Archive for January, 2010

Corporate BS

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

Many of you may know, I’m a self proclaimed coffee addict. I rotate my daily dose and while I prefer to typically spend my money with local coffee houses – like Java Station & Jitters, I do frequent Peet’s and the Coffee Bean fairly often as well. I was saddened to read the recent article in the Independent about the firings of several long time employees at the Coffee Bean on De La Vina.

...except maybe at the Corporate Office!

...except maybe at the Corporate Office!

I know these folks, and while I don’t know them that well I pretty sure the corporate office is in this case acting unjust. Not to mention, firing people right before Christmas…one of which was pregnant and in her second trimester – what BS! Does “Corporate” have no soul?

Coffee Bean has been a long time participant in Axxess thanks to the local managers and employees who fought their marketing department and convinced them that Axxess was worthy of the dollars. That is, up until my main contact left the company about six months ago.  Right after that I received a call from a very unpleasant person at their corporate office – stating Axxess was a waste of money, that their participation was to be terminated immediately and that the bill for the upcoming ad (which was literally at the printers) would not be paid. We went round and round, and somehow I won. Coffee Bean is participating in the current Axxess Book and they did pay their bill – but not willingly and I’m quite certain they will not be with us next year.

It’s too bad that “corporate” is often out of touch with their employees and with the markets they do business in.  Regarding the current drama on De La Vina – who knows. The company has a right to look into situations in which there might be wrong doing and certainly a right to protect their profits. But they also should have the good sense to handle such situations with a little more integrity.

I hope the situation gets resolved and that the 3 employees are vindicated of any wrong doing. I still like their coffee, but if they’re not in Axxess next year I promise that you won’t see me in any of their stores.

It was the tequila!

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Axxess has been around now for almost 12 years & I imagine I’ve personally talked to every business owner in town trying to show them the benefits of the program to get them to participate. Over the years, my pitch has gotten better (in my opinion) but also of course everyone knows what Axxess is now so there’s less explaining for me to do.

I think it was in my 3rd year – so probably around 2002, I read about new restaurant opening in the Independent and it listed the owner’s names – a husband and wife team that I’m not going to mention. I called and got an appointment with the wife (let’s call her Betty). The appointment was for mid day and since they would be closed we’d have some privacy to talk uninterrupted. We sat at the bar, I explained how the program worked and why her restaurant should get on board. At the time, we only had about fifty restaurants and this place by far would be one of the more upscale ones.

Surprisingly, she was showing interest! We were brainstorming how to design her a cool looking ad and come up with an offer that would work. I thought it was going well until…her husband walked in. This guy walks in and without an introduction demands me to tell him what type of crap I’m trying to sell his wife. As I try to explain what Axxess is he hears the word “discount” and starts yelling at me: “do you think this is the type of restaurant that needs to give a discount?”, “I would never give a discount!”, “this is the best place in town” blah blah blah! Then he basically informs me that I am less of a person for starting such a business and that it is doomed to fail.

By now, his face is red and spit is flying because he is actually screaming at me. Betty’s jaw is on the floor and I can feel the fight or flight sweat under my shirt. I’m in disbelief, a little hurt, have no idea what to say or do and am honestly afraid he’s going to kick my butt. Thankfully, as he tells me to leave Betty steps in and shuffles him out the back door and tells him to go home. She apologizes profusely and I leave. No sale.

A few weeks later I get an invitation to their private Holiday party and decide to go. I bring a date but am a little worried the husband is going to berate me again. When he does see me, he orders a bottle of good tequila from the bar and requests that my date & I join him at his table. He immediately apologizes and insists we sit and sip with him and his guests. Despite the tequila I think he’s genuinely sorry and must have just had a really bad day that day. He treats me like a VIP guest, tells me to come talk to him and Betty again and even goes so far as to tell my date what a great guy I am and that I’m bound for success.

Turns out, I did land them as a client a few weeks later.To this day it’s one of my favorite Axxess stories and I’m sure glad I went to that party.  I won’t say if they’re part of the program right now, but I do still like to go there and sip on a little tequila.

