#55 Returns & Exchanges

AmperArt-55-Returns-Exchanges

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The day after Christ­mas must be as dread­ed to retail­ers as the day after Thanks­giv­ing is wel­come — you know, Black Fri­day, the biggest shop­ping day of the year.

Used to be, before online shop­ping & big box stores, all the depart­ment stores from Sears & Pen­neys (as it used to be called), to Saks & Nord­stroms, had a spe­cial win­dow or room all its own (with a classy, dis­creet sign) that han­dled returns, exchanges & com­plaints. Next to that was the gift wrap­ping ser­vice & lay­away depart­ment.

Remem­ber the smell of fresh pop­corn & can­dy when enter­ing your neigh­bor­hood Sears?

Today a cou­ple stores still offer a com­fort­able set­ting for such returns & exchanges (no can­dy or pop­corn, though), but the big box & deep dis­count chains most­ly just have a return counter (with a tacky “Line Starts Here” arrow hang­ing from the ceil­ing) and a  trail of cus­tomers (all “dressed up” in the lat­est Big Box fash­ion) that extends out the door.

So Decem­ber’s Amper­Art #55, Returns & Exchanges, repeats the trip to the same brick-&-mortar store (or the online equiv­a­lent) that Novem­ber’s Amper­Art #54 por­trayed: Stop & Shop (in case you missed it, get tram­pled here). Read More

#52 Quality & Dependability

Like my Jeep!


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Amper­Art #52, QUALITY & DEPENDABILITY, is from the Amper­Art Adver­tis­ing Slo­gan series. It’s a term that used to be more preva­lent, decades before today’s Cheap & Dis­pos­able mer­chan­dise. Oth­er words that come to mind are: sol­id, reli­able, uncon­di­tion­al­ly guar­an­teed (not just a lim­it­ed war­ran­ty) & ser­vice with a smile.


 

listen up!I remem­ber when prod­ucts were made with qual­i­ty & they were tru­ly depend­able. Not so much any­more (except for Jeeps & iPhones & OXO*). But I am very glad that I have friends who fit the descrip­tion of QUALITY & DEPENDABILITY. My fam­i­ly & friends are of the high­est integri­ty — hon­est, gen­uine, sin­cere — & they are very depend­able — from help­ing out in a pinch to being on time. Unlike most of today’s prod­ucts, my friends are not dis­pos­able!


*My love affair with OXO

(as in hugs & kiss­es, although that’s not what the name was intend­ed to imply)

OXO is an out­stand­ing com­pa­ny, tru­ly the def­i­n­i­tion of QUALITY & DEPENDABILITY. I love the visu­al & com­fort­able styling of their prod­ucts (which is most­ly kitchen­ware), the care­ful­ly R&D’d use­ful­ness (unlike some gad­gets that are more dif­fi­cult to use than if the task was ren­dered man­u­al­ly), & even the name & logo. Okay, very much the name & logo, even though I’m not a fan of red.

Their absolute­ly no-​questions-​asked guarNow I even enjoy doing my dishes!antee was put to the test recent­ly when my OXO soap-​dispensing dish brush broke (quite sur­pris­ing­ly — although I use it con­stant­ly as it even turns wash­ing dish­es into a like­able task). In search­ing for the instruc­tions to get a replace­ment, I thor­ough­ly enjoyed vis­it­ing sev­er­al pages on the OXO web­site, as each one intro­duced me to anoth­er amaz­ing facet of their com­pa­ny: the ori­gin of the name; how each prod­uct is devel­oped; & the per­son­al­i­ties & hob­bies of their employ­ees. One of those won­der­ful employ­ees, a cheer­ful woman by the name of Brooke, answered my ques­tions about the bro­ken brush & she struck up a con­ver­sa­tion as if we were old friends.

Would you like the same mod­el or the new­er mod­el with added fea­tures?” (New­er, of course — & I do like the added fea­tures, includ­ing the fact that it’s com­plete­ly black, no red, not even the logo.) She asked if I could send a pho­to of the bro­ken part — but it’s okay if I could­n’t. (I did.) She said they’ll send a replace­ment out imme­di­ate­ly. (They did. Imme­di­ate­ly.)

Brooke even sub­scribed to my per­son­al design project (which you’re read­ing now), Amper​Art​.com, which real­ly showed me how kind & con­sid­er­ate the Oxo­ni­ans are (their term, not mine). Hey! “Kind & Considerate”…that’ll be a new Amper­Art cre­ation!

In case you’re won­der­ing…no, this is not a spon­sored endorse­ment. I sim­ply love OXO! (They say it’s pro­nounced “ox-​oh” but I pre­fer “o‑x-​o” & when I told Brooke why, she even not­ed my rea­son.) Some­day I’ll write an amaz­ing tes­ti­mo­ni­al about my ’96 Jeep which just won’t quit, or Apple, which is ahead of any oth­er device by eons, & my lat­est awe-​inspiring dis­cov­ery, Ther­moWorks, design­ers & man­u­fac­tur­ers of pre­cise & styl­ish bar­beque ther­mome­ters (as well as oth­er pro & semi-​pro kitchen & temperature-​related prod­ucts). Their qual­i­ty & styling is matched only by their incred­i­ble cus­tomer ser­vice, includ­ing Jenean Skousen with whom I had the plea­sure of plac­ing an order today. More about this com­pa­ny & their won­der­ful bar­beque “toys” (that kept me from burn­ing the food for the first time ever) in the upcom­ing Amper­Art issue “Low & Slow.” [Ther­moWorks rave review added April 23, 2018.]

