Monday, March 31, 2008

Rat Taco Update

We had another executive report to our store today, which as you guessed means we got rat tacos again! This time I got to to go and buy them for the Team.

First, they come from a store called la hacienda which has groceries and a western union as well as a meat shop and a taqueria. Second, rat tacos are actually called (at least at this place) tacos dorado.

It was a good experience because I haven't really been to too many stores that authentic. It was fun.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

My German Heritage

I was thinking about certain traits that I see in myself and how I got them. Of course my parents have played a huge part in who I am, as well as all of my experiences and every person with whom I've come into contact have shaped me into the person I am today.

My cultural heritage is mostly German, and I think that three traits I have are attributable to my German heritage (of course having parents with German heritage kind of blurs the lines, but try and work with me here).

1)Thriftiness - I am a pretty "thrifty" person, which has some negative connotation, so I am going to say "the ability to get the most out of a dollar" is a more accurate term for me. On many of my trips I end the trip (ie. I get on the plane to head back home) with very little of the money left that I started with. I have a very good sense of what I have, what I have spent, what I can spend, and what I will need to spend.

2)Emotional Reservation - I am a pretty level-headed person. Especially at my current job, I can often have people getting up in my face, yelling at me, and calling me names (usually because I can't return something for them). I usually can stay very calm and keep my composure through all of their yelling. This doesn't mean that I have no emotions or less emotion than anyone else, it just means that I can keep them in check fairly well.

3)Saving things/Keeping Records - Some people may call it being a "pack rat" but I am really good at keeping records, and saving things. I think I have at least 99% of the receipts from purchases that I have ever made (at least since I've had a bank account). I realize that I may never need them again, and probably won't, but there is always that "what if". I also like keeping keepsakes from my past, especially things such as trips, etc.

Now, you may thoroughly disagree that these are all characteristics of Germans, but these are some of the stereotypes that I hold of the German people. And this is definitely not meant as a negative description, as I myself think they are great characteristics to have.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Music in Life

I was talking to my friend Tim a couple of years ago about music in our day to day life. We were talking about music in stores specifically, but the basic premise of the conversation was why do most people think that we need music EVERYWHERE we go.

If you think about it most places we go, whether to Starbucks or the grocery store or driving in our car, or the restaurant, we hear music almost everywhere we are. One notable exception to this rule, of course, is the wonderful stores of Target.

I guess there are two ways to look at this issue. First, you might love the fact that you have the opportunity to listen to music everywhere, especially if you don't have an MP3 player, you then might not mind this musical barrage. On the other hand, you may abhor the fact that people are all but forcing you to listen to music not of your choosing.

One thing that I had been thinking of the other day regarding this topic was the business/marketing implications. There are a few companies that understand how they can use ambient music to market their brand to their customers. One company that does this is Starbucks. They play certain types of music that reflect the image they want to portray, they even go one step further by offering this music to their customers to buy. Another company that utilizes music is Abercrombie & Fitch with their extremely loud and heavy bass music pumped into their stores. This music often deters "older" people who don't fit into the Abercrombie brand image from going into the stores. I think this is probably a pretty good marketing strategy. (If you visit the A&F website, click on "A&F Playlist" and you can hear the music they play in the stores)

I think the problem with most stores is they don't fully think out the musical selection and how it will affect their brand image. For example, most groceries I've been in play the same old elevator/smooth jazz/pop songs. A store like Target though takes the approach that we don't need to force feed our guests with music that they might not enjoy. Because, when you think about it, if you try to please everyone with music like the classic department or grocery store plays you are probably pleasing very few people.

Another aspect of music for customers that deserves mentioning is that of the Internet. Many websites have music or sound playing on them. Most of these websites give the user/customer a choice of whether to have the music playing, and some even give the user/customer a choice of what kind of music will play.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Rat Tacos

I experienced a first today.

Every Monday the executives of my store (of which I am one) have our weekly meeting. Often times we will order food, and on the rare occasion the store will pick up the tab. (our meetings will sometimes last up to 3 1/2 hours)

Today at our meeting, because it was the first day for one of our new executives at the store we ordered some food paid for by the store. The food we had ordered though was unlike anything I have had before. They are affectionately called rat tacos by my peers. Let me explain.

These are regular size tacos that you might find at taco bell, it contains only a couple tablespoons of filling, which is a mystery meat of some kind (actually beef). The taco was a half circle held together by toothpicks and then deepfried. It was pretty good, but very noticeably deepfried, and if you do eat one you shouldn't be very surprised if you get sick (or at least make sure you have a strong stomach).

