Kate's Collage
"Vinny Da Vendor"
"Benny Da Buyer"
Kizer & Bender
Memory, Paper & Stamps
Category Reports
Designing Perspectives
Scene & Heard

Creative Leisure News
306 Parker Circle
Lawrence, KS 66049
Phone: 785-760-5071
Email: mike@clnonline.com


In each issue of Creative Leisure News we try to add a little smile to your day, whether it's a joke, some fractured ads -- even a true story or two. Below is a collection of items that have appeared in CLN dating back to 1997.

Click on the title and it will take you to the specific item -- or scroll down at your leisure.

Want to share a joke, email us! mike@clnonline.com

God, Your Business, and Bankruptcy
A Memo from Santa
How To Deal with Bankers
How Not To Impress the Chains
The Ultimate Shipwreck
How Not To Write Ad Copy
How Not To Translate Your Message
More Translation Troubles
The Pearly Gates
What To Do with a Dead Horse
Signs You're Being Stalked by Martha Stewart
Examples of Employee Evaluations
Is Our Industry Going to the Dogs?
Retailing Trick of the Month
Martha's Fall Advice
The Top Ten Signs You Work in the New Century
Ooops! So Much for That Promo Idea
Business-Speak, 2000 Style
How To Make Stores More Profit Oriented
Only in America
Signs You've Had Too Much of the New Century
The True Test of a Trade Show
Mergers for the New Century
Some Fractured Ads
More Fractured Ads & Signs
A Slogan for the Holiday Season
More Employee Evaluations
Always Check All Your Inventory!
Some Holy Bloopers
A Resignation
Customer Service That's Out of This World
Holiday Greetings from a Politically Correct Lawyer...
Best Newspaper Headlines of the Year, 1999
New Barbie SKU's for Baby Boomers
Obituary for Mark Down

God, Your Business, and Bankruptcy

horizontal rule

A manufacturer was in trouble because one of his warehouses burned down. Customers canceled orders and the insurance company wouldn't cover the damages. He went to his minister and said, "I need help! My warehouse burned down, my product is all gone, my customers are leaving, and I'm losing everything!"

The minister told him, "You can find all the answers to your problems in the Bible."

"Where should I start?" asked the manufacturer.

"If you don't know where to look," the minister said, "just open the book and place your finger on the page, and start right there. Sooner or later you will find your answers."

A few months later the minister ran into the manufacturer. It was obvious he was very successful -- a new car, new clothes, several rings and chains. The manufacturer says, "Thank you. The answers I found turned my life around!"

The minister was curious and asked, "In what passage did you find your answers?"

"I did just what you said," the man answered, "I opened the Bible to a spot, looked down, and found my answer staring me right in the face: Chapter 11." -- November, 1997
[ top ]

A Memo from Santa

horizontal rule

The recent announcement that Donner and Blitzen have elected to take the early reindeer retirement package has triggered concern about whether they will be replaced, and about other restructuring decisions at the North Pole.

Streamlining was appropriate considering that the North Pole no longer dominates the season's gift distribution business. Home shopping channels and mail order catalogs have diminished Santa's market share and he could not sit idly by and permit further erosion of the profit picture.

The reindeer downsizing was made possible through the purchase of a Japanese sled for the CEO's annual trip. Improved productivity from Dasher and Dancer, who summered at the Harvard Business School, is anticipated and should take up the slack with no discernible loss of service. Reduction in reindeer will also lessen airborne environmental emissions for which the North Pole has been cited and received unfavorable press.

I am pleased to report Rudolph's role will not be disturbed. Tradition still counts for something at the North Pole. Management denies, in the strongest possible language, the earlier leak that Rudolph's nose got that way not from the cold, but from substance abuse. Calling Rudolph "a lush who was into the sauce and never did pull his share of the load" was an unfortunate comment, made by one of Santa's helpers and taken out of context at a time of year when he is known to be under executive stress.

As a further restructuring, today's global challenges require the North Pole to continue to look for better, more competitive steps. Effective immediately, the following economy measures are to take place in the "Twelve Days of Christmas" subsidiary:

The partridge will be retained, but the pear tree never turned out to be the cash crop forecasted. It will be replaced by a plastic hanging plant, providing considerable savings in maintenance. The two turtle doves represent a redundancy that is simply not cost efficient.

Eleven pipers piping and twelve drummers drumming is a simple case of the band getting too big. A substitution with a string quartet, a cutback on new music, and no uniforms will produce savings which will drop to the bottom line. Plus, stretching deliveries over twelve days is inefficient. If we can drop ship in one day, service levels will be improved.

