Tag Archives: Something

McDonald's Just Quietly Introduced Something That's Shocking Its Customers. It's Going to Shock Competitors, Too
January 6, 2019 12:01 pm|Comments (0)

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

Tastes are changing, which means McDonald’s has to turn its vast tanker of frozen meat and fatty morsels in a new direction.

And almost a year ago, the chain announced that it’s creeping toward making Happy Meals healthier.

Now, though, there’s a new, quite astounding step.

I can already see parents delighting in the notion that their advertising-vulnerable kids can now eat a burger with no meat in it.

Sadly, not quite.

Instead, the chain is releasing the Happy Meal, featuring a wrap.

The wrap is a red pesto goujon tortilla wrap. Yes, it includes shredded lettuce. But, perhaps the greatest glory for McDonald’s traditionalists is that it’s still garnished with one of the world’s great food groups — tomato ketchup. 

This whole(some) thing is a mere 209 calories and has been approved by the Vegetarian Society.

What’s not to love? 

It seems that not everyone is moved by McDonald’s wrapping itself in an eco-friendly future.

Noted bulbously extreme bloviator Piers Morgan was appalled. On Twitter, he screeched

Oh FFS. It’s supposed to be a HAPPY meal.

Oddly, McDonald’s chose to reply. Morgan, you see, had also railed against bakery Greggs introducing a vegan sausage roll. Morgan called the bakery “PC-ravaged clowns.” 

Astutely, Greggs replied: 

Oh hello, Piers, We’ve been expecting you.

For its part, McDonald’s offered: 

Like our pals at the sausage roll place, we’ve been expecting you. Don’t worry Piers, you can still get McNuggets in your Happy Meal!

There’s no news that this “progressive” Happy Meal is coming to the U.S. 

It seems clear, though, that competitors will worry that McDonald’s is suddenly making itself acceptable to the audience of the concerned.

I leave (almost) the last words to McDonald’s.

After all, the most important thing here is that kids actually like its greener happiness. So yes, there’s a toy involved too:

We’ve teamed up with Pokemon to bring you a little bit of fun in every box. Plus, you can now choose a Fruit Bag instead of Fries.

Yes, a Pokemon toy and a Fruit Bag instead of Fries.

What more could a child of tomorrow want?

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An American Airlines Captain Just Did Something Resourceful and Kind for Every Single Passenger on His Flight. His Stunning Story Went Viral
September 9, 2018 12:00 pm|Comments (0)

Wichita Falls is a city of about 100,000 people in northeast Texas. It looks like there’s a lot of stunning natural beauty nearby.

But what the airport at Wichita Falls doesn’t have, apparently, is a place to get a nice meal near the airport, especially if 100 or more people unexpectedly show up all at once.

This became relevant last week, when American Airlines flight 2354 from Los Angeles to Dallas-Fort Worth was diverted there due to extreme thunderstorms. Passengers were looking at the likelihood of having to scramble to find a place to stay overnight, to say nothing of finding a bite to eat.

And the captain on their flight came up with a very simple solution.

In short, he called up the local Papa John’s and ordered 40 pizzas for his 159 passengers. As far as we know, he fronted the entire bill, $ 500 or more, himself. And his simple gesture went viral.

The captain’s name: Jeff Raines, according to CNN. His actions–in fact the moments when he found himself running back and forth from the terminal to the Papa John’s delivery car–was all captured on video by an airport worker named Josh Raines (no indication they’re related).

As Josh explained later in his Twitter feed, the passengers were going to travel the rest of the way to Dallas via bus. But Wichita Falls Municipal Airport is actually a mostly military airport, attached to Sheppard Air Force Base. It’s just not equipped for a sudden, unexpected influx of passengers.

Jeff Raines (the captain) apparently followed the whole thing up with an explanation on Facebook:

Thanks for the compliments however this was a “TEAM” effort. My First Officer was on the telephone with crew tracking / hotel desk arranging for our release and hotels for the entire crew.

The Flight Attendants manned a galley cart from the aircraft serving waters, juice, and sodas to all the passengers in the terminal. All while the Envoy SPS Personnel were arranging for a bus, re-booking flights, and answering a flurry of questions from these passengers.

Thanks to everyone for your help – there is no “I” in TEAM.

