Tag Archives: marketing

Why Didn’t Sears Become Amazon First? (Lack of Foresight and Applying This to You or How Sears Got Its Milkshake Drank)


Sears got its milkshake drank.  Will yours be next?

Ahh, Sears.  Back in the day, no trip to the mall was complete without a trip to this anchor store and let me tell you, my Aunt Gertie used to get Sears catalogs in the mail all the time.

They were big ass tomes the size of 10 bibles that weighed at least 10 pounds and oh, as a kid I’d turn through the pages and dream.  I want that toy, I want that toy, and oh my, why do these bra models give me a tingly feeling?

Jeez.  I think I might have a few of those catalogs lying around.  I wonder if they’re worth anything.  I’d go fap to the bra models but I won’t out of respect, given that all those models are probably either dead or super old and in nursing homes now.  Sigh.  Oh time, you cruel bitch, you.

For the uninitiated, Mr. Sears, way back in the 1800s was the first businessman to realize that since there were parts of America that didn’t have any stores, he could make bank by sending out catalogs and taking orders for goods by mail.  As the years went on, Sears stores became the pinnacle of every mall and as credit cards came into style, they dominated the catalog sales market.  Shit, Aunt Gertie ordered all my clothes as a kid from Sears.  You think that was why I was so unpopular?  Oh well.  Water under the bridge.

So, I guess I don’t get it.  The Internet came into great popularity in the 1990s and Jeff Bezos, blessed be his most revered name (and I’m not just saying that because he has the power to snuff out my self-publishing dreams) saw the potential of the Internet to sell stuff.

Wal-Mart saw the potential too and though I don’t believe it has reached Amazon lengths, it does a brisk online sales business.

JC Penney, Sears’ longtime rival in the box store/catalog game has kept afloat by doing online sales as well.

So, to repeat, I don’t get it.  Sears basically invented the whole concept of taking pictures of products, organizing them into catalogs and giving them descriptions, product numbers, listing the prices, making it easy for people to call on the phone, read off the products they wanted to an operator who took their order, credit card number and address and they even mastered how to complete orders through the mail.

Why didn’t anyone at Sears have the vision, the foresight to say, “Hey, I think this Internet thing is here to stay and we should take our catalog…and hold on…think about it here…put it online!”

Now, I don’t know.  I believe they did.  To what extent I couldn’t tell you.  Perhaps it wasn’t so much the lack of putting it online so much as getting you anything you want the way Amazon can.  I mean, there are so many times when I think something like, “I would like a can of farts excreted by an East Peruvian Water Buffalo in July” and then go to Amazon and do a search and get, “Here are twenty choices for farts excreted by East Peruvian Water Buffalos in July.”

I don’t know.  I’m not sure what Sears’ downfall was.  Either they didn’t get into online sales early enough, or maybe they didn’t make online shopping as cool as Amazon did.  Maybe they didn’t think of nifty little ways to grab your cash the way Amazon does.  Shit, Amazon thinks of new ways to get your money all the time.  You can get a little button to stick in your kitchen and push it when you’re out of toilet paper, chips, insert household staple here and they will put it on your tab and send it to you.  You can get Alexa and say, “Hey Alexa order me a can of East Peruvian Water Buffalo Farts” and she’ll order it for you.  Maybe it was that.  Maybe Sears just didn’t think of enough ways to be cool.

I know Blockbuster could have gotten into the streaming game earlier and could still be around in an online form today.  Borders could have embraced e-books earlier and still be in the fight today.

So, let’s apply this to you (because I never apply good lessons to me, I just continue to do the same dumb things and let them blow up in my face over and over again and never learn anything like Wile E. Coyote.)

What is something that you could begin doing today that will be hard, will require hard work and sacrifice, will unlikely yield results in the short term, but in 5 years, you’ll be glad you did it?

