Tuesday, September 1, 2015

First Day of School

Indeed, summer is over (and it went so fast):

Slim pickings at the start of Allston Christmas

Because the kids can no longer afford to throw things out, and you can forget booking a room.

"Man charged with pushing woman off garage at Bridgewater State party" by Felicia Gans Globe Correspondent  August 31, 2015

A Bridgewater State University junior was being held on $5,000 cash bail Monday after he was charged with pushing another student from the roof of a garage at a house party early Monday.

Bridgewater police were already at the home on Burrill Avenue, called to respond to a disturbance just after midnight, authorities said, when 20-year-old Alexander Marquez allegedly came up behind the woman and pushed her off the roof into a crowd of partygoers, who had been yelling at the woman to “jump.”

The victim, also a Bridgewater State junior, was the only other person on the roof, according to Lieutenant Tom Schlatz. There were at least 200 people at the party.

The people standing below the two-car garage caught the victim as she fell, preventing any major injuries. Schlatz said the victim had bruises and scrapes on the right side of her body, but declined medical care.

Though the victim initially left the scene with the rest of the crowd, she arrived at the police station shortly after when the department asked via Twitter for her to come forward.

After pushing the woman, Marquez, from West Springfield, jumped off the garage roof himself and was immediately arrested. Schlatz said he does not believe the victim, who was not identified, knew Marquez.

Marquez was arraigned in Brockton District Court Monday and charged with disorderly conduct, assault and battery, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. He pleaded not guilty and will return to court on Sept. 17.

Frederick Clark Jr., Bridgewater State University president, denounced the incident in a statement Monday, calling it “unacceptable to me and the entire campus community.”

He said the student code of conduct applies to both on- and off-campus actions, and the school will investigate.

“Bridgewater State University is a community and, as such, we need to treat each other with respect and dignity,” Clark said. “As president, my highest priority is ensuring the safety of each and every member of our community.” 

Is that any way to start off the school year?


If that doesn't make you hit the roof over college drinking....

"Move over, millennials. Gen Z is the hot new target audience" by Jessica Geller Globe Correspondent  September 01, 2015

Believe it or not, millennials are aging out of their privileged position as the nation’s most sought-after consumers, the ones advertisers want to influence. Their replacement? The nation’s teenagers, also known as Generation Z.

See: A Millennial Post ]

Their $tar $hined for $uch brief $econd

The Gen Zers, loosely defined as those 20 and younger, are starting to spend their own money and are developing habits that could influence their buying through adulthood. As a result, companies from the video streaming service Netflix Inc. to retailer Target Inc. to athletic shoe maker Converse Inc. are trying to get on the Gen Z radar.

“It’s the new, next hot thing,” said Amanda Fraga, director of strategy, insights, and innovation at C Space, a Boston market research firm.

Thus begins a shift away from the 20- to 34-year-old millennials, and the emergence of a new effort aimed at understanding just how Gen Zers think.

Old before your time. used to be 40s and 50s were prime spending years. Poor millennials who got looted by the elite cla$$, whatever be their percentage.

Research firms like C Space say they are seeing increasing demand for information from companies that are looking to understand what makes members of this generation tick and how best to reach them.


So what’s so special about Generation Z?

To start, Gen Zers already have some $44 billion in purchasing power, according to the New York advertising agency Sparks and Honey — and that buying power is only expected to grow.

Why is expected to grow?

And there are roughly as many Gen Zers (82 million) as there are millennials (83 million) and baby boomers (76 million).

This increasingly attractive demographic, however, poses greater challenges for marketers than previous generations as media grow more fragmented and reaching young consumers requires more precise targeting. Unlike so-called millennials — the oldest of them born in the 1980s — the entire Gen Z population has known nothing but an Internet-connected world.

And they will be lost without one.

From their earliest years, they have been shaped by social media, e-commerce, and on-demand services, using technology to customize the information they receive, the products they buy, and the interactions they have, said Ian Cross, director at the Bentley University Center for Marketing Technology.

At the same time, they are conservative in their spending, less likely to expect financial help from their parents, and more wary of the future after witnessing their parents or friends’ parents lose jobs in the Great Recession.

All this means marketers need different approaches to gain the attention of Gen Z — and turn traditional advertising models on their head, industry analysts said.

In the past, most ad dollars went to paying television networks, radio stations, and newspapers. But to reach Gen Z, companies will need to spend more to create videos and other content that provides useful information, entertains, and otherwise impresses them enough that they share with families, friends, and followers, industry analysts said.

And in today’s media environment, where something more interesting is just a click away, marketers will have to grab their audiences fast — in about eight seconds, said Tom Gerace, Skyword’s chief executive.

I see I haven't managed to grab many of you lately, so..... glad I didn't go into teaching. Forget the abuse or controversy that I would have had to go through; my class is BORING!

Must be the $ource material.

“It used to be that companies spent a little money making the advertisement and a lot of money distributing it,” Gerace said. “Now, brands will spend a lot more money to create the stories and spend less on distribution.”

One example is Sperry Top-Sider Inc., known for its Top-Sider boat shoe....

Didn't fit.

The goal, analysts said, is not only to get teens to buy and decorate sneakers, but to photograph them, post the photos, and share the pictures with friends — ultimately influencing the friends to do the same.

You all a bunch of lemming con$umers following the latest fad, huh? That's the way you end up with nothing (personal te$timonial there).

Did I get your attention?

