Social Loafing

There’s a concept in Organizational Behavior that you’re all familiar with: social loafing. A social loafer is the person that joins the group and never actually works, the person that ruins the fun for everyone by breaking the rules, the person that mooches off you for free food and a couch to crash on… for MONTHS. In short, the social loafer is just what it sounds like, someone that loafs through life on other people’s hard work. As a type-A overachiever, I hate these people. And, it’s the immature-make-poor-decisions-just-on-principle kind of hate*, where I have a hard time getting past my frustration long enough to actually address the problem with the social loafer. Now, the social loafing has hit home, and we’ve got a real conundrum on our hands!

My husband and I own a rental property that has 4 units, so we put a trash bin with weekly pick-up out for our tenants’ use. This trash can is large enough to accommodate our 4 tenants, but apparently, the fourplex next door also thinks that they can use the trash bin. We’ve contacted their landlord, sent them notices, and most recently, put a lock on the trash bin. Our tenants are the only ones that have keys, and they’ve all been respectful and diligent in keeping us updated on the trash situation. Last night, a tenant called to tell us that there are six bags of trash sitting next to the trash bin. Sigh… freakin’ social loafers! So, you clearly are not allowed to put your trash in our trash bin, so your solution is to just leave it sitting out in the parking lot next to the trash bin? We’ve contacted the other landlord and sent notices to the other tenants, to no avail. Our other option is to go to curb-side pick-up, but none of our tenants want that, and it makes the area look terrible, as trash ends up flying all over the place. Don’t people take pride in their living space these days?

So now we’re in a bind, because upgrading to a larger bin or increasing the frequency of the trash pick-up is a significant cost. And, on principle, I don’t want to reward these people for their bad behavior (insert rant about how these people’s attitude is what’s wrong with America today!) My husband and I want our tenants to have a nice area and convenient life, so we hate to go to curb-side. But if we keep letting the trash bin overflow, we’ll get a fine from the waste company.

Is our only option to let the tenants at the other property ruin it for everyone? Do we give in and upgrade the size of the bin or the frequency of pick-up, thus reenforcing the bad behavior? There’s just no winning against social loafers, because they have nothing to lose! As I mentioned in my post about negotiation, they have a much better BATNA than we have, mainly because they just don’t care like we do. While I love to be able to apply concepts from my classes to my daily life, I really wish it wasn’t in this situation. Any suggestions are much appreciated 🙂

*My suggestion was to booby-trap the trash area, so that whenever people set a bag down next to the bin, they would get an egg thrown in their face. Can you imagine someone stumbling out to the trash bin first thing in the morning, in the dark, only half awake, and without their glasses? They set their trash haphazardly near-ish the bin, and then, BOOM, and egg just slams them in the face. BEST. SOLUTION. EVER. My husband’s equally bad suggestion was a sign that reads, “If you have a key, put your trash in the bin. If you don’t have a key, throw your trash over the wall.” There’s a fence with a lock right next to the bin that belongs to the other landlord, so essentially, they’d be trashing their own property. I was on board with this one, until I realized how terrible it would smell, and the effect it would have on our tenants. So, as you can see, we aren’t making much progress!

On Fluff and Intimidation

I was talking about ways to improve my blog with my husband, and he was trying to find the best way to tell me that my site a little…. shall we say… boring and a little intimidating. It doesn’t hurt my feelings for him to say that, but it does make me wonder how I can make it less boring and intimidating. Basically, he lands on the site and there’s a giant block of text in front of him, which just screams “boring” and “WOW, that’s a lot of text, I don’t have time to read all that!” So, readers, do you feel this way too? I’m open to suggestions here, as I don’t write solely to see my own words 🙂

I think the first issue, is that I don’t want to write fluff. I want to provide some background, insight, thinking points, etc., and I guess I feel like a lot of short writing often turns into fluff. Then again, I read Seth’s Blog, and his concise posts are always pretty informative. However, his posts also tend to be very abstract and high-level, and sometimes I like to get down into the nitty-gritty heart of things. I think I need to find a way to better allocate my words, so that I don’t lose the meat of the message and turn into fluff, but I don’t intimidate or bore my readers with huge walls of text!

