Oct 13

Hey Chuck, I have a question for you: what’s with placing an ad in the bottom of airport security bins?

October 13 - charles-schwab-talk-to-chuck I've seen some really stupid, wasteful ads in my day, but Charles Schwab may have set a new low. They've placed their 'Ask Chuck' ads in the bottom of those ugly bins in which you place your shoes, watches and blackberries before walking through the TSA security checkpoint at airports.

What marketing genius came up with this media buy? 'Hey Joe, I've got it! Let's reach consumers when they're already royally pissed off, uptight and anxious. We'll place our 'Ask Chuck' ads in the bottom of airport security bins. Talk about marketing in unexpected ways! This is brilliant!'

I don't know about you, but personal finance and investment strategy are just about the last things on my mind when I'm battling the horror show that is modern-day travel. Do the fine folks at Charles Schwab actually think I'll wake up one day and say, 'Hey, I have $1,000 to invest. And, I distinctly remember seeing that Charles Schwab ad in the security bin while a TSA agent was patting me down at Newark. By George, I'll invest it with them!'

So, in the spirit of the overarching 'Ask Chuck' advertising campaign being run by the Charles Schwab Company, I thought I'd ask Chuck a simple question: 'What were you thinking, man?’

May 27

The ‘N’ Letter

Steve Cody wasn’t allowed through San Francisco Airport security this morning. Why? Because hisBoarding_pass
boarding pass read ‘Steve’ and his driver’s license reads ‘Steven.’ This raised all sorts of possible terrorist warnings to the crack TSA agent, who promptly sent me back to the ticket agent.

I dutifully trooped back, waited on line and explained what had just happened. The ticket agent sighed and said, “Where do they find these idiots?” She then logged onto her computer and began changing the reservation. But, lo and behold, the airline’s computer system wouldn’t allow her to do so because I was on the ‘open’ second leg of a round trip. Oh.

Now, she’s pissed. She has to grab her supervisor and explain the situation. I hear him exclaim, “You must be joking!”

Long story short, he handwrites some sort of hieroglyphics on the boarding pass and has the ticket agent personally escort me back to the surly, oh-so-vigilant TSA agent. He looks her over, looks me over, listens to her explanation and says, “I don’t like it one bit, but I’ll let him through. As for you (pointing to me),” he sniffs, “Next time you book a flight, do so with your full and correct legal name. Got it?” Got it. Yes sir. Thank you, sir. And thank you for defending our freedom and security, sir.

Gimme a break.