Regarding the lawsuit filed by the attorney's association seeking expansion to include the legal profession ("thirteen lawyers-a-suing") action is pending.

Lastly, deeper cuts may be necessary in the future to stay competitive. Should that happen, management to scrutinize the Snow White Division to see if seven dwarfs is the right number. -- December, 1997
[ top ]

How To Deal with Bankers

horizontal rule

A businessman asks a bank in New York to lend $5,000 for a trip to Europe. When the loan officer asks for security, the businessman hands over the keys to a Rolls-Royce parked in front of the bank. Everything checks out and the bank accepts the car as collateral.

An employee drives the Rolls into the bank's underground garage and parks it. Two weeks later, the businessman returns, repays the $5,000 and the interest, which comes to $15.41.

The loan officer says, "We're happy to have had your business, and this transaction worked out nicely, but we're confused. While you were away, we checked and learned you're a multi-millionaire. What puzzles us is, why would you bother to borrow $5,000?"

The businessman replied, "Where else in New York City can I park my car two weeks for $15?" -- January, 1998
[ top ]

How Not To Impress the Chains

horizontal rule

A story from Larry Fine, the Merchandising VP at Michaels: The company has an "open vendor" day on the first Tuesday of every month when any vendor, no matter how small, can show his/her line to a Michaels buyer. Larry said one Tuesday a buyer came into his office laughing and told this story:

A very small manufacturer showed his line and the buyer asked, "Do you have EDI?"

The manufacturer answered proudly, "Not me! There isn't one speck of pesticide in my product!" -- February, 1998
[ top ]

The Ultimate Shipwreck

horizontal rule

An ambitious yuppie finally decided to take a vacation. He booked himself on a Caribbean cruise and proceeded to have the time of his life -- for a while. A hurricane came unexpectedly. The ship went down and the man found himself swept up on the shore of an island with no other people, no supplies, nothing. Only bananas and coconuts.

Used to 5-star hotels, this guy had no idea what to do, so for the next four months he ate bananas, drank coconut juice, longed for his old life, and fixed his gaze on the sea, hoping to spot a rescue ship. One day, as he was lying on the beach, he spotted movement out of the corner of his eye. It was a rowboat, and in it was the most gorgeous woman he had ever seen. She rowed up to him.

In disbelief, he asked her, "Where did you come from? How did you get here?"

"I rowed from the other side of the island", she said. "I landed here when my cruise ship sank."

"Amazing," he said. "I didn't know anyone else had survived. How many are there? You were lucky to have a rowboat wash up with you."

"It's only me," she said, "and the rowboat didn't wash up; nothing did."

He was confused. "Then how did you get the rowboat?"

"Oh, simple," replied the woman. "I made the rowboat out of materials that I found on the island. The oars were whittled from gum tree branches. I wove the bottom from palm branches and the sides and stem came from a eucalyptus tree."

"B-B-But that's impossible," stuttered the man. "You had no tools or hardware. How did you manage?"

"Oh, that was no problem," replied the woman. "On the other side of the island there is a very unusual stratum of aluvial rock exposed. I found that if I fired it to a certain temperature in my kiln, it melted into forgeable ductile iron. I used that for the tools, and used the tools to make the hardware. But enough of that," she said. "Where do you live?"

Sheepishly, he confessed that he had been sleeping on the beach the whole time.

"Well, let's row over to my place, then," she said.

After a few minutes of rowing she docked the boat at a small wharf. As the man looked to the shore he nearly fell out of the boat. Before him was a stone walk leading to an exquisite bungalow painted in blue and white. While the woman tied up the rowboat with an expertly woven hemp rope, the man could only stare ahead, dumbstruck.

As they walked into the house, she said casually, "It's not much, but I call it home. Sit down, please; would you like a drink?"

"No, no thank you," he said, still dazed. "I can't take any more coconut juice."

"It's not coconut juice," the woman replied. "I have a still. How about a Pina Colada?"

Trying to hide his amazement, the man accepted, and they sat down on her couch to talk. After they had exchanged their stories, the woman announced, "I'm going to slip into something comfortable. Would you like to take a shower and shave? There is a razor upstairs in the cabinet in the bathroom."

No longer questioning anything, the man went into the bathroom. There in the cabinet was a razor made from a bone handle. Two shells honed to a hollow ground edge were fastened onto its end inside a swivel mechanism.

"This woman is amazing," he mused. "What next?"

