“To blame the victims in this situation is not only dishonest; it is cruel and inconsistent with our nation’s promise to welcome the “tired” and “poor” of other countries, especially from hemispheric neighbors who are coping with conditions that are partially of our making. The accusation waged by many protesters that youthful migrants are diseased, and therefore, not “fit to be citizens” is a well-worn and specious claim that has been used against Asian and Latino immigrants for as long as they have been coming to our shores and through our borders. We need to strike a different chord, check such racist assumptions, and see the humanity in the people who are now coming to us in desperation.”—
“We are very embarrassed by the way our employee spoke with Mr. Block and Ms. Belmont and are contacting them to personally apologize. The way in which our representative communicated with them is unacceptable and not consistent with how we train our customer service representatives. We are investigating this situation and will take quick action. While the overwhelming majority of our employees work very hard to do the right thing every day, we are using this very unfortunate experience to reinforce how important it is to always treat our customers with the utmost respect.”—Comcast Statement Regarding Customer Service Call
Geoff:Hi. Why does it cost $4.00 for 30 minutes of access?
Geoff:Does that strike you as a good price? Seems too high to me.
Darren:Bandwidth to the plane is limited and it is a shared resource, not unlike other wifi hotspots such as coffee shops or hotels. With that in mind, we continue to work on improving our technology and connectivity services.
Darren:You will start to see more time-based pricing, rather than purely segment-based products from us. The existence of less expensive time-based passes allows more customers to use Gogo at a more approachable price. We continue to offer the ability to pre-purchase passes before flying at www.gogoair.com and through some of our airline partners’ websites.
Geoff:Coffee shops provide access for free, and make more money in stay-based sales as a result.
Darren:If you click 'View all passes' you can find more options that may work for you.
Darren:Okay, well bandwidth to the plane is limited in the sky comparative to on the ground Geoff.
Geoff:Wouldn't it make more sense for you to offer basic connectivity for free, and charge for bandwidth upgrades? At least then you give all your potential customers a reason to like you, and probably make more revenue with better margins, and you can still protect bandwidth.
Darren:At this time we are not running any promotions for free or reduced access. When we have trials and specials available, they'll always be featured prominently on our Website. If you sign up to receive special news and offers, we will e-mail you the newest promotions as they become available! In addition, you can still access links to Gogo's free content at http://airborne.gogoinflight.com; those links should be approximately ¾ down the page.
Darren:Thank you for your feedback and I will pass it over to my superiors.
Geoff:I understand that, but bandwidth in some coffee shops is less limited than in others. I'm just saying you could do smarter traffic-shaping and create a lot more customers, and make more money.
Darren:I understand, you can still access links to Gogo's free content at http://airborne.gogoinflight.com; those links should be approximately ¾ down the page.
Geoff:I'm giving you free advice here. It's good advice.
Darren:Okay, I will pass over all your feedback over to my superiors.
Geoff:We both know that Gogo's free content isn't anything a person not trapped in a content prison would ever elect to look at.
Geoff:Where is Gogo located? Can I email the CEO? This opportunity should have been seized years ago. Something's going wrong with upper management for it to have been missed.
Darren:We are located in Itasca, Illinois. We don't have any of the CEO's or CFO's contact info. Okay, due to the price issues I would like to provide you a promo code for 25% off any Pass $34.95 or less. Would you like this code?
Darren:Are you able to sign into your Gogo account?
Geoff:No, that's not necessary (but thank you), and I'm not a particularly good customer-retention opportunity right now because my flight ends in 45 minutes. I can read a book. But what happened is I wanted to do a quick google search - you know, impulsive and very light/sporadic internet use: how billions of people use their smart phones - and I hit this wall and thought, "I'm going to help them fix this. They're losing millions and millions of dollars in missed customer acquisitions over this, and you'd think they would realize this, but maybe they don't."
Darren:I'm not certain, but I will pass your feedback over to my superiors when this chat ends.
Geoff:So that's what this is about for me and you. I can do my google search later, nbd. And even if I needed to do it right now, $3 instead of $4 misses the point. That's not your fault at all, and I appreciate your discount offer. But you see what in saying here, right?
Darren:What info do you need to Google, because I can search it for you really quick?