Carolyn Carlisle, a junior at Nauset Regional High School on Cape Cod, said her friends like the marketing of Ivivva, an athletic wear brand of lululemon athletica Inc. of Vancouver, B.C. Girls upload photos to the Ivivva website of themselves wearing the brand’s clothing while doing an activity, and the best photos are posted on Ivivva’s Instagram account. 

I $ee! It's $ocial media being cited by my propaganda pre$$, and the hacktivists have become heroes(?). 

Outfit looks good, though(?).

“You can obviously connect to those people because they are just a regular person who you might know,” said Carlisle, 16. “You are going to pay attention to what they are wearing because you feel you are similar and live the same life, rather than a model.”

Is that why millionaire and billionaire politicians don't connect?

To the older consumers, it’s more obvious a product is being advertised when brands post content on social media. But teens do not see it this way, said Northeastern University communications professor Brooke Foucault Welles, who researches high schoolers’ social media habits. Gen Z sees the content as experiences they want to remake.

“They really like video experiences and tutorials and actively seek those things out,” Welles said. “Kids are doing identity development work, coming up with their own brand preferences.”



Better brush your hair and check your Apple watch (or phone) before you're late to work.

"T-Mobile says it will stop data plan hogs" by Brian X. Chen New York Times  September 01, 2015

NEW YORK — T-Mobile USA, one of the few phone carriers to still offer an unlimited data plan, has run into a classic Homer Simpson problem: The company says it will get rid of abusers of its all-you-can-eat data privileges, similar to when Homer was thrown out of a restaurant for eating too much seafood at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

T-Mobile’s chief executive, John J. Legere, took to Twitter on Monday to announce that the company would eliminate people who abuse its unlimited data plans.

He specifically referred to those who used their cellphones for tethering, which is the ability to share a smartphone’s Internet connection with another device like a computer. The practice gobbles up large amounts of data — as much as 2 terabytes, more data than any reasonable person could consume with a smartphone over a month. 

Looks like a data-collecting spying operation to me.

“They are ‘hacking’ the system to swipe high speed tethered data,” Legere wrote. “These aren’t naive amateurs; they are clever hackers who are willfully stealing for their own selfish gain.”

We all know where that leads.

And they want you to do all your financial transactions on the thing.

Legere was asked on Twitter about the characterization of abusers as thieves....


What do you mean they cut your hours? 

"Walmart cuts some workers’ hours after pay raises" by Shannon Pettypiece Bloomberg News  September 01, 2015

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., in the midst of spending $1 billion to raise employees’ wages and give them extra training, has been cutting the number of hours some of them work in a bid to keep costs in check.

You $erfs can't win.

Regional executives told store managers at the retailer’s annual holiday planning meeting this month to rein in expenses by cutting worker hours they’ve added beyond those allocated to them based on sales projections.

The request has resulted in some stores trimming hours from their schedules, asking employees to leave shifts early, or telling them to take longer lunches, according to more than three dozen employees from around the United States.

The reductions started in the past several weeks, even as many stores enter the busy back-to-school shopping period.

Chief executive Doug McMillon is trying to balance a desire to improve service — partly through increased spending on his workforce — against investors’ pressure to keep profit growing.

We know who wins out when it comes to such things.

Labor costs, which rose after Walmart increased its minimum wage to $9 an hour in April, have weighed on earnings, which missed analysts’ expectations last quarter. At the same time, Walmart is trying to maintain low prices to fend off rivals.

The reduction in hours is taking place only in locations where managers have overscheduled workers, staffing the store for more time than they’ve been allotted, said Kory Lundberg, a spokesman for Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart. The reductions won’t affect efforts to better staff stores, shorten checkout lines, and improve cleanliness and stocking, he said.

Greg Foran, head of Walmart’s US operations, has said the retailer has dual goals of containing expenses and spending more to improve its stores.

‘‘Amid the investment, we’re focused on growing sales and controlling costs, as you would expect from Walmart,’’ Foran said earlier this month after the company announced disappointing earnings. ‘‘We are staying true to our roots. However, we are committed to improving the customer experience and we will protect the investments necessary to achieve this goal.’’

Striking that right balance is proving challenging for the world’s biggest retailer, according to accounts from some employees.

A Walmart employee at a location near Houston, who asked not to be identified because she didn’t have permission to talk to the media, said her store had to cut more than 200 hours a week. To make the adjustment, the employee’s store manager started asking people to go home early two weeks ago, she said. On Aug. 19, at least eight people had been sent home by late afternoon, including sales floor associates and department managers.

The employee said she’s covering an area once staffed by multiple people at one of the busiest times of the year — the back-to-school season. On a recent weekday, she had a customer who had to wait 30 minutes for an employee to unlock a product the shopper wanted to purchase, she said. In e-mails, interviews, and social media posts, employees in a range of positions across the country shared similar stories of hours being cut.

The staff at a location in Fort Worth were told that the store needed to cut 1,500 hours, according to a worker who asked not to be named for fear of being reprimanded.

McMillon’s move to raise Walmart’s minimum wage to $9 an hour in April has stirred other frustrations. Some of the chain’s more senior employees have criticized the increase, saying it mostly benefited newer workers and that more experienced staff shouldn’t be making at or near what new hires are paid.

Walmart has said it anticipated some employees being disappointed about not getting raises and is trying to create more opportunities for workers to advance within the company. It also has a new scheduling system.

By cutting hours, Walmart now risks losing some of its best employees to competitors that can provide more stable schedules, said Burt Flickinger, managing director at Strategic Resource Group.


Did you check your stub?