Tuesday, 3 December 2013

My Christmas wish list!

As a professional in his 30s...
So I have put some effort into making Xmas list for this year as I know I will soon be hassled by family about what I want. Here are a few things on my list for this year:

A large quantity of Wagyu beef;

Ferrari 599 (slightly used) I just love this car;

Patek Philippe skeleton watch;

Bottle of shipwrecked 1907 Heidsieck champagne;

A day with a Victoria’s Secret model;

110” UHD Samsung TV (I’ll take the 90” if the 110’ is sold out);

The James Bond Archives by Taschen;

A trip to Tahiti;

Bottle of Macallan’s 50 year-old scotch (Fine, I’ll settle for a 30);

A Half case of Mission Haut-Brion with 2 bottles each from 1995, 2000 and 2005;

Case of Greycliff Cigars (So hard to find these days);

18 karat gold, silver spazio, and dinosaur bone cufflinks by Tateossian;

Waterford decanter with old fashioned and rock glasses;

Wine of the month club;

A Pair of Alexander McQueen slippers;

Google Glass (once again being a Canadian has an apparent downside);

A Coin Card Consolidator (This thing is cool);

A large volume of Gallium (This will probably turn out like playing with mercury as a kid, apparently it’s bad for you); and

A 3D printer.

Friday, 29 November 2013

All that is wrong with Black Friday sales.

Long but please read!

It sickens me to hear and see what is happening in the US with regards to the Black Friday sales. Large corporate retailers need to take responsibility and fix all that is fundamentally wrong with this type of marketing. Here is what is fundamentally wrong with the Black Friday shopping even in America:

For some time now, roughly since 2005 but more so since the economic downturn in 2008, retailers have been looking at ways to get consumers to spend. Since 2008 consumers in the user have been counting pennies more than ever and as such they start looking for deals on their purchases. I clear example of this is the couponing craze that became really big in 2010.

Immediately retailers started putting on sales to entice consumers to buy more. However retailers were also suffering losses to their bottom lines due to this downturn. Putting on sales may mean more customers but it also means narrower margins. Along with the price of oil, consumer products started to rise in price. Retailers struck deals with manufacturers to produce identical products but with unique model numbers for individual retailers; this eliminated price comparisons.  At the same time they asked for the manufacturers to increase the MSRP by as much as 50%.

The common assumption is that retailers stock up on goods and then mark down the ones that don't sell, taking a hit to their profits. But that isn't typically how it plays out. Instead, big retailers work backward with their suppliers to set starting prices that, after all the markdowns, will yield the profit margins they want.

The red cardigan sweater with the ruffled neck on sale for more than 40% off at $39.99 was never meant to sell at its $68 starting price. It was designed with the discount built in.

To simplify this let’s look at this example: The MSRP on a widget is $100. After the retailers asked the manufacturers to increase it by 50%, the MSRP is now $150. Previously when the retailer put the item on sale for 50% off the price would have dropped down $50. Now when it goes on sale for 50% off it is $75 (50% more than what it was previously on sale for). The retailer has now made or saved 50% more on the sale and this goes to their bottom line.

Now that the pricing structure has been solved the next issue is how to get customers to buy. The retailers understand that when items aren’t on sale people won’t buy and the cost of doing business is calculated as such. Retailers started to look for a period when they could capture the most customers. That period is the day after Thanksgiving when a large majority of the nation has the day off.

Advertising is one of the largest overheads for retailers. Being able to target up to 80% of your marketing budget to one single day is highly cost effective and rewarding. Also in 2013 this is very important. Consumers are more aware than ever to the true costs of goods, thanks mostly to social networking. In an effort to counter act the effects of this retailers use basically bait and switch tactics to get people to their stores. Examples of a $3000 TV for $800 (limit 1 per store) or designer jeans for $20 limited quantities. These tactics get people into the store and the assumption is that the cost of basically giving away a TV is recouped by the fact that the unlucky customer will feed of the frenzy and feel compelled to make a purchase anyway. After all most of the consumers are shopping for gifts for the holidays.

