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'[EE] signs of the economy.'
2009\02\09@165312 by Mark Rages

face picon face
I just got my PCB order back from Advanced Circuits and there was no
microwave popcorn in the box.

Things must really be tough out there.

Regards,
Mark
markrages@gmail
--
Mark Rages, Engineer
Midwest Telecine LLC
spam_OUTmarkragesTakeThisOuTspammidwesttelecine.com

2009\02\09@180959 by olin piclist

face picon face
Mark Rages wrote:
> I just got my PCB order back from Advanced Circuits and there was no
> microwave popcorn in the box.

That must be recent.  I got a order just last week that did have the
popcorn.  Personally I'd rather they lower the price than make me buy a bag
of popcorn that I might not want.


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.

2009\02\10@164128 by M. Adam Davis

face picon face
Maybe they're classifying customers and sending popcorn discriminately.

If so, they've miscategorized both of you, I think.

;-D

-Adam

On Mon, Feb 9, 2009 at 6:10 PM, Olin Lathrop <.....olin_piclistKILLspamspam@spam@embedinc.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> -

2009\02\10@165544 by solarwind

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Funny you should mention popcorn...

2009\02\11@024159 by Forrest W. Christian

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I have an acquantance who is also in the manufacturing business.  
Somehow they got started putting a miniature payday bar in each box -
not the big ones, but the halloween size.

Evidentally the customers complain much more loudly when they miss
putting a payday in the box than more important things like required
assembly hardware.

-forrest

Mark Rages wrote:
> I just got my PCB order back from Advanced Circuits and there was no
> microwave popcorn in the box.
>
> Things must really be tough out there.
>
> Regards,
> Mark
> markrages@gmail
>  

2009\02\11@030829 by Vitaliy

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Forrest W. Christian wrote:
> I have an acquantance who is also in the manufacturing business.
> Somehow they got started putting a miniature payday bar in each box -
> not the big ones, but the halloween size.
>
> Evidentally the customers complain much more loudly when they miss
> putting a payday in the box than more important things like required
> assembly hardware.

The guy who was giving me a tour of the Advanced Circuits plant, told a
story of how this "free popcorn with each order" tradition started.
Apparently, one of the executives has a friend in the popcorn business, and
I guess this friend one day gave him a bunch of free popcorn (I forget
exactly why -- expiration date was approaching, or something like that).
They didn't know what to do with the popcorn, so they shipped it out with
the next batch of orders. Allegedly, when the popcorn ran out, they got a
lot of calls from customers -- "Where is my popcorn?!".

"So now we buy it by the pallet", my guide concluded, pointing at the
pallet.

FWIW, I'm pretty sure our last order of PCBs came with a bag of popcorn.

Vitaliy

2009\02\11@031206 by Vitaliy
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"Olin Lathrop" wrote:
>> I just got my PCB order back from Advanced Circuits and there was no
>> microwave popcorn in the box.
>
> That must be recent.  I got a order just last week that did have the
> popcorn.  Personally I'd rather they lower the price than make me buy a
> bag
> of popcorn that I might not want.

Popcorn is very cheap. I think most people would prefer the bag of popcorn
over a $0.10 discount. It creates a party atmosphere every time a delivery
arrives from 4PCB.com.

I don't like the kind of popcorn they typically put with the order (it has
butter in it), but I still enjoy the smell when the guys pop it in the
microwave. :-)

Vitaliy

2009\02\11@031639 by Jake Anderson

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Only the boss cares about shipping the product ;->
The peons in shipping are more interested in the treat

Forrest W. Christian wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2009\02\11@032735 by Forrest W. Christian

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Actually, in this case the stuff is buried deep enough in the packaging
that the people who get it are the people who are actually installing
the product - and in many cases are who decide which product to actually
use.

I try to put something free in every package that goes out...  I know
when *I* get a free pen or a writing pad or a bag of popcorn, I at least
feel like that company cares a bit more than the company which is lucky
to even get the right stuff in the box...

-forrest

Jake Anderson wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2009\02\11@073054 by olin piclist

face picon face
Vitaliy wrote:
> Popcorn is very cheap. I think most people would prefer the bag of
> popcorn over a $0.10 discount.

Maybe, but it still makes me feel like they think I'm stupid every time I
see they made me buy a bag of popcorn when I was trying to buy circuit
boards.

"We think you're so dumb that we can give you less value on what you really
want and make up for it by giving you a cheap short term feel-good item and
get away with it.  Ha ha, what a chump."


