Build-A-Bear Did Literally Everything Wrong

By now, any parent has likely heard about the Build-A-Bear fiasco that unfolded earlier today. They were offering a Pay Your Age day where any kid up to the age of 14 could build a bear and would only pay their age.  Pretty cool!   Except the whole thing went belly up before it even started.

My wife told me about it because she went.  As did, it seems, half the entire world.  My kids didn’t get bears.  As was the case for a majority of the people that showed up.  You had a lot of angry parents, disappointed kids, and overwhelmed workers.  It’s all over the news.  Social media coverage is everywhere, and most is very negative.

So, what went wrong? Well, it was really everything, but here’s a few highlights.

Too Good Of A Deal

Build-A-Bear is pretty expensive.  You can pay upwards of $100 for a fully outfitted customized bear.  So, the Pay Your Age is a fantastic deal.  You’re getting probably anywhere between 50-95% off the base price.  It’s a fantastic deal.

But that’s the problem, it was too fantastic of a deal.  When you offer that great of a deal, everyone wants to come.  My wife talked to people that had driven 90 minutes from their home.  The deal was that good.

Way Overpublicized

I’ve been seeing this deal all over the place for the last few days.  I saw it on Facebook.  News articles promoted it.  The deal was on the local news.  It was literally everywhere.

Normally, getting the word out is a great move except when it cause chaos.  Like what happened at every mall that has a Build-A-Bear location hours ago.

Misunderstanding Their Own Product

Here’s the thing.  These promos can sometimes work.  Deals like this come up on Black Friday at every store everywhere.  And, rarely do they lead to the chaos that you had today.  But this deal was doomed from the start at Build-A-Bear.  Why?  Because the product itself can’t support it.

Have you ever gone in and built one of these bears?  They take time.  It’s not like when a customer wants a TV that’s half off and can just grab one, pay for it, and leave, even if they have to wait in line.  This promo involved kids having to stay there and build the bear.  This process can take a long time.

Now, they did seem to anticipate this and offered that people could buy an unstuffed bear, and come back and do the rest later.  But, this was not a well thought out alternative.  Kids want things now.  It’s just how kids are.  So, I’m sure most kids wanted to build their bears today.  Plus, remember all those people that drove 90 minutes.  Do you think they wanted to trek out another time to stuff the bear?  Probably not.

The head honchos that planned this seemed to ignore the intricacies of their own product.

Big miss.

Long Term Fallout

It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Build-A-Bear.  When promotions with good intentions go wrong, it can hurt a company long term.  This promotion looks like it was an utter fiasco.  Their Public Relations staff will likely be putting in some long hours over the next few days.  It’ll be interesting to see what they come up with.

Readers, did you stand in line for the Build-A-Bear promo?  What was your experience?  Do you think that Build-A-Bear can just shrug it off? Or will they have to deal with long term fallout?  Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Giving Up Facebook

Last month I wrote about how I gave up snacking at work.  I know my weaknesses and I finally accepted that occasional snacking leads to regular snacking.  So, I haven’t snacked since the beginning of the year.

Giving Up Facebook

I grew up Catholic, and one tradition that I’ve always had is to give up something for Lent.  The Lenten season runs between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday, a period of 46 days.  People are encouraged to give something up that’s important or difficult.  The idea is to give ourselves a small reminder of what Jesus gave up during his 40 days in the desert.

In the past I’ve given up a variety of things, including:

  • Chocolate
  • Ice Cream
  • Candy
  • All Sweets
  • Alcohol.

This year, I decided to take on a different approach.  It was time to take on the idea of giving up Facebook.

Why Facebook?

There are many things to love about Facebook.  These include:

  • The ability to connect with friends.
  • Getting news and other information real time.
  • Keeping in touch with acquaintances, people you don’t necessarily want to interact with daily, but like keeping tabs on.
  • Having lots of things to laugh at.

So why would I want to give it up?  Well, there some things I don’t like.

  • I didn’t like how often I would be checking it.  I’d usually have a tab open at all times with Facebook when on a computer.  On a phone, each time I picked it up, one of the first things I did was thumb to the app.
  • The tone of Facebook has changed.  Ever since the election, Facebook just has not been fun for me.  I get that people aren’t happy, but for some, their posts suggest that they think about this 24×7.  Maybe they do?
  • It was a new challenge.  As you can see from the list of things I’ve given up in the past, most involved junk food.  Since I’m largely working on that anyway as an ongoing thing, I felt I needed a new habit.

How Did It Go?

Before giving it up, I was a little nervous.  Since I had it open all the time, I was afraid I would instantly miss it and end up going another direction.