Now when you take this formula for sales and marketing and add it up, what do you get? You get a large population in a recession that is desperate to save a penny and have the opportunity to provide for their families during the holidays. Families and individuals save all year for this event and they are desperate to maximize the value for money.

Most people can’t afford a $3000 TV but a whole lot of people can save up $800 over the year and take a chance on getting that one TV per store. You see the same thing with toy companies peddling their wares in short supply at the holidays. And with the social pressure on kids these days, parents feel the need to deliver on the “best” toys of the season.

So now you have a large portion of the populous trying to get the best value for money, and a large group of parents trying to deliver the toys their kids “need” to maintain social status. The result? Very large mobs of thousands of people all trying to be the first through the door to get a chance at that TV, pair of jeans, or toy.

By the very nature of mob psychology, people get caught up in the frenzy and it becomes every person for themselves.  People get trampled and crushed; fights break out over the last item; people fear for their lives and pepper spray comes out; people become selfish and motivated and the pepper spray comes out. It’s bad. It is also the same way that riots get started.

This is not how civilized humans should treat each other. Retailers need to take responsibility for this. How much profit do they need? The fact that people are losing their lives is all the proof I need to know that this has to change. It is sick. I am sick to my stomach that I participated in this, albeit online, but nevertheless.

I don’t know what the right answer is but I am open to listen and will join any movement to fix all that is fundamentally wrong with shopping events like Black Friday sales.

-        -  N

Monday, 25 November 2013

Quickest way to piss me off? Apparently it's going through a McDonald's drive thru

McDonald's drive through every morning when I get my coffee and oatmeal. I order the same thing 5 days a week and apparently it is the most complicated combination of things that one could order from McDonald's.

"Would you like to try a mocha for only a dollar."
"No. I'll have a large coffee with one cream and an oatmeal without fruit."
"So one mocha with 2 creams and and oatmeal cookie. That will be $2.19 at the next window."
"No that's not what I ordered. I'll have one large coffee with one cream and an oatmeal without fruit."
"We don't sell fruit here sir."
"You put fruit in the oatmeal. I don't want any fruit in the oatmeal."
"I'm sorry did you want and oatmeal also."
"Yes. With no fruit."
"Ok so one mocha with 2 creams an oatmeal cookie and one Oatmeal. Please drive...."
"For fuck's sake NO! I want a large coffee with one cream and an oatmeal without fruit."
"Ok. Please drive ahead to the next window."
"I'm not going anywhere until we sort this out. You are just going to give me the wrong order again."
"Sorry sir did you have an order you wanted to exchange?"
"What? No. I just want one large coffee with one cream and an oatmeal without fruit. Please"
"Ok sir so that was a large coffee with one cream and an oatmeal without fruit. That'll will be $4.20. Please drive ahead"
"Finally. Thank you."
What did I get this morning? I got a very very creamy large mocha and an oatmeal with fruit. Every. Fucking. Goddamn. Day.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Self Serve at the Bar

So this happened last night… Not really funny but I honestly don’t remember a fucking thing from this night.

 I was walking by my usual watering hole last night and the owner Peter came running out yelling my name. He said we needed to talk. Talks with Peter don’t usually go well.

“Hey I have a complaint letter upstairs from a girl and her friend who said they came in an ordered some cocktails but the large bartender with the shaved head insisted that the bar only servers double vodka sodas. I don’t have a large bartender with a shaved head. I thought there were making it up so I checked the cameras and it was fucking you. Don’t go behind the fucking bar!” Peter yelled at me.

“So were they upset?” I asked.

“They were too fucking drunk to drive home and want me to pay for their cab fare” snapped Peter.

“Sounds to me like they had a pretty good time. You’re welcome” I replied.

“Welcome? I have complaint letters about you. You can’t go behind the bar. Look you’re welcome to come in anytime you want, just don’t go behind the bar and serve my customers” said Peter.

