Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Category: Advertising and Marketing (page 2 of 7)

Marketing Idea


Prologue —

I deleted this post on Friday, five minutes after I published it, thinking it stupid, but of course, I forgot that the minute you hit the publish button, off it flies onto the top perch of the Google Reader, so there is no hiding it… ever.

The following  post, as bad as it is, actually went through several re-writes, and took a long time, because I had no real point in writing it other than to vent about this Lunchables hashtag that was cluttering my Twitter feed that night.   A whole group of  women were involved in some sort of sponsored conversation, complete with a giveaway of a Flip Camera, the requirement for winning the camera being that you had to “retweet” some message about Lunchables, slamming the web with advertising.

Normally, whenever someone complains about this type of thing of commericalism, the retort is always:  you can always unfollow the person or change the channel on the TV.  Unfortunately, social media makes this difficult because companies are actually using our own friends to sell things to us.    Social media professionals know that we aren’t going to “unfollow” our friends for trying to win a free Flip camera, so we are a captive audience for free advertising out of politeness and peer pressure.  I don’t blame those who participate in this giveaway as much as the companies and PR companies who KNOW this and create these types of viral campaigns, cleverly sneaking their marketing onto  my personal space.  They know that if I unfollowed every person who used their Twitter account for this type of viral promotion, I would have very few friends on Twitter.

So, since I felt a bit cranky as I scanned over these annoying Lunchables tweets, much like I am tonight with these crazy tweets about the good work of Nestle’s “family” of products —, I fought back in my own passive aggressive way.  I tried to come up with a ridiculous version of this type of marketing campaign in the real world, as an example of how annoying this could be in a three dimensional world.

After I re-read the post and saw something profoundly wrong with it.   Rather than it sounding sarcastic and satirical, it actually sounded like a decent idea, and I feared that someone would actually steal this idea and call it “The Neilochka Scheme,” much like Ponzi is forever be remembered for his infamous “Ponzi scheme.”  And that would really suck.  So, I deleted the post.

But since it is out there already — here is the last version that I posted on Friday.


Imagine there is a big Yankee – Red Sox game on Sunday at Yankee Stadium.  Coca-Cola takes out an advertisement in the Daily News saying, “Wear a Coke t-shirt to the Yankee game on Sunday, and one lucky winner will win a Mercedes Benz and free Coke for a year!”  For the price of one ad in the newspaper, one car, and a couple hundred cases of Coke, the company could make a big splash — all for 1/1000th the cost of a commercial!  Hundreds would show up wearing a Coke t-shirt in a customer-led marketing campaign, and the crowd would be a sea of Coke red.  I’m not sure they would even need the permission of the Yankees to do this since they aren’t requiring any of their resources.

Why don’t companies ever do this?  Wouldn’t this be the real life equivalent of how companies require  bloggers to write a post about a product in order to enter a giveaway or to tweet the company’s product hundreds of times on Twitter like was done during tonight’s “Lunchables” promotion on Twitter before they can win a FlipCam or free tickets to Disney on Ice?

I find the potential of this idea somewhat scary, but I see how it could work.


There was more to the post, but I chopped it as much as that Sham-Wow guy does with his vegetables with that chopping gizmo on TV, not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings, which only made the post make less sense in the final version.  Besides, I felt hypocritical.   Wasn’t I asked to do the exact same thing when I wrote for that Brita “green lifestyle” blog, asking people to write a “earth day post” so they could get some prize?

And wouldn’t I use any marketing tool that I had at my disposal if I wanted to promote something of my own, or a book of a fellow blogger,  like Kate’s new pirate book, or a friend’s new Etsy shop?  Is there any real difference to doing shout-outs for a friend, and getting a whole group of people to promote some unnecessary corporate product by offering them a prize for helping you advertising a brand they don’t really care about?   I guess the real question is, would anyone be shouting out good things about Lunchables if  the initial brand enthusiast wasn’t getting freebies and the others weren’t in a drawing for a Flip cameras?

