Thursday, July 28, 2011

Not Quite On Target: How the World's Hottest Retailer Hit a Bull's-Eye

On Target: How the World's Hottest Retailer Hit a Bull's Eye by Laura Rowley investigates the history and popularity behind how Target became a retailing sensation while taking the discount juggernaut Wal-Mart.

The book is a decent read but hardly an outstanding recount of Target's history from department store to 1,300 plus store retail chain. 

The problem with the book, ironically, is right at the beginning where traditionally authors tend to hook the reader.  In this particular book Rowley starts off writing about how great target is in terms of how Target competes on price, design, welcoming environment and being good corporate citizens.  Except, she spends five plus chapters, 82 pages, telling readers what Target today is all about.  Then, on page 83 the rewind occurs and the reader is taken back to start the history of Target from George Draper Dayton onwards. The rest of the book takes the reader from George's founding of what would become Target up until the early 2000s and the challenges Target faces.  The main issue about the book is it is not written in chronological order and makes a great jump. 

Perhaps the book could have been reordered so that the introduction gives the reader a snapshot of what Target is today.  This introduction could be five to ten pages at most.  Next in Chapter one it would start off by saying "to actually understand Target's success and corporate values one must start at the beginning and watch the company evolve."  This would then lead the reader from back of George Draper Dayton's era to the issues Target is facing today and then forcast into the future how target could be a success.

The book overall - once the excitement about how the Target is a great designer, marketer, clean and philantropic is ingrained into the reader in the first five chapters - is a fantastic read.  The book investigates how George Draper Dayton moved into retailing industry via founding a department store in Minnesota. From there, Bowley takes us through how the return policies, corporate values, company was passed down through the Dayton family and the possible hostile takeover was thwarted.  While chronologically moving through the history of Target, author Laura Rowley, brings in current and ex Target executives and management to provide insight into how things were at the time.  As well, she brings forth ample amount of research noted in over 8 pages of endnotes. 

The only downfall with her research is the failure to provide a full Bibliography of her sources at all.  The insight the reader has that Laura Rowley actually did any reasearch is her end notes.  However, a complete list of sources at the end would have made her research stand out even more.  Without the Bibliography, one wonders how in depth the research actually was in terms of reading the current availbility of books, newspaper articles, in depth interviews and much more was.  The only indication at all about the depth of research is mainly evidenced in the content of the book with direct quotes from company and industry executives as well as, again, the end notes.  But the Bibliogpraphy references would have further reinforced the author's authority on Target company history. 

Overall, those wondering how Target as a company came to be a leading American, and soon to be Canadian retailer, should read Laura Rowley's book as it delves into the company history quite nicely.  However, the reader should be warned this book does have it's drawbacks that need to be duly noted.

Monday, July 25, 2011

PRESTO! The Card is Here!

After overpromising a March start, York Region Transit (YRT) finally launched the Presto Card to it's transit system as a fare payment option.  On July 18th the Presto system went live on York Region's transit system.    So far there have been lots of pluses and minuses about the system during the roll out. 

The first issue remains the delays in rolling out the Presto system in York Region.  Yorkregion.com reported the original delay back in March 2011 with the Region of York being tight lipped about the delay.  At that time I noted there was no mention in either the Region's Transportation Comittee or the  Regional Council's minutes or staff reports about the delay.  It was not until I heard rumours there were technical difficulties that needed to be worked out that caused the delay.  But about a 90 day delay?  Was this so the great YRT "everything is hunky dory!" marketing machine could get their act together and overpromote the launch of Presto?   For months several YRT buses had the Presto green advertising bus raps on them promoting the launch of the Presto card, yet no explanation was coming forth about the delayed launch date being due to technical difficulties.  To be clear, technical difficulties do occur with new and proven technical installations, thus, a proper customer update that technical issues have caused YRT to push back the launch date and updates are coming soon should have been publicized to YRT customers via their website, their My Transit customer newsletter, and, since Presto has been a large taxpayer investment in transit, a mention at the Region's Transportation comittee. YRT and the Region really dropped the ball on communicating with the public non positive news about the roll out.