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.

2009\02\11@073633 by Chris Smolinski

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>Vitaliy wrote:
>>  Popcorn is very cheap. I think most people would prefer the bag of
>>  popcorn over a $0.10 discount.
>
>Maybe, but it still makes me feel like they think I'm stupid every time I
>see they made me buy a bag of popcorn when I was trying to buy circuit
>boards.
>
>"We think you're so dumb that we can give you less value on what you really
>want and make up for it by giving you a cheap short term feel-good item and
>get away with it.  Ha ha, what a chump."

I suspect a lot of their customers are spending other people's money,
and don't care about the 10 cents, but do enjoy the popcorn at work.

--

---
Chris Smolinski
Black Cat Systems
http://www.blackcatsystems.com

2009\02\11@074007 by olin piclist

face picon face
Forrest W. Christian wrote:
> I know when *I* get a free pen or a writing pad or a bag of
> popcorn, I at least feel like that company cares a bit more

What a chump.  It's just a business decision because there are apparently
enough people like you out there that value fluff over value.

I've got a whole drawer full of free pens, some even with "Embed Inc"
written on them that I never use.  Send me a postage paid self-addressed box
and I'll send you a bunch.  Or how about this, I'll throw in a free pen for
every USBPRog, USBProg2, or LProg PIC programmer you buy ;-)


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.

2009\02\11@081904 by M. Adam Davis

face picon face
On Wed, Feb 11, 2009 at 7:41 AM, Olin Lathrop <olin_piclistspamKILLspamembedinc.com> wrote:
> Forrest W. Christian wrote:
>> I know when *I* get a free pen or a writing pad or a bag of
>> popcorn, I at least feel like that company cares a bit more
>
> What a chump.  It's just a business decision because there are apparently
> enough people like you out there that value fluff over value.

Exactly - it's a business decision.

And human psychology shows that this trick pays off for the business
providing the fluff.  Even if it's subconscious, people will prefer
the company that provides the 'treat' over the one that doesn't, even
when the quality/price/etc is slightly better with the product that
doesn't provide the fluff.

Of course, there are those who it angers, but you appear satisfied
enough with the other aspects of the business to pay the premium for
fluff.  The reality is that many people go to a more expensive company
that provides better support and more human interaction, and added
fluff is an outward manifestation of that commitment.  Like it or not,
people associate such things with a personal human connection, and
that is valuable to certain businesses.

But you can always vote with your wallet.

$0.10 on a $500+ order, though.  :-P

-Adam

2009\02\11@084303 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>But you can always vote with your wallet.
>
>$0.10 on a $500+ order, though.  :-P

Not only that, but the company may even be able to reclaim the cost - it is
recyclable biodegradable packaging, being used instead of the 'monkey nuts'
...

Now just imagine what would happen if all the packaging was replaced with
bags of popcorn ...

2009\02\11@100603 by olin piclist

face picon face
M. Adam Davis wrote:
> But you can always vote with your wallet.
>
> $0.10 on a $500+ order, though.

I do vote with my wallet and use Gold Phoenix routinely although this has
little to do with the popcorn and a lot with the price.  I use Advanced
Circuits only in special situations because they are relatively expensive.


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.

2009\02\11@100941 by olin piclist

face picon face
Alan B. Pearce wrote:
> Now just imagine what would happen if all the packaging was replaced
> with bags of popcorn ...

They are already doing something close.  Some of the "plastic peanuts" you
get are actually made of cornstarch.  Wet your finger and put it on one and
you can feel it contracting around the wet spot.


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.

2009\02\11@140258 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Chris Smolinski wrote:

>>Vitaliy wrote:
>>>  Popcorn is very cheap. I think most people would prefer the bag of
>>>  popcorn over a $0.10 discount.
>>
>> Maybe, but it still makes me feel like they think I'm stupid every
>> time I see they made me buy a bag of popcorn when I was trying to
>> buy circuit boards.
>>
>> "We think you're so dumb that we can give you less value on what you
>> really want and make up for it by giving you a cheap short term
>> feel-good item and get away with it.  Ha ha, what a chump."
>
> I suspect a lot of their customers are spending other people's money,
> and don't care about the 10 cents, but do enjoy the popcorn at work.

This is even worse, if you think about it... :)

Gerhard

2009\02\11@140952 by Gerhard Fiedler

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M. Adam Davis wrote:

> And human psychology shows that this trick pays off for the business
> providing the fluff.  

