Monday, November 24, 2008

Pretending to be adults

I've always thought Corporate America reminded me of junior high school... and a few days ago in my office kitchen, I got physical proof:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Baby it's creepy inside

So I’m totally psycho obsessed with holidays—especially Christmas (!)—and I can’t deny it… I’ve been listening to my Christmas station on Pandora for a couple of weeks now. Normal people get annoyed with the infiltration of Christmas merchandise and music creeping earlier and earlier into the fall every year, but I love it. Every last second of it—up until TBS stops looping A Christmas Story (can’t get enough of Ralphie!).

But my premature holiday bliss was interrupted the other day when for some reason, after all these years, I realized how creepy the song “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is.

Lyrics | - Baby It’s Cold Outside lyrics

Some of the more disturbing lines:

Unfortunate Female: The neighbors might thinkCreepy Dude: Baby, it's bad out there

UF: Say, what's in this drink (um, I think it’s called Rohypnol)CD: No cabs to be had out there

UF: I wish I knew howCD: Your eyes are like starlight now

UF: To break this spellCD: I'll take your hat, your hair looks swell

UF: I ought to say no, no, no, sirCD: Mind if I move a little closer (ah yes, moving closer is exactly what you do when you hear “no.”)

UF: At least I'm gonna say that I tried (Oh jeez…)CD: What's the sense in hurting my pride

UF: I really can't stayCD: Baby don't hold out (Ick!)

And he keeps pushing…

UF: I simply must goCD: Baby, it's cold outside

UF: The answer is no CD: Ooh baby, it's cold outside

UF: My sister will be suspiciousCD: Man, your lips look so delicious

UF: My brother will be there at the doorCD: Waves upon a tropical shore

UF: My maiden aunt's mind is viciousCD: Gosh your lips look delicious (Uh, I think she heard that one before...)

UF: Well maybe just a half a drink moreCD: Never such a blizzard before

Um… disturbing much? And according to Wikipedia, the woman’s part is called “The Mouse,” and the man’s part is called “The Wolf.” Double ick! Now, I realize the song was written in 1944, when norms regarding female sexuality (or rather, lack thereof) really lent themselves to miscommunication and/or date rape, but while I find most old-school holiday songs to be quite quaint and warm and fuzzy, I think this particular throwback should be retired.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

HR PR in a downturn

A couple of weeks ago, I was unpleasantly surprised when I trotted into my office kitchen to purchase my usual 25-cent bag of nacho cheese Doritos to accompany my usual six-inch turkey on wheat. The quarter I had carried all the way from my cube on the other side of my floor (past the closest “kitchen,” which should really just be called “crappy coffee area” because it lacks definitive elements such as a microwave, toaster, vending machine and CNN) was not going to be sufficient. With no warning, the price of my florescent snack had inflated more than 300 percent. As if my desktop lunch wasn’t depressing enough to begin with.

When I started my job, the vending machines were presented as quite the perk—because, I was told—they were filled with cheap and healthy options. While I wouldn’t exactly call my weekly, sometimes daily Doritos and Twix fixes “healthy,” they were in fact quite cheap. And I quickly got into the habit of forgoing Subway’s meal deal to buy chips from the trusty vending machine for less.

But it seems those days are over… after weeks of chaos and confusion and $1.40 Pop-Tarts, I just noticed an interesting note displayed on the vending machine. Under the company logo, in the company font, with company heads and subheads clarifying the message—my colleagues and I are being given a two-fold explanation for the snack price hike: 1) It’s part of an ongoing program to promote healthy living—even though I had been told the former options were healthy; and 2) It’s to unify pricing in offices across the nation—apparently consistent M&M prices help traveling employees feel more at home.

Hm… part of an ongoing program to promote healthy living… interesting that Phase Vending Machine Hijack aligned quite nicely with the economy tanking… also interesting that Doritos and M&Ms are still available… Really the only “healthy” additions I’ve noticed are VitaminWater (which may actually not be that healthy) and suspicious-looking tuna crackers.

Seriously now, I am a little pissed that I can’t get Doritos for a quarter anymore, but I’m mostly just annoyed with the poor PR surrounding the price hike. First, there was silence—never a good idea. People are going to notice, and they are going to start complaining (even to HR, according to a friend of a friend who wasn’t prepared with any talking points to respond with), and with no information from above, they are going to start rumors. Then, there was this fluffy, BS explanation—I think my cubemates and I would appreciate some honesty: The market sucks right now, and there’s going to be some belt tightening all around. They were honest when explaining travel restrictions—why should the vending machine strategy be any different? (Do studies show people get more emotional about food?)

So I’d recommend saving the printing costs on those vending machine notes and just sending us an honest e-mail, maybe with the subject line: “Would you rather lose your job or pay 80 cents for Doritos?” That would shut me up.
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