before, nothing special. as I was observing I noticed two girls standing at what looked like a blue vending machine ( this was a very long light). I turned my head to get a better look and realized that it was a Blockbuster movie rental vending machine. now this caught my curiosity as I had never seen a "Bluebox" and have seen a Redbox posted outside of a Blockbuster kill that store in a few months. But then as I contemplated this machine we started to finally pull away. and as we pulled away I noticed the blue and yellow sign on the building behind the gas station. Not ten feet from this vending unit was a Blockbuster store that was still open.
Now this is what bothered me. You are losing ground from all sides to new technology that has basically made your old way of business obsolete. Why would you start eating at your own sales? as a customer why would I want to go to a store that charges me several times more than what the competition is charging and is less likely to have what I was looking for? I am glad to see that Blockbuster is doing something to keep it self competitive in the market but it may want to rethink it's geographic strategy.

Scarf Season

So with the leaves changing colors and falling on the ground so does the temperature. The warm temperatures of summer are long gone and the cool frigid weather of winter is right around the corner unfortunately. But with the change in weather comes the change in the wardrobe to warmer clothing. One of my favorite things to buy during winter season are scarfs. Over the past weekend I along with a couple other friends went shopping. First we went to Hamilton Town Center because I had to pick up my pay check from American Eagle, and while we were there we looked at their scarfs but they did not have that great of a collection. So we went to Express to check out their selection and they did not disappoint at all their collection was wide and vast. They had all kinds of colors, designs, and materials. But the one thing holding me up was the price they were $39.50 and up so I was a little down cause I could not afford to spend that on a scarf. We did have a friend though that works at Express in Castleton so I called him and asked if he was working he said no he was not but that he could give us a 45% off discount on everything in the store. That made us all very happy especially me because now I could pretty much buy 2 scarfs for the price of 1 and that is exactly what I did. I did not even want 2 but I bought 2 just because I had the ability to and wanted to.

Pro-Heinz Ketchup

Ketchup. Of course, it’s one of the popular condiments used for many different foods. I don’t really think ketchup is just ketchup, no matter what brand it is. Brands such as Red Gold, Hunt’s, and Heinz do have their different tastes, and I’ve realized that my family is actually completely brand loyal to Heinz ketchup.

On the way to church this morning, my dad and sister somehow got on the subject of different ketchups and how we aren’t fans of buying or eating anything but Heinz ketchup. As they were having this conversation, I thought about how we really don’t make room for other brands of ketchup in our house. I mean, I’ll eat a different brand of ketchup at someone else’s house just because I don’t want to be rude, but I wouldn’t doubt if I make some kind of funny face because I can taste the difference between Heinz and some other brand.

Because I usually eat whatever is in the Haven, Market Place , or some restaurant, I don’t really feel the need to go out and buy my own ketchup for food I don’t need ketchup for. If I did have to buy ketchup though, I would most likely get Heinz due to my past experiences with my mom buying Heinz every time. I wouldn’t waste time sifting through all of the off-brand ketchups or brands other than Heinz. I’m already used to the taste of Heinz ketchup and I haven’t gotten tired of the taste so far in my 19 years of life. Therefore, I will most likely remain pro-Heinz Ketchup.

Cognitive Dissonance

I probably spend a good 40 percent of my life experiencing buyers regret.
I'm not sure what it is, but the second I get money in any large amount ( a large amount being anything over 50 dollars), I am ready to spend. The crazy thing is, half the time, I'm so eager to spend that I just buy my friends things, like dinner and other needless food related items. The money just burns in my pockets, crying to be spent. And every time I spend needlessly, without fail, i walk out of the store wondering why in the world I just spent money on something that i absolutely do not need. UNfortunately, the concept of returning an item never crosses my mind, so i just walk to the car reveling in my regret and then by the time i get home, I'm over my regret, ready to go indulge myself in a little capitalism once again. It's a problem I've yet to get a handle, but i'm hoping i do soon, because my summer savings are running thin.

Grocery Shopping

As I have mentioned before, I am the kind of person who will pay more for quality. Things that are overbuilt and perform very well are my idea of good purchases, even if they cost more up front, I figure they will save me money over time. However, this philosophy does not apply to grocery shopping. Part of this phenomenon is best explained by the fact that groceries are generally low evolvement purchases. Not much if any information search goes into what brand of peanut butter one is going to buy, mainly because a jar of peanut butter does not cost all that much. I figure food is consumed, so if I buy a name brand vs. store brand, there is really no benefit unless I think the name brand tastes significantly better. Cost is what drives my purchases in the grocery store. I buy Kroger value paper towels and sugar. I once bought Kroger value cheese but that was not that great so I continued to buy the regular Kroger brand. Chances are, if there is a Kroger brand of a product I am looking to purchase in the store that is the one I will buy unless by some very rare circumstance I happen to notice a sale on a name brand product that makes it priced lower than the Kroger brand. I tend to buy mostly name brand cereal, having tried the Kroger brand and not liking it as well, but on most other things, cost is the biggest factor in the grocery store. In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I am a loyal Kroger/Payless shopper. Mainly because I hate Walmart, though not for the moral/ethical reasons some people give for hating Walmart (but that’s another post).

Ah, Now I See the Light

It all started over fall break when my family and I were going to visit my sister at Ball State. We climbed in the family van and were ready to go but it would not start. It only made a humming noise which I guessed was a bad starter motor. I was right but that’s not the point. we still needed to get to Ball State so I just told my dad we could take my car. I let my dad drive. On our way back it was getting dark out and so my headlights came on. My dad commented on how dim they were, and that it was kind of hard to see. It was at this moment I realized I had a problem. My Ideal state was to have good headlights that made it easy to see the road at night. However, I had just grown used to my headlights being as dim as they were. When my dad commented on how dim my headlights were though, I realized that my current state did not match up with my ideal state. Since headlights are generally fairly low involvement, I went to Auto Zone a few days later and looked at the options they had. Since I wanted headlights with more than a just noticeable difference I started looking at the brightest lights available. It turned out that these lights were more than I wanted to pay so I looked at the second brightest light and compared those to the rest. It turned out that the lights I was considering were supposed to be about 30% brighter than the regular ones and only 5% less bright than the brightest ones. They were also about 10 dollars cheaper than the brightest lights so to me, they seemed like the best value for my money. After installing the Silverstar headlights (made by Sylvania) in my 1999 Pontiac Bonneville, and driving it at night I noticed a huge difference in how well I could see the road. I am very pleased with my purchase and I think I would buy these lights again if they are available the next time I need headlights, which hopefully won’t be for a fairly long time.