Creating Opportunities to Unplg

Five years ago I posted this on Facebook.

Not surprised at all to see this in print. I have thought this for awhile. It is sad. “For so many children, the acquisition of an iPad, iPhone or iTouch has replaced the first bicycle or the first driver’s license,” says Paco Underhill, founder of consulting firm Envirosell and author of several books on consumer behavior including “Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping.”

Today I shared this text when re sharing the post above.I understand why kids love the things listed below. (I do too.) Yet as I think about it my life would look so different if I wasn’t introduced to outside activities. I’m not talking about the competitive sports outside activities but the ones that allow you to get outside and “unplug”. These are times when my mind gets to unwind and are some of my most peaceful times. How and when do kids and young adults “unwind” today. There are many different ways to unwind and meditation is a big one today. The gifts that got me outdoors are the gifts that keep giving today as they introduced me to places to “unwind”. So thank you for all the camping, sailing and cycling related gifts.

For me these types of gifts gave me the tools to learn how to unplug and not to forget countless hours of enjoyment. I do love my electronics for researching and planning my outdoor adventures.I had a conversation yesterday talking about how structured youth sports have become “all in” and the coaches think they are more important then family activities. I have to wonder if these activities are really creating real enjoyment for kids or just another stress point. Are kids developing such a love for these sports that they will find enjoyment in them 20 years down the road? Will they even be participating in them?What I am advocating for are gifts that support the times when people can get outside to simply enjoy it and find peace and happiness in whatever form that looks like for them.

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Social Media Win for Staples

Yesterday  I wrote about Staples and my experience there. (blog post is here) My post really wasn’t meant to call out Staples but to encourage people/companies to look at the total picture when they roll out a program.

To consider:

1.       What they are trying to achieve with the program.

2.       What do they need to do to make sure it fits into the customer experience?

3.       What training needs to be done for the employees?

4.       What other processes need to be in place for all of this to be a success.

I felt that Staples missed the mark because:

1.       Their pricing wasn’t close in range (percentage wise) and it makes me question more of their pricing.

2.       My experience with the cashier was not pleasant and off putting.

3.       I didn’t get the 110% of the price match guarantee but in fairness I didn’t ask for it at check out when the pricing was matched. I was just ready to leave at this point.

As I do with most of my blog posts I tweet them out and I tag people in them and in this case Staples was tagged.

I am very impressed with their social media team. They tweeted a reply in a very short time offering to review the receipt and make corrections. They also apologized. Score a customer service win for the social media team.

I want to recognize them for that as many companies of their size don’t have the social media teams in place to address that sort of stuff. Although that wasn’t my intention. They addressed it and in a very timely manner.

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When Price Matching Goes Wrong

For certain things I am overly loyal and a person of habit. That is the case with my office supplies purchases. An assistant set me up years ago with a Staples reward account and I have shopped there for my business supplies since. I enjoy their ink cartridge returns, the business rewards I receive. At one point I even had a personal representative. Though I never really used them I liked that they valued me as a customer like that.

I’ve had up and down experiences at my local Staples. Nothing enough to run me off but enough for me to think about it. I also know that I am overly aware of the customer experience so I try not to be over judgmental and when I offer opinions to offer solutions.

My one frustration with Staples has been that they often offer coupons that are only available online and not instore. I brought this up to the manager one time and she said some of them they could honor instore but not all of them, just to ask. It was nice to learn this but from a consumer perspective I don’t want to drive to a store thinking this coupon could be used in store and learn that is not the case. Like I said with Barnes and Noble yesterday I think in many ways management is trying to destroy their brick and mortar segment of their business.

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A Disconnect for the Online Shopping Experience

Amanda and I have an addiction. Books. We love books. One of our go to date nights is to head to Barnes and Noble and wander thru the store looking. There is something about holding a book in your hands and turning the pages.

We enjoy the instore experience of being able to pick up books, read the covers and possibly come across something we wouldn’t normally see. The online shopping is great at making recommendation’s but I think it doesn’t allow you to explore other areas.

When we go there we know we are over paying for the books we purchase and we purchase a lot. We are Barnes and Noble members and that helps but you can find the same thing cheaper on Amazon. Even more bizarre to me. I can purchase the books on Barnes and Noble dot com for less than in the store. In many cases a lot less. It is almost as if Barnes and Noble is trying to run their own brick and mortar store out of business.

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Gifts for the Cyclist

Are you at a loss of what gift the cyclist on your list needs?

Maybe you just created a cycling themed adventure and you need a gift to go along with it?

Check out my other posts about themed cycling gifts.

Here are a few ideas to get you started. Have questions or need inspiration? Reach out I am happy to help.

Bike Rack for the Car – Getting the bicycle to the ride location doesn’t need to be a struggle. A bike rack will protect both the car and the bicycle while making the cyclists life easier. Not to mention the extra space inside the car for more cycling friends to come along. What we need to know. The make, model and year of the car. Does it have a receiver hitch? If so the size, 2 inch or 1 1/4″

Matching Jerseys – If you are giving a great cycling adventure how about matching jerseys for you and those joining you.

Handlebar Bag – These are invaluable for storing all of the important things you need to bring along. 

Daytime Lights – Motorcycles and cars have been using daytime lights for years. Now there are daytime lights for bicycles. They have proven to increase cyclists visibility to others while on the road.

Nutrition Products – These make great stocking stuffers. Your body being properly fueled during the ride is important.

Rear Bicycle Rack – Are you always looking for more space to bring stuff along with you? A rear rack will allow the use of a rack trunk or panniers. Giving you plenty of space to bring lunch, store some extra clothing or even enough to spend an overnight.

Rack Trunk – Need some extra space? These are ideal to place lunch in, an extra layer or two of clothing and don’t forget your camera to document the day.

Panniers – Planning a longer adventure? Commuting to work. Panniers offer more space to bring your stuff. Planning an overnight ride like the C&O and or the GAP. You’ll need panniers.

Bike Lock – You’ll certainly want to explore some of the areas you ride to. A bike lock will bring peace of mind knowing that your bicycle is secure as you are off exploring.

GPS Cycling Computer – You’ve created a great adventure why not load the routes onto a GPS? These computers make navigation easy. Finding rides for where you are is easy to. GPS Cycling computers will track lots of other information as well and apps offer creative ways to share your cycling adventures too. They can pair your photos with your rides and create a video of your adventure and more.

More gift ideas.

Essential Accessory Checklist for the cyclist.

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