We all do a lot of promoting online, but I feel that it is more sincere when we  pimp someone or something because we like the person or the project, or respect the person, or hell — want to get into that person’s pants!   At least that is an honest emotion, even if a bit sleazy.   But human.   And potentially better tasting than Lunchables.


May this be proof that not every post ends up being good.


As so many of my blogging friends are involved in online giveaways or work as brand enthusiasts, is it becoming difficult to make jokes about these companies.  I have friends with “business” connections to vibrator manufacturers to Butterball Turkey to Kmart to Hebrew National Hot Dogs.  If I make a joke about one of these products, I might actually be hurting a friend’s livelihood, or at least a free trip to Disneyland.  I try to be respectful, although in my opinion, the personal and promotional go together as well as olive oil and cheez whiz.

On Twitter, there are these weekly conversations, called Girl’s Night Out, which are sponsored by a company.  A few weeks ago, it was a night of chatting sponsored by Crayola.  Every tweet had the hashtag #crayola, so my Twitter timeline was filled with #crayola hastags, even if the discussion at the moment was about something unrelated, like the latest episode of Project Runway. I found this incongruity funny, but when I made a joke about my own childhood experience using Crayola Crayons, no one seemed amused.  Why?  Because I actually talked about Crayola Crayons, not the point of the event, which was to promote some new for-school products by the company!

I understand the interest in working with corporate America, and not biting the hand that feeds you, but there is something wrong in the world when we become more respectful of a crayon company, at least in terms of humor, than the average person on the street.

I noticed this attitude  in many of the BlogHer recaps, particularly those written by corporate or PR bloggers.  The villains were always the trailer trash moms,  who threw babies against the wall in a rush to get at the swag, and never the classy marketing-savvy ones who fit a certain demographic, and were better connected to the bigger companies.  There was a great deal of humor made at the expense of these mothers, who would do anything to grab another freebie, as if they were shopping on the day before Christmas.

I was surprised how few people joked about the other side of the coin — the corporate circus, the companies all over the place, those who created the swag, sponsored the parties, built the huge statues of Ragu bottles in the dining room, or had the Michelin man tumbling around the lobby like a scene out of Ghostbusters.  I found that extremely funny.  But at the end, no one talked about the corporations, or the marketers, or the PR firms.  The laughing stock were the clueless “mommybloggers,” average women on a weekend away from the kids, who got caught up in the chaos, and now had to be reigned in under Integrity.

I was reminded of this experience at BlogHer when I read some of your Tweets about the immensely popular viral site, The People of Walmart.

Now, granted, Walmart is a “hated” institution, a symbol of America gone wrong.  Whether Walmart deserves this label is debatable.  There is evidence that, everyone’s favorite big-box store, Target, is not much better of a corporation, but just seems more sophisticated because they carry Michael Graves tea kettles.

What is interesting about this site, is that it isn’t about Walmart at all, or their corporate policies.  That would be too political, and would raise some uncomfortable questions that would affect all of us.   No, the site makes fun of the patrons — usually small town residents who have nowhere else to shop.   And not just ANY small town residents, but those crazy enough to walk into the store dressed terribly, or wearing Captain America outfits.  Basically, this site is making fun of poor, uneducated, and mentally unbalanced America in small town America with no other resources but to go to Walmart!


This is a much different take on “freaks” than the photos of one of my favorite photographers, Diane Arbus, who presented her subjects in with a loving, humanistic manner.arbus

“Hilarious”  “Funny”  “I love it!”  That’s what some of you had to say about The People of Walmart.

Rule number one of Blogging with Integrity:  I treat others respectfully, attacking ideas and not people.

Of course, it is OK to make fun of those at Walmart because most of them don’t have computers or blog or Tweet, so they will never know that we are laughing at their photos taken WITHOUT their permission and plastered online for our amusement.

Just as long as we don’t make fun of Kashi Go Lean Crunch! because a friend of a friend is doing a giveaway.