When he returned, she greeted him wearing nothing but vines strategically positioned -- and smelling faintly of gardenias. She beckoned for him to sit down next to her.

"Tell me," she began, suggestively, slithering closer to him, "we've been out here for a very long time. You've been lonely. There's something I'm sure you really feel like doing right now, something you've been longing for all these months. You know ...." She stared into his eyes.

He couldn't believe what he was hearing. "You mean ..." he replied, "I can check my email from here?" -- February, 1998
[ top ]

How Not To Write Ad Copy

horizontal rule

Ever have trouble writing the words for your next trade or consumer ad? Here are some examples from actual retail ads, courtesy of the Internet:

1. "Our superstore -- unequaled in size, unmatched in variety, unrivaled inconvenience."
2. "We will oil your sewing machine and adjust tension in your home for $1.00."
3. "Illiterate? Write today for free help."
4. "Auto Repair Service. Try us once, you'll never go anywhere again."
5. "Stock up and save. Limit: one."
6. "Semi-Annual after-Christmas Sale."
7. "Christmas tag-sale. Handmade gifts for the hard-to-find person."
8. Used Cars: Why go elsewhere to be cheated? Come here first."
9. "Now is your chance to have your ears pierced and get an extra pair to take home, too."
[ top ]

How Not To Translate Your Message

horizontal rule

Much can be lost, or changed, in the translation of brand names, packaging, and advertising slogans into a different language. The most famous example is the Chevy Nova, which did not sell well in Mexico. (Nova in Spanish means "no go" -- not an appealing name for a car.) Here are some more translation gems:

1. Coors put its slogan, "Turn it loose" into Spanish, where it was read as "Suffer from diarrhea".
2. Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the following in an American campaign: "Nothing sucks like an Electrolux."
3. Clairol introduced the "Mist Stick", a curling iron, into German only to find out that "mist" is slang for manure.
4. When Gerber started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same packaging as in the US, with the beautiful Caucasian baby on the label. Later they learned that in Africa, companies routinely put pictures on the label of what's inside, since most people can't read.
5. Colgate introduced a toothpaste in France called "Cue", the name of a notorious porno magazine.
6. An American T-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts for the Spanish market which promoted the Pope's visit. Instead of "I saw the Pope" (el Papa), the shirts read "I saw the potato" (la papa).
7. Pepsi's "Come alive with the Pepsi Generation" translated into "Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave", in Chinese.
8. Frank Perdue's chicken slogan, "It takes a strong man to make a tender chicken" was translated into Spanish as "it takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate".
9. The Coca-Cola name in China was first read as "Ke-kou-ke-la", meaning "Bite the wax tadpole" or "female horse stuffed with wax", depending on the dialect. Coke then researched 40,000 characters to find a phonetic equivalent "ko-kou-ko-le", translating into "happiness in the mouth".
10. When Parker Pen marketed a ball-point pen in Mexico, its ads were supposed to have read, "It won't leak in your pocket and embarrass you". Instead, the company thought that the word "embarazar" (to impregnate) meant to embarrass, so the ad read: "It won't leak in your pocket and make you pregnant".
[ top ]

More Translation Troubles

horizontal rule

Foreign companies have trouble, too, with translations:

LEIPZIG, GERMANY, ELEVATOR: "Do not enter the lift backwards, and only when lit up."

ATHENS, HOTEL: "Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11 a.m. daily."

JAPANESE, HOTEL: "You are invited to take advantage of the women who are employed to clean the rooms."

BANGKOK, DRY CLEANERS: "Drop your trousers here for best results."

PARIS, DRESS SHOP: "Elegant dresses designed for street walking."

JAPANESE, HOTEL: "Cold and Heat: If you want to condition the warm in your room, please control yourself."

GERMAN, CAMPING SITE: "It is strictly forbidden on our Black Forest camping site that people of different sex, for instance, men and women, live together in one tent unless they are married with each other for that purpose."

SWISS, MOUNTAIN INN: "Special today -- no ice cream."
[ top ]

The Pearly Gates

horizontal rule

Recently a teacher, a garbage collector, and a lawyer wound up together at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter informed them that in order get into heaven, they would each have to answer one question.

St. Peter addressed the teacher and asked, "What was the name of the ship that crashed into the iceberg? They just made a movie about it." The teacher answered quickly, "That would be the Titanic." St. Peter let him through the gate.