It’s unclear whether the passengers continued to Dallas via bus, as both Josh Raines and Jeff Raines seem to have suggested, or if they flew there the next morning, as American corporate P.R. says. I suspect it’s possible some passengers might have continued on to Dallas via bus; others waited for the flight the next day.

But the real point here is an airline employee taking it upon himself to do something that’s clearly not listed in the American Airlines handbook, but that has a lot of potential to increase passengers’ affinity for the airline.

We’ve seen this repeatedly lately, for example with the Southwest Airlines captain who rerouted a flight to enable a passenger to get an amazing photo of the Great American Eclipse in 2017, and the Southwest flight attendant who worked to allow a passenger who has Down syndrome to fulfill her dream, at least for a day, of working as a flight attendant.

These little actions help any business’s reputation, and they often pay big dividends. For its pilot’s $ 500 pizza outlay, American clearly got a lot more than $ 500 worth of brand equity or marketing.

It doesn’t even really matter if the passengers like pizza. Simply by making the effort, the captain bought goodwill.

“We are always proud of our crew members who take great care of our customers who fly on American Airlines,” American said in an email. “We are fortunate that our crew members are the best in the business.”

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How Trump Signed Something That Could Actually Mitigate Climate Change
July 8, 2018 6:38 am|Comments (0)

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise speaks to journalists around 5:30 am on Feb. 9 after the House narrowly passed a massive spending bill to reopen the government. The bill included a tax credit that could greatly help efforts to halt climate change. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

In an otherwise dour outlook on the world’s chances of recovering from climate change, the International Energy Agency director named one bright prospect that arrived this year bearing President Trump’s signature.

IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said the world is unlikely to achieve its Paris Agreement obligations without “major, huge technological breakthroughs,” but the 2018 federal budget could spur a breakthrough in carbon capture and sequestration.

“There is one political move recently that I should say, I welcome this strongly,” Birol said, fingering changes to the Section 45Q tax credit for carbon sequestration.

Carbon capture and sequestration was long the object of bipartisan neglect because Democrats didn’t want to extend the life of fossil fuels and Republicans didn’t want t0 admit to anthropogenic climate change. That began to change as the effects of climate change grew more palpable, and the chances dimmed of mitigating it without capturing carbon emissions.

So a bipartisan group of senators led by by Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), John Barrasso (R-WY), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) worked to strengthen a carbon capture tax credit that already existed in U.S. law. The old credit offered a $ 10 per ton credit for CO2 used for enhanced oil recovery and $ 20 for other permanent forms of sequestration.

The oil and gas industry backed efforts to boost the credit because drillers can pump CO2 into wells to force out oil and gas, then seal the wells, leaving the CO2 underground and benefiting from the tax credit.

The Senators’ effort was incorporated in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, which passed in the early morning of Feb. 9 after a nine-hour government shutdown and was signed by Trump later that day. The new law scales the tax credit as high as $ 35 for enhanced oil recovery and $ 50 for other forms of sequestration.

CCS is crucial to climate efforts, Birol said, because fossil fuels are not going away. Even though renewables have become cheaper and are being deployed at increasing rates, the percentage of energy that comes from fossil fuels is about the same as it was 30 years ago, he said–81 percent.

“There is one technology that can bring this fact together with the climate cause, and that is CCS,” Birol said. Investment into carbon capture has so far languished, representing only 0.1 percent of clean-energy investments.

“This is the reason I think this new tax credit in the U.S. may be the driver for it.”

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Are Flags Just a Piece of Cloth, or Are They a Powerful Symbol of Something Greater?
June 14, 2018 6:00 am|Comments (0)

This week is Flag Day, June 14. To Americans, the US Flag is an evocative image. It’s a symbol of our freedom, and of what others have sacrificed to ensure it. It can also be a symbol of protest. The US Supreme Court famously confirmed the right to burn the flag as an act of free speech, and nearly no one has missed the recent debate over standing versus kneeling during the national anthem at sporting events.

Non-national flags are powerful symbols, too. They represent ideals, movements, and aspirations. Even national flags can come to represent controversial issues, as the recent kneeling controversy in football reminded everyone.