One solution to the “many words” problem, is to use more pictures. I commented several months back that I wanted to add more pictures to the blog, and I’ve been successful with the outfit posts. However, I never include pictures on “regular” posts, and I’m not sure why that is. Part of me doesn’t want to post a picture just for the sake of posting a picture, and so I avoid pulling stock photos just to put something up. Then, I don’t use original photos because those take time to snap, upload, edit, etc., and I guess I just don’t see the point of all that work, just to say that I’ve put a picture on the blog. These reasons appear to be a question of value… apparently, I don’t think pictures on the blog add value. The marketer in me would scoff at this suggestion in any other context, as I truly believe people much prefer imagery to copy. And yet, here I sit, typing away, without any pictures (yes, I realize the irony of this post being a little long and sans pictures!) My husband pointed to this deodorant post as a perfect example of a time that a picture would’ve been much more useful than the block of text I used to describe the situation, and I completely agree that this post provides great motivation to start adding pictures to provide background or context.

In short (again, with the irony), I need to avoid BOTH fluff and intimidation! It appears I’ve substituted one problem for another in my attempts to provide meaningful, thoughtful, and compelling content. So, I’m open to suggestions… what would you like to see?

The Great Debate: Coke vs. All Other Soft Drinks

Did I mention the open bias in these posts? You were warned in the first post of this category! Today’s Great Debate focuses on soft drinks, and as the title indicates, my favorite is Coke. Most people would pit Coke and Pepsi against each other, but being from the South, I feel that Dr. Pepper has a huge following as well. Then there’s the diet drink fans, who often separate themselves into a whole different category than their full-calorie counterparts. Thus, to avoid an extensively long title, I just lumped all the lesser soft drinks into one category 🙂

Coca-Cola Classic

I love Coke, and I’ve always loved Coke… and I assume I always will. There really is something about that first sip that makes you say, “Ahh”. It’s a completely refreshing moment, just like the commercials show! It’s not too sweet, and the flavors blend wonderfully, without overwhelming your palate like some of the competitors’ offerings. What’s their marketing secret? They’ve made themselves a classic, a staple of the all-American way. The taste of Coke classic hasn’t changed, and the brand remains a consistent, tried-and true experience. I know that a Coke in Spain will taste the same as a Coke in China, and that both of these experiences with the product will be just as good as my experience here in the States. (Yes, I have had Coke in all 3 countries mentioned).


Alright, it’s my responsibility as a marketer to perpetuate the Coke vs. Pepsi war, so I’ll include it. One notable marketing endeavor was the taste challenge a few years ago. Pepsi set up taste tests to see which drink consumers preferred. Pepsi won their own taste challenge, and promptly plastered this win all over their marketing campaign. However, I found some interesting information related to this win. Pepsi is much sweeter than Coke, and the first sip of Pepsi triggers the pleasure center in the brain due to the sugar rush, thus producing a “preference” by consumers. The problem is, after the first few sips, the pleasure center of the brain is no longer stimulated, and actually starts to be over-loaded. So, for people who want to drink a whole can of Pepsi, it’s often too sweet for the brain to handle. Thus, if Pepsi really wanted a true representation of preference, they should have had taste testers consume a whole can of each beverage.

Dr. Pepper

This is a favorite here in Texas, as this beverage started out in Waco. It has a very distinct flavor, which I find to be a bit biting and over-powering. I will give them props for their marketing efforts, though. There’s a Dr. Pepper museum in Waco that features the stories, packaging, and serving of the product, and they’ve created a culture among fans that view Dr. Pepper as a Texas loyalty. With Texas’ intense state pride, branding yourself as a “beverage for real Texans” is a surefire way to garner a strong fan base.


I’ll also include Sprite in this list, as there’s nothing like a Sprite when you’re stuck at home, sick. My mom always gave me Sprite and Saltine crackers when I wasn’t feeling well, and to this day, I’ll still grab those same remedies for a sick day. Sprite is also the one soft drink allowed backstage in my theater circles, as it’s clear coloring won’t mess up costumes if it spills! Sprite has also done a great job with their marketing, taking a young, fresh approach. They usually come at you with some kind of in-your-face music, animation, and colors to keep their image updated. And, I don’t feel too bad promoting Sprite, as they are owned by Coke 🙂

Care to weigh in on the Great Debate: Soft Drinks? I love Coke, and this topic has spurred many a fight among marketing undergrads, so I have no problem contending that this is a serious topic for debate among marketers!