St. Peter turned to the garbage man and, figuring heaven didn't REALLY need all the odors that this guy would bring with him, decided to make the question a little harder: "How many people died on the ship?" Fortunately for him, the trash man had just seen the movie and answered, "about 1,500." "That's right!" said St. Peter. "You may enter."

St. Peter then turned to the lawyer. "Name them."
[ top ]

What To Do with a Dead Horse

horizontal rule

Dakota tribal wisdom says when you discover you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount. However, in our business we often try other strategies with dead horses, including the following:

1. Buy a stronger whip.
2. Change riders.
3. Say, "This is the way we always have ridden this horse."
4. Appoint a committee to study the horse.
5. Hire a consultant to study the horse.
6. Hire a designer to create new uses for the horse.
7. Visit other sites to see how they ride dead horses.
8. Appoint a team to revive the dead horse.
9. Create a training session to increse our riding ability.
10. Change the requirements and declare, "This horse is not dead."
11. Hire contractors to ride the dead horse.
12. Harness several dead horses together for increased speed.
13. Provide additional funding to increase the horse's performance.
14. Purchase a product to make dead horses run faster.
15. Promote the dead horse to a supervisory position.
16. Blame the chain stores for killing the horse.
17. Blame the trade associations for killing the horse.
18. Blame the sales reps for killing the horse.
19. Sell the dead horse to a group of outside investors.
[ top ]

Signs You're Being Stalked by Martha Stewart

horizontal rule

10. Mysterious late-night phone calls: "I can't stop thinking about you ... and that's a good thing!"
9. Contents of your curbside recycling tub are stolen and replaced with juice can pencil holders and milk carton flower vases.
8. You get a threatening note made from letters cut from a magazine with memory-book scissors.
7. The unmistakable aroma of potpourri follows you everywhere.
6. Annoying crank phone calls begin with, "Hold, please, for Ms.Stewart."
5. Twice this week you've been the victim of a drive-by doilying.
4. That telltale lemon slice in the dog's water bowl.
3. You can't see them, but you know you're being watched by wiggle eyes.
2. You discover the insides of your lampshades -- and parts of your body -- have been gold leafed.
1. You awaken one morning with a glue gun pointed squarely at your temple.
[ top ]

Examples of Employee Evaluations

horizontal rule

Following are reportedly some comments made by federal government supervisors on evaluations of some individual staff members:

1. "Since my last report, this employee has reached rock bottom and has started to dig."
2. "His men would follow him anywhere, but only out of morbid curiosity."
3. "When he opens his mouth, it seems that it is only to change feet."
4. "He would be out of his depth in a parking lot puddle."
5. "This young lady has delusions of adequacy."
6. "He sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them."
7. "This employee is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot."
8. "This employee should go far, and the sooner he starts, the better."
9. "He doesn't have ulcers, but he's a carrier."
10. "He would argue with a signpost."
[ top ]

Is Our Industry Going to the Dogs?

horizontal rule

The July 8th edition of USA Today included a story about the rise of day care centers for busy people's pets. The article included this -- and we swear we're not making this up: "At Doggy Do and Pussycats, Too, a doggie center on New York's Third Avenue, they even read to the dogs. That's when they're not doing crafts, like making Father's Day cards. Cost: $30 a day."
[ top ]

Retailing Trick of the Month

horizontal rule

Unless Reuters made a little typo in its report on Wal-Mart's quarterly report, the discounter is an even better retailer than we thought. According to an early Reuters report, later corrected, Wal-Mart had profits of just over $1 billion, on sales of only $33.5 million!
[ top ]

Martha's Fall Advice

horizontal rule

If you go to Martha Stewart's webpage (www.marthastewart.com) and sign up, you'll receive little email notes from Martha. The following is her advice for from a recent email:

"Slip a sweet-smelling cedar or lavender sachet made with our Sachet Kit into a closet or drawer -- it's a natural, effective way to keep moths out of your favorite woolens. Our one-gallon Pressed Glass Jars come in sets of two; use them to hold detergent in the laundry room or buttons and spools of thread in your sewing room. And don't miss our new Herringbone Laundry bags in sturdy cotton fabric -- their subtle ivory stripes are so elegant you won't want to hide them in a hamper."