This is correct, but it doesn't mean that it isn't horribly inefficient
when you look at what this does on a larger scale (marketing etc.) --
and that occasionally ranting against it may help increase our
collective efficiency and make us -- in the long run, and collectively
-- richer.

Gerhard

2009\02\11@143825 by Dr Skip

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Some people just don't get it... If the PRESIDENT of a Japanese company called
the engineer that ordered his company's parts and said "arigato", some of these
engineers would bitch and moan that he should've learned proper english before
calling to say thanks! Not everyone will be satisfied, no matter how gracious
the overture.

The popcorn is probably a very good idea. Most people like it, so it has a
minimal offensiveness, it's politically neutral for the 'political correctness'
crowd, rarely is an engineer working on a project of his own $$ and own spec -
there are clients (outside or as another dept), finance people to handle the
funds, etc. In that chain, the engineer is just a conduit between supplier and
destination. A little gift in the form of something unique and probably
personally satisfying, that can be routed to the person 'responsible' for that
vendor's selection, without violating any 'kickback' rules or such, is a GOOD
idea. It makes everyone happy (most of the time).

Popcorn isn't 'over the top', and it isn't another pen. It has uniqueness, AND,
it was fortuitous for the company to have stumbled upon it.

Will it cause overwhelming desire to spend millions of dollars with them next
time? No, but a little niceness is good in and of itself. It's no different
than holding a door open for someone. A few will take offense for whatever ego
problem they may have, most will think it was a nice gesture and move on, and
probably none will be so impressed by the gesture that they will want to marry
you... It's still a nice gesture.



{Quote hidden}

2009\02\11@184357 by Nate Duehr

face
flavicon
face
Do they salivate when they see the box is from Advanced?  (Pavlovian...)

Nate

-----Original Message-----
From: .....piclist-bouncesKILLspamspam.....mit.edu [EraseMEpiclist-bouncesspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTmit.edu] On Behalf Of
Jake Anderson
Sent: Wednesday, February 11, 2009 1:17 AM
To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public.
Subject: Re: [EE] signs of the economy.

Only the boss cares about shipping the product ;->
The peons in shipping are more interested in the treat


2009\02\11@225519 by Vitaliy

flavicon
face
"Gerhard Fiedler" wrote:
>> And human psychology shows that this trick pays off for the business
>> providing the fluff.
>
> This is correct, but it doesn't mean that it isn't horribly inefficient
> when you look at what this does on a larger scale (marketing etc.) --
> and that occasionally ranting against it may help increase our
> collective efficiency and make us -- in the long run, and collectively
> -- richer.

You could say the same thing about advertizing (I mean, think how many
billions are wasted!) -- and be just as wrong.

There's nothing wrong with shipping a little popcorn with a PCB order. Your
PCBs would not cost any less, without the popcorn. Get over it. :)

Vitaliy

2009\02\11@232815 by M. Adam Davis

face picon face
On Wed, Feb 11, 2009 at 10:11 AM, Olin Lathrop
<olin_piclistspamspam_OUTembedinc.com> wrote:
> Alan B. Pearce wrote:
>> Now just imagine what would happen if all the packaging was replaced
>> with bags of popcorn ...
>
> They are already doing something close.  Some of the "plastic peanuts" you
> get are actually made of cornstarch.  Wet your finger and put it on one and
> you can feel it contracting around the wet spot.

Of course it's completely irresponsible to teach kids to lick one end
of the corn starch packing peanuts, and stick them to their heads like
unicorns.

I would never be caught doing that.

_shifty eyes_

;-D

I think it would be funny if they packed the unpopped popcorn in the
processed corn starch.  "What should we pack our food with?"  "More
food!"

-Adam

(speaking of shifty eyes... http://www.vimeo.com/3173322 a 3 hour
project we're donating to a local reading group as a window display/
Fortunately it's supposed to look dodgy...)

2009\02\12@063746 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Vitaliy wrote:

> "Gerhard Fiedler" wrote:
>>> And human psychology shows that this trick pays off for the business
>>> providing the fluff.
>>
>> This is correct, but it doesn't mean that it isn't horribly inefficient
>> when you look at what this does on a larger scale (marketing etc.) --
>> and that occasionally ranting against it may help increase our
>> collective efficiency and make us -- in the long run, and collectively
>> -- richer.
>
> You could say the same thing about advertizing (I mean, think how many
> billions are wasted!) ...

I do.

> ... -- and be just as wrong.

Just because you don't agree with me doesn't mean that I'm wrong.

