When you think of historic landmarks and centuries-old architecture, do you picture the Golden Arches gleaming nearby? If not, then you agree with the city of Florence, Italy, which recently put the kibosh on McDonald’s plans for a new location near its famed Duomo cathedral. The fast food giant has filed a $20 million lawsuit in response. [More]
Lucy the Slut is one of the puppets in the musical “Avenue Q,” and like the other puppet characters she’s frequently displayed in their advertising. But not in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where a billboard company refused to put up ads showing Lucy’s cleavage. An exec for the billboard company told the local paper, “If I have to explain it to my 4-year-old or my grandmother, we don’t put it up.” Hey four-year-old, it’s a puppet. Hey grandma, those are boobs. Problem solved.
Last month, the New York Times Magazine ran a fascinating story by Lisa Katayama about the popularity of body-pillow girlfriends in Japan. Apparently, an unknown fraction of men – a subculture of a subculture – adopt “2-D” lovers as a substitute for the real thing. They take them out to restaurants, treat them tenderly, and bring them home to bed at night.
A new book out by Ellen Ruppel Shell, Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture, is getting all kinds of rave reviews. Shell takes as her argument a rather counterintuitive idea: that cheap goods and services are anything but. One dollar t-shirts end up costing a lot more when you factor such purchases’ ripple effects.
Culturally bankrupt shoppers are now buying twice as many forks as knives, according to a British department store. The Brits blame the erosion of their cherished culture on “the American habit of using a single fork.” And that’s not all. Apparently we’re also ruining their understanding and respect for the elegant tradition of proper place settings.
After calling Indian call centers, many people email us to say “You won’t believe what I just heard!” Most of these problems can be chocked up to cultural differences or inexperienced agents who have yet to master the nuances of conversational English. Our call center tipster explains:
When there’s a problem, it’s usually just a misunderstanding, or a cultural thing. Phrases that are used in India, but not the US, that make a customer think the agent is being rude. Or the agent still in an “Indian customer service mindset”. (When dealing with Indian customers it’s all about getting right to the answer, completely ignoring any attempt to make the call personal. Also, to avoid confrontation. Even if they know something’s gonna take 3 months, they always say ‘2-3 days’ Believe it or not, that’s how people like their service here).
Urine Year-end statements, and the story of “Mr. and Mrs. Hymen,” after the jump…
“Sure, there are already yoga mats for babies, stainless steel stainless steel detectors (run on stainless steel batteries), bamboo plasma televisions, and cyborg dogs.” But What’s Grup? is the newest imagineered lifestyle store billed as “the ultimate shopping experience for you, your children, your big dog, your fixie and your moderately hot wife (she’ll warm up to anal soon).”