Thanks to the Tequila, Axxess gets a new client!

Thanks to the Tequila, Axxess gets a new client!

Remember – Axxess has it all!

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

Yesterday a freind of mine was telling me that he needed some gardening tools and was complaining about how busy he thought Home Depot would be today. Home Depot?! Yes, Home Depot has everything but so does our very own locally owned Home Improvement Center. Plus, they offer Axxess Members 20% off – worth using and definitely worth using if you’re purchasing a big item.

I think lots of us forget that Axxess has a variety of stores and services – less than half of our program is food, even though that’s what so many of us use the most. So before you go out to buy stuff or reach for the yellow pages, check out your Axxess Directory or search for something on our kick ass website. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, let me know and I’ll try to go get it for next year’s book.

The most random thing Axxess has in the current book: probably All Natural Baby Products by Baby’s Bliss

or the discount on Cat Adoption!CatTail

Don’t Ask

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

People often tell me: “Everywhere I go, I ask if they take Axxess!”. They say this to me hoping for a pat on the back or a high five.

On the surface, one might think that asking businesses if they take Axxess is a good thing -and it can be. But 9 times out of 10 it backfires. Think about it. A business owner pays good money to be part of our program hoping you see their ad and eventually that the offer brings you in. That is money well spent, and money he or she can track a return on.

If you are already in an establishment, and then ask if they take Axxess – it would appear that you obviously are not there because of Axxess and you are now just getting a discount.

Ultimately, the business owner wants to know that Axxess delivered you to him. But if you ask “do you take Axxess?”, it instead appears that he’s losing money. It backfires, and the businesses may not see Axxess as being as beneficial had a zillion people not asked him that!  Does that make sense?

Aksing this question of course helps us when the business is not part of Axxess and I’m sure if enough people ask, then the owner will give it further consideration.

So if you must ask,  because you can’t remember or because you can’t remember the details of the offer (or if they don’t have our sticker in the window)  – just say something like:

What's the point of this!

What's the point of this!

“I know you’re part of Axxess, what’s the offer again?”. This will give you all the answers you need and it’ll remind the business that Axxess is very much a factor in why you are there.

Regardless of how the question is asked it’s still amazing to me that so many people know what Axxess is and that it’s such a big part of our community. It doesn’t seem like long ago that I was the only person in the Tri Counties who could use the word “Axxess” in a sentence – because nobody had a clue what it was!

***Look for Axxess signage in the windows and on the counters of our         business participants.

Deanno’s Officially Closed

Monday, January 18th, 2010

By now you’ve probably heard that Deanno’s Pizzarama in the Mesa closed last Friday. Probably a good thing for neighboring Giovanni’s and Mesa Pizza – but a bummer for those who have been going to Deanno’s for years.

I am very loyal to my favorites and particularly to those favorites that are my clients – like Pizza Mizza, Giovanni’s, Mesa Pizza, Taffy’s & several others. I typically rotate my patronage amongst those that are patrons of mine. But when I moved to the Westside four years ago, right off Carrillo Hill – Deanno’s was not far. And that was around the same time they joined up with Axxess so I could justify spending a few bucks there.

So they will be missed, as will their Axxess offer which was a good one. But not to worry, we still have every other pizza establishment in town with plenty of pizza deals for you and more to come. (if you’re wondering why they closed, read one of my earlier posts about the greed of landlords!)

Sorry pal - no more Deanno's

Sorry pal - no more Deanno's

Mobile or Not

Sunday, January 17th, 2010
The Ideal iphone

The Ideal iPhone

Since my phone got stolen last week I got a new blackberry this week. I was tempted to get an iPhone, but to be honest I can’t be bothered with adding more technology to my life. Plus, everyone I know is so addicted to their beloved iPhones that they seem to be forgetting how to communicate and entertain themselves the old fashioned way. Even though by nature the iPhone is a PHONE, I think all the other applications are often used more than the talk and listen functionality that it comes with.

But either way there are a lot cool and useless applications out there. Across the country marketing companies like Axxess are trying to leverage this craze and bring offers to mobile phones so that a person can just show their phone to a waiter or cashier – and receive the offer of the day, of the week, etc.