Next comes the expected traditional YRT overhyped roll out date of July 18th.  Ironically this type the prehype just was not there.  Perhaps this was because the Summer 2011 edition of My Transit had already hit the printer and was being distributed on the buses by mid May so that marketing option was not a possibility and the budget on bus advertising raps had been blown already with the promised launch of March 2011 that that was not an option either.  The only mention was on the YRT website with the promise of a July 18, 2011 launch. YRT did miss an marketing option though through the local municipalities Notice Boards in the local papers.  Local municipalities post these noticeboards weekly in the local papers to provide information to residents about upcoming activities, meetings and other relevant public notices.  Richmond Hill and Aurora both have previously had YRT transit updates included in these noticeboards so why was the launch of Presto not included in there as well?  The great YRT marketing machine seems to have missed this but may have been caught off guard with the push back of the launch date to properly organize a marketing campaign on the fly.

Perhaps the marketing budget was not for the marketing purposes advertising the launch date but for ensuring the launch day itself was overmarketed. On the YRT website, YRT promised prospective riders that their team would be at Richmond Hill Centre to help sign up people with the Presto Card and show them how to use it. YRT even promised 5,000 cards would be given out free with the $6.00 issuance fee waived as long as riders purchase $19.00 worth to put on the card. 

On July 18th I took VIVA Blue up and down Yonge Street a couple of times including through Richmond Hill Centre.  In the afternoon at Richmond Hill centre as I waited to transfer buses I noted the YRT tent was there with at least four laptops set up.  This same tent was staffed by two burly YRT Special Constables who were sitting there making sure the laptops did not grow legs and walk away.  I also noted the YRT Special Constable SUV was illegally parked on the island where the buses pull up to.  This despite there being a perfectly good parking lot less than 90 feet away for the peons who ride transit can park their vehicles to ride transit.  But I digress, this would obviously be such a burden to them to park over there instead of pulling right by "Do Not Enter, Buses Excepted" signs and park right in the middle of transit island.  Also on hand were five Presto swag outfitted agents all standing around talking with each other. These agents were not really useful either as after I boarded the bus I was waiting for a YRT customer had questions for the driver.  Not one of the Presto agents walked over to lend a hand so our bus could get on it's way.  About thirty passengers were on the bus delayed because a Presto agent couldn't walk less than thirty feet over to provide a little customer service. 

Overall a quick calculation of what I observed for the roll out of Presto so far:

$6.00 x 5,000 = 30,000 in free Presto cards handed out. (costs noted based on promotion on YRT website)

$15.00 per hour for 7 Presto Agents for four eight hour work days to provide customer support = $840 (all these numbers are estimated).

Bus wraps, lap tops,  paying two special constables to guard the lap tops, printing of promotional materials before Presto was rolled out and the Presto Machines themselves?????

As you can see the costs of the Presto Roll out exceed probably exceeded $50,000 to launch the machines themselves.  And there is no word yet on how much Presto (i.e. the Province of Ontario) and YRT (Region of York) are paying for the launch.

There are some good marketing aspects YRT managed to acquire including a free how to use Presto video.  Over at Yorkregion.com a video is up showing YRT General Manager Richard Leary modelling how the Presto card is used to pay fares.   This is precisely what YRT could have produced themselves and uploaded to YouTube could have helped.  In the past VIVA and YRT have used videos to show the public how VIVA would like before VIVA was launched in September 2005.   Those videos showed riders how to validate a ticket, purchase a ticket, to board a VIVA vehicle and how the routes would operate.  A similar video could have been produced for Presto but sadly was not until Mr. Leary mugged for the press.

The major issue with Presto is the cost of the card itself.  Riders are required to pay $6.00 for the card itself without anything on it.  So for $6.00 all you get is flashy green credit card that does absolutly nothing.  You can not get on a bus until you add value to the card.  The card though is refillable at any time.  As of right now Presto can only be used in York Region for single or multi rides with the intent on eventually replacing the current fares of ten paper tickets that can be purchased at select merchants throughout the region.