Now we know what's been missing from our lives: herringbone laundry bags.
[ top ]

The Top 10 Signs You Work in the New Century

horizontal rule

10. You lecture the neighborhood kids selling lemonade on ways to improve their process.
9. You get excited when it's Saturday so you can wear sweats to work.
8. You refer to the tomatoes grown in your garden as deliverables.
7. You find you really need PowerPoint to explain what you do for a living.
6. You normally eat out of vending machines and at expensive restaurants within the same week.
5. You think that "progressing an action plan" and "calendarizing a project" are acceptable English phrases.
4. You know the people at the airport hotels better than your next door neighbors.
3. You ask your friends to "think out of the box" when making Friday night plans.
2. Your think Einstein would have been more effective had he put his ideas into a matrix.
1. You think a "half-day" means leaving at 5 o'clock.
[ top ]

Ooops! So Much for That Promo Idea

horizontal rule

A promotional event at a New Jersey Wal-Mart turned into a brawl last week, leaving 48 children and several adults bloodied and bruised, Reuters reported. Seven children and one adult were taken to a local hospital for treatment. According to police, customers trampled and fought each other grabbing balloons falling from the store's ceiling containing cash, gift certificates, and other prizes.

The event was to promote the store's new toy department and the grand prize was a two-minute free shopping spree in the store. Those in attendance paid $2 each, which was donated to the Children's Miracle Network. "Some unruly adults ruined it," store manager Joe Herron told Reuters.

"It's safe to say we won't do anything like this again," a Wal-Mart spokesperson told the Associated Press.
[ top ]

Business-Speak, 2000 Style

horizontal rule

Falling asleep in meetings? Here's a strategy to keep awake. At the next meeting you're forced to attend, play this little game with your colleagues: Listen for the following examples of modern business-speak. The winner is the first person to hear five words/phrases and shouts "Bingo".

* Synergy * Take that offline * Strategic fit * At the end of the day * Gap analysis * Best practice * The bottom line * Core business * Lessons learned * Touch base * Revisit * Game plan * Bandwidth * Hardball * Out of the loop * Go the extra mile * Benchmark * The big picture * Value-added * Movers and shakers * Ball park * Proactive, not reactive * Win-win situation * Think outside the box * Fast track * Empower employees * No blame * Stretch the envelope * Knowledge base * Results-driven * Total quality * Slippery slope * Mindset * Put this one to bed * Client-focused * Quality-driven * Move the goal post * At this stage of the game.

TESTIMONIALS FROM OTHER PLAYERS: "I had only been in the meeting for five minutes when I yelled bingo." ... "My attention span at meetings has improved dramatically." ... "It's a wheeze, meetings will never be the same for me after my first outright win." ... "The atmosphere was tense at the last process workshop as 32 of us listened intently for the elusive 5th."
[ top ]

How To Make Stores More Profit Oriented

horizontal rule

I've heard numerous stories in twenty years, but this is one of my favorites:

Standing in the lunch line at a Herr's open house years ago, I overhead this conversation by two retailers. One was young -- new and enthusiastic about her business. The other had run her store for a number of years and was a tad more cynical.

New Retailer: "My husband's a doctor and wants me to operate my store at a loss, so every time I start to make a profit I have to hire another employee."

Old Retailer: "Listen honey, my husband's a doctor, too, and wanted me to run my store the same way. But one day I caught him fooling around with one of his nurses and by god I've made a profit ever since!"
[ top ]

Only in America

horizontal rule

Some semi-philosophical musings from an E-mail friend:

Only in America ... can a pizza get to your house faster than an ambulance.

Only in America ... are there handicap parking places in front of a skating rink.

Only in America ... do drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front.

Only in America ... do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a diet coke.

Only in America ... do banks leave the doors open and then chain the pens to the counters.

Only in America ... do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and put our useless junk in the garage.

Only in America ... do we use answering machines to screen calls and then have call waiting so we won't miss a call from someone we didn't want to talk to in the first place.

Only in America ... do we buy hot dogs in packages of ten and buns in packages of eight.

Only in America ... do we use the word "politics" to describe the process so well: "Poli" in Latin meaning "many" and "tics" meaning "bloodsucking creatures".

Only in America ... do they have drive-up ATM machines with lettering in Braille.
[ top ]