My Last BlogHer09 Post

I see most of you as writers.   Good writers.   But few of you are as good as Tolstoy.  The main difference between you and Tolstoy is that Tolstoy would not dance with me at a party, or even return my email.   Blogging is writing + the addition of you returning my email.   I lose interest in blogs where I don’t have some sort of interaction with the author at least once a year.   BlogHer was special to me because it gave me an opportunity to do regular shit with other writers:  talk, drink, make fun of people, gossip — as well as discuss common writing and blogging issues.   For one weekend, you get the opportunity to break bread and eat Ragu-sponsored spaghetti with people you have never met in real life, but know so much about, from their marital issues, children’s quirks, and what type of vibrator they enjoy.

I was pretty impressed with the conference.  The organizers work their asses off trying to make this chaos work.  Every year, there are new dramas.  If you do some searching, you’ll find a lot of commentary about all the infamous swag bags and Nikon hating babies of BlogHer09. You’ll also see a lot of finger-pointing.   The influential PR bloggers will blame the greedy mommybloggers.   The mommybloggers will blame the party organizers.  The feminists will blame the homeschoolers.  Badges will now go up announcing a blogger’s integrity and kindness and allegiance.  None of this is surprising to me.  Everyone wants to transform the organization into their own image, like God did with Adam.

Can you see the real problem?  There is no one “woman blogger.”  Some are college professors.  Some are truckdrivers.  How do you get them all to feel happy at the same table?  It is impossible.

My friend became a rabbi after college.  He was always into spirituality.  He is now a rabbi at a synagogue in New Hampshire.  He tells me that his job deals less with religion than personal politics.  He has to please the Board of Directors who run the ship.  He has to juggle which wedding to attend when two congregants have an event on the same day.  He has to say nice things at the funeral of the town jerk.  If a congregation of 300 Jews have 300 views at one synagogue, imagine how hard it is to please so many women, black and white, rich and poor, at BlogHer.

If politics is an inevitable part of any organization, with different “tribes” fighting for their role at the table, I would like to push the writer-types to speak up a little more.  You shouldn’t let the others steal the blogging thunder away from your blogging world.  Writers should be center stage at a blogger’s conference, not those using blogging to sell things, or for self-promotion.   Creative female writers should try to force the organization to fit their own image… just like everyone else.   The personal is political.

Amy and I enjoyed doing our Storytelling Session (link to live-blogging of session), but I was surprised that the bulk of the sessions had little to do with writing.   Where is the writing at BlogHer?   Isn’t that what blogging is all about?  Writing?

Imagine a conference on the television industry.  All the writers and producers of all the network shows come together, from Judge Judy to The Simpsons to Entourage, to meet, network, and learn from each other.  Now imagine that 90% of the discussion is about the COMMERCIALS!  Advertisers are walking around, trying to interest you in product placement.  The most popular sessions are about getting corporate sponsors for you TV show.  When there are sessions about the TV shows, it is usually of the practical matter — “How will this show affect the children?”  “Should I include my real name on the credits or should I use a pseudonym?”

These are all interesting subjects, but this stuff should be the sideshow.  The WRITING should NOT be the sideshow at a blogging conference.  That’s why the community keynote is always the highlight of the event.  It is about the CONTENT… the bloggers…. the writing… about the reason we are blogging.

The other aspects of blogging are important, but they should accept their place as second class citizens in a writer’s medium.  Once you let the sponsors run the show, you get crappy TV shows.  That’s why we all watch HBO.

I’m not really complaining.  I had a great time.  I was honored to be allowed to do a room with Amy.  It was fun.   But when I read the fingerpointing about the swag bags and the greed and the sponsors, I shake my head and laugh, because no one seems to be looking at the big picture.  You get the conference you deserve.   If all the conference talk is about PR and marketing, or how to sell your book, etc. then that is what the conference is going to be about — PR and marketing.   Even the blog business cards were out of control.   The parties were too loud and focused on selling something.   I love commercials on TV, but I’m not sure that is what I want to talk about when I go to a television conference.  I want to talk about the creative content with the creative people.

