Branding, Business, Communication, Conversational Copywriting, Freelancing, Listening, Marketing, Preparation

Warnings and Bad Copy…

Thoughts From the Porch: Several years ago, when I could stay awake past the ten o’clock news, I used to watch Jay Leno on the Tonight Show. He had a segment of the show where he read ads and articles that probably weren’t edited well. They tended to have a far different meaning in print than the creator originally intended and generated a ton of laughs. I often wondered whether the resulting faux pas’ were poorly edited copy or intentional little pranks by bored writers.

I stopped by our local QuickTrip gas station to fill up my truck yesterday. I noticed the advertising sign above the pump touting their breakfast pizzas and burritos above the pump. Nothing special really – that is until I read the small warning print…


I’m not sure what ‘rooster peckers’ are or why they feel a need to warn me about them. I am sure that I won’t be buying any breakfast food at QuickTrip anytime soon. Above all, I’ll be more attentive to reading food labels. ‘Rooster peckers’ in my food is, well, disturbing…

I filled the tank and went on my way. Unfortunately, I’ve been obsessing on ‘rooster peckers’ ever since. I’m not entirely sure this is the kind of brand recognition the marketing department wanted to create. What is a ‘rooster pecker’ anyway?

I decided to research this matter further. Was this a required FDA warning? Why the ‘pecker’ wording? It’d make more sense if it said rooster beaks. That would create a whole other round of questioning. You know, why only rooster beaks and not hen beaks? Does someone determine the sex before they ship the eggs out?

I googled ‘rooster peckers’. I googled the warning. All I learned is that roosters do not have ‘peckers’. I’ll let you think about that…

I’ve been trying to determine how this warning came about. I don’t know anyone with ‘rooster pecker’ allergies. Once ‘rooster peckers’ are in my food I’m unclear as to the damage they could cause. To be honest, I’d be okay if I wasn’t aware of their presence. Now, I’ve seen some strange warning labels, mind you. I’m sure extremely bored bureaucrats have come up with a few just to inject humor into an otherwise, ugly business. I’m beginning to wonder if some QTmarketing employee decided to have a little fun with their work as well. I’m not so sure management would find it humorous.

I left QT with a good laugh, absolutely no appetite, and a keener eye for detail in my writing. Humor is a great tool, but it must be used wisely.

Acceptance, Business, Christianity, Communication, Conversational Copywriting, Culture, Faith, Freelancing, Introverts, Jesus, Listening, Marketing, Patience, Persistence, Stories, Storytelling, Telemarketing, Thoughts From the Porch, Uncategorized, Work, Writing

Telemarketers, Plumbers, and Nazis

Thoughts From the Porch: I have a great deal of respect for people who perform dirty jobs. Last month our plumbing backed up. It was a simple fix. The back-flow valve and broken and stopped up the drain. The difficult part of the solution involved the raw sewage that needed to be drained to fix the valve. I can stomach a lot of things, but raw sewage isn’t one of them. Fortunately, we had a plumber friend who helped fixed it in no time. I have no complaints about their hourly rate. Plumbers are paid well for a reason: dealing with ugly, and disturbingly aromatic drainage issue.

business close up energy equipment
Photo by Digital Buggu on

I truly respect people who perform jobs they’d rather not have to do. My friend told me that he’d rather be doing something else, but plumbing had provided a good living for he and his daughter. I know how he feels. I’ve worked jobs I didn’t like because I need to keep a roof over my family’s head and provide food on the table. A lot of people do. Willingness to do what it takes is an admirable trait.

My dad used to tell me that it didn’t matter what I did for a living. Work hard. Try to be the best at whatever job I had. Wise words from a man who grew up during the Great Depression. He understood the value and importance of work. All work was honorable, and one should be grateful to have it. He also grew up prior to the age of telemarketing…

As phone technology advanced from party lines to individual land lines, the telephone became a great marketing tool for business. Telemarketers scheduled their calls around when people would be at home, so they usually called during family dinners (and yes, there was a time when the whole family sat down to dinner…) or when one was in the middle of something. Telemarketers developed a unique knack for interrupting and being a general pain in the you-know-what.

Now that we have cellphones, they can be annoying anytime. One company representing USA Auto Care and some savings club, calls my cellphone at least six times a day. I’ve even counted ten calls from the same company! I’ve tried to block their calls, but they are able to call from different numbers each time. So, I answer the phone, hear the same mispronunciation of my name, and the beginning of the same annoying script. I try to refrain from questioning the caller’s maternal lineage, but I’m not always successful.

In fact, they called again this morning during my ‘porch’ time. I‘ve begun plotting some form of revenge. I’m convinced that even Jesus would have a hard time loving a telemarketer. I told my wife I should get an airhorn to sound of in response to the telemarketers. Her reply was “they are just doing their job”. Isn’t that the same defense used by the Nazis at the Nuremberg trials…

As a freelance writer and a business owner, I know that cold calling is a necessary evil. Telemarketing companies wouldn’t exist if it didn’t turn a profit. Someone out there is staying on the line, right? It’s a numbers game.

I know to that I offer a service and a solution to my client’s problems. I only hope that I’m more sensitive to my prospect’s needs when I cold call.

I’ve gotten it together a bit more since this morning. I’m not getting an airhorn. I wouldn’t like it if someone did that to me. Telemarketers don’t compare to Hitler’s SS, even if they are “just doing their job”. They’ll call again. That’s just what they do. I’ll reply with a firm, “not interested, thank you” and hang up.