How Many Rolls?

Sometimes I wonder where some companies draw the line between product development and marketing, and who takes the lead. Obviously every consumer products companies is trying to gain shelf space and sell more product. The marketing folks have a hand in helping to guide that process, but I think the Charmin folks have gone too far.

We have a package of toilet paper that boasts 8 Giants Rolls (8 Rollos Gigantes! in smaller print). Equal to 20 Regular Rolls* (Rollos Regulares). We follow the asterisk to the back of the package where there is a “Charmin Roll Size Guide,” or what I would call a conversion chart.

1 Regular Roll (Rollo Regular) (100 sheets) = 1 Regular Roll
1 Big Roll (Rollo Grande) (200 sheets) = 2 Regular Rolls
1 Giant Roll (Rollo Gigante) (250 sheets) = 2 1/2 Regular Rolls
1 Mega Roll (no translation) (400 sheets) = 4 Regular Rolls

When my toilet paper package has a conversion chart to parse the marketing message and understand how much toilet paper I am buying, that sounds like marketing is steering the ship. Since this is a Proctor and Gamble product, that is definitely true. But they have created a package where it is virtually impossible to figure out how much toilet paper you are even buying, let alone how much it costs compared to others on the shelf, and you wind up overpaying for the Giant Rolls thinking a larger size is a better value and that’s not always true. Sometimes confusion can drive a purchase decision and sometimes it can drive the consumer away.

Frappachino, sir?

In its latest same store retail sales numbers, Starbucks announced that its sales were not as high as anticipated. They attributed this to the increased sales of Frappachinos due to the high temperatures across the country. Since the Frappachino requires a blender, it takes longer to make, thus causing Starbucks long lines to get longer. Customers at the back of the line get frustrated and go somewhere else for their morning java fix.

Bizarre corporate spin or subtle marketing of Frappachinos? Every article mentioning the sales numbers mentioned Frappachinos as the cause for the reduced numbers. You decide.

The Blisters Play Lollapalooza

from Lollapalooza Blog

Pre-teen rock band The Blisters played one if the most entertaining sets of the day in Chicago. If you haven’t heard of the them yet, don’t worry, you will. Consisting of Henry Mosher on vocals and bass, Hayden Holbert on guitar, Dylan Johnson on vocals and guitar and Spencer Tweedy, son of Jeff, on drums, the band played an extremely entertaining set consisting of songs like the Ramones’ Blitzkreig Bop, The Flaming Lips’ She Don’t Use Jelly, The Beatles’ Dear Prudence, Neal Young’s Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World, and to balance things out for an encore they played the Lynard Skynard classic Sweet Home Alabama.

I spoke with Henry after the show and he informed me that the band didn’t just start – they’ve been around for three years and the Chicago-based foursome has already played shows at Second City and Millenium Park. They don’t have a website or even a Myspace account, but the fresh-faced tween assured me that those to things were on the way.

I caught the drummer’s father trying to make his way from back stage out into the audience. He stood in the back laughing and beaming with pride due to the crowd’s reaction to the band. I have to say that Spencedr was obviously the best musician in the band – he was on-beat thoughout the entire set with no audible mistakes. That kid’s gonna be a rock and roll star!

Maine Solar System

I was looking for Solar System models for Peter and found this:

Aroostook County, in Northern Maine, built a 40 mile (64.6 km) long scale model of the solar system, at a scale of 1 mile equaling the distance from earth to sun. The model extends along Route 1, between the University of Maine at Presque Isle campus and the Houlton Information Center at the end of I-95. The model has ten major components, those being the sun and the nine planets from Mercury to Pluto, with moons for Earth, Saturn, Jupiter (4) and Pluto.

How many states have you been to?

I haven’t really counted how many states I have been to in a while but I knew that I was close to 40. I just counted and found out that I have 39.

In June, I took a business trip to Wisconsin, which was a new one for me. When you get to such a high number, it is a big deal when you get a new state, they are pretty few and far between. If I haven’t been there in 40 years, what would get me there now?

Later this month I am going to Michigan on business, and that will be state number 40. It is a pretty exciting milestone.

The official rules for counting a state are:
Visiting a destination in state
Spending the night in a state
Driving through a significant portion of the state
(Once I drove through a corner of Idaho that I used to count, but I have since enforced these rules and no longer count it).
Eating a meal in a state
(We have driven across many state lines to have dinner)

Things that don’t count:
Landing in an airplane and never leaving the airport
Driving through a small portion of a state and never stopping

Since I have lived my whole life on the east coast, many of the states I have never been to are in the middle of the country.

Here are the states I still need to go to (in alphabetical order):
Michigan (but I have plane tickets in 2 weeks)
North Dakota

Looking at the list, I do not wonder why I have not been to these states.

Where’s My Father’s Day Breakfeast?

No only did the kids choose to bypass the traditional gorgefest that one would associate with a child-prepared Father’s Day breakfast (or breakfeast), but I had to make Peter his breakfast as well as preparing my own.

We had strawberries from the farmer’s market, so I was happy to have a bowl of cereal with strawberries for my breakfast. Since I don’t normally have time for cereal, it was a nice thing to have. And when Peter asked me to make Cream of Wheat for his breakfast, I just couldn’t refuse. This is the hot cereal my grandmother made me when I was little, so I do like to make it for my kids.