No one can deny that flags are powerful symbols. Here are quotes that reflect on the power of flags to rouse passions, one way or another:

1. “The stars and stripes were fluttering bright against the rain, clear blue overhead, and their minds were saying the words before their ears heard them.” ― Laura Ingalls Wilder

2. “I see Americans of every party, every background, every faith who believe that we are stronger together: black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American; young, old; gay, straight; men, women, folks with disabilities, all pledging allegiance under the same proud flag to this big, bold country that we love.” ― President Barack Obama

3. “I believe our flag is more than just cloth and ink. It is a universally recognized symbol that stands for liberty, and freedom. It is the history of our nation, and it’s marked by the blood of those who died defending it.” ― Senator John Thune

4. “A true flag is not something you can really design. A true flag is torn from the soul of the people. A flag is something that everyone owns, and that’s why they work. The Rainbow Flag is like other flags in that sense: it belongs to the people.” ― Gilbert Baker

5. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” ― Colin Kaepernick

6. “Every red stripe in that flag represents the black man’s blood that has been shed.” ― Fannie Lou Hamer

7. “I long to be in the Field again, doing my part to keep the old flag up, with all its stars.” ― Joshua Chamberlain

8. “I prefer a man who will burn the flag and then wrap himself in the Constitution to a man who will burn the Constitution and then wrap himself in the flag.” ― Craig Washington

9. “The American flag represents all of us and all the values we hold sacred.” ― Adrian Cronauer

10. “Standing as I do, with my hand upon this staff, and under the folds of the American flag, I ask you to stand by me so long as I stand by it.” ― President Abraham Lincoln

11. “I don’t judge others. I say if you feel good with what you’re doing, let your freak flag fly.” ― Sarah Jessica Parker

12. “There is a strong tendency in the United States to rally round the flag and their troops, no matter how mistaken the war.” ― George McGovern

13. “America has been the country of my fond election from the age of thirteen, when I first saw it. I had the honour to hoist with my own hands the flag of freedom, the first time it was displayed, on the Delaware; and I have attended it with veneration ever since on the ocean.” ― John Paul Jones

14. “I just bought a Jeep painted like an American flag. No one better question how patriotic I am.” ― Blake Anderson

15. “When I see the Confederate flag, I see the attempt to raise an empire in slavery. It really, really is that simple. I don’t understand how anybody with any sort of education on the Civil War can see anything else.” ― Ta-Nehisi Coates

16. “I’m proud of the U.S.A. We’ve done some amazing things. To wear our flag in the Olympics is an honor.” ― Shaun White

17. “Burning the flag is a form of expression. Speech doesn’t just mean written words or oral words. It could be semaphore. And burning a flag is a symbol that expresses an idea – I hate the government, the government is unjust, whatever.” ― Antonin Scalia

18. “I can understand if you think that I’m disrespecting the flag by kneeling, but it is because of my utmost respect for the flag and the promise it represents that I have chosen to demonstrate in this way.” ― Megan Rapinoe

19. “If a jerk burns the flag, America is not threatened, democracy is not under siege, freedom is not at risk.” ― Gary Ackerman

20. “I savored my time on top of the podium by watching the American flag rise up out of the crowd as the anthem played, thinking about how every single second of training I’ve done was for this minute and how many people played a role in my achievement.” ― Hannah Kearney

21. “In most countries, you have a monarch or some other principal person to whom its officers and its military swear their allegiance. Our officials in this country and our military swear allegiance to the Constitution. We say that when we say the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag”. ― Edwin Meese

22. “For any athlete growing up, the Olympics is the one thing you watch with your family, and it’s the one thing you dream about. Seeing your country’s flag go up as you get a gold medal is the best thing you can achieve.” ― Abby Wambach

23. “I can take the steel guitars and fiddles off, we can make it a little more pop, cover ideas that are a little less cowboy. But you got to look at yourself in the mirror and ask, whose flag you are under? For Garth Brooks, I’m steel, fiddles, red, white and blue.” ― Garth Brooks

24. “If anyone, then, asks me the meaning of our flag, I say to him – it means just what Concord and Lexington meant; what Bunker Hill meant; which was, in short, the rising up of a valiant young people against an old tyranny to establish the most momentous doctrine that the world had ever known – the right of men to their own selves and to their liberties.” ― Henry Ward Beecher

25. “Our flag means all that our fathers meant in the Revolutionary War. It means all that the Declaration of Independence meant. It means justice. It means liberty. It means happiness…. Every color means liberty. Every thread means liberty. Every star and stripe means liberty.” ― Henry Ward Beecher

26. “There is not a thread in it but scorns self-indulgence, weakness and rapacity.” ― Charles Evans Hughes

27. “We identify the flag with almost everything we hold dear on earth, peace, security, liberty, our family, our friends, our home… But when we look at our flag and behold it emblazoned with all our rights we must remember that it is equally a symbol of our duties. Every glory that we associate with it is the result of duty done.” ― Calvin Coolidge

28. “‘Shoot, if you must, this old gray head, But spare your country’s flag,’” she said. ― John Greenleaf Whittier

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American Airlines Passenger: 'My Checked Bag Smells Awful, Like Something Died In It!' (Little Did She Know)
April 26, 2018 6:00 am|Comments (0)

Other than that, Mrs. Cannon, how was the flight? 

