Time for a Smile
These are from a website called
the Office. Perhaps one of the reasons you went into business for
Person 1: He said he had a stomach ache, so I gave him some Aflac—you know,
Person 2: Antacids? Rolaids?
Techie, answering the phone: Hello this is Brenda…No, I wasn’t just speaking
to someone on the phone…I’m positive; I work in IT so I rarely talk to
Co-worker: I spilled my milk this morning and my husband was like, “Don’t
cry over spilled milk.” He’s always saying funny things like that.
Boss: We never decided to postpone this issue. We just agreed that we would
deal with other issues first.
Manager to himself: I am a ball of fire. I am a BALL OF FIRE.
Manager #1: So did you have a nice birthday party?
Manager #2: Not yet. My older brother’s birthday is two weeks after mine, so
we always just have one big party that weekend.
Manager #1: Oh, wait, wouldn’t that make you the older brother?
Girl: Excuse me, do you carry tonic water?
Stock boy: Yeah, I think so. I mean, if we have it, it’s probably somewhere
in the store.
Girl: Uh, thanks.
Guy: I put the tutu on, and that’s as far as I got.
Employee #1: Yeah, so PETA has helped me understand the cruelty animals are
subjected to by humans.
Employee # 2: I’ve seen some of the videos. Heinous.
Employee #1: Like that shirt you’re wearing, it’s made of cotton, right? You
shouldn’t be wearing it.
Employee # 2: Huh? Why not?
Employee #1: It really hurts the sheep when they are shorn.
Cape Cod, MA
Twenty-something new hire: Why is there a Harry Potter picture in our lobby?
Forty-something manager: Actually, that’s a painting of John Lennon.
Silicon Valley, CA
Maintenance tech #1: Animal Control is on the way to remove the dead skunk
carcass. I’ll let you know when they get here.
Maintenance tech #2: Uh, go ahead and call them back and tell them not to
come. We checked it out, and it’s a used banana peel.
Maintenance tech #1: Ten-four.
Receptionist: Thank you for calling Widgets Inc. How may I help you?
Customer: I got a letter from my insurance company telling me to fill out a
paper with my social security number on it and send it to you. Who are you?
Receptionist: We work with the government to help you with your appeal.
Customer: Oh, so you won’t be selling my social security number to anybody
Receptionist: No, sir. Not today.
Customer: They’re three for $0.99.
Cashier: We don’t sell them at that price. They’re $0.33 each.
Customer: What’s this called?
Sales associate: A duvet cover.
Customer: No, no… what’s inside it?
Sales associate: A duvet.
Costa Mesa, CA
Boss: I don’t need to see everything before it goes out the door. Just send
me a final, final, rough draft.
New York, NY
Something humorous you've overheard in the inn? Send anecdotes to
Hotels are finally catching on: Westin Hotels recently
prohibited smoking in all its 77 North American hotels. Even though the
company’s research found that 92% of customers already requested nonsmoking
rooms, hotel executives worried about the risk of potentially losing 8% of
More than eight months after the Starwood Hotels and Resorts brand enacted
the rule, “it hasn’t seen much falloff -- in fact, it gained some
business--by the move and has also saved money on room refurbishment. And
now others are following suit. Since Westin’s Feb. 1 implementation, 40
individual U.S. hotels have banned smoking in rooms and public areas, while
this month the entire 2,800-property Marriott chain went go smoke-free in
the United States.”
The J.D. Power & Associates 2006 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction
Index Study released during the summer of 2006 found that 79% of hotel
guests prefer a smoke-free environment that exceeds the boundaries of their
rooms. Some 44.5 million people—15% of the U.S. population—still smoke.
No smoking in Europe: “As hotel brands in other parts of the world
adopt smoke-free environments as their latest marketing strategy, a vast
European guests prefer a smoke-free hotel environment, according to the
J.D. Power and Associates 2006 European Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study
SM released in October 2006.
“The study finds that nearly 70% of hotel guests in Europe prefer a
smoke-free environment that exceeds the boundaries of their room, which is
slightly less than hotel guests in North America (79%). The desire for a
smoke-free environment ranges from 57% of guests who reside in Spain, to a
high of 76% of guests who reside in Sweden and the United Kingdom.
“Among 37 possible amenities and services, complimentary breakfast is the
single most important amenity for hotel guests in France, Germany, Italy,
Spain and Sweden. In the United Kingdom, complimentary breakfast follows the
coffee/tea maker as the most important amenity. High-speed Internet access
is also considered a “must have” for European hotel guests.
“The study also finds that nearly 50% of guests book their hotel
reservations online-up from 34% in 2005. Independent websites--such Expedia
and hotels.com--are continuously ceding market share to hotel brand
websites, as hotel guests are twice as likely to book reservations through
hotel brand website.
People read restaurant emails: According to the Harte-Hanks
Postfuture Index of comparative e-mail metrics for January-June 2006,
restaurants enjoyed the best open rates at 167.7% (open rates exceeding
100% occur by way of pass-alongs, and reopened e-mail) as well as the best
click-through rates at 57.5%. Retail had the lowest open rate (35.3%), while
the automotive sector had the lowest click-through rate (5.7%). The top five
industries mentioned in the study (in order of descending click-through
- Restaurants (57.5%)
- Publishing (55.6%)
- Pharmaceutical (23.8%)
- Travel and hospitality (23.4%)
- Conference events (14.2%)
Among all sectors for all purposes of e-mail combined, the average
delivered rate stands at 91.2% -- with an average open rate of 78.8% of
those e-mail delivered, click-through rate of 18.4% of all e-mail delivered,
and an opt-out rate of 0.4% of all e-mail delivered. E-mail sent to
consumers received the higher click-through rates of 19.9% and open rates of
78.9%, while business-to-business e-mail had rates of 11.2% and 67.7%,
Spa trend: “Spas
are popping up in numerous big-city hotels. Business travelers, seeking
relief from the stress of travel, love every minute of it. Hotels are taking
out guest and meeting rooms and putting in spas, says Joe McInerney,
president of the American Hotel & Lodging Association. ‘If you don’t have
one, you’re not competitive.’