Contrast this to New York City and famed "Metrocard." Metrocards are magenetic stripped cards provided free as long as the rider pays a fare to board the city's transit system.  Metrocards can also be loaded with ten rides, day passes, weekly passes and monthly passes.  The added bonus of weekly and monthly passes is the user can use it for 7 (weekly) or 30 (monthly) days from the date of purchase.  Thus, you are not hogtied like you are with the YRT GTA weekly pass into using it between Monday to Sunday of a certain week, you can use it from, for example, Wednesday to Tuesday if it is a weekly.  New York City at least makes it convenient and economical for riders to pay and utilize their fares. 

The New York City options obviously gives more flexibility and less costly fare payment options than the current fare options provided by YRT.  Hopefully Presto in the future will be broadened to replace and improve the fare payment options, but the initial $6.00 fee for the card needs to seriously be relooked at as I believe this is nothing but a cash grab by YRT or Presto. 

Another issue that YRT should be working on is where do customers obtain the Presto card for $6.00.  Currently the only place in York Region to pick up a Presto Card is at the YRT offices in Richmond Hill between 8:30 to 4:30 Monday to Friday.  Otherwise riders have to travel outside the region to purchase their card to places like Brampton and Mississauga.  Presto does advertise that riders can puchase Presto cards "at any PRESTO activated GO Transit rail station", but then does not give a list of these stations and the hours.  Perhaps Presto could provide a continously updated list of fare purchasing locations that include contact information and hours that the fares are sold similar to how York Region Transit does on their website.  This would allow riders interested in Presto to see when and where to get their card at a convenient time for them.  Presto does provide an online order option, but many people are leary of purchasing things online.   But then again, allowing YRT customers to conveniently purchase their fares was never a forte of YRT at times. Hopefully YRT is working on getting their fare providers up and running with the distribution of Presto cards. 

There are some kudos to go to YRT, the Region of York, Presto and the provincial government.  One of the kudos is to the way fares are now collected and receipts (transfers) issued to passengers.  Previously, YRT local route (e.g. Route 4, Route 85,  Route 98, Route 99, etc.) had to let passengers board pay their fare and have the driver manually rip off a transfer just right.  The transfer had to be ripped just right as across the bottom it shows when the passengar has until to use the transfer (i.e. 2 hours after paying initial fare).  This manual process resulted in short delays while drivers readjusted the transfer ripping equipment and punched new booklets of transfers.  As well added waste was created as YRT had a different coloured transfer booklet for each month. There was much wasted customer travel time and probably paper waste using this manual system.  

Fare payment and transfers all changed with the installation of Presto.  The added bonus of the Presto system is not only is there an added convenient way to pay a fare, the transfer system has been automized as well. Now when a passenger boards a YRT vehicle with a cash fare and drops it in the fare box the driver can push a button on the Presto machine to have a transfer automatically printed which now removes the need for the driver to fiddle with outdated transfers while passengers waste their time watching the second hand on their watches wizz by.  But this method of printing transfers is not new.  YRT's counterparts in Ottawa at OC Transpo have been offering automated transfers similar to Presto's since at least 1998.  But at least for YRT this is a step forward and a significant improvement over TTC that offers one way travel only for one fare nevermind the need for two way travel within a time period.

With Presto there seems to be the intent of getting it right.  But the launch in York Region by YRT leaves quite a bit to be desired.  The setting of the launch date, the marketing, the overall launch date and the launch date itself are concerning.  As well, YRT needs to work with Presto in setting up a better network of agents to provide convenient locations to pick up Presto cards and refill their cards.  The start of Presto in York Region has had a rocky start to begin with.  But hopefully Presto will lead to better fare collection processes and convenience of use for passengers similar to other more advanced transit systems around the world.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Confederation Park Climber Kerfuffle

Recently at the past two Aurora Council meetings two residents, Laurie Harris and Martin McIntaggart, have come forth to speak to council pleading to have the "double hump camel climber" removed from Aurora's Confederation Park.

Laurie Harris, at the latest meeting, brought her four year old daughter to the recent council meeting to explain that her daughter hurt herself when falling from the climber.  Ms. Harris, along with her husband Jeff Harris, believe that the climber should be totally removed before a child is seriously injured or killed.  Her husband Jeff Harris has taken to Evelyn Buck's blog and the local media to defend their family's belief the the climber should be removed as well. 