I bet the people in charge of Sears wish that 5 years ago, they might have made their website cooler.  Maybe they might have gotten more exclusive product deals available only on their site.  Maybe they could have come up with a little robot that sits on your desk and speaks in a British accent, like your robot butler who says, “Pip, pip, cheerio, you want me to order you some more raisin bran, fuck face?”  I don’t know.  All I know is they didn’t do it, and now much like in that film, There Will Be Blood, Bezos is drinking Sears’ milkshake.  “I drink your milkshake!  I drink it up!!”

Back to the point.  Maybe you’re a fat fuck.  Maybe in five years you’d like to be a skinny fuck so you can run, jump, hop, skip, do fun activities and if you’re looking good you might just score yourself some bomb ass pussy (or ladies, you might acquire some bomb ass peen.)

Maybe you’re having financial woes.  Maybe if you start a plan of cutting spending and perhaps get a little side gig or a part time job, you’ll get those debts tackled in five years.

Shit.  Take some piano lessons today and maybe you’ll be tickling the ivories in a concert hall in five years.

Hell, I spent the last two years writing a book about an alligator that eats people on the toilet.   I hope to have it self-published next year.  When I’m swimming in mad cash and bomb ass pussy thanks to all the fame and fortune I get when this book about a toilet gator goes gangbusters, I’ll be glad I put the time in on this fine book.  I’ll be laughing at the other me in the alternate time line who will be a fucking loser because instead of writing a book about a toilet gator he did some weak ass shit like working extra hard on his cardio or volunteering to read to impoverished blind children or building hospitals in Ecuador or some shit.

Anyway, 3.5 readers.  The takeaway?  Right now, I know there is something you have wanted to happen for a long time.  You never did it, but you know in your heart if you put the work in, you’ll have it in five years.  Do you want to be like Sears?  Do you want to be the hollow shell, the desolate remains of a once thriving business that was the brain child of a wise 1800’s business tycoon?  Or, do you want to be like Supreme Overlord Bezos, violating the spent carcass of yet another fallen, wasted competitor over and over again?

If you don’t identify what you want and start acting on it today, then I guarantee you in five years, someone else will be getting it.  You’ll still be fat and some other skinny person will be partying with the bomb ass pussy or peen, whatever your preference.  Someone else will be playing the piano you were going to play.  Someone else will be enjoying a debt free life while you’ll be giving handjobs in bus station bathrooms just to pay off the minimum payment on your credit cards.  (You’ll be giving handjobs forever at that rate!)

The next five years will go by fast…in the blink of an eye.  You can drink some other schmuck’s milkshake, or you can get yours drunk up.  What’s it going to be?

(Note.  Let’s all return to this post in five years and trade notes on how this all worked out.)

ADDITIONAL NOTE: It dawns on me that not all 3.5 of you have seen There Will Be Blood and I don’t advise it, because once you see a man get beaten to death with a bowling pin by a man enjoying a brownie, you can’t unsee that shit.  Long story short, “I drink your milkshake!” comes from this scene where Daniel Day Lewis plays an oil baron who is bragging to a preacher about how he screwed him over in an oil deal.

So, to really motivate yourself, you need to a) picture what you want and then b) work on getting it for fear that in five years, if you don’t get what you want, Daniel Day Lewis will get what you wanted because he worked for it harder and he will ridicule you by laughing at you, telling you he got what you wanted because you’re a weak, pathetic loser and he was really strong and cunning and then he will beat the shit out of you with a bowling pin and eat a brownie.

If that doesn’t make you work hard on your goals then I don’t know what will.

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Squatty Potty Pooping Unicorn Commercial

Oh My God. Oh My God. Oh My God.

Please drop what you are doing and watch this commercial for the Squatty Potty.

The argument is that humans, like cavemen, weren’t meant to poop in toilets but meant to squat wherever they are outside to poop.  Squatting opens your uh, well, you know…opens it up more so the poop comes out better.

A unicorn pooping rainbow sherbet explains the concept without you know, showing disgusting poop.

I don’t know.  This is commercial is hilarious.  Hysterical.  I can’t stop laughing.

By the way, has anyone out there ever used one? Does it work?  I kinda want one now.

