Monthly Archives: December 2014

Save Me

Dear Ben Baldanza,
As I write this letter, I am sitting on the runway at LAX after a quick trip to Los Angeles. My flight should have landedin Dallas almost two hours ago and the mood is tense on this plane. They just turned on the A/C – a luxury I’m surprised we’re being afforded – to cool off the rising tempers.

Wait, now we’re back at the gate and apparently we aren’t going anywhere tonight. “Abnormal smell and sound in the rear of the aircraft.” I smelled it way back in seat 26D but assumed it was just the by-product of some substandard cleaning product in the restroom. A 12 hour delay awaits us all which for me means more time with my girl friend who I came to visit (silver linings).

I’d heard Spirit Airlines horror stories of 12, 18, even 24 hour delays on social media but had had no issue after two recent trips. When I bought this $125 roundtrip ticket I felt like I was almost stealing something. It knew it was a gamble and this time I came up snake eyes. The wager was time and potentially my job, we’ll see how much I lost.

Considering it all, I can’t say I won’t fly Spirit again. I have a long distance relationship to maintain and price is my number 1 concern right now. In fact I think I want to buy some stock in Spirit. Ya’ll have keyed into a market segment that other American airlines won’t acknowledge (or are afraid to) and are making money in a volatile industry.

All signs point to a society deeply divided by economic standing. These traditional airlines aim to provide a middle-of-the-road experience to a middle class customer. Truth is that they aren’t far from the bottom themselves. As the middle class disappears it’s time for brands to choose which side of the divide they will serve.

Spirit Airlines is a proud, unapologetic bottom-feeder which I respect in some perverse way. At least you’re self-aware which is more than I can say about most companies.

Until my next ultra bargain flight, GET ME THE FUCK OFF THIS RUNWAY.

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Don’t Buy This Jacket

Dear Yvon Chouinard,

Today is Cyber Monday. Consumers will spend an estimated 2.5 billion dollars shopping online today for…well what are they really shopping for? I guess people justify it because we are selflessly buying things for other. That makes it a noble endeavor.

Then who can blame you for trying to save a few bucks when you are obligated to buy something for all your family, friends, and co-workers (For the first time this year I heard about online deals that start at 5:00am, similar to the doorbuster deals of Black Friday. I value my sleep far too much.)? You don’t want to look like the greedy dude who sits back and only receives during the holidays. Plus, if we don’t buy all our friends a gift they might think we don’t care about them or our family members might assume we don’t love them.

A few years ago on Cyber Monday, Patagonia ran my favorite advertisement of all time. The line was “Don’t Buy This Jack”, urging people to examine their consumption habits. It probably didn’t help sales that day, but it was a brand building piece that keyed into exactly what people love about your brand and it absolutely hooked me. It encourages us to buy something when we need it and plan to use it well. And when that time does come for a new jacket, Patagonia will provide a high-quality and conscious produced item. It’s refreshingly honest and in stark contrast to every other brand, not only competitors in the outdoor apparel category, but all consumer goods. It’s so crazy that it works, just like a lot of ideas you are behind.

So this year, rather than spending money on our family, lets spend time with our family. Lets take that time to reflect, both inwardly and together, on what is really valuable to us: our family, friends, environment (I’ve already lamented on the narrow definition of environment), and new episodes of Louie.