Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Why I love my TiVo

I was discussing with Jay what we should watch tonight after we hand out candy at my house. I flipped over to Zap2it to see what Halloween-type movies are on today. I found one that might be of interest, so I logged in to the TiVo website and set the movie to record. Once the recording has been confirmed, I will get an email to that effect.

I love my TiVo.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Why do people listen to your whole voicemail message, then hear the beep, then hang up?

I can understand how some messages do not include the most important information at the beginning of the message, so by the time you have listened to the message, you are "surprised" by the beep and abruptly hang up. I, however, make a point of putting the important information (such as when I am out of the office and when I will be back) early in the message, ending my message with "or if you'd like to leave a message, I'll return your call at x time..." There is plenty of time for the person to discover that I am not here and when I will be back.

The person calling me should either want to leave a message so I will return their call, or hang up and try calling me again later. Why, then, do some people insist on listening to the whole message and hanging up after the beep, leaving me with a snippit of a conversation and a clang of the phone, which costs me 10¢ to check (at work) and delete? I've changed my voicemail message at work once in almost 7 years... I think by now they should know what the message is going to say.

It's annoying.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Crush Cream Soda Conspiracy, part 4

I traded emails with someone who works for Pepsi (the bottler of Crush products). The answer is: yes, they do produce two different colors of cream soda. They told me it started this past year. It apparently has been sold in two varieties in Ontario for a while (though some of you have said it's been around here longer as well). She did tell me though that the cans are supposed to have the red variety and the clear is sold in 591mL bottles. Perhaps that plant in Quebec mixed things up.

As I first blogged, I expected this was going to be the answer when I called the 1-800 line. Unfortunately, it seems the conglomerate doesn't bother to inform their call centre employees of things like this. I haven't decided whether or not to call back and discuss the issue further.

This process has left me feeling frustrated. If I had been given the proper information in the first place, I wouldn't have been confused and looking for answers. I should have checked with my Pepsi friend first, I guess.

I do wish, if they are going to continue to put the clear in a can, that it would be labelled "clear". I like to know what I'm getting. Yes, it tastes the same, but I would still like to know. It's purely aesthetics and a personal preference, but I want the red variety.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Crush Cream Soda Conspiracy, part 3

I was out shopping on Saturday and went to Wal-Mart, where I bought the last remaining items I needed for Halloween candy. While I was there, I picked up another Crush Rainbow Pack of pop. I purposefully stuck a can of cream soda from the new pack into the fridge to chill. I opened it the next day, and it was indeed the usual red color.

Similarities: Crush rainbow pack, 24 cans, all the same flavors. Identical can design and ingredients listing.

Differences: Old can had a gold top and "Quebec" written on it with the recycling message. New can had a silver top and did not say "Quebec."

Additional info: From visiting my brother in Montreal, I know that they do not color their margarine in Quebec. It is actually illegal to color margarine to look like butter in Quebec -- the dairy industry believes that colored margarine would hurt butter sales. Read more about that issue here.

Conclusion: Perhaps cans of Crush Cream Soda are not colored if they are manufactured in Quebec.

This is somewhat of a stretch, because the colored margarine issue in Quebec is strictly a dairy industry issue. However, it's odd that both margarine and Crush cream soda manufactured in Quebec are missing color. Another piece of the puzzle.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Crush Cream Soda Conspiracy, part 2

I called the company back today with the information from the bottom of the can. Unfortunately, I don't have any concrete answer as to why it is clear and not red. They suggest it might be a case of the color being omitted from the bottling process, but they are adamant that it is always supposed to be red in color. They are going to contact the bottler based on the codes from the bottom of the can to see what is happening. They are sending me coupons for free product since they consider the quality of my product not to be up to standards.

I am considering calling back in a couple of weeks and seeing if there are any more notes added to my case.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Crush Cream Soda Conspiracy

For me, this began last year around Halloween. I purchased a Rainbow Pack of Crush pop from Wal-Mart. I opened a can of cream soda, and lo and behold, the liquid was clear in color instead of the usual red/pink. I thought to myself, hunh, I wonder if they're changing the color? If they were, I wasn't a big fan of that idea because I like the red. It's the only brand that is red in color.

My co-worker came in the office today with a plastic bottle of cream soda and we got to talking about how I had seen clear cream soda. He said he knows he's had clear cream soda before, but thought they just produced two different colors normally. In true John fashion, I decided to call the 1-800 number on the side of the can. I was determined to figure out what was happening to Crush cream soda.

I called in and explained my question, thinking I would hear the answer of "yes, we're phasing out the red color" or "we produce two different colors all the time." The answer I received, from a concerned-sounding agent, was that cream soda should always be red. She said the clear color was a quality issue. She asked me if I had the can with codes printed on the bottom, the UPC bar code from the outside of the pack, when it was purchased, and at what store. I was at work, so didn't have the info handy. She gave me a case number and asked me to call back with as much information I could find. From the information, she wanted to contact the manufacturer about the issue. She also suggested I not consume the product -- not because it was unsafe, but that it may not be up to the same quality standards and might taste slightly different.

The last batch of cream soda I purchased was from Costco a few months ago. I knew that pack also contained the clear cream soda, so tonight I came home and opened the can to verify. I will take the can and call the 1-800 number back again and give the info.

What's weird is that I know for a fact that I have walked past bottles of cream soda in the grocery store as well as a convenience store that have had clear colored cream soda. I've seen it enough times now that I automatically assumed that they were making a product change. The company, however, insists that this is not the case. So what is the real story behind this clear cream soda?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

You know you miss your husband when...

you buy him ice cream even though he's not here and you're not exactly sure when he'll be back.

The power of democracy

According to the unofficial results, only 22% of eligible voters took part in yesterday's plebiscite to decide if Saint John should adopt a mixed ward system. 71% of voters voted Yes. This translates into 15.6% of eligible voters saying Yes to wards, 6.4% voting No, and 78% of eligible voters didn't give a crap. 15.6% of eligible voters just changed the way our whole common council will be elected. Seems like a pretty small number of people changing the direction of municipal politics.

Why didn't more people vote? Was it because it was just a plebiscite? Not enough information about the pros and cons of a ward system? Did that many people really not give a crap? All of the above, likely. There was never really a good examination of the pros/cons of wards. I can only recall pro-ward articles and opinions in the TJ. Very few comments on the cons of a ward system. Perhaps I missed the issue where they gave a fair and balanced examination of the pros and cons...?

Personally, I was against changing to a ward system. I don't think it will be better for the city because I think it will result in even more polarization. When Saint John is finally starting to get momentum, to improve, I would hate to see common council be reduced to bickering amongst different sides of the city. What some voters likely forgot was that Saint John is a very clique-like society -- it's not what you know, it's who you know. If the well-connected councillors are working only for their section of the city, where does that leave the sections with average or below-average councillors? What if one section of the city doesn't have a capable pool from which to draw good councillors? I do see some inherent good in the ward system, but I'm worried that councillors might get bogged down in Mr. Jenkins' broken water pipe and the sidewalk outside Mrs. Thompson's house. Those issues are for the city works department, not necessarily your ward's councillor.

Just because a ward system works for a lot, perhaps the majority, of cities in Canada does not mean it's the answer for Saint John. To those 15.6% of people who changed our municipal landscape, I hope you know what you're doing.