P.S. reports are going around that this one hilarious video increased the Squatty Potty company’s sales by 600 percent.  I know I’ve heard ads for it on Howard Stern but in my head I always envisioned it as some like rigged up contraption I’d have to get into just to poop.  This commercial illustrates that its just basically a little stool (to help you make stool) and tucks away neatly when you’re done.



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Ask the Alien – 4/19/15

Previously on Ask the Alien:

Alien artifacts and diseases!


And now Ask the Alien continues…

Greetings Earth Losers.  The greatest and most humble mind of the universe, here to answer your questions and save you all from your own incompetence.

Sigil of House Jones

BOOKSHELF Q. BATTLER:  AJ!  It’s a real humdinger of a week here on Bookshelf Battle!  We have three, count ’em, a whopping 3 questions for you!

ALIEN JONES:  Holy Farzing Shazbo.  Have you been bribing winos off the street again?

BQB:  No!  They’re people!  Actual real people!

The first question this week comes from Mei-Mei of jedibyknight.com who asks:

“Lord Alien, love your house sigil/motto. Can you tell us about one of your distinguished ancestors of House Jones? Or one of the crazy ones, either way.”

Gadzooks.  That stupid sigil.  Who knew when I signed up to be a guest contributor for this blog I’d be required to participate in promotions, such as this Ren Faire disaster nonsense that Bookshelf Q. Battler will have going on until June.

BQB:  I actually do it all year round.  I only display it prominently for GOT from April-June.

ALIEN JONES:  You probably don’t want to admit that.

Anyway, I’m not privy to “Lord BQB’s” final draft, but I’m sure I’m the only Alien who makes an appearance in :::shudder::: “Game of Yetis.”

In the real world, a place that BQB should consider visiting once in awhile, aliens of my planet are cloned in a government lab and assigned a designation number.  Some of my favorite family members?

Cousin 1012049AZ1 – Ah good old Cousin 1012049AZ1.  Many a day we spent scanning for signs of intelligent life in the cosmos.  We’re still scanning.

Uncle 3XC5056089 – If I felt emotions, I imagine I’d be brimming with pride over the exploits of good old Uncle 3X.  Took down a Maloklaxon freighter with nothing but a wad of chewing gum, a paper clip, three boxes of what you call baking soda, a pair of ladies’ pantyhose (don’t ask me how he got them) and some twine.  He’s been on the Maloklaxon Most Wanted List ever since but that’s ok, because between you and me, the Maloklaxons are considered the a-holes of the universe.

Great Grandpa 19191919RFT – The black sheep of the family.  Only cured three diseases and developed two inventions.  Talk about an underachiever.  Bleh.

Thank you for your question, Mei-Mei.


ALIEN JONES:  Who’s this guy?

BQB:  He’s Sci-Fi Gary!  Everybody knows Sci-Fi Gary!

ALIEN JONES:  Scanning memory banks.  Ahh…yes!  Of course Sci-Fi Gary!

As an all-knowing Alien, I was born with an inner-knowledge of every book ever written, as well as those yet to be written.  I even know about all those half-written manuscripts you all can’t finish because you’re too busy watching Mad Men.

BQB:  You know I’ve invested eight years of my life in that show and it looks like Don’s going to marry a random waitress in the end?

ALIEN JONES:  It’s Dexter all over again!

Back to Gary.  I took a peak at Amazon Author page for Gary Alan Ruse, which features many of his novels originally published in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

I’ll have you know that Bookshelf Q. Battler was a big fan of 1980’s sci-fi.  He used to watch that movie where Tom Selleck shot the robo-spiders on a continuous loop as a kid.

BQB:  Runaway

ALIEN JONES:  I would if I could but my agent says I’m locked into writing this damn column forever.

Anyway, I highly advise that you check out Gary’s stuff.  My faves:

  • Morlac – The Quest of the Green Magician
  • The Gods of Cerus Major
  • Aggie and Agent X – the cover features an alien in a trench coat who bears a striking resemblance to my old college roommate
  • Houndstooth – a secret project in which a chip is put into a dog’s brain

BQB:  Alien Jones, can you put a chip into Bookshelf Q. Battledog’s brain to keep him from using Bookshelf Battle Headquarters as his personal toilet?