“Perhaps if the service wasn’t so fucking terrible these things wouldn’t happen” I remarked

“You can’t come in and get drunk like that…” started Peter

“Isn’t that the idea of going to a fucking bar Peter? Besides I am your number one customer” I quipped.

“Look, just take it easy when you come in to the bar” Peter said.

“When did this allegedly happen?” I asked.

“Saturday” he responded.

“Oh, yeah, I was pretty messed up Saturday so I can neither confirm nor deny that these alleged things took place” I said.

“I have you on camera” remarked Peter.

“Meh, doesn’t mean anything. Look, it sounds like everyone had a good time and no one got hurt. I also can’t promise that this won’t happen again. Kind of like when you made me promise to not sleep with anymore of your waitresses. I don’t want to lie to you anymore. Some things just aren’t going to change” I stated.

“What the fuck? Are you still banging my servers? No wonder I have to keep hiring new ones. It’s probably best you don’t come around for a while” Peter snarled.

“Yeah sounds good. See you on Saturday. Tequila and a beer?”

Peter just walked away.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Strict No Shoplifting Policy

Now if more people did this, I'm sure less people would shoplift. We have just become too soft as a society

House Rules

As Christmas is comping up soon and I will no undoubtedly be having another party. I am reminded that while most people send their friends invitations, I have to send rules. 

From past experience I have come to conclude that my friends are horrible human beings when they drink. To ensure the festivities are fun for everyone I have put together this short list of 51 house rules. 

House Rules:
2. Don’t be a dick… No DRINKING and DRIVING.
3. Don’t break my shit.
4. Clothing is optional (it is my option to decide who can remove their clothing).
5. Wine in a glass. If I have given you a drink in a red plastic cup it is because I know you and you can't be trusted with glass like the big kids. Now deal with you shame and drink your drink
6. If you are going to leave your shoes on make sure they are clean and won’t scratch my hardwood. Ladies, if you are wearing high heels, I like it when you keep your shoes on!
7. Kiss. Kiss everyone. Make new friends and have a good time.
8. Everyone is free to expose their anatomy.
9. Say “NO” to cockblocking.
10. Puke in the TOILET, then leave. Your body has had all the fun it can handle for the night.
11. No butt sex in the kitchen.
12. Don’t be a boring bitch.
13. Each shot of tequila will make everyone look 10% hotter. FACT!.
14. Poor decisions make great stories.
15. Don’t fuck on my couch.
16. If it is in my liquor cabinet and looks expensive and you don’t think you can afford to replace it, DON’T FUCKING OPEN IT!
17. If you don’t like someone then don’t talk to them. Grow the fuck up and deal with it.
18. Don’t do stupid shit if you don’t want someone to post it and tag you on Facebook.
19. If there is only you, a hot chick and me left at the party, that is your subtle hint to GET THE FUCK OUT! Don’t be that guy… please refer to rule number 9.
20. If you are a guy and you bring a date, then bring a single girl for the rest of us.
21. If you are a girl and you bring a date, then bring a single girl for the rest of us.
22. If someone is “too drunk and decides to take of their clothes or make out with the “strange” guy, they made that choice when they decided to get “too” drunk. It’s not like we don’t know how we act when we get drunk. We’re not 16 anymore. Also please refer to rule number 9.
23. If the butter leaves the kitchen it shall not be returned to the kitchen.
24. If you pass out, bad things will happen to you. Do not expect an apology.
25. Don’t ask what is in the “jungle juice”. If you have to ask then it’s not for you. It WILL get you drunk as fuck. FACT!
26. Don’t touch the fucking music. If you don’t like this song just wait. A new one comes on in 3 minutes. I promise.
27. If you are bringing additional guests, let me know. I want to make sure there is enough alcohol.
28. If a toothbrush falls in the toilet it's automatically a shoe washer and the Host should be informed ASAP.
29. When borrowing my clothing there is definitely a RETURN policy. If you are a hot woman we can arrange another evening for you to come over and return said clothing.
30. Don’t whine, complain, groan etc… I don’t give a fuck and neither does anyone else.
31. No weed inside, grow up and do coke like an adult. Or just enjoy getting a little drunk and having a good time with friends.
32. Do not stop anyone from dancing. The appropriate response is to join them. NO FUCKING CONGA LINES!
33. Toast before shots
34. The stripper pole is not for guys. I don’t know why I always have to remind people of this.
35. If you touch it you eat it. Don’t be that person.
36. If you are fighting with your significant other, leave them at home or don’t come. Ain’t nobody got time for that shit.
37. Cameras are for chicks. Any men doing “selfies” will be kicked in the junk and asked to leave.
38. Don’t be the DD (Dull Dick aka Designated Driver). Make other plans to get home. If you can’t afford a cab, you can’t afford to be at my party.
39. In the event twister happens, it is always strip Twister rules. No exceptions.
40. If your GF wants to make out with another chick, it is your obligation to help it happen.
41. Dress like an adult not a tween or Justin Bieber. Costumes are also acceptable. French maid, Strawberry Shortcake, Slutty Nurse, Naughty Cop…. Get the picture?
42. Ladies, wear some sexy lingerie as there is always a good chance you will be taking your clothes off and granny panties aren’t going to cut it.
43. Just because I provide the booze doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t bring a bottle sometimes.
44. When in doubt kiss the girl. It may work out for you or the rest of us may get to watch your heart break. Either way it’s a win-win.
45. Hooter shooters. You are never too old.
46. If you are drunk and hurt yourself it is funny and that is why people are laughing at you. Shake it off and grab another drink.
47. If you can’t piss in the toilet without getting it everywhere then sit down. You are not a real man anyway.
48. If the cops come I am going to lie and say I don’t know any of you.
49. Making a strange woman a drink is not a bad idea. Help the host out and don’t let pretty ladies go thirsty.
50. If you bring booze to a party, you must drink it or leave it.