I think this sounds cool but from our end I think it poses some logistical problems to both the phone holder and to the business.

We at Axxess are always looking to improve our Program with whatever enhancements we feel necessary or that enough people encourage us to implement. In this case the technology is out there but it’s not cheap. While it seems like it will become more prevalent I don’t really think it’s main stream enough yet and won’t be for a few more years – and I’m referring to mobile applications on all phones not just on the iPhone.

On my blackberry I Google stuff to get basic info like phone numbers, addresses and directions but that’s about it. Maybe I’m already too old school for all this new stuff, who knows. But I’d love to hear what you think so let me know.

We’re listening

Friday, January 15th, 2010

As Axxess begins putting together the next edition (to be released October 2010), as always we’re looking to add more value to the Program.

We have our own thoughts on what you’d like to see added but would love to hear from you directly. I think that more discounts in the Valley would be good – encouraging more of us to spend time up there, not just wine tasting.

Thousands of our members have kids and take advantage of our significantly discounted theme park tickets. Do families go to these parks and stay overnight in hotels? If so, I’d like to know so we can get some hotel offers near these parks.

How about Carpinteria? If you don’t live there, when was the last time you went there? Carp is actually pretty friggin’ nice, and I don’t just mean the Avocado Beer at the annual Avocado Festival. The beaches are clean and uncrowded and downtown still has that small town feel un-invaded by corporate America.  Axxess has a handful of offers in Carpinteria, if we had more of them would you take advantage?

What else would you like? We’ll listen….

What did you say?

What did you say?

Ripped Off

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

No, this thankfully is not a story about using your Axxess Card. This past weekend my car was broken into and my cell phone was ripped off. I could care less about the phone, but the inconvenience of having to get a new one coupled with the challenge of replacing or importing my contact info really really sucks.Hilarious

This sign is something I should put in my car window!

Not only did they take my phone, but they did something weird to the car. I think they were trying to steal it. So a tow, a new cell phone, 2 new smart keys and nearly $1500 later – I can get on with my week!

I’m just glad they didn’t take my wallet. I would hate to have lost my Axxess Card!

What is “Natural”?

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010
Defining “Natural”

Some of you may know that my parents own a company that makes all natural products for mommies and babies – the brand names are Baby’s Bliss & Mommy’s Bliss.  I’ve been “consulting” for them for the past few years and I honestly believe that the products they make are truly natural. They use natural ingredients and never use

chemicals, parabens, fragrances or other bad stuff.

Something to look for

The problem is that when it comes to consumer goods like foods or body care items the word “natural” is played out, over marketed, and no longer completely trust worthy. It’s not like the USDA Organic seal that means something and follows strict guidelines.

Many companies define “natural” in whatever way works to their advantage and unfortunately that doesn’t help you the consumer. Fortunately, the NPA – Natural Products Association does have a certification for Natural that like the USDA Organic seal -  means something. To receive this certification product formulas must follow specific standards and guidelines – and this is great because it will better protect all of us.

So some shameless promotion for my parents company: Baby’s Bliss Nipple Cream for Mommies just received this coveted certification from the NPA. This proves that their company stands behind their claims and their products.

We all have a ton of choices when it comes down to what we buy and use on and in our bodies. Certifications like this empower the consumer to make more informed choices, so keep an eye out for them.

Wondering if you currently buy Organic?

(This is my first blog about something unrelated to Axxess but it’s important info and I imagine I’ll have more to come….)

Deanno’s still going

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

I’m glad to see that Deanno’s Pizza is hanging in there and has not yet closed it’s doors.

Apparently, the community is rallying and even their facebook support page has over 4000 supporters. It seems a little weird that you can “donate” to them via PayPal since they are for profit – that sounds more like a band-aid approach to a wound that needs stitching – but hey whatever works. I know I’m planning on getting some of their pizza this week. Their Axxess offer is such a good one,  it’s pretty aggressive, I think I’ll forgo it and pay full price this time…sounds like they need it. I’ll keep you posted…