“May those who love us, love us.  And those who don’t love us, may God turn their hearts.  And if he can’t turn their hearts, may he turn their ankles so we’ll know them by their limping” Irish proverb

As someone who deals in sport sponsorship, I often wonder how the sponsorships that companies undertake are handled in internal communications.   I’m sure it makes the company newsletter.  There’s probably a few posters hung up.  And whatever advertising is done that’s apparent enough, too.  There may even be some good lip service about why they’re doing this (common ideals, philosophies) — and in many cases I’m sure there is a wholesale embrace of the ideals of the associated organizations / people — especially when they are grass roots or amateur sport initiatives (let’s just leave Tiger out of this for today).

One thing I can say for certain is whatever ‘communication’ has been done internally by a few of our 2010 sponsors, it absolutely hasn’t translated to the front lines.

Today we’re going to try and help a couple of them out:  The Bay, Canada Post…..time for a little ‘come to Jesus’ meeting.

I’m glad you’ve ponied up the dough,  so I’ll just say thanks for that up front.  I am going to enjoy the heck out of February & March in Whistler & Vancouver and you’ve been part of making that possible.   On that level, you’re a mensch.  I mean it.  Truly.

Stop me if I’m out on a limb here but your rationale in doing that hit one or all of the following reasons as it made its way through budgeting:

  1. Will improve / reinforce our (positive) image with customers
  2. Will increase sales
  3. Will provide employees with a sense of pride in their workplace

Generally these things are all possible outcomes of such a high-profile sport affiliation, but I have to tip you off :  they don’t happen automatically.  And for these two companies they flat-out aren’t happening on the front lines.   In the past six weeks, I’ve witnessed or personally experienced customer service that makes me wonder if not only the clerks didn’t get the memo, but whether a memo was ever drafted.

Clearly the branch manager at  the (only) Whistler post office felt one clerk on duty in the week before Christmas was good enough — hey, go for the bronze.  Try scheduling two.

I believe the parcel delivery man who hurled Grandma’s package against my front door from our sidewalk may have had a promising career in the discus throw (sorry Grandma – the cookie crumbs looked good)

The truck that cut me off, nearly forcing me into oncoming traffic with my two kids in the car (absolutely forcing me into a string of profanity) – well, I’m glad you’d like to move those packages faster, but I’m pretty sure my family would rather have the three of us alive this season than receive theirs gifts from us posthumously.

Thanks to the incredible merchandising in the toys and children’s clothes departments at the downtown Bay for the reminder of the Salvation Army.  Actually that is unkind to the volunteer clerks at the Sally Ann Thrift stores,as they are much neater than what we encountered.   It prompted us to drop some extra change in the kettle for all the good work they do — which we had to spare as we elected not to rummage through the boxes of boots & slippers thrown everywhere on the floor to find what we were looking for.  (Perhaps your clerks could volunteer at the Salvation Army store and pick up some merchandising tips?)

The debit card fiasco — here Interac keeps telling us its the same as cash, but apparently not.  The poor guy whose family bought him a Bay gift card (likely with VISA)

The delusion that the ‘Olympic store’ is a distinct’ store-within-a-store’  — I hate to tell you that a 3-foot PVC rail with banners doesn’t really make that distinction for people — it looks like decor.  The only reason that it even draws my notice is that it’s one of the few discernable attempts at display in the place (if you think I’m kidding visit the fourth floor).

The stasi-like charm your staff displayed when I began perusing the USA Olympic apparel with Canadian Olympic apparel in my arms. “Ma’am — you CANNOT leave the store with that merchandise!  You have to pay for it first!” she screamed after me as I unknowingly ‘crossed the line’ and evidently undertook my first step into a career of shoplifting.

This is just the past few weeks…..I’d love to say I’ve had great experiences with your respective companies in the past but sadly that’s not the case.  In fact, the only reason I went to the Bay was for the Olympic merchandise – I stopped shopping there long ago, for so many reasons……… and given my latest experiences with package-handling from Canada Post, I’m thinking I might try on something in brown……or possibly an orange & purple combo.

Sport can be an amazingly transformative medium for many things — the meek discover strength,  the arrogant are humbled, the masses find exhultation and empathy.  Personally, I’ve decided to honor another great sport tradition based on these experiences — I’m going to root for the underdog and make my souvenir purchases at a small, independent business who went to the trouble to secure some nice licensed merchandise, display it well, happily accept my debit card and thank me for my business on the way out the door.   Hmmm… I wonder if they do shipping?

Categories: Sponsorship

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