> There's nothing wrong with shipping a little popcorn with a PCB order.
> Your PCBs would not cost any less, without the popcorn. Get over it.
> :)

Maybe not. But don't they say they are buying popcorn by the pallet? At
the source, it's not one popcorn bag wasted, it's a lot of popcorn bags
wasted. This is not only about the money, this is also about waste. (Of
course I know that some call wasting material and energy a way of life,
but I happen not to agree with it -- which is a matter of opinion, I
think, and therefore can't be wrong or right.)

Gerhard

2009\02\12@071047 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>Maybe not. But don't they say they are buying popcorn by
>the pallet? At the source, it's not one popcorn bag wasted,
>it's a lot of popcorn bags wasted. This is not only about
>the money, this is also about waste.

Yes, but ... they are also buying whatever other packing material by the
pallet, surely, if they are having to buy popcorn by the pallet, to put one
bag in each order.

I wonder which is cheaper by the pallet, and which is more wasteful.

2009\02\12@083859 by olin piclist

face picon face
Alan B. Pearce wrote:
> Yes, but ... they are also buying whatever other packing material by
> the pallet, surely, if they are having to buy popcorn by the pallet,
> to put one bag in each order.
>
> I wonder which is cheaper by the pallet, and which is more wasteful.

Perhaps you're not aware that the popcorn is unpopped.  It doesn't make such
great packing.


********************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, http://www.embedinc.com/products
(978) 742-9014.  Gold level PIC consultants since 2000.

2009\02\12@085506 by Alan B. Pearce

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>Perhaps you're not aware that the popcorn is unpopped.

Yes I was - Vitaliy said it needed to be microwaved to pop it.

2009\02\12@091421 by Rolf

face picon face
Olin Lathrop wrote:
> Alan B. Pearce wrote:
>  
>> Yes, but ... they are also buying whatever other packing material by
>> the pallet, surely, if they are having to buy popcorn by the pallet,
>> to put one bag in each order.
>>
>> I wonder which is cheaper by the pallet, and which is more wasteful.
>>    
>
> Perhaps you're not aware that the popcorn is unpopped.  It doesn't make such
> great packing.
>
>
>  

Obviously you miss the real point of the un-popped popcorn packing (say
that fast a few times...).


It is to act as an indicator when UPS or FEDEX over-heats the parcels in
transit..... you know that if the popcorn arrives popped, frozen, wet,
or absent, then you can get a refund on the shipping charges...

;-)

Rolf

2009\02\12@164059 by Gary Crowell

picon face
Maybe this is why they don't send popcorn anymore:
www.douglassreport.com/dailydose/dd200710/dd20071019a.html
----------------------------------------------
Gary A. Crowell Sr., P.E., CID+

2009\02\12@183809 by Nate Duehr

face
flavicon
face
I forgot about that one.  I must be slipping.

Time to go make some popcorn and kill the co-workers... (GRIN).

Nate

-----Original Message-----
From: @spam@piclist-bouncesKILLspamspammit.edu [KILLspampiclist-bouncesKILLspamspammit.edu] On Behalf Of
Gary Crowell
Sent: Thursday, February 12, 2009 2:41 PM
To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public.
Subject: Re: [EE] signs of the economy.

Maybe this is why they don't send popcorn anymore:
www.douglassreport.com/dailydose/dd200710/dd20071019a.html
----------------------------------------------
Gary A. Crowell Sr., P.E., CID+


2009\02\12@213451 by Vitaliy

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face
"Gary Crowell" wrote:
> Maybe this is why they don't send popcorn anymore:
> http://www.douglassreport.com/dailydose/dd200710/dd20071019a.html

Same healer in the same article says:

"So what can you do? [...] Other than that, I suggest spending as little
time in your office as possible - and giving your lungs a treat by smoking
on a fine Panamanian cigar. That's what I do!"

It's easy to follow the money and see why he says the things he does. Fear
sells.

Vitaliy

2009\02\13@012315 by M. Adam Davis

face picon face
Unfortunately for you that particular chemical has been removed from
most, if not all, brands of microwave popcorn.  So no death in a bag
anymore.  Well, until we find out about the next kitchen killer...

-Adam

On Thu, Feb 12, 2009 at 6:37 PM, Nate Duehr <RemoveMEnateTakeThisOuTspamnatetech.com> wrote:
> I forgot about that one.  I must be slipping.
>
> Time to go make some popcorn and kill the co-workers... (GRIN).
>
> Nate
>
> {Original Message removed}

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