And to do some dancing.

I hope this post doesn’t scare anyone off from going.  This weekend was one of the most interesting in my blogging career.  I would definitely go again.  In fact, I insist that all of you go to some sort of blogging conference at least once while blogging, just to jar you from the comfort of your living room.

I did a lot of running around, following people here and there, and I was exhausted by the end.  Next time, I would take things a little slower, trying to make more time with certain people, and creating an experience that is more suitable for my personality.  I was too much of a “Citizen of the Month” on my first trip, following all the rules, going to all the sessions and parties, and forgetting to make my own agenda.

Thanks for a great time.   It makes me want to eventually meet all of my blogging friends.

Music and Giving

The Holiday season is all about joyful music and giving.  As many of you know, music means everything to me.  My friends never see me walking downtown or on the subway without my trusty iPod at my side, playing the latest tunes, an ABBA classic, or some duet from an old Broadway show.  One of the best aspects of living in Queens is that this borough has some of the finest stores in the country. I bought my iPod and all the accessories at J-OK Electronics in Flushing, Queens.  They sell EVERYTHING at terrific prices, and their knowledgeable sales staff, led by Jonathan Lui, treat their customers with respect.  From their lovely pre-war building in downtown Flushing, to their festively decorated “listening room,” J-OK Electronics “gets it right!”

Jonathan is the coolest guy.  When he received the latest iPod in his store, he wanted to give me one — for FREE!  I’m sure you are all anxious to read my upcoming review on this hot new product.  But then I felt a little guilty.  Why should I be the only one to have a happy iPod Holiday?!

I went to Jonathan and told him, “I want to thank all my readers during this season of giving.  I want to give away a brand new iPod to one of my online friends!”

And you know what — Jonathan of J-OK Electronics agreed to find me another iPod!

(editor’s note:  iPod giveaway is subject to availability.  If iPod is NOT available at time of giveaway, a photo of a PEAPOD with Neil’s face photoshopped inside will be substituted (signed by Neil AND his mother!)


So, how can you win a iPod*** from “Citizen of the Month” and J-OK Electronics?

(***editor’s note:  From this point on, the term iPod signifies either an actual iPod, or the photoshopped PEAPOD photo.)

Through music!  After all, this is the season of GIVING and MUSIC.

The rules:

1)  Record a Christmas or Hanukkah song.   Sign up here.
2)  Send it to me by Monday, December 22, 2008.  I must have it by Monday!
3)  On the following day, on Tuesday, all entries will be part of the Third Annual Blogger Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert.
4)  My readers will then pick which entry best captured the “spirit of the season.”
5)  The winner will receive a brand new iPod from JOK Electronics!*** (see note above on restrictions and definition of iPod)

CONTACT ME IF ANYONE IS HAVING A PROBLEM RECORDING THEIR SONG!   This will be the last reminder until the concert.


Also, please send me some Holiday photos of your homes for decoration of the Holiday concert post!

Married with Dyson

This post I am writing right now might seem like I am poking fun of mommyblogger promotions and giveaways, but that is not the case.  The following is more about me and my marriage, and what to expect from a wife: has started an interesting promotion titled Dyson Domestic Divas.

Every 2 weeks from now till April, we are going to be picking a new mom to spend a full two weeks with our Dyson and then come on as a Dyson Domestic Diva and give everyone the lowdown on it. Comparing it to your current household cleaning, your vacuum that you use on a daily basis, the all around ins and outs of how you feel about the Dyson after spending 2 weeks with it in your home. You will be able to blog during your experience from set up to the day it leaves, posting pictures, videos and sharing your experience with the world.


The Dyson is an excellent vacuum.  I have one myself.  If I were a Mom, I would love to try-out this new model, the DC 25 Rollerball Animal.

Each Mom who gets picked after sign-up gets to keep the vacuum for two weeks before they have to return it to the company.

Just imagine how clean your house will be and how convinced your husband will be to let you get one after you have proven to him how great it is!

