Why I’ve checked out of Foursquare

Last winter, I developed a case of Foursquare fatigue.

It’s not because I lost the Mayorship of the Annex, where I live. (I have to say for a few months, it was a tightly contested race.)

And it’s not even because the whole concept of Mayor in Toronto has been tainted of late.

I’d simply grown tired of the game of checking in everywhere I go and not getting much value in return. 

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Stop counting feet, start counting shopping bags

Having grown up in retail, I've always been fascinated by stores, shopping centres, customer service…

But there are times when I walk into a store, glance around and immediately walk out. Something just isn't right. Maybe it's a disconnect between the window display and what's for sale inside. Maybe the staff are obnoxious or too into themselves.  Whatever it is, it feels like a promise has been broken and a potential customer (me) is lost for good.

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Bring back a little discretion

Growing up in the Midwest, discretion was part of my DNA. Yes, I’m Canadian but in many ways we were culturally similar to our American counterparts. So like a character in a Garrison Keillor novel, I was shy with feelings and kept many things to myself. My family and I did not share freely nor did we expect to hear all and sundry from others. We closed the drapes at night.

I’m not saying this was the best way to behave. It’s just the way we were. And it meant I was often wondering about what, if anything, I could disclose.  

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Last minute shoppers, there’s still hope

Guest post by Lindsay Peterson

It’s the end of the year and yes – as Gini Dietrich said, I am a last-minute shopper (and proud of it).  But not everyone is. Some people, like my colleague, Lindsay Peterson, actually think ahead!  So… in the spirit of the season, here’s a guest post by Lindsay on the holidays and some ideas to make it through the next 24 hours – gifts intact:

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What happened to Eatons?

Growing up, if someone had told me that Eaton’s would cease to exist, I would never have believed them. The department store was a Canadian icon. It had prime locations in downtowns and malls across the country, produced an aspirational Christmas catalogue, sponsored the Toronto Stanta Claus parade and, in Winnipeg (where I’m from), was the book end of a Portage Avenue stroll that started at the Bay and finished at the venerable merchant.

Yet here it is 2009 and Eaton’s hasn’t been a part of the retail landscape for several years. There are many reasons for that: different shopping needs, complacency, an inability to change.

I thought about Eaton’s after reading Matt Hartley’s article in the Financial Post on Canadian business’s reluctance to embrace online advertising (and I would say the same applies to other social networking opportunities, too).

It made me realize that a lot of what we consider certainties are time (and trend) sensitive. Sure it’s comfortable relying on the familiar. But in business, as in life, innovation, ideas and growth come from risk-taking and knowing when to try something different for a change.