Sunday, March 23, 2008

My Design Style

So I came across this fairly interesting website that attempts to determine your design style for your home. I am usually pretty suspicious about these kind of "Take a Quiz and Determine What Kind of ___________ You Are!" quizzes but this is very different than those traditional Facebook or Myspace monstrosities.

Basically it is comprised of about 20 or so "questions" and all you do is choose the picture that you think best fits you. I really like this approach because I'm a pretty visual person, and actually being able to see a specific color/room setup/couch style was much easier for me than just looking at a bunch of words that describe it.

I apparently have "Barcelona Cool" style, and the following is the description.


This is one of the most disciplined looks to pull off, both in terms of how you furnish your home and how you live your life. Everything has to be precise, spot on, for in a minimalist home just one false move and the impact is lost completely. To its critics, minimalism looks cold and clinical, but your love of purity in the form of clean lines, beautiful materials and great design shines through.

Living Room

Playboy, gent, aesthete - your living room is a shrine to bachelorism. The masculine look finds its apogee in the bachelor pad, and at the heart of every bachelor pad is the living space, with its sharp lines and a hedonistic approach to life that's all about having fun and very little to do with mundane chores. This is the lifestyle of a Gatsby or a 007, and the fact that both are fictional characters says it all: this look is about illusion and seduction and a dash of hustler chutzpah. This is a look that can't take clutter, and as such the minimal aesthetic is an ideal complement. When it comes to the tricky task of accessorising, less is certainly more. Fresh, bright colours at the 'cool' end of the spectrum are welcoming and airy, while retro prints and patterns add instant style. Whether you're chilling out, socialising or surfing the net, your living room's a place that reflects the way you live your life.


You like to keep it simple in the bedroom. Sleep is fundamentally important to our well being. In busy towns and cities, noise can often hamper a good night's sleep. Soft furnishings really do absorb sound, and touch is such an important sense in the bedroom, from crisp, linen sheets to wool or even sheepskin underfoot. Your preference is for pristine purity in the bedroom, using vibrant colours to make a bold statement.

Dining Room

You're a maestro of minimalism using carefully chosen ingredients. At home, 'less-is-more' simplicity appears effortlessly stylish. With so little on show, every single item comes under scrutiny, so it's important that you give time and thought to your choice of china, glass and cutlery. Try to avoid the 'designer cliche' trap, whereby every single piece has impeccable provenance: at best this looks like showing off, at worst it's sadly predictable. When it comes to entertaining, you love gutsy, wholesome, seasonal food.

Home Office

You have a place for everything and everything has its place. No matter how independent you might be, like everybody else you'll have bills to pay. A dedicated home office will help you keep on top of the 'boring bits'. The modernist adage that form should follow function is nowhere better demonstrated than in the home office: keep things simple and add your own sense of style by using a splash of colour or a single, well-chosen decorative piece.

I honestly think (at least for me) that this style is more of a reflection of where I am in my life right now and what my current likes and dislikes are. Maybe a good example of this is the first line of my ideal living room description, "Playboy, gent, aesthete - your living room is a shrine to bachelorism." I can't imagine this being me when I get married/have kids, but for right now I think this style is pretty cool.

I also think the description is pretty accurate, although I don't think I really know my style well enough to put it in words this descriptive, which is why I tried the website in the first place.

If you would like to take the quiz as well, click here.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Packing Popcorn

At breakfast today I had a revelation (and I think breakfast might be the best time for my revelations). Anyways, I looked beside my cereal bowl and saw one of those large plastic sacks filled with air they use for packing. I got to thinking about shipping and then specifically shipping these air sacks to the places where they ship other stuff.

The shipping of massive amounts of these air sacks would be easy because of how light they are, but their volume would make shipping them expensive and not at all efficient, and not to mention bad for the environment.

So what to do about this...? If you could ship them without the AIR it would make it so much more efficient. But then if you make the customer pump the air into the sacks you add almost half the manufacturing process onto the customer.

You would have to have some sort of self inflation device in each sack. Or if you want to go really environmentally friendly then you could make reusable sacks with blow straws so they could be flattened and inflated over and over again.

Monday, March 17, 2008

First Post

This is my first blog post here so I figured I should share with you the bit of baking I did yesterday. Of course you probably won't get to taste this but hopefully just looking at the picture will give you a good idea of how delicious it is.

It is called a chocolate chipper cake, and it is from my first cookbook I ever owned.