ALIEN JONES:  I could but it would turn him rabid.

BQB:  Nothing new.  Hey, on a serious note, isn’t it great that authors who have had publishing success in the past have been able to use sites like Amazon to sell books to a whole new generation?

ALIEN JONES:  Indeed.  Thank you for your question, Gary.  Continue spreading your tales of intergalactic daring-do.  The comments and reviews on your books tell me you’re a respected author who has built a loyal following.


ALIEN JONES:  Zounds.  A third question?  I demand a raise.

BQB:  OK.  I’ll double the nothing I pay you now.

Kai Delmas of the blog, “Of Orcs and Men” writes:

“I write a story blog about a war between orcs and humans. It’s called “Of Orcs and Men”. I thought AJ could help promote it and while he’s at it, with his infinite wisdom, he could answer some questions about orcs that I was wondering about.”

Ah yes.  Of Orcs and Men.  The first draft of Steinbeck’s classic tale of two hulking beastly creatures who roam about the Californian countryside, looking for work and getting into trouble due to Lenny the Orc’s dimwittery.  Steinbeck didn’t think it worked with both characters being big, dumb and stupid so he rewrote it as “Of Mice and Men” with both characters as humans and George being smaller and smarter.

1. Are there orcs or other fantastical creatures on other planets in the universe?

Yes.  We enjoy fantasy just as humans do.  On my planet, there is a show called Game of Brains.  It imagines a fantasy planet Earth, where the humans have them.  They never watch reality television, people are only famous if they achieve something, and stuffed crust pizza is banned.  You can your cheese on the pizza but in the crust?  Insanity!

I admit, there are some far-fetched plots on that show.  Here’s an except from last week’s show:

PETE:  Say Fred, we each practice a different religion, but let’s not start a war over it, ok?

FRED:  That’s a very sensible idea, Pete.  No need for people to die just because I pray to one man in the sky and you pray to another.

PETE:  Capital idea, Fred!  Another notion – let’s have an election where both sides provide their thoughts and points of view on various issues and leave it up to the people to decide without a constant need to paint one side or the other as a bunch of vile, baby’s candy stealing, puppy kicking lowlives?

FRED:  That makes sense, Pete.  At the end of the day, we all want we believe is best for the world.  We can voice our opinions, but there’s no need to be monsters over it.

Ahh…good old Game of Brains.  The highest rated fantasy comedy on my home planet.

2. If yes, are they smarter than us primitive earthlings?

Until we locate another planet where the inhabitants wear pajama pants to public shopping centers, I’m sorry to say that Earth wears the dunce cap of the cosmos.

3. Who does he think would win such a war between orcs and men? (Medieval times)

Men.  And hobbits.  And dwarves.  And elves.  J.R.R. Tolkien was trying to tell you all the truth about your planet’s early history.  All of his books were actually written as documentaries.

Thanks and have a wonderful stay on our planet. It’s not much, but we’re doing the best we can with our limited cerebral resources. 😉

Appreciated.  Earth?  I rarely visit that dump.  I do most of my blogging from my ship.  Once in awhile I will visit Bookshelf Q. Battler’s compound to watch Scandal.  

Aliens love Scandal.

Alien Jones is the Intergalactic Correspondent for the Bookshelf Battle. Do you have a question for the Esteemed Brainy One? Submit it to Bookshelf Q. Battler via a tweet to @bookshelfbattle, leave it in the comment section on this site, or drop it off on the Bookshelf Battle Google + page. If AJ likes your question, he might promote your book, blog, or other project while providing his answer.

Submit your questions by midnight Friday each week for a chance to be featured in his Sunday column. And if you don’t like his response, just let him know and he’ll file it into the recycling bin of his monolithic super computer. No muss, no fuss, no problem.

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