hypocritical : talking the talk without walking the walk

June 29, 2007

Does the preemptive upsell ever work? Ever?


I frequent fast-food establishments. Probably a little more than I should. But I do.

And lately, it's become increasingly obvious that the preemptive upsell is rapidly ascending to the preeminent way of interacting with customers. Which leads me to ask: Does this stupid technique ever work? Ever?

What's a "preemptive upsell"? What? You don't like me blathering on about amorphous concepts?

A preemptive upsell--until I can come up with a better phrase--is when someone offers you something before you've even begun your conversation.

It usually sounds something like this: "Welcome to [where ever]! Can I interest you in a [food item]?"

Now, I don't know if this is a commentary on the idiocy of the general populous or what. But how many people fall for this?

Take a look at this gut. Do I look like I've just stumbled into your fast-food establishment for the first time? Do I seem struck by some Jamesian blooming, buzzing confusion in these strange, cartoonish surroundings? Have you rapidly assessed that am I clearly unable to effectively articulate that which would slake my hunger?

No, no, and no. You've simply been told by your management to assault every customer with this prattling, emotionless question.

Does this technique ever work? Do you ever fall for it? I mean, really.

Well, I came in here for a burger. But come to think of it, that mayonnaise-on-a-stick does sound pretty tasty. Yes, I'll definitely have the mayo-on-a-stick. What's my name again? Where am I?

I just don't get it.

But if people tell me that this works, I'm going to start doing it, too.

Welcome to hypocritical! Can I interest you in a marketing communications strategy?


Does the preemptive upsell ever work? Ever?

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June 19, 2007

Desperately seeking CSS

Interested in working with us? Glutton for punishment?

Ah, phooey. I can't do it.

Look. I was going to try to make this gig post cute and pithy. But the fact of the matter is I'm tired. Sick and tired. Sick and tired and slightly perturbed.

I'm in love with our idea and in hate with the current CSS. It—to put it bluntly—sucks. (If you don’t believe us, ask our developer.) I would much rather it didn’t. So, if you write elegant, standards-based CSS and have an eye for design, we could use your help.

Feel free to take advantage of our desperation. The right person can work where they want, when they want, for whatever price they want.

We’re tired of sucking, so the most timely, qualified response gets the gig.

Please send any sites of which you’re especially proud to rick at returncorp dot com. Say you saw it on hypocritical, and we'll likely move you to the front of the line. Because I'm egotistical and vain.


Desperately seeking CSS

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June 18, 2007

Google suggests hiring a hooker

Google suggests hiring a hooker
Originally uploaded by turoczy

Apparently, not clicking on the "I feel lucky" button means more than I thought.

Here it is large enough that you can see it.

Labels: ,


Google suggests hiring a hooker

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June 12, 2007

McSweeney's needs your help

One of my dreams was to be an author.

It still kinda is. And I kinda am. What with hypocritical and More than a living and whatnot.

So, I began my professional career in the publishing industry. And I learned enough to make me sick. So, I shelved that dream.

It's easy to prattle on about the bad things about the publishing industry. It's an easy target.

What's not easy is finding true gems--people who respect creativity and authors and the art of the written word. That's why the news of trouble at McSweeney's hit me especially hard.

Because those McSweeney's folks? They're gems. Truly. Through and through.

Here's the deal (re-published in toto):

As you may know, it's been tough going for many independent publishers, McSweeney's included, since our distributor filed for bankruptcy last December 29. We lost about $130,000—actual earnings that were simply erased. Due to the intricacies of the settlement, the real hurt didn't hit right away, but it's hitting now. Like most small publishers, our business is basically a break-even proposition in the best of times, so there's really no way to absorb a loss that big.

We are committed to getting through and past this difficult time, and we're hoping you, the readers, who have from the start made McSweeney's possible, will help us.

Over the next week or so, we'll be holding an inventory sell-off and rare-item auction, which we hope will make a dent in the losses we sustained. A few years ago, the indispensable comics publisher Fantagraphics, in similarly dire straits, held a similar sale, and it helped them greatly. We're hoping to do the same.

So if you've had your eye on anything we've produced, now would be a great time to take the plunge. For the next week or so, subscriptions are $5 off, new books are 30 percent off, and the entire backlist is 50 percent off. Please check out the store and enjoy the astounding savings, while knowing every purchase will help dig us out of a big hole.

Many of our contributors have stepped up and given us original artwork and limited editions to auction off. We've got original artwork from Chris Ware, Marcel Dzama, David Byrne, and Tony Millionaire; a limited-edition music mix from Nick Hornby; rare early issues of the quarterly, direct from Sean Wilsey's closet; and more. We're even auctioning off Dave Eggers's painting of George W. Bush as a double-amputee, from the cover of Issue 14. More special items will be appearing as we go, so check back often.

This is the bulk of our groundbreaking business-saving plan: to continue to sell the things we've made, albeit at a greatly accelerated pace for a brief period of time. We are not business masterminds, but we are optimistic that this will work. If you've liked what we've done up to now, this is the time to ensure we'll be able to keep on doing more.

Plenty of excellent presses are in similar straits these days; two top-notch peers of ours, Soft Skull and Counterpoint, were just acquired by Winton, Shoemaker & Co. in the last few weeks. It's an unsteady time for everybody, and we know we don't have any special claim to your book-buying budget. We owe all of you a lot for everything you've allowed us to do over the last nine years, for all the time and freedom we've been given.

Once this calamity is averted, we'll get back to our bread and butter—the Believer Music Issue is already creeping into mailboxes everywhere; Issue 24 of our quarterly is in the midst of a really pretty silkscreening process; and in July the fourth issue of Wholphin, our DVD magazine, will slip over the border from Canada, bringing with it some very good footage of Maggie Gyllenhaal and a Moroccan drummer who messes up a wedding in an entertaining way. And then, a couple of months after that, we'll publish a debut novel from a writer named Millard Kaufman. This book is exactly the kind of thing McSweeney's was created to do: it came through the mail, without an agent's imprimatur, and it was written by a first-time novelist. This first-time novelist is 90 years old. His novel was pulled from the submissions pile and it knocked the socks off of everyone who read it. Millard may well be the best extant epic-comedic writer of his generation, and he stands at equal height with the best of several generations since.

Please do whatever you can to help. We thank you a thousand times. We'll keep updating everybody on how this is going over the next few weeks; for now, pick up a few things for yourself, your friends, for Barack Obama. More news soon—thanks for reading.

I'll second that. Which makes the thanks like two thousand times. Anything you could do to help would be greatly appreciated.

You've already wasted time reading hypocritical. Why not waste a little more? Visit the McSweeney's store and poke around a bit.

That other stuff will wait. McSweeney's, unfortunately, may not.



McSweeney's needs your help

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