This last sentence made me think about my own marriage, and the roles we played in the home. Were Sophia and I out of step with current reality?  Do wives still need to convince their husbands before buying a vacuum cleaner?  Did I get a raw deal with Sophia?  She is the type of woman who would never ask me before buying a new vacuum cleaner!

She might say, “Neil, I want to buy a new vacuum cleaner.”

I might answer, “Why do we need a new vacuum cleaner.”

And she might reply, “Because the old one stinks.”

What am I talking about?  Sophia never used the vacuum or asked for a vacuum cleaner.  I did all the vacuuming in the house.  I was the one who bought the Dyson for our home!  Am I the only husband in the country to do the vacuuming in the house?  Not only did I do the vacuuming in the house, I had to SHOW Sophia how to used our year-old Dyson before I came to New York because she never used it before!  Was I tricked by Sophia into thinking that a husband should do anything useful in the house, like vacuuming or doing the dishes?  How did I get suckered into that?

If I ever get remarried, I’m going to be looking for a different type of wife — one who ASKS me before she buys a new vacuum cleaner?  A woman who enjoys vacuuming so much, that she will give me oral sex after she finishes cleaning the house in appreciation for my staying out of her territory.  That would be cool, and make me feel manly.

And if she did ask for a new vacuum cleaner, I would tell her that I need that money for my Maxim magazines.

“No! You cannot buy a new vacuum cleaner.  Back into the kitchen, woman.  And put on that French maid’s uniform!”

“Maybe we can get a cleaning woman?” she might ask, a little in awe of my Maleness.

“A cleaning woman?  What for!  That’s what you are here for.  And I like watching your ass move when you dust!”

“Oh honey, you are such a rascal.”

I learned three important lessons this post about Domestic Divas that I need to remember if I ever get re-married:

1)  A wife must ask her husband for permission before buying any household product.

2)  Wives love to clean the house, especially with innovative appliances.

3)  Men have no interest in household cleaning, or are they even expected to contribute and help.

Sophia apparently never read the rules.   If I ever remarry, my next wife will be a Dyson Domestic Diva.

The Conclusion to the JCPenney/Dockers Free Round-Trip Ticket Saga

Back in July, I had plans to go to BlogHer in San Francisco, living it up with hot mommybloggers from across the country.   Since I was already in New York, I intended to use this free round-trip ticket that I was promised because I bought $125 dollars worth of Dockers products at JCPenney.  The tickets from this promotion never arrived.  Phone calls were never returned. Thousands of other customers complained to the Better Business Bureau.  The phones to the marketing company handling the promotion went dead.  I wrote six posts on my blog cursing out both JCPenny and Dockers.  I mockingly wrote about an annoying customer service guy and was criticized by a blogger from India for my lack of sympathy.  I fought with blogging friends for accepting $500 gift certificates and writing glowing reviews of JCPenney after the company became BlogHer’s SPONSOR!

This afternoon, five months after my original flight, I received a call from the “new” marketing company running the promotion.  A sales manager was NOW ready to give me a free ticket.

“Hello, this is Jane calling about your JCPenney/Dockers free round-trip ticket.  Where would you like to go?  And what are your departure and arrival dates?”

“Huh?!  What?!  Now?  I don’t know.  You want me to tell you now?  You’re ready to give me a reservation NOW?”

“First, can you tell me your full name?”

“Neil Kramer.”

“Do you remember who you first spoke with and what list number you were assigned?”

“I don’t know.  What list?  This was months ago.”

“I found you on our list.  You are on List 17.  Do you still want to a trip from Kennedy to San Francisco?”

“Not now!  I wanted to go July 16th for this BlogHer conference.”

“Where would you like to go?”

“I don’t know.  I didn’t know you were going to call today.  Can I think about it and call you back?”

“I have a very long list to cover today.”

“Can YOU call me back?”

“We really need to do this now.  Your last day for making reservations is on Monday.”

“On Monday?  Says who.”

“That is the last day to make reservations.”