A lot of things went wrong on Leighton and Merry Cannon’s recent trip to Europe on American Airlines. But, as Merry Cannon said in a phone call, the worst part was probably right at the very end: when she discovered a dead rat in her checked luggage.

Yes, a dead rat–“smashed,” as she put it–yet hidden, so that she wasn’t sure what was creating the “disgusting” smell that came from her bag when she picked it up at the airport. She brought it home unwittingly, despite the odor, hoping to clean and salvage at least some of her clothes. 

“It smells like a dead body.”

The story began early March 5, as Merry Cannon told it. Her husband had a business trip in Germany and France, plus a short visit to London to see family. Since his mother was free to come to their house in Arkansas to take care of their two small children for a few days, Merry decided to go along. 

Travel troubles mounted quickly: delayed and canceled flights, missed connections, an unplanned overnight stay in Chicago after their flight to Germany left without them, while American tried to find room for them on any airplane to Europe. Ultimately they had to fly to Brussels, Belgium instead, forgo the German part of their trip, and arrange to drive a rental car to Lille, France.

When they arrived in Belgium, however, they found that their luggage had never left Chicago. It didn’t catch up to them until their last night in France, just before their morning flight to London to see family for the day before heading back to the U.S.

Eventually, they made it home to Arkansas, and Merry collected their bags. The smell now emanating from her luggage nearly knocked her over, she said.

“Smell this,” she said to her husband. 

“It smells awful!” he replied.

“It smells like a dead body.”

“It smells so gross.”

Maybe it’s “just” sewage waste from a lavatory

Leighton tried to sanitize the handle with Clorox wipes. They brought the bag to a customer service agent, who speculated that maybe it had been left on a runway in the rain at some point during the five days it took to catch up with her, and the smell was from mold.

Merry said she was skeptical, as they hadn’t noticed a smell when the luggage caught up to them in France. Perhaps, the customer service agent suggested, it had been stored under a lavatory on the plane, and sewage waste had dripped onto it.

Disgusted by that idea, Merry Cannon asked for a garbage bag or something to avoid taking the bag. But the agent told her the airline would only compensate her for destroyed luggage if she first brought everything home, tried to wash it, and offered evidence that it didn’t work.

The Cannons threw the bag in the back of their truck, and left it on the back porch of their house when they got home. The next morning, Merry Connor opened it, pulled out a few articles of clothing, and held her nose. She dropped them in the washing machine with vinegar, bleach, Tide, and OxiClean.

It barely had an effect. Disgusted, she walked back to the porch. And then she saw the dead rat.

Her reaction: “I’m surprised the people next door, building a house–the construction workers–didn’t call the police. I screamed, ran inside, started washing my hands over and over. I was just crying.”

“Your biggest concern would be bubonic plague”

She called American Airlines. They told her to photograph everything in the bag, and to put in a claim. The person she spoke with at the airline was apologetic, she said, and promised that the airline would pay for everything. 

Then she called the county health department.

“This is awful,” she said the health department official told her when she described the rat situation. “I’ve never heard of anything like this. Your biggest concern would be bubonic plague.”

“The plague? What am I, in a sitcom?” She thought about her two young children. Had she unwittingly brought a bubonic plague-infested rat into their home?

“Rats carry the plague,” the heath official told her. “Your other worry would be fleas. That’s what carries disease.” Later, he added, “Burning garbage is illegal, but that bag needs to be burned.”

Merry and Leighton took photos, and disposed of the bag and its contents. She said she hoped American Airlines would make her whole–at least for the actual value of the things she lost.

“I realize this is not the outcome you requested”

An American Airlines representative emailed her, saying the airline would pay her $ 1,648, “maximum liability set by the Montreal Convention … for a trip with an international flight.”

