Saturday, November 20, 2010

I apologize to Sony

I apologize to Sony for mistakenly identifying it as the maker of XBOX in my last blog post (There Are Some Roles That Need To Be Turned Down).  In my disgust for Kobe Bryant's part in it, I mistakenly noted Sony as the maker and not Microsoft. So the line should read in the last post that the Microsoft and Activision Publishing, Inc. execs ought to be ashamed for the Call of Duty ad and the message it sends. Again I say, really take a look at that ad with the young girl and the machine gun and again my apologies to Sony.

There Are Some Roles that Need to be Turned Down (Revised to reflect accurate company Activision Publishing Inc.)

Kobe Bryant and Jimmy Kimmel shooting a machine gun and bazooka; Magic Johnson, Troy Aikman and Hulk Hogan peddling Rent-A-Center; Carl Weathers acting like a clown with a Bud Light Playbook; and I am sure the list goes on and on.
I truly understand the need for work and residuals by entertainers, however, these are well known celebrities who I am sure could have turned the aforementioned roles down. Kobe, Jimmy and Troy are still active in their respective professions with Magic and Carl more in the backgrounds.

The issue I have with their particular involvement in these ads are the fact that they are detrimental, especially the Kimmel and Bryant ad for Activision Publishing, Inc's XBOX game Call of Duty. What really caught my eye beyond Kobe’s involvement was the scene with the very young girl firing away with an Oozie Machine Gun. Kobe is also seen firing away with the Oozie and Jimmy Kimmel has a bazooka. Absolutely ridiculous!!!! Shame on Activision Publishing Inc's ad agency folks and the Activision Publishing Inc. execs for approving the content of that advertisement. We won’t even get into the Call of Duty game itself. That’s another blog post.  In truth, I am disgusted with Kobe for being involved in this non-sense especially given the increasing murder rates in our African American communities.

Now folks, come on……… our murder rates are rising in urban areas and we are going to show a Kobe Bryant firing an Oozie. Does that make sense to you? If it does, we are worse off than I thought. Next time the Call of Duty ad is played, take a good look at it. See beyond the “game.” What message is Kobe and Jimmy sending? I know many of you would say “None.” Many of you would say, “There he is thinking too deep again.” But think about it….am I? With murder rates in cities like Paterson and Newark, New Jersey on the rise by our children and teenagers, no one stops to think that there is a connection? Only one of the hottest basketball players of our time making it look like it is alright to be shooting and killing. Come on. We have got to do better than that.

In terms of Rent-A-Center, that is one of the worst deals anyone can make. Over the long haul the “renter” has paid over and over again for something that could have been purchased at a much less expensive price than what will be paid over the life of the rental agreement. The “renter” would be better off to save for the “big screen TV” or furniture or perhaps use a lay away plan. The worst thing one could do is to get into an agreement with Rent-A-Center, yet here we have names such as Magic Johnson, Troy Aikman and Hulk Hogan singing the praises of Rent-A-Center advocating our going there to quickly rent our entertainment and furniture needs. Like Kobe, Magic Johnson of all people ought to know how their involvement is impacting the African American communities. I am sure Sony and Rent-A-Center are very much aware hence their being selected to be a part of the advertising campaigns. Mr. Aikman and Hulk Hogan are no better. So when we critically think about this, we have to see that sometimes there are roles that need to be turned down based on what the company is marketing and to whom. The last thing kids need to see is Kobe Bryant squeezing off rounds from and Oozie. The last thing disenfranchised folks need to see is Troy Aikman or Hulk Hogan steering them towards deals that everyone knows is even more costly in the long run. Who is pimping who?

I have much respect for entertainers such as Angela Bassett, Morgan Freeman, Danny Glover, Bill Cosby, etc. who will not take roles that will be detrimental to themselves or the communities they serve. They place their self-respect and the respect of their support base above the proverbial “Almighty Dollar.”  They do not allow themselves to be pimped. As always I welcome your thoughts and commentary.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

You Know It When You See It – Kudos to Cuban Pete’s Restaurant in Montclair, NJ

Sometimes it seems as if good to great customer service went the way of the dinosaur; yet every now and again you see a glimmer of what good to great customer service looks like and more importantly feel like. I had such an experience this past Friday night.

Earlier on Friday two of my co-workers recommended that I go to a restaurant establishment in Montclair, NJ known as Cuban Pete’s. They both spoke highly of the food and forewarned me that it could get crowded. True to their description, the restaurant was indeed standing room only. My wife Yvette and I proceeded to find out how long the wait would be and was told by the maitre d' that it would be a forty five minute wait. Based on the number of people standing around, forty five minutes seemed to be reasonable, so we decided to wait. We patiently waited and waited and waited without our names being called to be seated. In the mean time we witnessed couples who had entered after us be seated in a relatively short period of time. The owner asked why we were still waiting and we told him that we had not been called as of yet. He then checked the list and as it turns out an oversight had occurred and our names were skipped as the maitre d'  had continued to move forward, in fact she was on the next page. This is where the great customer service came in. The owner of Cuban Pete’s felt so terrible that he told me and my wife that our dinner would be on him. He said that he would pick up the tab for our having to wait longer than we were told because of the oversight of the maitre d'.

It was an extremely wise business move and great customer service gesture. While it cost him sixty dollars for the meal, it brought him much more in public relations and word of mouth. He had the business insight to know that we would share our bad experience and drive customers away instead of recommending his establishment as I am now doing as evidenced by this blog post. I am indeed sharing my wonderful experience with others who I highly recommend to patronize Cuban Pete’s at 428 Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair, NJ. The food was as excellent as promised by my co-workers. I had the Red Snapper and it was so good. While I was thanking the owner for his generosity, he extended his generosity even more with a fifty dollar gift certificate for a future visit. He was a man of principle. Yvette and I could truly feel his sincerity and he apologized profusely for the error and our extended wait. In these times, gestures like that are rare but when you think about it, it makes extremely good business sense.

Certainly good customer service is so badly needed and desired that when it is experienced it is acknowledged almost with disbelief ("I can't believe I just received great customer service"). My fraternity brother Herman “Skip” Mason who is the General President of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., via Twitter posted “Shout out to Detroit Marriott Room service for prompt service! Healthy breakfast turkey sausage, egg whites, fruit and wheat toast. Pardon me...” Once again because good customer service is so rare, the need was felt to acknowledge it. Good customer service ought to be the rule and not the exception. Kudos to the owner of Cuban Pete’s for his principles, sincerity and good business sense. If you are in the Montclair, New Jersey area I encourage you to dine at Cuban Pete’s- 428 Bloomfield Avenue - Montclair, NJ. (973)746-1100/ (973)746-2100. My wife and I will certainly be going back.