One too many!

For some reason this reminds me so much of one of my exes. Have had so much alcohol you used the cat flap to enter your house and pass out half way through?

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

How to be a F%#king Man

We’ve all seen and perhaps grown tired of guides and lists that are rife with tedious clichés and full of humdrum regurgitated meme wisdom.  
For that very reason, @GSElevator — in collaboration with John Carney (@Carney) of CNBC.com — presents a fresh, and hopefully thoughtful, look at what it means to be a man today.
·         Stop talking about where you went to college.
·         Always carry cash.  Keep some in your front pocket.
·         Rebel from business casual. Burn your khakis and wear a suit or jeans.
·         It’s okay to trade the possibility of your 80s and 90s for more guaranteed fun in your 20s and 30s.
·         The best public restrooms are in hotels: The St. Regis in New York, Claridge’s in London, The Fullerton in Singapore, to name a few.
·         Never stay out after midnight three nights in a row … unless something really good comes up on the third night.
·         You will regret your tattoos.
·         Never date an ex of your friend.
·         Join Twitter; become your own curator of information.
·         If riding the bus doesn't incentivize you to improve your station in life, nothing will.
·         Time is too short to do your own laundry.
·         When the bartender asks, you should already know what you want to drink.
·         If you perspire, wear a damn undershirt.
·         You don’t have to like baseball, but you should understand the concept of what a pitcher’s ERA means.  Approach life similarly.
·         When people don’t invite you to a party, you really shouldn’t go. And sometimes even when you are invited, you shouldn’t go.
·         People are tired of you being the funny, drunk guy.
·         When in doubt, always kiss the girl.
·         Tip more than you should.
·         You probably use your cell phone too often and at the wrong moments.
·         Buy expensive sunglasses.  Superficial? Yes, but so are the women judging you. And it tells these women you appreciate nice things and are responsible enough not to lose them.
·         If you want a nice umbrella, bring a shitty one to church.
·         Do 50 push-ups, sit-ups, and dips before you shower each morning.
·         Eat brunch with friends at least every other weekend. Leave Rusty and Junior at home.
·         Be a regular at more than one bar.  
·         Act like you’ve been there before.  It doesn’t matter if it’s in the end zone at the Super Bowl or on a private plane.
·         A glass of wine or two with lunch will not ruin your day.
·         It’s better if old men cut your hair.  Ask for Sammy at the Mandarin Oriental Barbershop in Hong Kong.  He can share his experiences of the Japanese occupation, or just give you a copy of Playboy.
·         Learn how to fly-fish.  
·         No selfies. Aspire to experience photo-worthy moments in the company of a beautiful woman.
·         Own a handcrafted shotgun.  It’s a beautiful thing.
·         There’s always another level. Just be content knowing that you are still better off than most who have ever lived.
·         You can get away with a lot more if you're the one buying the drinks.
·         Ask for a salad instead of fries.
·         Don’t split a check.
·         Pretty women who are unaccompanied want you to talk to them.
·         Cobblers will save your shoes. So will shoe trees.
·         When a bartender buys you a round, tip double. 