“Staffed by fitness and yoga instructors and other trained personnel, the
spas often contain whirlpools, saunas, steam rooms and relaxation or
treatment rooms. Services include massages, facials, manicures, pedicures,
and yoga and exercise instruction.
“Susie Ellis, president of spa marketing company Spa Finder, says a regular
massage is, ‘by far,’ the top-selling treatment at U.S. spas.”
Hotels spruce up bathrooms: “After spending billions revamping
bedding, bars and lobbies, U.S. hotels are starting to tackle guest
bathroom upgrades come as hotels enjoy record rates and occupancy
levels. In the past two years, rates jumped on average 11%,” says lodging
consultant Bjorn Hanson of PricewaterhouseCoopers. “Spiffier bathrooms can
justify or speed up rate increases. They also can distinguish a hotel from
rivals and please guests accustomed to showcase bathrooms at home.”
“Many luxury hotels are making bathrooms bigger, replacing bathtubs with
tiled, walk-in showers, adding body spray fixtures and providing double
vanities. Less-expensive hotels are replacing man-made countertops with
granite, installing curved shower rods and upgrading showerheads in existing
Hitting the spam button: Return Path recently surveyed more than
2,000 consumers to get information on email habits. One finding was that 37%
report using the “This is spam” button to
unsubscribe from e-mails they previously asked for.
Why? Return Path reports that nearly 31% don’t trust unsubscribe links. Many
people indicate that they used unsubscribe links conditionally. If they
trust the sender, they trust the unsubscribe link. Other respondents don’t
believe the unsubscribe link will work, or that it won’t work quickly
enough. The spam button is more efficient. Microsoft soon will include a
trusted unsubscribe button for senders who maintain a good reputation.
A different kind of poverty: Time poverty is something many
successful and affluent U.S. citizens complain about. Peter Yesawich,
chairman and CEO of Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown & Russell said: “Active
Internet users report their work day in America has
increased their length of work day by one hour. Cell phones have reduced
weekends and have taken away Saturdays and night-outs. Work weeks in the
United States average over 48 hours.”
Yesawich also said, “We have surpassed the Japanese work week since about
four years ago. Unfortunately today, Americans work nine weeks more than the
Germans, four more than the British; and spend the least number of days on
vacation – only 13 days compared to the Italians who enjoy 42 days, French
with 37, Germans with 35, British with 28 and Canadians with 26. Thus, 76%
of U.S. citizens seek relief, with twice the adult population looking
forward today to a spa vacation rather than a round of golf.”
Confidence is up: “According to BIGresearch’s September Consumer
Intentions and Actions Survey (CIA), the impact of gas prices is down,
confidence is up, and consumers are
feeling better about increasing their spending this holiday season. 42%
reported that they plan to spend about the same if not more than last year.
“People are also more willing to abandon their “sales-only” shopping habits
this year, with 16% saying sales are not important compared to 13% in 2005.
In 2005, 23% said they would buy only on sale. That number dropped
significantly to 16% in 2006.”
Remember when…? A recent survey by the American Hotel & Lodging
Association suggests that transformation is well underway in an industry
that this year is spending $5 billion on upgrades.
“Of 9,300 U.S. hotels in the survey,
69% had upgraded their bedding in the last year; 72% were offering voice
mail; 82% were offering wireless Internet; and virtually all were wired to
offer cable or satellite television. Gone are the floral, synthetic
bedspreads, the sanitizer bands around toilet seats, ashtrays and wake-up
calls from real people.”
USA TODAY asked hoteliers, professors and travelers to recall amenities or
services that have disappeared or are on the way out. Some that were
- Wake-up calls from an actual person
- Vibrating beds
- Brass room keys
- Sanitizer bands around toilet seats
- Postcards and stationery
- Four-inch-thick foam mattresses
- Windows that open
- Logo towels
- Wall-mounted hair dryers
What vacationers want: “The Orlando/Orange County Convention &
Visitors Bureau, Inc. recently commissioned Harris Interactive to perform a
travel-related Futures Study identifying
what attributes travelers seek when picking a vacation destination as
well as what benefits they hope to receive from their vacation.
“The study revealed that the top things that people without children are
looking for when planning a vacation are a destination that offers great
value, a destination that is easy to explore and a destination that offers a
wide variety of accommodations to meet the needs of various travel parties.
“The study also confirmed the top benefits travelers want to take home with
them after their vacation: they want to feel happy when they return home,
they want to feel less stress in their lives while feeling relaxed and
rejuvenated, and they want to feel personally satisfied that it was a
vacation well spent.”
Business travelers are loyal: “A recent TripAdvisor™ survey of more
than 2,100 travelers from around the world reveals that
68% of travelers regularly stay at the same hotel chain when on business
trips. Marriott was selected as the top hotel choice when traveling for
work. Thirty-four percent of respondents plan to take one to three business
trips this year, and nearly 10% will take 10 or more trips for work this
“The most appealing part of traveling for work, according to respondents, is
seeing new places (35%). Favorite luxuries of business travel include luxury
sheets and fancy bath products (34%) and having a room to themselves (22).
The most important hotel feature when traveling on business is a hotel’s
location and proximity to meetings or the airport (32%), followed closely by
having a high-speed Internet connection (30%).”
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