Thankfully, that didn’t happen.

On the day before Lent, I went onto my laptop, phone and tablet, and signed out of Facebook.  I also removed the icon from my phone and from my browser shortcuts.

I found by not having it right there as an option to open, it helped right away.

Quite honestly, once I started going without Facebook, it was pretty easy.  I browsed to websites (you know, the old-fashioned way) for news.  I e-mailed people or even *gasp* called them.  I downloaded a couple of games to play.  Maybe not the best alternative, but at least I was keeping my brain busy, right?   Generally, I found that I was probably on my phone less times and for less minutes of the day.

I did miss a few things:

  • I missed seeing what my friends were up to.
  • I missed posting a bit while we were on our recent trip to Florida.
  • I missed posting the occasional post that I’d put up when something witty came to mind. Though let’s face it, I’m probably not as witty as I think I am.

Will I Stay Away?

For now, with Lent having ended, I’m not going to lie.  I’m back on Facebook.

However, I think this has shown me that I should and can cut back on Facebook.  Maybe I’ll try to avoid putting the shortcuts back where they are front and center.  I think that’d be a good start.

All in all, it was definitely a cleansing time in many ways.  Technology has advanced so much over the past couple of decades.  So many things have come into our lives as new things that we quickly adapt and make part of our lives.  Browsing the Internet.  E-mail.  Blogging.  Chat.  Videos.  Social media.

Giving up Facebook is a reminder that these things, and the things that come along, are tools.  Facebook and other social platforms have not just given us new ways to communicate, but in many ways they’ve taken over.  That’s not a good thing.

Maybe being a little more old school is a good thing, you know?

Readers, do you give up anything for Lent?  If so, what?  Also, what do you think about Facebook and other like items?  If asked to give them up, how long could you go?  Drop me your thoughts in the comments below.  And, thanks for reading!

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Before Keeping Up With Them, Ask Who Are Your Joneses?

Keeping up with the Joneses.  We’ve all heard it.  We know what it means.  Hopefully we don’t do it.

Keeping Up With The Joneses: Who Are Your Joneses, Anyway?

But, since most people that you start comparing yourself to probably aren’t actually named Jones (though, some might be), I wonder who your Joneses are.  Meaning, who are the people that, when you see them, make you want to ‘keep up’?

For me, I don’t have actual people, but the people who fall into these groups are definitely my triggers.

People who build brand new houses

People who build brand new homes always bring a tweak of jealousy. What about for you? Who are your Joneses?

I remember when my parents went through the process of building a new home back in the late 1980’s.  Although even then I knew that it was a stressful process (I remember more than story of my dad getting into near-shouting matches with the builder), it was fascinating to me to see ideas on paper and a piece of land get transformed into a home, and was something I wanted to do someday.  So far, I haven’t had the opportunity, so when I see people that are going through that process, it definitely strikes a chord.

People who remodel their kitchens

I’ve never had a granite countertop in any place where I’ve lived.  It’s been all laminiate counters for me.  Our home has a decent enough kitchen, but it is a late-1990’s kitchen that was, even then, fitted with the basics.  It’s functional but it’s nothing fancy. Although we’ve replaced the sinks, faucets, and dishwasher, it’s still very much a basic 1990’s kitchen.  Although we have no plans to replace it, I have to admit, when I see the photos on Facebook and such of people that do a kitchen remodel, I ‘want one’!

For me, these are the big groups that bring out the most longing, even if it is fleeting (which it is).  It doesn’t bring out the desire to go out and build a new house or start a new project, but more the thought process of ‘if only….’.  Eventually I realize that we have a great house and, compared to many I’ve seen, our kitchen is just fine.

So, just curious, readers, who are your Joneses, and to what level does it strike you?  How do you go about moving on when your trigger points bring out that feeling?  

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Why You Need To Accept Responsibility For A Job Loss

So, you lost your job?  You got fired.  You got canned.  You got the boot.  Whatever you call it, the bottom line is, it sucks.  It’s happened to me, and trust me, it is something I hope to never have take place again.  Has it happened to you?

If it’s happened, there are a number of things you’re going to feel.  Chances are you’re going to panic a little bit.  You’ll be angry and hurt.  No matter how you look at it, the experience and the aftermath are going to weigh you down.

Once the initial shock wears off, which can take a few hours or a few days, then the time comes to collect yourself and start looking forward.  That sounds pretty simple, but as I recently discovered, that path isn’t the one that’s always taken.