Geoff:I wanted to know what time the US plays Belgium tomorrow.
Geoff:That's really nice of you to do, man, thanks.
Darren:The game is on Tuesday and 3 eastern time.
Darren:The game is on Tuesday and 4 eastern time.
Darren:The game is at 4, sorry I converted the time wrong.
Geoff:See, it's a weird need to justify paying to fill, really gentle on bandwidth, and an opportunity to engender good will.
Geoff:Which you certainly have done in lieu of such a free offering, so good job.
Darren:I understand your stance and view. Do you need any other updates or stats for today or yesterday?
Geoff:No, thanks. And that's really nice, thank you.
Geoff:Do pass my thoughts to upper management if you would, and ask them to follow up.
Darren:Okay, I will have them respond with any updates or with an email info in regards to your model.
Geoff:Thanks, Darren. I'll look forward to it. Have a great rest of the day.
More to the point, choose food that takes a long time to chew. Chew it and chew it. Chew it with your mouth open if you have to. If an “adult” gives you any guff, give ‘em the finger in return, and keep on chewing. Sure, eating foods that take forever to chew means you’re getting plenty of fiber and giving your body time to feel sated before cramdowning another pork slider, but, more importantly, chewing things builds character. Maybe you don’t believe me, but look at cowboys and baseball players and behold the proof that has been chewing you in the face and you didn’t even realize it! Chewing also builds face muscles to give you that manly, chiseled look that all the people love and trust. The more you chew, the more willing people will be to place their lives in your hands when it really counts. Don’t even try to front, you know what I mean. And how else are you going to feel happy when you look back on it from your deathbed and examine your life’s accomplishments? Now you’re getting it. Your silence speaks volumes. Very low volumes. A barely audible, rhythmic, grinding pulse that tells me you’re finished thinking and have moved on to doing. That’s what I like to hear. You’re looking great. Keep it up. That’s right.
It’s weak for a brag, but it’s a brag nonetheless. And I can do that, right? Can I? Because I’m really wanting things to feel good about. Like the song goes, accentuate the positive.
So the thing. It’s this: I ran my 400th mile this morning. Since taking up running at the end of last July, I’ve run 401 miles. Even though I know it’ll shrink in the rearview mirror as I keep going, it feels like a surreal number and a real accomplishment. So there, and thanks for listening.
Maybe my favorite concert I’ve ever attended was when my friend Bill dropped in to my Chicago studio around dinnertime one night in the early 90’s and asked if I wanted to go try to get tickets to David Byrne’s symphonic performance across the street. I had no idea David Byrne wrote or performed anything other than Rei Momo type stuff, and doubted we’d be able to score any seats I could afford an hour before the show started, but I needed some air, so I put my brushes in turps and went along for the walk.
Not only did we get tickets, we got them from the box office, for like ten bucks apiece. I figured we were in for some really shitty shit if there were still seats available at that point. But my curiosity was piqued, and I had ten bucks.
The concert was amazing. The stage was filled with vocalists, but not one of them sung anything comprehensible. Byrne and his group performed The Forest, from start to finish, over the course of about an hour. It transported me to another world.
Not a world where I was a decent painter, but one where I was happy to continue trying.
The guard on the first floor of our building stopped me this morning in the lobby, as I was humming, about to board the elevator.
"You just reminded me of someone I used to work with years ago," he said. "An old, black man from the South who used to say whistling and humming was a sign of contentment. When you came in here humming like that, you reminded me of him."
I took this as a good omen - a compliment, even. First, conjuring the stereotype of a contented and wizened old black man unselfconsciously singing to himself, to describe me, will practically earn you a marriage proposal. Second, I did grow up in the South, and I was humming - and feeling content, no less - so it was nice, as it must always be, to feel seen.
But I couldn’t respond to this guy, couldn’t thank him, couldn’t do anything but vaguely smile, because all I could think about was his breath. His mouth had recently been soaked in either Listerine, or whiskey, or both, and not knowing whether he had admirable hygiene or was spectacularly drunk paralyzed me.
So I smiled - vaguely, like I said, the kind of smile you might expect of a great grandmother’s ghost in a dream - as I backed into the elevator car and waited for the doors to close between us, and I let it carry me to my floor in silence.