Archive for February, 2010

Earlier this week, I was on the phone with an airline to ask why they had changed my reserved seat to a different, much crappier one. The customer service rep basically told me they screwed up but had no way of assigning me the original seat again. I could get into other details, but I […]

While going through some travel documents, I came across a few unused flight credits from Northwest Airlines. I actually tried to use them once, but there was some technical issue with the Northwest website. Rather than throwing them away, I decided to contact the airline and find out if they were still valid. As you […]

Compare these two grocery shopping scenarios: – You’re totally out of the basic foods that you eat on a regular basis, so you have to visit the store. – You have plenty of the essentials in the pantry, but you want to try out some new things for the fun of it. Virtually any store […]

Given all the attention paid to viral and word-of-mouth marketing, lots of websites are including features to let you tell a friend about their product or service. But after completing a transaction with a popular online application, I started to wonder: which group of customers is most likely to actually refer their friends to the […]

My building has an online bulletin board where people can post ads for various types of items, including apartments they’re trying to sell or rent. It’s rather basic: just a text listing plus some contact info. But there’s one aspect to the real estate listings that I rarely see elsewhere: every listing includes the floor […]

This month, the Chicago Transit Authority is rolling out their latest series of service cuts. Unlike previous changes, these are far-reaching: every train line will have fewer cars, adding another 2-5 minutes between most trains. Obviously, this means more waiting and additional crowding, especially for those who take the train back and forth to work […]

Want to get more people to buy groceries online? One of the major obstacles is translating the mental or written shopping list from your local store into a list of products that the online grocer carries. How can the website make this easier? Simple: hire personal concierges to kickstart the process. The approach is actually […]

After reading a few articles that covered the latest cell phone products, I started thinking about the many questions that arise when you’re faced with naming a product or a series of products. For instance: – If your current model numbers go something like 8000, 8500, 9000 and so on, do you move on to […]

When I walked into the gym on Saturday night, it was surprisingly busy. There was only a single treadmill available, so I quickly stepped onto it before anyone else could beat me there. But when I turned it on, I realized why that particular treadmill was unused. The belt was making a rather awful noise. […]

Several years ago, I bought a periodic table poster to hang on the wall. It was advertised as being high-quality, with a laminated coating. Well, the poster arrived in good shape, but there was one problem: they shipped it rolled up in a tube. And no matter how many days I let it sit flat […]