·         The cliché is that having money is about not wasting time. But in reality, money is about facilitating spontaneity.
·         Be spontaneous.
·         Find a Times New Roman in the streets and a Wingdings in the sheets. She exists.
·         Piercings are liabilities in fights.
·         Do not use an electric razor.
·         Desserts are for women. Order one and pretend you don’t mind that she’s eating yours.
·         Buy a tuxedo before you are thirty. Stay that size.
·         One girlfriend at a time is probably enough.
·         #StopItWithTheHastags
·         Your ties should be rolled and placed in a sectioned tie drawer.
·         Throw parties. But have someone else clean up the next day.
·         You may only request one song from the DJ.
·         Measure yourself only against your previous self.
·         Take more pictures.  With a camera.
·         Place-dropping is worse than name-dropping.
·         When you admire the work of artists or writers, tell them. And spend money to acquire their work.

·         Your clothes do not match. They go together.
·         Yes, of course you have to buy her dinner.
·         Staying angry is a waste of energy.
·         Revenge can be a good way of getting over anger. 

·         If she expects the person you are 20% of the time, 100% of the time, then she doesn't want you.
·         Always bring a bottle of something to the party.

·         Avoid that “last” whiskey. You’ve probably had enough.
·         Don’t use the word “closure” or ever expect it in real life. There may still be a mortally wounded Russian mobster roaming the woods of south Jersey, but we’ll never know.
·         If you are wittier than you are handsome, avoid loud clubs.
·         Drink outdoors. And during the day. And sometimes by yourself.
·         Date women outside your social set. You’ll be surprised.
·         If it’s got velvet ropes and lines, walk away unless you know someone.
·         You cannot have a love affair with whiskey because whiskey will never love you back.
·         Feigning unpretentiousness is worse than being pretentious. Cut it out with the vintage Polo and that ’83 Wagoneer in Nantucket. 
·         The New Yorker is not high-brow. Neither is The Economist.
·         If you believe in evolution, you should know something about how it works.
·         No-one cares if you are offended, so stop it.
·         Never take an ex back. She tried to do better and is settling with you.
·         Eating out alone can be magnificent. Find a place where you can sit at the bar.
·         Read more. It allows you to borrow someone else’s brain, and will make you more interesting at a dinner party – provided that you don’t initiate conversation with, “So, who are you reading …”
·         Ignore the boos. They usually come from the cheap seats.
·         Hookers aren’t cool, and remember, the free ones are a lot more expensive.
·         Don’t ever say, “it is what it is.”
·         Start a wine collection for your kids when they are born.  Add a few cases every year without telling them.  It’ll make a phenomenal gift in twenty years.
·         Don’t gamble if losing $100 is going to piss you off.

·         Remember, “rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men.”