Marc + Naomi are NOT gate-keepers


In December we moved back to Toronto from Winnipeg. The trip took five days and I still feel like we’re en-route because of the hoops we need to jump through to secure auto insurance in Ontario. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been told “Well – that’s the ways we do things ” or “I’ve never heard of that”, or  “I don’t think that’s possible” or “I don’t know”. But what I can count is the number of times someone has said – “let me check and get back to you”: twice.

1. Marc Tayler, Manitoba Public Insurance in Winnipeg MB., and

2. Naomi Wehby, The McLennan Group in Windsor ON.

I rank Marc and Naomi head and shoulders above their peers not because they have all the answers – but because they took the time to help me explore my options and select the path that was best for me. Marc works for a Public insurance company and Naomi for a private one. I’m honoring them on my blog today because I believe  that all we do and all we say helps us believe that we have come to the right place – or the wrong place.

Thank-you Naomi and Marc for all your care and concern.

Sincerely – Frank Wehrmann

The victims of your good intentions


This is an article that hits incredibly close to home because Charlie, my creative muse was found on the street – lost or abandoned – on a cold January night here in Toronto eight years ago.

1-6-2011

Rover and Kitty might have seemed like the perfect presents during the mad rush leading up to Christmas, but each year, animal shelters across the country prepare for a mass return of unwanted pets in the post-holiday season.

Photograph by: David Paul Morris, Getty Images

TORONTO — Rover and Kitty might have seemed like the perfect presents during the mad rush leading up to Christmas, but each year, animal shelters across the country prepare for a mass return of unwanted pets in the post-holiday season.

“It’s a common problem unfortunately at Christmas time,” said Michael O’Sullivan, the executive director of the Humane Society of Canada. “It’s a real example of the best intentions gone wrong.”

The society hears about an influx of animals at shelters, rescue organizations and humane societies across the country every January. Fortunately, the increase isn’t as great as it used to be thanks to a number of public awareness campaigns that discourage gifting pets during the holidays. Some shelters even have strict policies prohibiting gift adoptions. O’Sullivan said people don’t always realize that all pets — whether it’s a dog, cat, turtle, rabbit, guinea pig or bird — require not only affection, but time and money. “I often liken it to a stranger showing up at your doorstep with suitcases. He’s going to live with you for 15 or 16 years and he’s saying: ‘Where’s my room?’” he said.

“It’s kind of heartbreak all around if you don’t talk to the people you’re giving the pet to first.” Animals also aren’t a “one-size-fits-all” gift; some pets require more exercise, food and medical care than others. Some dogs live as long as 18 years, while cats have an average life span of 20 years. Instead, O’Sullivan suggests those wanting to give a pet should instead give a preview gift of a leash, food and water bowl for a potential dog owner or a litter box for a cat owner and then head into a shelter in the new year. Alison Cross, a spokeswoman with the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said it’s hard on the animals when they’re returned or abandoned by new owners who suddenly find they have less time to care for them when work schedules gear up again in January. “The reality is that pets end up suffering because they have to transition from one home to another, which is quite stressful for an animal,” she said.

Many times people fall in love with an animal in a pet store and rush to purchase, unaware that the animal might not be up-to-date with vaccinations or spayed or neutered — leading to a heavy cost for the new owners.

Cross said those unable to care for their new pets should first try to reach out to their social networks and see if any of other friends or family are seriously looking for an animal companion.

At the Edmonton Humane Society, the number of animals that arrived at the shelter doubled in 2010.

“It’s terrible for the animals to move around so much like that,” said spokeswoman Shawna Randolph. “An animal needs to be in a loving home, no matter what its age.”

Randolph said the increase in animals at the shelter isn’t limited to the holiday season, largely due to a public campaign the society runs promoting half-price adoptions of cats and rabbits starting the week after Christmas.

© Copyright (c) Postmedia News

Why Brand Continuity Matters


For years I’ve argued that brand continuity is important, and for years franchisees have told me it isn’t. Here are two recent examples that illustrate why brand continuity matters.

Example #1 :: Sobeys

I lived in Winnipeg for two years and shopped at Sobeys because 1. I could walk there, 2. it was a clean bright store,  3. my father-in-law recommended it, and 4. it also had a pharmacy. I came to look forward to my frequent small shopping trips. Better yet they had a number of products that I came to love. I’m not a foodie, but Sobeys did it’s best to make me one. So now I’m back in Toronto – missing my local Sobeys and some of those special treats. I drove to the nearest one, only to find it small, dingy, unfriendly and worst of all – the treats I loves to buy in Winnipeg were nowhere to be found in the Toronto store.  The result: i will not go back to Sobey’s in Toronto and I’ll share my brand disappointment with others.

Example #2 :: Days Inn

Charlie (my dog) and I used to drive to Winnipeg and back a few times a year. When my wife came along we made it a road-vacation. we set a leisurely pace and overnighted 4-5 times enroute. Over the years and miles we’ve found that some hotels and motels had no-dog policies, others charged as much as a 2nd (or 3rd) human occupant, and others put you up in their ‘smoking’ rooms. Then there was Days Inn. So far no matter what route we have taken from Toronto to Winnipeg and back, Days Inn was always happy to put up Michelle, Charlie and me for a $10-$20.00 premium in a non-smoking room. Given the rooms are large, comfortable and equipped with wireless internet and a desk, they’ll continue to get my business and my referrals.

As Holiday Inn used to say in their ads: “The best surprise is no surprise”.

Futility


11-11-2010

My father and father-in-law both served in WW2. My father was in the German army and my father-in-law was in the Canadian Navy. They didn’t see each other much because my family lives in Toronto and my wife’s family lives in Winnipeg.

I remember the 1st time they met. They talked about a lot of different things for a long time and about the war for a short time. I remember them agreeing on the stupidity and the futility of that war, the one that preceded it – and all of those that have followed.

My father came to Canada with his wife and five children (and me on the way) to escape conflict and conscription – and to give Petra, Henry, August, Martin, Barbara and me a better life.

My wife, Michelle, and I went to the Winnipeg Legislature Buildings this morning to remember Heinrich Wilhelm Wehrmann and Robert Bernard Convey as well as all the others who have stood on guard for us for all these years.

If we’re really as smart as we think we are – why can’t we figure this out?

 

What goes about comes about


I was hiking along the Toronto waterfront with my son 12 years ago on a cool fall day just like today. While we had a great time, I lost my red 3-season jacket that I simply adored. Ian and I retraced our route twice to no avail. Whenever I shop for a jacket I compare it to the memory of my red MEC jacket, which they don't make anymore.

Imagine my delight at finding the same red MEC jacket, in my size, at a Winnipeg Value Village store today for only $12.99!

Seems there is a God - and she has a very quirky sense of humor.

Some times you really have to believe it before you see it, and keep searching until you find it.