Archive for the 'News' Category


Hurricane Sandy affecting Etobicoke

Lake Shore Blvd WestA street typically bustling with pedestrians is quiet amidst weather warnings of Hurricane Sandy “Well, I usually walk to the grocery store after work, but today, I called my dad for a drive.”  Tells an Etobicoke local.

And she’s not the only one changing her plans.  With threats of 100 kph wind gusts and hundreds of flights cancelled, thousands are left stranded away from home.
“Yeah, my wife was supposed to come home this morning, but her flight was cancelled and I’m thinking she’s gonna be stuck in Cuba for another day at least.” Says a neighbour.

And rolling up to the local supermarket, you can see that everyone seems to be taking this storm seriously.  The No Frills on Mimico Avenue at Royal York and Lake Shore Blvd West  is inundated with locals filling their shopping carts with bottled water and no-cook foods “Well, if the power goes out, I need to just be able to make sandwiches and stuff.”

But still, there are always those that are willing to take the chance.   One shopper reasons “I drive and live around the corner, I’ll come back later.”


Google and Facebook–no friend to Groupon

Since 2008, aggregate coupon company Groupon has made a big name for itself.  According to Knowledge@Warton, this Chicago-based company is set to bring in $3-$4 billion in revenue this year alone.  That’s about $2 billion more than Facebook pulled in for 2010.

But success doesn’t come without imitators.  There’s Wagjag, and Living Social to name a few, but none have really interfered with the popularity if the original Groupon.  But now that Google and Facebook want and piece of the pie, Groupon might find itself getting a smaller slice.

Since Google’s reported $6 billion bid to buy Groupon fell through in December, Google has apparently been plotting to figure out a way to rival the coupon provider’s services.  Google Offers is testing it’s own version of an aggregate coupon option in NYC, Oakland, San Francisco, and Portland, Ore. While Facebook Deals has made it’s debut in Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, San Diego and SanFranciso. Wider distribution for each could arrive before the end of the year.

Each service is targeting the masses’ love for social media.  Google Offers is like a combination of Groupon and Foursquare. Once you sign up, you’ll get localized offers sent direct to your inbox.  Check in with Google Places, and any available offer will be revealed to you.  Google wants to be not just a service, but to be seen as a shopping companion.

Facebook Deals is planning on adding insignia to users’ home screens.  When you click on them, it will show all currently available offers.  If you “Like” or purchase a deal, it’ll show up in you news feed.  You’ll also be able to share deals directly with your Facebook friends.


Shopping, as good as porn!

“I get such a rush when I find a deal!”

Shopaholic everywhere can relate to that statement–but do you know what that “rush” is equivalent to?  A recent study at the University of Westminster finds that special offers ignite the same level of emotional excitement that someone experiences from sexual arousal.

The study says that bargains make people so happy that it fires off the same neurotransmitters as when watching erotic films.

Researchers measured brain activity in the emotional parts of the mind of 50 volunteers.   By studying their emotional responses in the body including eye movements, they were able to determine which of several activities evoked the most excitement.

They found that giving participants a coupon or free gift with a loaf of bread or a jar of the delicious British spread Marmite induced the same level of excitement as being exposed to porn.

Well, we always knew sex sells–but who knew coupons had the same effect?


How embracing social media can save your business

A big, established corporation doesn’t need social media–it’s just for the small, new companies, right?

Unfortunately, the recent “wheelchair incident” with our nation’s most popular airline proves just the opposite.

Air Canada suffered a huge lashing via Twitter the other day because of a disabled boy’s broken wheel chair.  The boy’s aunt had tweeted:  “So. @aircanada killed Tanner’s wheelchair. We’re now stuck at La Guardia. #tutusfortanner”.

What followed was a community of tweeters appalled at the lack of action @aircanada was taking to right the wrong.

But Air Canada had taken action–almost immediately.  They had sent out the wheelchair to be fixed at an open-all-night repair shop.  Within 24 hours, the wheel chair was in working order, delivered to the boy at his hotel–and a bonus dream trip to Disney World for him and his cousins.

So why does Air Canada still seem like the bad guy?

Because for 24 hours, while thousands of micro-messages were floating around on Twitter about how terribly insensitive Air Canada was–there wasn’t one single positive comment assuring his customer (and their community) that appropriate actions were already underway.  Not on Twitter, not on their website, and not on Facebook.

This is an important message to Air Canada that times are changing, and to keep up with  younger, hipper competitors such Westjet and Porter, you must embrace social media.

So what should they have done?

For one thing–they should have listened.  They should have been aware that customers were concerned about what happened.  There are many tools out there that can help with listening.  One example is Google Alert.  Once the alert is set up to notify the company of mentions–it can be used to track any negative or positive comments.  This not only allows a company to quell any notions of bad service, but appreciation can also be shown for those customers that express satisfaction for the service.

What can still be done?

Well, first things–stay on top of your social media!  Make sure the sites are being monitored at all times to respond to feedback and promote any special events.   Information and “news” about the company should be current and highlight any affirmative actions.  Post pictures, videos, interviews, press releases:  Include board members, employees, and happy customers.   This provides a way to develop a relationship with patrons.

In this specific case–Air Canada should concentrate on the outcome.  This story had a happy ending–show that.  Post the pictures of the smiling customer–a video of Air Canada presenting the wheel chair and plane ticket to the boy and his cousins.

Luckily, it doesn’t seem like this particular incident will set off any boycotts–but going forward, companies of all sizes should pay more attention to social media sites and recognize the power of a community.


a hockey coach gets his way

“The coach is so respected. Your parents send you away and say, ‘Do what he says.’ At that age, you listen. That’s your first step if you want to play pro.”

Sheldon Kennedy is a former NHL hockey player. In 1996 Kennedy stepped forward with complaints of sexual abuse by his former junior level hockey coach Graham James.

His public declaration was part of a bitter and humbling journey that never seems to go away.

Kennedy told the Los Angeles Times that he “was 14 or 15 and James was 31 or 32 when the assaults began. Every Tuesday and Thursday for six years…He considered me his wife. There was absolutely nowhere for me to turn. I had no one, nobody.'”

But there were at least two others.

In 1997 James pleaded guilty to two charges of sexual assault.  The cases involved 100’s of incidents against two of his former players over the span of 10 years.  He was sentenced to three and a half years in prison, and the Canadian Hockey League banned him from ever coaching in Canada again.

It wasn’t until 2009 when retired hockey star Theoren Fleury confirmed allegations of abuse by James in his autobiography Playing with Fire.

Fleury writes, “The direct result of my being abused was that I became a f—ing raging, alcoholic lunatic…(James) destroyed my belief system.  The most influential adult in my life at the time was telling me that what I thought was wrong was right.”

Fleury says that he too was required to sleep over at James’ house twice a week.  But it was for more than sleep.  He says James tried to masturbate him or give him oral sex.  Fleury tried to resist but he was weakened by exhaustion and the constant threats of a ruined career.

Pegged as “James’ favourites”, Fleury recounts occasions where Kennedy and himself had to be witness to each other’s abuse.

In 1984 James coaxed them into a road trip to Disneyland where he abused Kennedy in the front seat while Fleury slept in the back.

But that wasn’t all—they stayed in motels during the trip and Kennedy and Fleury would take turns sleeping with James.

“Think about how sick that was.” Fleury writes.

Recent news that in 2007, James received a pardon from the National Parole Board has sparked up controversy.  Kennedy thinks that in light of all the attention, more victims will come forward to object.

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January 2020
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