Martin McIntaggart, claiming to be a Labour ministry specialist who inspects buildings like the CN Tower, also believes the climber should be removed.  He believes this structure should be removed as he has seen kids climb up to the top and freeze in fear of continuing onwards. 

The Town's Parks and Recreation Department attempted to take a poll of local residents who use the park about the structure.  Instead of having a clearly posted sign attached to the climber or posted in a conspicous spot next to the structure, town staff posted a computer print out in a plastic baggy on a baby swingset.  This sign eventually became so weathered it became unreadable.  Thus, as Park and Recreation Director Al Downey told Aurora Council, the town did not receive a conclusive feedback of for or against the climber being removed. In fact, I would imagine, the town park's staff probably wasted their time and money in putting up the sign and undertaking such an under publicized inconclusive poll. Overall, I did not see anything posted on the Town's website about the poll and I doubt anything was published in the Town of Aurora's Noticeboard in the local newspaper asking for feedback.  Further, the town communications department late last year launched  Twitter and Facebook accounts, I've just done a search on both and not even a mention in the last 30 days of the words "Confederation Park."  The Parks and Recreation department has done this before for resident feedback for such opinions on the Aurora Family Leisure Complex Fitness Centre.  One wonders why the Parks and Recreation Department never did this. 

Also at the last council meeting were two mothers who also work as lunch time assistants at Regency Acres Public School who believe the climber should be left in its place.  Gayle Palmer and Leah Clark noted to council that kids have issues all the time with playground equipment whether it being tumbling over the sides of slides or misjudging the height of monkey bars.  They also pointed out that children should be shown age appropriate equipment and explained that when they get older they can try the other equipment. 

Parks and Recreation Director, Al Downey, pointed out in a Yorkregion.com article:
[He] confirmed the park, including the climber that was installed two years ago, was approved by the Canadian Safety Association and continues to comply with those standards.
“However, this doesn’t prevent injury,” he said. “There is challenges in the parks to increase enjoyment.”
With all of the above in mind Aurora Council has a major decision to make, to remove the "double hump camel climber" or let it sit in place as is and move on. 

Aurora Mayor Geoffrey Dawe at the recent council meeting put forth a motion to have the camel climber removed.  There was vigorous debate before Councillor Evelyn Buck moved for a staff report be brought forth with options on removal or letting the climber remain in place.   Al Downey and his team at Parks and Recreation have a big issue at hand and need to come through with all the possible options. Hopefully the Mr. Downey and his department will overcome the mistaken public input process undertaken on the initial public consultation methods as noted above and bring forth a superb report on whether or not to remove the equipment.  If the latter is chosen council has inquired as to what the climber could be replaced with.  Mr. Downey needs to do his homework on this report along with his staff to prevent this issue from becoming even larger.

The question overall is simple on this issue.  It is not whether the equipment should be pulled or not, but the answer can be pieced together through several opinions in an easy to understand way.

The first, Councillor Evelyn Buck responded with an e-mail to Laurie Harris with her stand on the issue which Ms. Buck posted on her blog.  Ms. Buck contends the equipment meets CSA safety standards and are consistently inspected.  As a former day camp councillor with the Town of Aurora I have noted the parks department weekly inspecting the equipment for defects and other issues to ensure children's safety.

Secondly, over at her blog, Living in Aurora, Anna echoes Councillor Buck's beliefs and furthers the point in a posting by noting:

Playground equipment is not designed for one age. It is designed for range of ages. It is my responsibility as a parent to recognize my child’s climbing and maneuverability skills and let them play with the monkey bars. Would I let my three year old now, or four year old next year climb the monkey bars? No, he is a talker, but definitely not a climber at this stage of his life.

Thus, parents should be responsible for what their children are using at the local parks and not merely sit on the bench to talk to the other parents.

Thirdly Professional playground designer, Daniel Haddaway of Designed for Fun Inc., points out, in a letter to the editor on Yorkregion.com that this particular structure is for ages 5 to 12.  Ms. Harris' daughter, as noted above, is four years old, under the age of five.