Signs You've Had Too Much of the New Century

horizontal rule

1. You just tried to enter your password on the microwave.
2. You now think of three espressos as "getting wasted."
3. You haven't played solitaire with a real deck of cards in years.
4. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of three.
5. You call your son's beeper to let him know it's time to eat. He emails you back from his bedroom, "What's for dinner?"
6. Your daughter sells Girl Scout cookies via her web site.
7. You chat several times a day with a stranger from South Africa, but you haven't yet spoken with your next door neighbor this year.
8. You didn't give your valentine a card this year, but you posted one for your e-mail buddies via a web page.
9. Your daughter just bought a CD of all the records your college roommate used to play.
10. You check your blow-dryer to see if it's Y2K compliant.
11. Your grandmother clogs your email inbox, asking for a JPEG file of your newborn so she can create a screen saver.
12. You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home.
13. A week after you buy your computer it is out of date and sells for half the price you paid.
14. Cleaning up the dining room means getting the fast food bags out of the back seat of your car.
15. Your reason for not staying in touch with family is that they do not have email.
16. You consider second-day air delivery painfully slow.
17. Your dining room table is now your flat filing cabinet.
18. Your idea of being organized is multiple-colored Post-it notes.
19. You hear most of your jokes via email instead of in person.
20. You're reading this.
[ top ]

The True Test of a Trade Show

horizontal rule

Trade associations, like everyone else, brag about their products. After each trade show they issue press releases that make the most recent show sound wonderful (whether it was or it wasn't). As a result, journalists tend to become a bit cynical.

But now we have conclusive proof the recent HIA show was a good one: The Economic Pretzel Indicator!

It turns out Walnut Hill always gives out pretzels at its booth. This year the attendees consumed a record 45 pounds.

Forget the Dow Jones Index, the government's economic indicators, and the Gross National Product. The Economic Pretzel Indicator says it will be a good year!
[ top ]

Mergers for the New Century

horizontal rule

The last few years have seen many mergers, and the possibility of more becomes stronger and stronger. First it was banks, now it's automobiles. Volkswagen-Rolls Royce, Mercedes Benz-Chrysler, and Ford-Hyundai have already occured. Getting in on the ground floor could mean excellent capital gains, stock splits, and appreciation. These look like some likely mergers:

Xerox and Wurlitzer: They're going to make reproductive organs.

Fairchild Electronics and Honeywell Computers: New company will be called Fairwell Honeychild.

Polygram Records, Warner Bros., and Nabisco: New company will be called Poly-Warner-Cracker.

Hale Business Systems, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Fuller Brush, and W. R. Grace: New company will be called Hale Mary Fuller Grace.

Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing (3M) & Goodyear: mmmGood

Honeywell, Imasco, and Home Oil: Honey, I'm Home

3M, J.C. Penney, Canadian Opera Company: 3 Penney Opera

Knott's Berry Farm & National Organization of Women: Knott NOW!

Zippo Manufacturing, Audi, Dofasco, Dakota Mining: Zip Audi Do-Da
[ top ]

Some Fractured Ads

horizontal rule

Our email friends tell us these ads actually appeared in newspaper classified ad sections:

1. "Our experienced Mom will care for your child. Fenced yard, meals, and smacks included."
2. "Dog for sale: eats anything and is fond of children."
3. "3-year old teacher needed for pre-school. Experience preferred."
4. "Mixing bowl set designed to please a cook with round bottom for efficient beating."
5. "Girl wanted to assist magician in cutting-off-head illusion. Blue Cross and salary."
6. "Dinner Special -- Turkey $2.35; Chicken or Beef $2.25; Children $2.00."
7. "For sale: antique desk suitable for lady with thick legs and large drawers."
8. "We do not tear your clothing with machinery. We do it carefully by hand."
9. "Great Dames for sale."
10. "Have several very old dresses from grandmother in beautiful condition."
11. "Tired of cleaning yourself? Let me do it."
12. "Vacation Special: have your home exterminated."
13. "Get rid of aunts. Zap does the job in 24 hours."
14. "Toaster: A gift every member of the family appreciates. Automatically burns toast."
15. "For Rent: 6-room hated apartment."
16. "Man, honest. Will take anything."
17. "Wanted. Man to take care of cow that does not smoke or drink."
18. "Wanted. Widower with school age children requires person to assume general housekeeping duties. Must be capable of contributing to growth of family."
[ top ]

More Fractured Ads and Signs

horizontal rule

TOKYO HOTEL: "It is forbidden to steal hotel towels. If you are not a person to do such a thing, please do not read this notice."

PARIS HOTEL ELEVATOR: "Please leave your values at the front desk. If you lose them in your room, we are not responsible."

MOSCOW HOTEL: "You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian and Soviet composers, artists, and writers are buried daily except Thursday."

HONG KONG TAILOR SHOP: "Ladies may have a fit upstairs."

RHODES, GREECE, TAILOR SHOP: "Order your summer suit. Because of the big rush we will execute customers in strict rotation."

COPENHAGEN AIRLINE: "We take your bags and send them in all directions."

