Is that seat taken?

I often fly at odd times of the day, sometimes to get better connections, but other times to just avoid the crowds. Today I came home from Florida and I had an awful connection. I flew way past North Carolina to Philadelphia and then spent 3 hours in the airport of the city of brotherly love. I killed a lot of time by searching out places to eat, and then eating. But each flight, from Ft Myers to Philly and from Philly to Raleigh were less than a quarter full. One was a big plane and one was a small plane. And the number of seats sold had nothing to do with my bad connection. Each of these individual flights was way undersold. This is something I’m going to pay attention to, because after years of completely full flights I am traveling on more and more planes with lots of empty seats.

Size Matters

My mom’s smoke detectors started beeping, which usually means the batteries need to be changed. These are wired into the electrical system, but they have battery backups just in case the power goes out. I took the batteries out so the infernal beeping would stop. And so my mom would know what to get for replacements. These were 9 volt batteries. You remember the boxy-looking ones that you can put on your tongue to see if they still have juice in them? I don’t know the last electronic device that took this size battery. I don’t know if it’s a cost or a power issue, but everything seems to have switched to AA and AAA. As devices have gotten smaller, you barely encounter a need for C or D batteries any more.

Does Your Product Sell Itself?

Today my doorbell rang. This is something that almost never happens. I opened the door to see a young girl with a wagon full of cookies. She said, I’m selling Girl Scout Cookies. That was her whole pitch. She assumes I know what they are. I do. She assumes that I understand she wants me to buy them. I don’t. How many products can you sell just by announcing their existence and that you are selling them?

The Trail Run of Life

Today I ran a 10 mile trail run that wove back and forth through the woods in a county park. I didn’t know where I was, where I was going next, or even how far I had to go since there were no mile markers. Since the course wound back and forth among the trees, it wasn’t even possible to know if the other runners in my view were ahead of me of behind me. Seems like life sometimes.

The More You Know

This may seem like an Andy Rooney cranky rant, but I wish the airlines would get their marketing technology straightened out. I just received an email for a flight I’m taking tomorrow and there are two problems with it. The first is that I was able to check in two and a half hours ago. While I have priority status that allows me to board early, they have created a system where the earlier you check in, the better your boarding position. With this in mind, why can’t they figure out how to send an email 24 hours before flight time. This is a piece of static data that is easily managed with most email tools. The second one is a harder problem to solve, but makes them look much worse. Not only was I able to check in two and half hours ago, but I did. I do not need a reminder to check in. Again, this is a piece of data that they should check before the email goes out. Since these are totally different problems, it seems like they should at least solve one of them and then I wouldn’t feel so bad. But messing up both really makes them look amateurish.

The Opposite of Instant Gratification

Our digital tools, especially our smartphones, makes us think we live in a world of instant gratification. Because everything is digital, everything we want, we can get immediately. Streaming music, streaming movies, online books, bingeable tv. But digital photography is different. If you see the picture you take instantly, that is often instant disappointment. The image captured is not what is in your head, so you take another one. And another and another. This drives more disappointment, because you just can’t get it right.