The Great Debate: Fast-food Chicken

Today’s lunch debate spawned not one post, but a whole new category of posts! It was one of those ideas that started small and grew, and I must say, I’m pretty excited to get this little series going! As this is the first post in this category, I’ll preface it by saying that all of these posts are going to be openly biased. There’s no real way to be objective when you’re debating your personal favorites versus the lesser competitors in the world. Now that you’ve been warned, I bring you the first Great Debate: fast-food chicken. Now that I’m back in the South, I have a plethora of delicious chicken places that were sorely missed on the West Coast. What are they? I’m so glad you asked…


I would generally load up on Chick-Fil-A every time I visited, and now that I live here, it remains a staple for quick chicken. I always get the #5, 8-pack nuggets, Coke, and polynesian sauce. So tasty! They use high-quality ingredients that result in crispy, white-meat chicken nuggets and golden waffle fries. I also like their Chicken Ceasar wrap if I’m looking for a healthier option. What’s their marketing secret? The cows, of course! All of their marketing features less-than-educated cows urging customers to “Eat Mor Chikin”. It’s a cute campaign to preserve the welfare of the cows by suggesting that when hunger strikes, you should choose chicken. A shout out to The Richards Group on this creative campaign.

Raising Cane’s Chicken

If you don’t live in the Dallas metroplex, you’ve probably never heard of Raising Cane’s chicken. This franchise favorite takes on the history of it’s location, sporting photos, timelines, and decor that reflects the local flavor. I usually get the combo with 3 chicken fingers, fries, Texas toast, Coke, and the signature Cane’s sauce. What’s their marketing secret? One Love and Cane’s Sauce. “One Love” is their tagline, re-iterating the fact that their chicken fingers tastes so good because that’s all they do… chicken fingers. Literally, their menu consists of combos that offer 3 to 6 chicken fingers, fries, a drink, Texas toast, and Cane’s Sauce. If you need catering, you can order 25-100 chicken fingers. There’s no need to mess around with other products, so they’ve perfected their recipe and delivery of chicken fingers. The Cane’s Signature sauce is a tasty, slightly spicy sauce that comes with all their chicken finger offerings. It’s not quite like anything you’ve ever tasted, and you can’t get it anywhere else.

Cowboy Chicken

This is another Dallas favorite, which offers wood-fire rotisserie and grilled chicken. I always get the grilled chicken platter, with green beans and twice-baked mashed potatoes. The all-white chicken breast features a nice smoky flavor, fresh off the grill. And the twice-baked potatoes? AMAZING… and featured in several Dallas food magazines for their deliciousness! They put their rotisserie chicken in everything from salad to enchiladas, with equally flavorful side dish offerings. What’s their marketing secret? The wood-fire rotisserie display entices multiple senses. It’s a sight to behold, the smell fills the whole restaurant, and the radiating heat warms you on a cold winter day. When you walk in and see them pulling chickens out of the rotisserie to serve, you’re reassured that the chicken is fresh and flavorful. You can’t get that smoky flavor artificially, and seeing it first-hand makes your mouth water!

Babe’s Chicken Dinner House

This place has some of the best fried chicken in the South, and I would say that the rest of the country should take a page out of their recipe book! Babe’s serves fried chicken and chicken fried steak on family-style platters, with unlimited family-style bread, mashed potatoes, and corn. I noticed that they’ve recently added some additional dinner entrees, and increased the price from $10 to $11.99, and I’ve yet to try their new offerings. I will say that their old offerings are perfect for large group gatherings. Make sure you wear your loose-fitting pants… you’ll need them at this meal! What’s their marketing secret? A down-home, family-style restaurant. The entire atmosphere makes you feel like you’re gathering with good friends, eating some good food, and having a good time. This sense of family is furthered by the picnic-style tables, rustic decor, and BYOB policy.

Now that you all think I’m a complete glutton with no sense of health, I challenge you to make a visit to each of these restaurants, and see if you don’t become a glutton yourself. So who wins The Great Debate: Fast-food Chicken? Since I can’t pick just one, I’ll just say the South wins this debate!