MOSCOW HOTEL: "If this is your first visit to the U.S.S.R., you are welcome to it."

NORWEGIAN LOUNGE: "Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar."

TOKYO CAR RENTAL FIRM: "When passenger with heavy foot is in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet him melodiously, but if he still obstacles your passage, tootle him with vigor."

ACAPULCO HOTEL: "We are pleased to announce that the manager has personally passed all the water served here."

ROME LAUNDRY: "Ladies, please leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time."

CZECH TOURIST AGENCY: "Take one of our horse-driven city tours. We guarantee no miscarriages."
[ top ]

A Slogan for the Holiday Season

horizontal rule

"Veni, Vedi, VISA" (Translation: " I came, I saw, I did a little shopping."
[ top ]

More Job Evaluations

horizontal rule

More examples of job evaluations by federal government supervisors of employees:

1. "I would not allow this employee to breed."
2. "A gross ignoramus--144 times worse that an ordinary ignoramus."
3. "He brings a lot of joy whenever he leaves the room."
4. "Takes him 1-1/2 hours to watch 60 Minutes."
5. "When his IQ reaches 50, he should sell."
6. "If you see two people talking and one looks bored, he's the other one."
7. "A photographic memory, but with the lens cover glued on."
8. "It's hard to believe that he beat out 1,000,000 other sperm."
9. "Some drink from the fountain of knowledge, he only gargled."
10. "The wheel is turning, but the hamster is dead."
[ top ]

Always Check All Your Inventory!

horizontal rule

Toys R Us found itself in the middle of a public relations furor recently. It seems a vendor, McFarlane Toys, made two versions of a talking doll based on the movie, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. One version, for children, spoke innocuous lines; the other used much racier language.

You guessed it;, shipments to Toys R Us were mixed up and no one noticed that the adult version was being sold to kids -- until parents started complaining. Then the Associated Press wrote about it, and the snafu was reported by newspapers throughout the country.

Years ago a floral importer brought into the States thousands of small plaques that were supposed to say, "Home Sweet Home" in a style that looked like cross stitch. The shipment arrived, the importer checked a box or two, then sent the products to retailers.

One florist received his order, checked one box, then gave a couple of unchecked boxes to a clerk and told him to use the plaques to decorate the Christmas tree in the front window. The clerk obeyed, without really looking at the plaques as he hung them on the tree.

When numerous irate consumers told the florist they didn't think his joke was the least bit funny and would never shop in his store again, he looked at the decorations in the front window and realized a slight spelling mistake.

Instead of "Home Sweet Home", the Christmas ornaments said, "Home Sweet Homo."
[ top ]

Some Holy Bloopers

horizontal rule

It's not just mis-written ad copy that can raise a few eyebrows. Apparently having God on your side doesn't make you immune from humorous mistakes. Here's a compilation of actual items in church bulletins, emailed from a friend:

1. "Our next song will be 'Angels We Have Heard Get High.'"
2. "Don't let worry kill you. Let the church help."
3. "Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community."
4. "For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs."
5. "Weight Watchers will meet at 7 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use the large double door at the side entrance."
6. "Jean will be leading a weight-management series Wednesday nights. She's used the program herself and has been growing like crazy!"
7. "The rosebud on the altar this morning is to announce the birth of David Alan Belzer, the sin of Rev. and Mrs. Julius Belzer."
8. "This afternoon there will be a meeting in the South and North ends of the church. Children will be baptized at both ends."
9. "Tuesday at 4 pm there will be an ice cream social. All ladies giving milk will please come early."
10. "This being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mrs. Lewis to come forward and lay an egg on the altar."
11. "The Rev. Adams spoke briefly, much to the delight of his audience."
[ top ]

A Resignation

horizontal rule

Emailed from a well known industry sales rep:

I hereby tender my resignation as an adult. I have decided to accept the responsibilities of an 8-year-old again.

I want to go to McDonald's and think that it's a four-star restaurant. I want to sail sticks across a fresh mud puddle and make ripples with rocks. I want to think M&Ms are better than money because you can eat them. I want to lie under a big oak tree and run a lemonade stand with my friends on a hot summer day.

I want to return to a time when life was simple. When all you knew were colors, multiplication tables, and nursery rhymes, but that didn't bother you because you didn't know what you didn't know and you didn't care.

I want to think the world is fair. That everyone is honest and good, that anything is possible. I want to be oblivious to the complexities of life and excited by the little things again.

