Sunday, August 30, 2009

Panera Bread's Toilet Gender Discrimination

I sent the following email to Panera Bread's customer service department just a few moments ago:

I'm a regular customer at Panera and sometimes come to use the wifi to do work on my computer in your pleasant environment. When I sit for several hours I usually buy a meal a well as drinks and sometimes another meal or snack later.

Today I have done just that at your North Hollywood location when I ordered a meal. I asked to use the restroom and was told it was not working. I asked if i could use the women's restroom and was told no that was not allowed. I was told to go to the Coffee Bean next door which wasn't practical since I had ordered a meal and had my computer out which I wasn't about to either leave unattended nor pack with me to go to the Coffee Bean.

Therefore I am forced to finish my meal and then leave unable to finish my work and having a less than pleasurable experience at Panera. I will probably be back but this is a bit disappointing. I also find it discriminatory to provide restroom facilities to one gender but not another.

Stalker or Brilliant Marketing?

A guy meets a girl on a plane and for whatever reason doesn't get her digits. So he takes to posting up flyers around Venice a month later searching her out. Is he a crazy stalker OR is this perhaps a brilliant viral marketing campaign for Southwest Airlines? (Props to Sean Bonner at Metblogs)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Remember When The Phone Was Black and Plugged Into The Wall?

I decided it was time to make some changes to my mobile devices which include:

A Samsung Instinct smartphone - basically Sprint's imitation of the iPhone.
A Sprint aircard
AN Asus Eee PC
An iPod Touch

I figured that if I could upgrade my aircard to a Sprint Mifi, I could then downgrade my Instinct to a regular phone (for phone and texting only) and downgrade my plan.  With the always on wifi from the Mifi then my iPod touch would become the device for mail and other computing on the road.  However I would eventually need to upgrade to the new iPod Touch later this fall so that I could gain the camera and microphone the my iPod is currently lacking.

Another option I had considered was upgrading to the new BlackBerry Tour.  The bottom line was that I was growing tired of the Instinct and it wasn't the greatest phone for email. You can only watch so much Hannah Montana on Sprint TV.

The one issue however was that the Sprint MiFi card is $299.  I figured that not only would I be spending the $299 for that but at least that amount in a couple of months to upgrade the iPod. 

So I ruled out the mifi option considering that Sprint's 4G network, currently in testing in Baltimore, will be available in about a year or two and that at that time even better iPods will be out and I'll have had my aircard long enough to get the upgrade rebate to mifi at even faster speeds.

So I figured out the best option was to upgrade the Instinct to a Blackberry Curve.  I really don't need the international functionality of the Tour and the Curve does everything I need and much better than the Instinct. 

I was able to turn in my Instinct for $50, so with the rebate on the phone, it makes the BlackBerry free (before sales tax).  So my main investment - after sending off the sales tax on the entire value of the purchase (which I don't understand) to Arnold - was $35 for a car charger. 

Now you may be asking why not just switch to iPhone.  I would - but I hate AT&T. So there.