Tuesday, August 21, 2007

United Untied

I hate traveling on Monday.

My reward for getting up at 4:10 Eastern to make a 6 AM to ORD? An "indefinite" mechanical delay that would cause my 7:10 AM connection to SFO to take off at....well, maybe we'll know more at 8.

So I go to the C Concourse Red Carpet Club and call the 1K desk to rebook. An 8 AM 1 stopper through Phoenix that will get me in at 12:30. Walk over to B. Long line at gate B5. Go to B Concourse Red Carpet Club, get boarding pass.

7:40 comes...no plane at B5. Announcement -- my original flight will leave at 8:10. Back to RCC. Get back on original flight. Now have middle seat. Go to C15. Finally board for 8:20 departure. Push back from gate...sit on the tarmac for more than an hour.

Finally get in the air...foot odor...nasty foot odor, can't find the source foot odor for 3+ hours.

Arrive SFO. Go to Avis. My name's not on the board. Line at the preferred counter more than 15 deep.

Tell me why I don't like to travel on Monday's again?


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Bare handed grab..

After 34 years, and scores of games, a couple of near misses, I made a bare handed grab of a foul ball at last night's Barry Bonds tribute double-header at PNC Park. Matt Cain, the Giants pitcher, popped the first pitch he saw from Paul Maholm in the top of the 3rd about 25 rows behind the 1st base on deck circle. I stood up with cracker jacks in my left hand and snatched it out of the air cleanly with my right to a smattering of applause from the few hundred fans around our section. It was about as easy a play as you're ever going to have on a foul ball.

I turned to my right and handed it to my son, called my wife and my dad and settled in for the rest of the game.

BTW -- the ratio of standing ovations to boos for the Barry Bonds tribute last night was probably 4:1 ovations.

Monday, August 13, 2007

It takes a Giant to make life simple...

The complexity of pricing schemes seem to increase daily with the advent of technology. As companies are better able to track your purchases, they are able to develop programs and promotions that would have been impossible to manage in the past.

Giant Eagle, who has used it's Advantage Card program to launch a regional juggernaut of Get Go gas station/convenience store through it's "Fuel Perks" program, which in turn launched them into the gift card business is a great example of this. (If your outside the area that the Giant Eagle flies in, Fuel Perks essentially refund 1-2% of your grocery purchases back to you in gasoline depending upon the size of your personal vehicles gas tank.)

I was the victim of a promotion gone wrong on Saturday. The requirement was to buy $25 of various products, primarily General Mills cereals. In return, you would receive a $10 coupon, printed at the register for your next Get Go purchase. I have 3 kids, eating $25 in cereal is maybe a 60 day proposition, so this made sense.

The coupon did not print at the register, which triggered a 30 minute odyssey to get my $10. First stop, the customer service desk. Second stop, the chief cashiers desk. Third stop, lane 16, where we twice tried to ring up the promotion to receive the coupon. It turns out that they did not have another way to produce the coupon, so the next step was a debate about how to give me $10. Should I get a refund? a Giant Eagle gift card? a Get Go Gift Card?

Finally they decided to give me a $10 refund, because it required the least amount of paper work on their end, but led to my 4th stop, a repeat visit to the customer service desk, and after 30 minutes I was out the door $10 less poor.

To their credit the staff at the Edgewood Towne Centre Giant Eagle was very friendly and did nothing but try to give me my $10, and found a solution even when they could not create the original coupon. They did, however, prove that complex promotions like this are virtually impossible to manage when the IT doesn't work as planned.

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Qatar -- The North Hills of the Middle East

Good luck toour friends, the Monroes, who are off for a 4 month stint living and working in Doha, Qatar.

Ever wanted to know what life is like for an American family in the Middle East? Bob Monroe is the co-coordinator of the Technology Leadership track at Carnegie Mellon's Tepper School of Business, and will be teaching on the University's Doha Campus this fall.

Mrs. Monroe is keeping a blog so we can follow their journey on monroes abroad.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Bonds Away

Last night I was in section 106 row 41. Bonds was 0-3 with a foul out
a k and a 6-5-3 dp (thanks to the wicked shift.)

Tonight I was in the front row OF THE GO BISTRO ASIAN FUSION BAR AND
GRILL in Concourse A of the San Francisco International Airport and
Barry Bonds was 3 for 3 with a double, a single, an HR his 756.

Of course the punchline is still the same. By the 7th inning Rajai
Davis is the best former Pirate on the field.

BTW - Hank Aaron's gracious scoreboard message proves once and for all
that he's a bigger man than Bud.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Bottom 7. The mighty Barry has struck out. Now the only former Pirate
in the lineup is Rajai Davis.

The National League and it's double switches.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Section 106 Row 41 Seat 7.

That's where I'm seated tonight at AT&T Park where Barry Bonds just
grounded into a 4-6-3 double play in the bottom of the 6th. He fouled
out to the 3rd baseman in the 1st and walked in the 3rd.

I'm not surprised. I never saw Barry Bonds do anything clutch in
person when he was a Pirate either.

Dead Ducks

I'm back on the road after a 2 week hiatus, and my trip is off to an
"fowl" start.

As my plane approached O'Hare the Captain came on and said,

"I expected to be on the ground already, but the plane in front of us
flew through a flock of birds. Now we'll be another 10 minutes while
we switch runways so the can clean the dead birds off the runway."

A little much before breakfast if you ask me.