Thus the main issue as pointed out by the people above is the lack of supervision of the children involved which lead children to attempt to try equipment not manufactured for their age.  This resulted in injury that the parent is now trying to blame the town on instead of themselves. 

The only change that needs to be made in this case would be for the town to add a nearby sign stating the equipment should be used by those five years old and up while being supervised by an adult.

All parents and others supervising children visiting the local park need to take heed of some important safety precautions.  During my five plus years on staff at the Town of Aurora Day Camps we were guided on how to properly inspect the playground and surrounding grounds before the children arrived for the day.  The first step was do a complete walk around each piece of playground equipment (e.g. jungle gym, swings, etc.) looking for anything on the ground, particularly at entry and exit points (i.e. stairs and slides) that would harm a child including glass and other garbage.  Next we completed an overview of the equipment itself looking for any possible damage or issues that might arise including splinters and, as Anna mentioned in her blog post, hot surfaces like slides.

During the day when the participants were attending camp counsellors oversaw their safety.  Day camp participants on their first day were shown the boundaries of where they could safely be and if they had questions or concerns about the playground equipment or if they wanted to try something they had never done before.  If the latter was the case and the equipment was allowable to be used by the age of the child, the counsellor would have another child show them how the equipment was used and the counsellor carefully supervised the participant trying it.  To ensure participants knew the safety rules each day were also asked to repeat the safety instructions whenever possible to ensure compliance.  This was especially important for younger children as this shows younger participants know where it was safe to play and which one they were not big enough to try yet.

Finally, each counsellor had a group of six to eight campers (depending on the age group) and at minimum always had a fellow staff member on site with them when completing outdoor activities.  Thus, while the children were engaged with the playground equipment, each staff member had their own section of the playground to watch from their vantage point.  Periodically each staff member would count the kids in his/her group to ensure each participant was accounted for and obviously enjoying themselves. 

The town of Aurora and other municipalities install playground equipment for children of various ages.  Therefore, not all children should be using all the equipment.  Children should be shown by parents and supervisoring adults which equipment they should be using and what they should not be using because it is above their abilities.  Those supervising children on playgrounds should be closly watching children playing on playgrounds carefully.  If the child is younger than seven years old, supervisors should be within three to five feet of their youngster for safety purposes.  Overall proper supervision and safety precautions are key at playgrounds because these prevent accidents.  But accidents can never be fully prevented on playgrounds as children can be unpredictable.  Scrapes, bruises and the odd broken bone happen and are part of growing up in childhood.  The sooner parents realize this, the better parents they will become.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Kelsey's: A Richmond Hill full of Food

Kelsey's on UrbanspoonLast night my wife and I headed on down to try Kelsey's (8715 Yonge Street, Richmond Hill). 

We were a little worried that being a chain restaurant this location might be a little sketchy in terms of food and service.  However, we were only partly right.

My wife and I were seated quickly as the restaurant was not that busy (it was 5:30 P.M.). 

Our waiter, a young person looking fresh out of high school, strolled by to inquire if we wanted any drinks.  We ordered the drinks and, quickly before he got away, surprised him with our food order as well. 

The Order: Buffalo Chicken Sandwich with Fries and a Pepsi and a Kelsey's Fish and Chips with a glass of Richmond Hill's finest tap water.

The waiter dashed off to input our order and returned within 10 minutes of our pleasant conversation with our food order along with a refill of my Pepsi.  No problems on the service at this chain restaurant, everything was excellent. 

The food though was not great but was not terrible either.  The Buffalo Chicken Sandwich was definatly brushed with Kelsey's medium chicken wing sauce.  In fact the breaded chicken breast with the lettuce and tomato on a sesame seed bun was barely noticeable.  The fries were standard pub fries that were of decent temperature. 

The Fish & Chips are supposed to be Rickard's Red beer battered.  However, they arrived at our table looking dry.  Overall the Fish was decent but we could not really taste the beer battering so we wondered if this fish had ever seen the bar alive or cooked.  The fries with this dish were the same as the Buffalo chicken sandwich but were seasoned with something spicy we couldn't figure out what it was. 