“I realize this is not the outcome you requested,” said the note, which was signed by a “specialist, central baggage,” in the Central Baggage Resolution Office. “[H]owever, I appreciate this opportunity to address your concerns and explain our position. We hope you will give American Airlines another chance to earn your business.”

I asked American Airlines for comment. Here’s their statement:

We have apologized and are not aware of any similar issues of a rat making its way into a checked bag before. While we are unable to determine if the issue occurred in the United States or overseas, we did apologize to the customer, and they were compensated earlier this month.

NOTE: Based on the Montreal Convention and applicable international tariffs, liability limitations for international travel are 1,131 Special Drawing Rights (SDR) per ticketed passenger. This applies to all airlines for international travel. SDR (Special Drawing Rights) is an International Monetary Fund unit of currency. SDR’s will be converted to U.S. Dollars using the rate in effect on the mishandled baggage settlement date. That is what was compensated. If you convert 1,131 to U.S. dollars, it is around $ 1,600.

It wasn’t enough, Merry Cannon replied. The bag itself was a Samsonite that cost $ 300, she said, and she had three pairs of boots that cost $ 200 each, “plus I had dressy clothes, and workout clothes.” Some of the things she’d brought were brand new, and stillahd the tags on them.

Cannon said she tried several more times to get someone from American to discuss her case, and see if she could get anything beyond the $ 1,600, but to no avail. Eventually, she posted the photo of the rat and her story on Facebook and Twitter.

“You could have just paid me for my bag, and none of this would have been out here,” she said. “I’m never flying with them again.”

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Burger King Just Did Something Amazing Purely To Help McDonald's (Or Did It?)
November 27, 2017 12:12 am|Comments (0)

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

It was a day like any other.

Customers streamed into Burger King and asked for a Whopper.

Except this wasn’t a day like any other, because Burger King’s staff told their customers that, on this particular day, they weren’t selling Whoppers.

Some customers were angry. Some even used extremely flame-grilled words. 

What on earth was going on?

This was November 10 in Argentina. McDonald’s had designated this day as McHappy Day. 

On McHappy Day, all the money made from selling Big Macs was given to kids suffering from cancer.

So in every one of the 107 Burger Kings in Argentina, staff were instructed not to sell Whoppers and to direct customers to their nearest McDonald’s in order to buy a Big Mac.

It felt so public-spirited and many were seemingly impressed.

Burger King was, though, walking an extremely thin line here.

By making a video of its apparent good-heartedness, it was clearly trying to pat itself on the commercial back.

In the video, you might notice one Burger King employee make a disparaging comment about McDonald’s: “The place where they don’t flame-grill their burgers.”

Moreover, the sight of Burger King’s King character going to McDonald’s to buy a Big Mac smacked of, well, marketing.

Clever marketing, you might think. But marketing, all the same.

Burger King could have simply made a donation of its own to the good cause. It might have decided to give all the profits from Whopper sales to the same charities as McDonald’s.

Instead, some might conclude that it piggybacked more overtly on McDonald’s day.

This isn’t the first time that Burger King has tried to engage with its larger rival.

A couple of years ago in New Zealand, Burger King suggested that it and McDonald’s share a Peace Day and jointly create a McWhopper.

At first, McDonald’s wasn’t moved. And then, it still wasn’t moved, but created its own campaign to help refugees. 

Who benefited most? Well, Burger King enjoyed worldwide publicity.

It also won a lot of awards from the advertising industry for its idea.

Some good deeds are just that. Others, well, there’s a gray area.

Especially when there’s marketing involved.

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Amazon's cloud boss told us something that should terrify a $140 billion industry
March 12, 2016 6:15 pm|Comments (0)

… it all from cloud computing vendors. That spells bad news for companies like IBM, HP, Dell, EMC, Cisco, the hardware makers selling companies the …


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Facebook is down, go do something more fun while it recovers [Update: It’s back!]
February 4, 2016 6:15 am|Comments (0)

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 12.37.14 PM
Facebook is down for many users around the world, according to DownDetector.co.uk and reports on Twitter. It’s the second outage within a week for the social network, and many people are unable to log in and view those critical status messages, Pages and other updates. These problems don’t tend to last too long, but we’ve asked Facebook for a statement on the situation and will update here when normal service resumes. Until then, go fly a kite or something. Update: An intermittent service is coming back for some users but the site still isn’t back to normal. Some users are also still…

This story continues at The Next Web


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