Category Archives: Just For Fun

Why I won’t be getting my ten bucks from RedBull

I definitely downed a few RedBulls between 2002-2014, but I won’t be asking for ten bucks from the company, which announced last week that it was settling a lawsuit for $13 million by giving away free cash and energy drinks to anybody who had bought a RedBull during that time.

The class action lawsuit alleged that RedBull didn’t really give you wings, as its commercials advertised. More specifically, the suit asserted that contrary to the company’s marketing claims, drinking a RedBull didn’t do anything more for somebody than drinking a cup of coffee.

Speaking of coffee – is this the McDonald’s hot coffee lawsuit of our generation?

Actually, I would say it’s worse, because a woman was actually seriously injured when she spilled a scalding cup of joe between her legs. Some guy out there (i.e. Benjamin Careathers, the main plaintiff) habitually downs caffeinated beverages and wonders why he’s not getting that sudden “jolt” of performance he was hoping for? All of a sudden he’s an injured party and needs to be made whole?

The settlement included an additional $4.75 million to cover attorney’s fees according to Law360, making the total payout nearly $18 million for Austria-based RedBull. Clearly, the company thought it had something to lose by going to court – although as a general matter I wish companies would not settle so easily and instead make the opposition beat them in court. Energy drinks have come under increasing scrutiny in recent years, so maybe it’s not a shock that something like this is happening now.

And maybe Careathers is right that RedBull’s advertising is misleading; that it oversold the benefits of its product. The problem with the lawsuit is – doesn’t every ad campaign do that?

I won’t be claiming my ten bucks from RedBull on the site they’ve set up to distribute the funds. Mostly because I don’t believe in the lawsuit, but secondarily, because they’re may not be much money left after the bonanza that was this story hit the net last week. Traffic to the settlement web page was so heavy that the site crashed, and the money will be divided by the number of people actually requesting the free money or product, meaning the payout could end up being just a few bucks per person when all is said and done. The $13 million figure does not even factor in the cost of administering the class action settlement, which is handled by a company which specializes in that sort of thing.

Who knows, with all the publicity RedBull is getting, and the public’s general interpretation of this suit (‘of course RedBull doesn’t give you wings!) this may be one of the most effective ad campaigns, dollar for dollar, the company has ever managed.

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Filed under Just For Fun, Legal Matters

O-Liminator

Good customer service is aways rarer than you’d like, so sometimes I like to recognize it when it happens. The other week I bought a product called “O-liminator,” designed to keep your shoes smelling oh-so-fresh. I’ve been working out a lot recently and needed something for my running shoes.

You put a little sachet filled with pellets in each shoe which absorbs moisture and emits a pleasant, clean-smelling odor. Pretty basic, but pretty cool if it actually works. And these little guys have worked very well so far.

Unfortunately, one of the little packets came open, and I couldn’t use it anymore. Today I called the customer service line listed on the package and described what happened. A live voice picked up after a couple rings and politely asked how he could help, then listened to my explanation and my request for a replacement product. I half wondered if I was talking to to the owner of the company, such was the demeanor of the man on the other end of the line. He was curious about what happened, explained that very rarely that does happen, and took my mailing information to send me a new set of O-liminators, which he assured me would arrive next week. He thanked me for calling.

Even though one of the packets came apart in the first set, I liked how they worked well enough to buy a second set only a few days ago. They’re a bit expensive (I paid around ten bucks for one pair), but I think they’ll extend the life of my shoes, not to mention make them smell a lot better! The customer service today has given me a good impression of the company, one that is proud to stand behind their product.

Cheers.

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Filed under Just For Fun, Personal Living

Alive

and well. This weekend I went to LA to see my sister get married. Then, a couple stacked days of school. I miss blogging daily.  Need to get back to it. Here’s a preview of my next post, to publish later tonight:

I’ve lost 40 pounds in 4 months. How did I do it? Diet and exercise, naturally. A lot of people complimented my new appearance and some asked how I accomplished my goals. I’ve sketched out on paper a few very basic guidelines and practical bits of wisdom that enabled me to shed the weight and start looking and feeling better. If you don’t have any problems in this area of life, you may still find some of what I’ll share to be interesting. For those who would like to slim down a bit, then hopefully this post may be of some service.

Stay tuned!

P.S. Oh yeah, and I’ll try to post some “before and after” pics!

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Filed under Just For Fun, Personal Living, Principally Political

And they call it Donny love-love…

My mother is very excited. Donny Osmond is hosting his very own radio show. Will Marie and the Osmond Brothers appear?