Overall the meal was mediocre chain food with decent service.  We are going to give this place another try in the near future as we neither hated or really like this place.   It just needs another go around.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Thought: Not Serving but Helping People

Americans themselves pride themselves on an egalitarian society premised on social mobility, not, as in some other cultures, on a permanent servant class.  I wasn't wild about being someone's servant or being servile, but I do love helping people.  I frequently stop lost tourists in Manhattan to offer them assistance. I open doors and give up bus or subway seats. I've mentored many other writers and enjoyed watching their success. It's gratifying to ease someone's day, certainly when it only takes a few minutes. Life is complicated enough that the simple idea of making someone happy quickly seemed appealing indeed. I'd be very happy to help. - Caitlin Kelly, Malled. 
I wish we all could do the above.  A simple "thanks" and "your welcome" go a long way in society especially accompanied by a smile.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

How to Make Money With Your Blog

How to Make Money with your Blog by Duane Forrester and Gavin Powell  provides readers with experiential knowledge of the options and pitfalls of setting up a weblog (blog), increasing traffic and moving towards successfully monetizing your blog.

Unlike some other books on the market, this book's authors are experienced in a variety of blogging platforms and monetizing strategies in a variety of fields including auto, marketing and music.  These authors have so much experience in blogging it is almost like Bill Gates is holding your hand to show you how to use the latest features and technology of Windows. The authors draw upon various resources from around the web and their own experience to show readers how to be successful.

But the authors do bring a downside to the book via the  repetitive shameless plugs of all the websites the authors oversee and their contact information.  At times the book reads like an late night advertorial for some cheap kitchen gadget.  After the third time I wanted to scream that I could care less about visiting your website and contacting you!  Just tell me: "How to Make Money with Your Blog."

At first the book takes the book investigates the different options of setting up a blog with the different platforms (e.g. Blogger.com, Wordpress.com, etc.) and using a self hosted blog.  Each of the online platforms are given the pros and cons explained by each of the authors who has experience manipulating them for their own use.  This allows the reader to see how a blogging expert has "kicked the tires" and the results of the test before deciding on a platform for their blogging work.  Having tested the blog software is an important step in monetizing a blog as the platform dictates what add systems can be placed, the ease of monetizing a blog and if there are any issues with the visual appearance of the blog showing the ad and the blog content.

Second the book investigates how to improve traffic flows to the blog by keeping visitors longer and attracting new visitors. Great suggestions include the frequency of publishing content, adding feeds to your blogs and how to keep your content relevant so as to not annoy readers.  The authors provide basic pointers on how to keep the blog in tip top shape while attracting as many readers as possible so that the blog can then generate revenue.

Finally, the authors review the top ad programmes and the pluses and pitfalls behind each one.  As well, the authors show bloggers where the best spots are to place ads.  But really, as the authors point out, the best places to place ads are really up to each blogger to investigate over time.  These suggestions allow readers to begin to optimize their blogs for revenue while already gaining from the experience of two experienced bloggers about the pitfalls and pluses of placing ads and types of adds in certain places.

Overall How to Make Money with your Blog is a must read for beginning, novice and experienced bloggers because the book provides useful advice on how to improve blog content and monitization.

Mailbag: I Won! I Won!

Sometimes I get interesting e-mails from people who I have now idea who they are claiming I have won a great prize.  I just need send them some important information and the cash is mine.    The following e-mail is just one of those instances.

---------------------------------------------
From:Daniel Jamon (d.daniel_jamon@sify.com)
Sent:July-12-11 10:49:07 PM
To:
HELLO

I AM DANIEL JAMON FROM FEDEX COURIER COMPANY LIMITED, I AM DIPLOMAT ASSIGNED TO DELIVER PARCELS TO THE WINNERS OF UNITED KINGDOM -UK BLACK BERRY EMAIL DRAW AWARD PROMO.

YOUR OWN PARCEL IS CONTAINING A VERIFIED BANK DEMAND DRAFT WHICH CONTAIN $550,000 USD (FIVE HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLAR) PACKAGED WITH ALL BACK UP DOCUMENT..

