Back on the bike

So I turned to my wife around 5:30 today and said, “Let’s go for a bike ride.”

She of course, being the person who rode in the ambulance with me on Memorial Day, 2006, said “NO F$%^&(G WAY!”

So I persisted, pointing out her sad bicycle, gathering dust in the garage. I got her helmet out. Told her she would lead, I would follow. No EPO mind-blowing sprinting, no deathwish maneuvers — she would be on her fat-tired cruiser, and I would be on my Bianchi fixed gear, the Legendary SnotRocket.

I made a wistful face.

She said yes. And off we went, one mile down to the sound, then back, poking into the side streets and down to the harbor at a torrid 6 mph pace. On the last hill, when I saw she was going to dismount and walk it up, I mashed on the pedals, stood in the saddle and cranked to the top like I had last been on a bike yesterday.

The camel’s nose is under the tent. A few more of these and before I know it I’ll be riding a Cervelo Team Soloist.

My iPod, he dead

Nano — purchased the day of the announcement in the spring of 2005. The black sucker that scratched. Totally abused as my primary ergometer tunes device and geek podcaster.

Dead. Not a peep. Time to reinvest in another one. Grrrr. Bad sunspots today. All Churbuckian devices are befukticated. Must be the stupid fast. Keep me away from sharp objects.

Hey Southwest Airlines, knock-knock, anybody home?

A year ago, in a fit of air rage, I blogged about how Southwest Airlines let me down a couple times in Baltimore. Typical blogger rant about bad service, no big deal, right?

Wrong. Southwest never contacted me, and I refuse to follow their caveman rules for not communicating via email, and only during business hours on the phone, or in a written letter. I don’t fly them anymore, can’t recommend them to anyone who asks, but all in all have written them off as a company I don’t really need to do business with.

Here’s where Southwest is screwing up. I lead a team of people who read the blogs and look for expressions of customer sentiment, good or bad, and then try to do something about it. See the post below? The one where I flip out because one of our own products has done me wrong? That’s the sort of post I look for every day.

Well, Southwest, if you are reading this, which I doubt you are, check out the comments on the original post.  51 comments. Some are obvious astroturfs by defensive Southwest employees (yo, Southwest, having your people in Las Vegas pick fights with angry bloggers only makes the situation worse, not better), but a lot are very angry people with lost bags, who hate your seating system, or think your customer service needs to be improved.

I am not waging a war against Southwest. They are what they are: cheap transportation and a bag of 14 peanuts. Nothing more. Nothing less. But, I blogged that post a year ago, on July 12, 2006, and it is still receiving comments from angry passengers today.

Google “Southwest Sucks” — an understandable action on the part of a frustrated customers — and it would appear I have done my job in terms of search engine optimization. My post ranks number three for the words that any marketer dreads:

I’ve considered killing the post simply because I am tired of being reminded of my negative experience everytime some other poor soul shows up here to vent their spleen. I am not hosting an anti-SW blog like the passengers did on Jet Blue after their infamous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre at JFK. And speaking of Jet Blue, after I blogged to praise them for sending me, proactively, a certificate for something because the in-flight entertainment system failed on a flight (which I was unaware of), I know they read the blog because my server logs told me so.

Southwest, do you have anyone who reads the blogs on your behalf? If so, let’s make a deal. I kill the post if you ask me to. But you have to ask. That’s all. And please ask in email. I don’t accept letters, even if handwritten in your CEO’s blood. And I get to post that you asked. I don’t want a free ticket, lifetime platinum status, a seat in the cockpit, a pedicure. This is, pure and simple, a test of your monitoring capabilities. Give me a sign. Anything. And the original post goes away.

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