“How was I supposed to know that?  No one ever called me back.  I figured you were never going to call.  I haven’t been sitting here for five months waiting for you.”

“In the original instructions, you were supposed to present us with a destination and a date.”

“I did!  I gave you a destination.  San Francisco.  It was on July 16, 2008, five months ago.  But the specific reason for going to San Francisco isn’t there anymore.  You can’t just call me on Friday afternoon to tell me that Monday is the last day to make reservations?”

“If you want a flight, you really should make reservations now.  It might be difficult to reach us on Monday.”

“Understatement of the year.  OK, where can I fly again.”

“Boston, Washington D.C. Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, and Dallas.”

[this is where I pause for a moment to think about which bloggers I know in these locations, and who is most likely to put me up for a few nights]

“OK, I know where I should go.  I’d like to go for two week in January to…”

Ta-dah!  My free trip — is to Los Angeles.  January 6 – January 20th.  I know… I know… weird choice…

Now I need to tell Sophia.  Stay tuned.  This is when the blog gets interesting.

Healthy Arrogance, Day 2 — Hire Me As a Speaker at Conferences

Are you a company looking to market to bloggers? A corporation excited about the potential of “social media?” A blogger wanting to increase his readership?

One of the best ways to educate yourself is to attend a web or blogging conference. Unfortunately, most attendees leave disappointed in the seminars. Six hundred dollars for THAT?!

Why are these conference such letdowns?

It is the speakers.

Most web conferences are led my marketers and and PR pundits. Have you ever actually read their blogs or Twitter messages? They are all about marketing, PR, and how to use Twitter. What can they teach you about engaging an audience? Absolutely NOTHING!

Hi, I’m Neil Kramer. I’m a writer. Ever since the time of Plato and Aristotle, it has been the writers and artists that have influenced the world. They know how to make a reader laugh and cry, sometimes with the same sentence. Why listen to someone who talks about market share when you can be learning from the person who shops in the market?

For the past three years, whenever companies think about bloggers, it has been all about the mommybloggers. Forget the mommybloggers. They have reached their saturation point. Another mommyblogger network? Yawn. It is time for a fresh face. Why not make your company or blog stand out in the crowd — and go for the SENSITIVE MALE — one who understands men AND WOMEN, parents and NON-PARENTS, married and NOT MARRIED?! My demographics include men, women, black, white, Latinos, Asians, gay and straight – and my mother. If I had my druthers, I could have 1000 people wheeling a new Bugaboo stroller or the new Diet Coke by tomorrow.

Besides, I KNOW more mommybloggers than the typical mommyblogger.

But I don’t want to be a salesperson or promoter on my blog. I enjoy being a writer. Selling stuff is not a challenge to me. In fact, it is so easy to me — it is almost boring. Writing is hard. Marketers want you to think that their job is hard. Ha! That’s why they always use such complicated words, like “branding.” I will explain branding to you within the first ten seconds of my session. I know your business depends on interaction with customers and clients. That’s why I want to teach YOU how to do it EFFECTIVELY, the “Neilochka” way.

“Where have you been all this time?” you might ask me. “I have never heard of you.” Well, that’s because I’ve been busy blogging, not promoting myself. I haven’t been wasting my time networking with other “influencers” who only know how to influence other “influencers.” I have been “in the field,” like a journalist at wartime. I know what it is like to blog on a personal level with others, the minor hurts, the major victories, the loneliness, the comraderie, the sexiness, and the anger. Ask around. My session on Male-Female Blog Friendships would be THE break-out hit at the BlogHer conference, if not for the discriminatory policy pooh-poohing male speakers at the conference.

What you will learn from me:

1) How to write engaging content.

Is your corporate blog as dull as a meal at the Olive Garden? That’s probably because your PR firm is developing the content while sipping lattes in the conference room. You need someone with actual EXPERIENCE in LIFE — someone who can chat about something other than the latest Firefox browser. I don’t need to come up with “tips” on “engaging readers.” My background as a reader of MAD magazine, the second-place winner of the Queens County spelling bee, and my four year sentence as an English major in college has prepared me for a life of writing words and coming up with literary puns stolen from the classics. I am also a film school graduate, completely adept at film, video and audio production, except for that one time I forgot to put the film in the camera. I am like a one man f**king multimedia company!

