Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The McDowell Chronicles Book 2: Marketing Strategies

Editor's note: The following is actually a true story. Rainy actually sent this e-mail to his actual boss. This editor is amazed he still has an actual job. Also, Rainy is actually awesome. He has not – as many would have you believe – been surgically enhanced to be more awesome.

First of all, the boring stuff. At the end of every shift at Jimmy John's we have to send out an email with a brief description of how the shift went, how it could've gone better, what went well, etc. After a day in which we spent more on employees than we made by selling sandwiches, I sent out the following email:

"I know there's no way it'll happen, but it's seriously worth considering running only one store over the summer. Pooling all of the employees at one store would ensure that when it got busy there would be ample employees to cover the business, while also cutting the cost of just having a store open in half. As is our labor is very high with only two people in the store, and if we actually got busy the service we would provide with only two people certainly wouldn't be "freaky fast." Why run two people at each store when we could just as easily run 4 people at one store and actually provide decent service? "

I got a reply to this email from the Area Manager. His email in full is below:

" You know rainey I appreciate you trying to help ius save money, but more importantly what are you doing to help us grow more in sales? Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device "

Since he clearly skimmed over my email and couldn't be bothered to spell my name correctly (which is at the end of my email AND in my email address), I replied with this:

"Actually, I’m really glad you asked. I remember a while ago you told me that the shift manager sets the example for his employees. I’ve been trying to set a good example, working at making sandwiches more quickly, always giving great blowaway greetings and farewells, creating a friendly line of conversation with customers, generally just making Jimmy John’s a fun place for customers and employees alike.

In fact, just the other night I was working with Nicole and she failed to give a customer who came in a blowaway greeting. I dragged Nicole across the store by her hair, turned on the meat slicer, and held her face so close to the blade that… well… let’s just say I don’t think she’ll forget to give a blowaway greeting next time. The customer bolted for the door shrieking, “People will know about this! I’m telling everyone about the kind of business you’re running here!” =) His friends will tell their friends who will tell their friends etc. etc. We might even get some police involved in this. Can you imagine the buzz around town if Jimmy John’s was cordoned off with yellow crime scene tape? There’s no such thing as bad publicity, right?

(On an unrelated note: Nicole recently quit. I wish her the best in future pursuits)

I’m right in the middle of a new marketing scheme I’ve been working on in my spare time. I didn’t want to tell anyone about it for legal reasons you’ll soon understand, but nevertheless, here it is:

Recently, I was thinking to myself... What do people absolutely hate?… … …

Bingo! People absolutely hate being attacked by vicious cougars!

Then to contrast this, I thought… What do people who are being attacked by vicious cougars absolutely love?… … …

Of course! People who are being attacked by vicious cougars absolutely love not being attacked by vicious cougars!

With this information in mind I set about on one of the most ingenious marketing strategies ever attempted. I began saving up each of my paychecks in order to fund the endeavor. Asking for help from Jimmy John’s would be foolish, because I understand that the burden of increasing sales lies solely in the actions of the shift manager. After moving out of my apartment and living on the streets for several weeks I had saved up enough money to begin. During my time living in the gutter, I decided that it wasn’t enough to increase our business… a competing sandwich shop should suffer in the process. Push our enemies down in order to better pull ourselves up.

I’m sure you know exactly what I did next, and I’m willing to bet you wish that you’d thought of it first. Cougars… check. Subway shirts… check. Van… check. Unsuspecting public… check.

The Subway shirts fit on the cougars much more easily than expected. After loading them into the van, I enraged them by taunting them with raw meat while I blared death metal over the van’s tinny sound system. As I unloaded them in parks and playgrounds and other heavily populated areas, I was shocked at how relentlessly they pursued anyone in the vicinity. Men, women, and children’s distressed cries filled the air, “Why Subway? Why would you unleash vicious cougars?!” “ Subway! Don’t you realize people absolutely hate this?!” and my personal favorite, “See you in hell, Jared!” I had devastated Subway’s business and maimed some innocent people in the process.

Starting next week, I’ll be handing out Jimmy John’s cougar repellent and restaurant menus everywhere the cougars terrorized. Expect sales to skyrocket soon. People will know that Jimmy John’s cares about “rogue” cougar attacks, and provides freaky fast sandwiches.

Author's Note: Surprisingly, I haven't been fired yet. In fact, he didn't even respond to the email. If you read this far, thanks! I love you. Yes, you, gentle reader. Seeya!


Photo illustration by Chimaera. Image of cougar is by Tim Knight and is courtesy of Brightest Young Things.

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