You will prob­a­bly enjoy the OXO web­site (oxo​.com), espe­cial­ly the about page for some inter­est­ing facts & fig­ures. Fur­ther down the page, you’ll expe­ri­ence a refresh­ing­ly human expe­ri­ence as you learn about the employ­ees’ favorite hob­bies, pets, lan­guages & inven­tive uses for their prod­ucts (use the spaghet­ti strain­er as a backscratch­er). If you want a per­son­al review of my OXO expe­ri­ence, just email me, or read about my favorite dish­wash­ing tool, even more than the auto­mat­ic dish­wash­er, here.


 Please tell oth­er amper­sand fans about the
QUALITY
of  each Amper­Art design & the
DEPENDABILITY
of one issue per month, guar­an­teed. 

They can sub­scribe
HERE 
Thank you.


 

PRODUCTION NOTES:
Original size: 20x30 inches
Program: InDesign
Fonts: Copperplate, Industria, English Script (ampersand)
Inspiration: Maytag washing machines, Craftsman tools, Jeeps — all from the 1950s & 60s

#48 Cool & Comfortable

AmperArt #48 Cool & Comfortable


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UPDATE SEPT. 2017:

Now this is cool!

Just today I got a new Amper­Art sub­scriber whose busi­ness is called Amper­sand Heat­ing & Cool­ing in Bridge­wa­ter, Vir­ginia. How Bart named his busi­ness name “Amper­sand is quite inter­est­ing. Seems like a fun & friend­ly guy, too. If he was­n’t on the oth­er end of the con­ti­nent I’d hire him to keep my place cool & com­fort­able.


Cool & Com­fort­able” was a pop­u­lar adver­tis­ing slo­gan before mid-​century, as far back as the 1920s, & then again after mid-​century,  right up through the Dis­co Era.

Ear­ly on, it was used to draw crowds to air-​conditioned movie palaces & busi­ness­es — “It’s cool inside!” — which were often cold­er than the local stor­age plant.

A few decades lat­er the fash­ion world (if you can call poly­ester jump suits fash­ion) claimed its rev­o­lu­tion­ary new man-​made fab­rics were Cool & Com­fort­able. & sexy.

Enjoy some old ads for “mod­ern air con­trol” and “mod fash­ion”…

This 1953 The Sat­ur­day Evening Post pho­to fea­tures both syn­thet­ic air & syn­thet­ic fab­rics. The cap­tion says “Baby, it’s cool inside! A singed sun bather is invit­ed to beat the heat inside an air-​cooled Las Vegas, Nev., hotel. Next: air-​conditioned streets.” Looks more like he’s say­ing “You want heat, you got heat. Don’t open that door & let the cold air out!”

1953-newsp-ad-air-cond500

You might enjoy these entire pages from that edi­tion which con­tain won­der­ful old ads & some inter­est­ing facts about the evo­lu­tion of a/​c on The Sat­ur­day Evening Post’s web­site.

Decades lat­er, this ad promis­es instant love & romance just by slip­ping on this one-​piece won­der:

polyesterMore great fash­ion of the era, post­ed by Steve Hauben of the Data + Design Project:: Cool & Com­fort­able (& Sexy) Poly­ester

Choose one: Does my lat­est back­ground image remind you of a sexy fash­ion tex­tile or a sexy air con­di­tion­er fil­ter? Either way, stay Cool & Com­fort­able this sum­mer.


 

PRODUCTION NOTES:
Original dimensions: 20″ x 30″
Programs: Illustrator, Photoshop
Fonts: Teen (a font which is very similar to a loose, contemporary hand-​lettering style of the era), Amienne (ampersand)
Ampersand: Amienne (tilted)
Background: pattern from SquidFin​gers​.com (lots of free patterns); posted by 1st​web​de​sign​er​.com (22 free seamless pattern sources)
CREDITS:
Air conditioning photo: Gene Lester, The Saturday Evening Post, June 6, 1953.
Clothing ad: Visual News; posted by Steve Hauben

 

chazsezLOGO-85x64

It’s been Cool & Com­fort­able in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia the past cou­ple weeks (I like the heat, so any­thing below 100 degrees Fahren­heit is fine by me), but two weeks ago it was so hot I blew three cir­cuit break­ers till I found the out­let that could han­dle the air con­di­tion­er in my stu­dio. Even when I’m not around I want my cats to be Cool & Com­fort­able.

I hope you are enjoy­ing your sum­mer. Thanks for sub­scrib­ing to Amper­Art. Please invite your ampersand-​fan friends & col­leagues to sub­scribe – tell them it’s fab­u­lous & free.