2) Community building.

There are NO other bloggers more knowledgeable about community building than I am. How many bloggers do you know who has actually had online sex with one of their readers? I bring that intimate experience with me when I work with my clients. Have you seen The Great Interview Experiment? The Annual Christmahanukwanzaakah Holiday concert (the third one this December!)? No sponsors. No badges. Just me caring about other people, with the hope of one day seeing one naked. Most people know SHIT compared to me in online community building.

3) Social Media.

Social Media is all the rage nowadays, but most marketers and PR gurus think that putting hashtags and live-tweeting from conferences is of interest to anyone other than themselves. The truth is that most social media mavens have NO INTEREST in interacting with the general public. They use social media completely to promote themselves. Are these the types of individuals or companies you want advising you on reaching the Joe and Jane Public? That’s like asking John McCain to name his favorite rap group. I am very active in the social media communty. I spend more time on Twitter and Facebook than I do watching porno movies on RedTube. That’s a lot. On Twitter and Facebook, I have gotten into arguments over politics. I’ve flirted. I’ve made lame jokes. I’ve discussed the worst rock song of the 1980’s. I am a social media DIVA! A Zen Master! One who actually uses social media for something SOCIAL!

Neil Kramer. writer. Multimedia Expert. Blogger. Community Builder. Social Media Maven. Dancer. Designer of “The Talking Penis” brand of outerwear.

I am now available for conferences, corporate meetings, and one-on-one sessions with prominent CEOs. Email me for fees. (I’m not cheap, but I am oh-so-worth-it).

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The Circle of Life: My Final Mention of BlogHer in 2008


The month began with me making plans to go to BlogHer with my free JCPenney/Dockers flight.   It turned out that JCPenney/Dockers found it easier to abandon their promotion, ruining hundreds of hard-working people’s vacations than commit to their deal.  JCPenney never returned my phone calls, and I ended up not going to Blogher. 

As I watched all the happy people in San Francisco wearing McDonald’s bags and eating cheeseburgers, I sat at my laptop and turned bitter.  I started ranting uncontrollably on my blog about this and that.  I stopped shaving and showering and eating.  Eventually, my own mother kicked me out onto the street, calling me a loser who can’t even get into the business or technology section of the New York Times.

But life has a funny way of turning things around!  Yes, it is the circle of life.  The two strands of the story have intertwined. The higher forces have found a way to unify. I now know the truth — the world is like it FOR A REASON.  While they too busy to answer my calls or compensating their disappointed customers, JCPenney has found time to give 20 BlogHer members each a $500 gift card  so these “BlogHer Reviewers” can shop the new Linden St. home furnishings line at JCPenney and write about it on their blogs. 

JCPenney and BlogHer — together at last!   …in the the circle of life!

More on the business of mommyblogging.

Never Trust Men or Dockers

He was as dark and strong as a Bombay oak.  He said his name was Meneul.  We met in a small dive bar in the city, two lonely strangers looking for love.  We had a lot in common.  We both loved travel, men’s fashion, and Bollywood.  Before you can say Mahatma Gandhi, we found ourselves in a hotel room, our Nehru jackets lying together on the floor.  Neatly folded over the desk chair were the Dockers pants that I had bought for that free Dockers/JCPenney flight, the one I had hoped to use to go to BlogHer on July 16th.

We made love.  The passion was as strong as the current of the Ganges River in the Spring.

Later that night, Menuel and I stood in the lobby together.

“Will I ever see you again?” I asked.

“Of course you will,” he said in his calm, pleasant voice that served him so well in his successful career in customer service for TLC Marketing. 

“I’ll call you on Tuesday, July 22nd.”

Today is Wednesday, July 23rd.

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