Holding Onto Anger After Getting Fired

I was reading through Facebook, and stumbled upon an article that struck my fancy.  It was an article listing some things you might have done wrong that led you go get fired.   I clicked into the article, and also looked into the Facebook comments that followed the link.  As I don’t want to call attention to the person about whom inspired my post, I’m not going to link to the article or the comments, but I will paraphrase the comment.

“This article is annoying.  Women are awful to each other in job settings.  I was fired 12+ years ago.  The HR person, a judgmental lunatic named ______ _______ made my life miserable and ruined my job.  She was jealous of me and that I was smart and good at what I did.  I got fired and it was all her fault.”

I read this and was floored.  And, I’m going to tell you, even though I paraphrased this, I did not embellish or exaggerate one single thing.  If anything, I took a few things out of her comment.

Let’s look at some of the key things that happened here:

  • mb-2014-12stressedShe insulted the blog owner – She didn’t agree with the article but rather than put that kindly, she insulted the owner.  That’s just bad form.  The author didn’t bother to reply to the comment, nor would I have.  I’m all for meaningful discussion with my readers, and I know that some may disagree with me, but when the conversation starts off as disrespectful, there’s no reason to continue on.
  • She generalizes – She comments about how women are awful to each other.  Interesting.  Does that mean that she herself is awful to other women in job settings?
  • She has held a grudge for over twelve years – That is a long time to hold a grudge.  Was the job that great or important that she is still holding on to this much anger over twelve years later?  Many couples that go through terrible divorces hold less anger after that long.
  • She actually named the person – After twelve years, she put the person’s name in the comment field.  How passive-aggressive and unnecessary is that?  It serves no person except to show bitterness that should have long died by now.
  • She assigned all the blame – She blamed every bad thing that happened at her job on the HR person that ‘ruined her job’.  I find it hard to believe that one person, presumably not even her boss, could have that much influence.
  • She took no responsibility – The last sentence says it all. She assigned 100% of the blame of her getting fired on this other person, meaning that she took absolutely zero responsibility for what went down.
  • She is totally self-unaware – How can someone claim that a co-worker was that vicious when describing the experience with such venom and not see how any reasonable person is going to see them as the maniac?  She lists out all kinds of character flaws about someone else, then demonstrates them in glorious fashion.  It’s honestly painful.

You Got Fired: Take Your Lumps And Take Responsibility

As I said at the top, I’ve gotten let go.  I was angry.  I was hurt.  And, yes, I blamed my boss.  When I walked out of there, and even after, I was storming mad.  When I left that place, I knew that on one hand, my boss was right: I didn’t perform well at my job.  But, my boss was supposed to be my leader, so I put it on her.

Until I didn’t.

Eventually, as I got past the experience of being fired, I realized that some of the responsibility was mine to take.  Yes, I feel my boss underperformed in her job in the way she mentored and led me, but I still had other things I could have and should have done.  I have always been successful so once I struggled, instead of reaching out for help, I didn’t.  I assumed I would just figure it out and it would all come together.  That was my strategy.  It was a bad one, and that part was on me.

Taking ownership of that responsibility was key.

What Taking Responsibility For Your Job Loss Gives You

Once you take responsibility, here’s what you get:

  • You can let go of the anger – Being angry sucks.  It takes a lot of energy. I’m generally a peaceful person anyways, so when I get angry, it affects my whole life.  The job was over, but if I held onto the anger, the negativity was going to stay with me.  By finding a way to let go of the anger, I was able to release that anger.
  • You can learn for your next job – Once I took responsibility for getting fired, I was able to look back objectively at what had happened, learn from it, and apply those learning elements to my current job.  Which I’ve been successful at, in good part because I was able to make adjustments and understand things better after having gone through what I did.  Do you think the person who left the comment above has learned a single thing in the 12+ years since her firing? From what I can tell, I’m guessing no.
  • You keen your awareness – Having gone through my experience, I now have a better understanding of myself and of others in the workplace.  I now recognize people that have similar personality traits as my former boss that made us clash, and I try to steer my career away from them.  If I’m reading the person who left the comment correctly, her position is that she just avoids working with other women.  Great strategy.

Take Charge Today

If you’ve been fired, whether it be recently or years ago, I would encourage you to take responsibility.  You don’t have to take 100% of the blame, because usually there’s plenty to go around, but make sure you be honest and take the portion that’s yours.  That may seem weak, but it really can turn into an opportunity to strengthen you professionally and personally.  I can’t think of a single person who wouldn’t benefit from that.

Readers, if you’ve been unfortunate enough to have been fired, how have you responded?  What are some of the best and worst takeaways you’ve had or seen from others that have gone through the experience?

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.