ASK Musings

No matter where you go, there you are.

Monthly Archive: March 2008



March 2008



Please. Stop

Written by , Posted in Random

Dear Ad Company Handling Dunkin’ Donuts:

Please Stop.

Stop. Please. I get what you’re going for. It may even be working, with some people. But it’s really annoying, and false. You’re going for this all-american, nutrition-be-damned, just feel good and eat crap demographic. And clearly, it is a large demographic. Intelligence is uncool; lowest common denominator is awesome. Starbucks is snobby; Dunkin’ Donuts is AMERICAN.

Except? It’s not. It’s really quite icky. And a bit condescending.

What bothers me at the moment is the latest ad campaign, picking on the fact that Starbucks uses those pretentious venti / grande labels for their sizes. And I fully admit that they are silly, but they are also a branding thing. The words we use for most coffee drinks originate in other languages; they extended it to the sizes. Not sure if I would go for it, and it certainly also panders to a type. But there’s some thought behind it.

As opposed to what we have at Dunkin’ Donuts. They’ve built a campaign around how silly it is that one has to order in ‘another language’ at other places, but not at Dunkin’ Donuts. Order in AMERICAN, damn it. Except Latte?  The drink you specifically mention in the ads? That’s from Italian for ‘milk’. It’s like no one bothered to think it through. You still have to order in another language, even at Dunkin’ Donuts. So really, its irrelevant.

Also? America doesn’t run on Dunkin’. America’s collective BMI increases on Dunkin’. America’s blood pressure and cholesterol runs on Dunkin’.

So . . . 

Please.  Stop.



March 2008



UPS = Unbelievably Poor Service

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As you know, Kate and Richard are now married. One of the benefits of a wedding (besides a lifetime of happiness with your one true love) is getting gifts. Kate was low key in this respect as well, registering for a few basics – nothing fancy, and nothing electric, thanks to compatibility issues – from Williams Sonoma.  Kate lives in a basement apartment in a brownstone – no vestibule, no doorman. Any boxes left would be essentially left on the sidewalk. In Brooklyn.

When Kate registered in the store (I was a witness), she kindly inquired as to whether Williams Sonoma could hold the gifts until she had a better, firmer shipping location option. Since she’ll be moving to England in a couple of months, and due to the aforementioned lack of a doorman or a suburban dwelling, this made perfect sense. Williams Sonoma demurred, saying that they don’t do that. Okay. Unfortunately, they also choose to ship with UPS, a company that a) doesn’t deliver on weekends, and b) has customer service ineptitude possibly only rivaling Sprint circa 2001 (when they gave me the wrong area code, then changed the number, making it look like I’d cancelled the contract, thus shutting off my phone).  

Kate was gone for two weeks for the wedding and honeymoon. She asked her landlord/neighbor (Kate’s been renting from the same single-family homeowners for over 10 years) if they might be kind enough to bring in a box if they saw one. Nope. They’re far too busy managing the nanny that cares for the two young children while the mother doesn’t have a job. (Too judgmental?)

Anyway, Kate called UPS and asked them to hold all packages while she was gone. She was told by the main number that she’d have to talk to the local office. When she asked for that number, the main number customer ‘service’ representative couldn’t be bothered to find it. Good times.

Kate returned from her two weeks to discover not a note on the door from UPS nor a box anywhere. Which would seem great – they held the stuff! Nope. After making some calls to Williams Sonoma, it seems that about a half-dozen gifts purchased from her registry – some as far back as January – were delivered, but since Williams Sonoma doesn’t require a signature, UPS just left them. On the sidewalk. In Brooklyn. Needless to say, Kate never received any of these things. Some lucky people are enjoying a gift card, some place settings and I’m sure a lovely set of cutlery.

Williams Sonoma has now changed it so she has to sign for all deliveries, AND they are going to honor the purchases and re-ship them, which makes sense to me. What doesn’t make sense is not having ‘signature required’ be the default for deliveries. Isn’t that the explicit reason why one chooses a non-USPS shipping service? Ship it ground via USPS and it’ll cost a bit more AND you have to fill out a bunch of forms to get return receipt, signature, etc. But with UPS, isn’t the appeal cheaper shipping and the ostensible security?

What’s worse – UPS claims they are unable to look up deliveries by address. So, if anyone purchased something for her that wasn’t on her registry, and had it shipped UPS (which so many online retailers use), she has no way of knowing that it was delivered and got lost.

So lame.



March 2008



Pure Joy

Written by , Posted in Adventures

Two of my dearest friends got married to each other on Saturday, and it was so wonderful. I got into town on Thursday, and was able to see Richard, who I hadn’t seen since late summer, and Kate and her mother and sister. Kate found those of us traveling solo places to stay at her friend’s home, which was so thoughtful, and fits her so, so well. She’s just that person. She also found a great hotel nearby where everyone else could stay without breaking the bank (considering it was a ‘destination wedding.’) The whole weekend was just great – we all received welcome bags in our rooms, with snacks and brochures of things to do during the weekend, especially since the wedding wasn’t until six Saturday night.

Friday those of us who were in town had a lunch at Kate’s dads, and then went to the Arch. I am a bit mortified to say that I thought it was white and made out of stone – nope. It’s made out of metal. And it looks it. Anyway, you get in and the travel up the arch is inside this Dr. Evil-type pod that allegedly seats five. The view from the top shows just how flat the area is. And it’s quite tiny up inside, but totally worth the $10.  


The wedding itself was great. Kate’s been a low-key bride all the way. She’s not anti-tradition, she just didn’t feel the need to do the things that she might not enjoy. She didn’t invite everyone people might think one “has” to invite – she and Richard invited those closest to them, and that was it, so the wedding was very intimate. The ceremony took about seven minutes, because they said vows, exchanged rings, and were done. No readings, no songs. That’s not to say those things are bad, they just didn’t fit Richard and Kate, and I think it’s so great that they chose to do it their way so that they would feel comfortable. Best part? No bouquet toss, because Kate said she always felt it was a bit humiliating. I can see the fun in it, but I also see her point, and appreciate that she didn’t do it just because it’s what you do,

I’m at a loss for words to describe exactly how good a time was had. Everyone – every person I met who was at the wedding – was so fun and kind.  Considering all of the time we spent together – lunch, rehearsal dinner, wedding, brunch on Sunday – I didn’t tire of talking to anyone. The people were all genuine, some were sarcastic, some were sweet, but all of them cared about Kate and Richard, and it was a privilege to witness.