I AM ON TRANSIT AND I HAVE ARRIVED NOW AT OUAGADOUGOU INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT BURKINA FASO, SO YOU ARE REQUIRED TO SEND THE BELOW INFORMATION IMMEDIATELY FOR FINAL DELIVERY TO YOUR ADDRESS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE:

NAME:.......
ADDRESS:.....
COUNTRY:.......
AGE & SEX:.........
DIRECT PHONE:......

THANK YOU AS I WAIT TO RECEIVE THOSE INFORMATION IMMEDIATELY.

SINCERELY IN YOUR SERVICE,
DIPLOMAT DANIEL JAMON.

-----------------------------------------------------

The above is one of the more riduculous e-mails I've received.  Let me count the ways there are obvious issues:

1. There is nothing in the "To:" field.   If I received this e-mail because I won a prize why is my e-mail address not there?  Obviously Daniel has my e-mail address as I did receive this e-mail.

2. If Daniel is working for Fedex, which he claims, why does he not have a Fedex.com e-mail address?  As having worked in shipping industry with Fedex I know that all Fedex represenatives have a Fedex.com e-mail address.

3. If Daniel is a "Diplomat" why would he send the e-mail in all caps?  Is he really that mad at me he ended up landing his fat patootie in Burkina Faso from London, England?  Will he be even more angered after if I e-mail him back that he is going the wrong way around the world because I live in Canada and there is a direct flight from London to Toronto?  Wait, if he is really working for Fedex he would probably at least have a flight on Fedex aircraft directly from England to Canada or at least the United States.  How did he end up in Burkina Faso in Africa? Was it a wrong turn?

4. If Daniel is already on route with my package, why does he need my name, address and phone number?  Fedex normally requires this information before anything can be moved.  With this large amount of money in prize winnings why would Fedex allow this package to hit the road and not hold it until they have confirmed with me my details.  Perhaps if Daniel and Fedex did this, Mr. Daniel would not have ended up in the middle of Africa.

5. Are "diplomats" not normally ambassadors or consul general like people?  Why would a diplomat with some foreign government to Great Britain be involved with some contest for a Blackberry.  If RIM, the maker of Blackberry, is involved, how about we just have RIM in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada just ship me something instead?  It would be just so much cheaper and obviously easier than to have Daniel come to Canada via Africa.   Daniel, I imagine, has much more important things to do including hobnobbing with Queen and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.  Heck, the Duke and Duchess could have saved Daniel so much time by dropping off my prize winnings when they arrived in Canada for their recent visit.

So with all the questions above, why in the heck would I send a reply really.  Mr. Daniel should be relieved of his duties by some foreign government for taking part in this contest.  Obviously he is not doing his duties for his country as he is globe trotting in search of myself in Canada for a contest. 

I haven't the heart to write back to Daniel.  He is so lost in his ways and obviously doesn't know what a diplomat is supposed to do.  He probably has better things to do with his time than visit little old me in Canada.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Another Hero in Aurora

Hero Certified Burgers on UrbanspoonThis past Canada Day weekend my family headed out for lunch at Hero Burger (15340 Bayview Avenue, Aurora). 

There were six of us with coupons for a free 4 OZ burger with the purchase of a fries and a soft drink.  The staff at this location was really friendly in answering my father's questions about the coupon in case he wanted a larger burger.  The deal was if you wanted a 6 OZ or 8 OZ burger all the customer would have to do is pay the difference in price from the 4 OZ burger. 

The Order:  (My order only): a 4 OZ Burger with a Pepsi and Fries. 

The order took about five minutes to be ready which, considering we were the only customers in the store when we entered, is pretty impressive.

The burger, fries and Pepsi themselves were the same great quality I have come to expect from Hero Burger.  Admittingly at this writing the Richmond Hill Yonge Street location was the only other location I had been too, I was a little worried.  Sometimes chain restaurants are hit and miss in terms of quality of food and service. Would Hero Burger be like other chain restaurants with different quality food and service from location to location?  No, it was exactly the same.  Great grilled burger with delicious fries as a great burger sidekick, just like Batman and Robin. 

Overall I continued to be impressed with Hero Burger.  This location easily handled the ordering process including coupons, custom making our burgers with toppings and ensuring we were seated and eating within ten minutes without any fuss.

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