~ H.A.

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Filed under Entertainment, Just For Fun, Music

How do you fight a bureaucracy?

There are a few topics I’d like to catch up on – my trip to Casa Bonita, responding to a shout-out from my friend Kitty in Denver, reviewing a few excellent pieces of commentary that were linked to on Real Clear Politics yesterday and today, and offering my thoughts on the White House’s attack on my favorite political columnist, the Pulitzer Prize-winning, Harvard MD-earning, Charles Krauthammer.

However, all that takes a back seat for a moment. Because today, the behemoth bureaucracy of a certain institution of higher education has declared war on me. Long story short, they’re saying I owe something that I do not believe I owe. [UPDATE: Note: My frustrations with the bureaucracy do not stem solely from this incident, nor am I intending to refer specifically to any individual directly involved with this incident. While this episode has frustrated me, I am largely speaking in general terms here].

My question is, how do you fight against a bureaucracy? How do you overcome the inertia of an institutional system? How do you out-maneuver a mind-numbingly absurd net of incompetent or impotent administrators, impersonal or even adversarial employees, circular system loops and perpetual paperwork? Is it possible? Or, should I just remember the old adage that “you can’t fight city hall” and fork over the bucks?

If you have your own story of fighting a bureaucracy – particularly any higher education institution – I would like to hear your story. If it’s compelling and you want to spotlight the issue, I’ll consider publishing it. At the very least, you’ll have someone to feel your pain.

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Filed under Education, Just For Fun, Personal Living

Happy Thanksgiving

Nothing political today – just Happy Thanksgiving wishes!

I’m in Denver, Colorado for the holiday, staying with family. This morning, ten of us gathered in the living room to talk, drink coffee and admire the new baby in the family. It was a good time. 

This afternoon we’ll have a Thanksgiving meal, and apparently a nearby outlet mall is opening up early for Black Friday, at 10pm. I’m not much of a shopper but I did find a couple good deals there the last time I went, so perhaps I’ll join the group for another outing this year. 

This Thanksgiving, find happiness in finding things to be thankful for.

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Filed under Just For Fun

North Face gets punked

In today’s issue of The Maneater, the student newspaper at the University of Missouri, there’s an article about a college freshman who started a clothing line by the name of South Butt. It started as a spoof of the popular apparel comapny North Face. Now, the company has ordered him to cease and desist, alleging trademark infringement and the like. (The article, especially the quotes traded by the attorneys, is hilarious.)

Now, I first saw the name “South Butt” in Columbia a few weeks ago, I think in The District (that’s “downtown” to all you non-CoMo folks), maybe on a sign or something. It seemed pedantic and mildly crass and if the North Face connection even registered with me at the time, it was only a vague kind of awareness.

Now that I’ve learned more about Jimmy Winklemann and his story, I’m backing this company and its product line. Here’s his explanation of how he got started:

“Freshman Jimmy Winklemann started the compnay two years ago after being annoyed by the popularity of The North Face brand. ‘In St. Louis, lots of high school and grade school kids were wearing them,’ Winklemann said. ‘No one was climbing a mountain in their North Face jackets. They just wanted to be cool.’ “

Let me tell you that this is exactly how I felt during my high school years. Rich kids and their upper-middle class peers walking around with a North Face fleece on, complete with a North Face backpack, to which was strapped a Nalgene bottle, preferably with a caribeaner somewhere in the mix, and at least one Dave Matthews patch on their bag or bumper sticker on their car. Ab-so-lute-ly re-freaking-diculous.

 Keep in mind, this was in the topographically and elevationally-challenged Midwest, and while some of these young lads and lassies surely traveled around the world, the majority of them were not engaging in the sort of intense geo-recreational adventures of the kind North Face has built an image on. You know, like the “coldest, most unforgiving side of a mountain” in the Himalayas, according to their corporate website.

Lots of good stuff to dig in on here…..Maybe I can get Winklemann to do a podcast interview with me or something.

One thing that jumped out at me though was that this whole thing would have gone away a lot quicker for North Face had they simply been able to buy him out early. Winkelmann said he has only taken in around $5,000 annually. Maybe he would have taken a quick check for three or four times that to sign over the company to North Face and let it die in oblivion? Now the controversey will only increase exposure and grow his business.

Now the next question is, can Winklemann find a way to punk the DMB?

And oh yeah, I almost forgot.

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Filed under Business and Commerce, Just For Fun