I don't want my day to consist of computer crashes, mountains of paperwork, depressing news, how to survive more days in the month than there is money in the bank, doctor bills, gossip, illness, and loss of loved ones.

I want to believe in the power of smiles, hugs, a kind word, truth, justice, peace, dreams, the imagination, mankind, and making angels in the snow.

So ... here's my checkbook and my car keys, my credit card bills, and my 401K statements. I am officially resigning from adulthood.

And if you want to discuss this further, you'll have to catch me first, because, "Tag! You're It!"
[ top ]

Customer Service That's Out of This World

horizontal rule

This holiday season, stores and shopping malls are fighting back against the onslaught of ecommerce. Some malls are offering a modern version of a wedding registry, where a consumer can fill out a "wish list" which would then be made available to friends and relatives.

One upscale mall in St. Louis has ordered its retail tenants to stop displaying their web addresses in their stores. (The stores are ignoring the order, reports the Associated Press.)

But perhaps the most interesting strategy is a new customer service reported in the N.Y. Times. It seems a mall has employed a psychic to tell you what to buy for your mother-in-law!
[ top ]

Holiday Greetings from a Politically Correct Lawyer...

horizontal rule

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

And a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2000, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great, (not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country or is the only "AMERICA" in the western hemisphere), and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform, or sexual preference of the wishee.

By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.
[ top ]

Best Newspaper Headlines of the Year - 1999

horizontal rule

1. Include Your Children When Baking Cookies
2. Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Experts Say
3. Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers
4. Drunks Get Nine Months in Violin Case
5. Iraqi Head Seeks Arms
6. Prostitutes Appeal to Pope
7. Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over
8. Teacher Strikes Idle Kids
9. Clinton Wins Budget; More Lies Ahead
10. Plane Too Close to Ground, Crash Probe Told
11. Miners Refuse to Work After Death
12. Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
13. Stolen Painting Found by Tree
14. Two Sisters Reunited after 18 Years in Checkout Counter
15. If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last a While
16. Man Struck by Lightning Faces Battery Charge
17. New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group
18. Kids Make Nutritious Snacks
19. Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half
20. Typhoon Rips through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead
[ top ]

New Barbie SKU's for Baby Boomers

horizontal rule

At long last, here are some new Barbie dolls to coincide with her -- and our -- aging gracefully. These are a bit more realistic:

1. Bifocals Barbie. Comes with her set of blended-lens fashion frames in six wild colors (half-frames too!), neck chain, and large-print editions of Vogue and Martha Stewart Living.

2. Hot Flash Barbie. Press Barbie's bellybutton and watch her face turn beet red while tiny drops of perspiration appear on her forehead. Comes with hand-held fan and tiny tissues.

3. Flabby Arms Barbie. Hide Barbie's droopy triceps with these roomier-sleeved gowns. Good news on the tummy front, too - muumuus with tummy-support panels are included.

4. Bunion Barbie. Years of disco dancing in stiletto heels have definitely taken their toll on Barbie's dainty arched feet.

5. Soccer Mom Barbie. All that experience as a cheerleader is really paying off as Barbie dusts off her old high school megaphone to root for Babs and Ken, Jr. Comes with minivan in robin-egg blue or white.

6. Mid-life Crisis Barbie. It's time to ditch Ken. Barbie needs a change, and Fred (her personal trainer) is just what the doctor ordered, along with Prozac. They're hopping in her new red Miata and heading for the Napa Valley to open a B&B.

7. Divorced Barbie. Sells for $199.99. Comes with Ken's house, Ken's car, and Ken's boat.

8. Recovery Barbie. Too many parties have finally caught up with the ultimate party girl. Now she does Twelve Steps instead of dance steps.
[ top ]

Obituary for Mark Down

horizontal rule

This sad (?) news came to us from a vendor: Mark Down, the ten-year-old son of Adda Lowance, passed away suddenly this week. Mark had no father. Although quite young, Mark Down had resided throughout the land.

His grandfather, Quan "Titi" Discount, taught the young lad very well. His aunt, Perce N. Tage, is well known in the U.S. for an unusual glandular disease causing extreme growth. Mark Down is also survived by his close cousin, Day Ting. Day Ting was born with a genetic defect giving her only 180 days to live, but quite amazingly she's still alive and well 30 years later.

The close knit family has sown its seeds within almost every major retailer in the U.S. The retail industry has supported this family and is now praying for new offspring to carry on the vigil.

Although Mark Down really didn't pass to the ever-after, he certainly has left his mark on the vendors of America in a short time.
[ top ]

horizontal rule

horizontal rule