DASM: Pitney Bowes

Pitney Bowes has the distinction of being a repeat winner of the DASM Award. I returned from Florida and found a form letter from Pitney Bowes, along with $700 in legitimate charges, saying that I owed $20 for more than 45 days and if I didn’t pay it immediately they’d turn it over to a collection agency. I’ve paid this company thousands of dollars a year for 30 years, and this is their bureaucratic, customer-loathing response to a charge that they …


DASM First Place Award for 2017!

I’m please to announced the winner of the Dumb Ass Stupid Management Award for 2017. Despite the multiplicity of candidates, my criteria covering disregard of customers, arrogance, greed, and cluelessness have demonstrated that one company exceeds all others: Mont Blanc. I had purchased a $1,000+ Mont Blanc roller ball in Europe. The same model is sold in the U.S. It is quite common. One day while changing the refill, the lower segment of the casing disappeared. Some day I’ll find …


DASM: Not All Rides Are the Same

I am not making this up. I arranged through the concierge of the W Times Square Hotel to have a car pick me up at Penn Station and take me on some errands and then to the hotel. The driver was from India. His accent was so thick that he was unintelligible. I couldn’t find him outside the train station because he seemed to say he was in mid-block when he was at the end of the block. I’d tell …


How About Lending Me A Catalog?

I like to thumb through the pages of catalogs while I watch football. Since I’m building a huge, new train layout, I asked my favorite supplier for their hard copy catalog. “We’ve distributed all of them, you’ll have to browse online,” I was told. “Send me an old one, or a torn one, or a leftover,” I suggested. “Sorry, none here, go online.” I can afford anything in their catalog and can use a lot of stuff. I think they …


DASM: Small Business, Small Minds

About every five years we need major work done on our outdoor pool, which is quite large (75,000 gallons). As usually, I asked our pool company for an estimate, which seemed reasonable. We’re talking about $50,000. Just for the experience (and because my wife suggested it), I called three other local pool companies to come by and see if they’re interested in the work. Two never called me back and one promised to come and never showed up. I’ve signed …


Just Dumb Ass Stupid

Someone I’ve never heard of by the name of Howard Stein write me to tell me that “my logo is awful, low grade 1970s” and that if Bentley used such poor practices you’d never know you were the owner of a fine car. (Forget that illogic for the moment, because the value makes the brand. My logo could be a tree frog—I hear them nightly here in Fiji—and it wouldn’t matter to my success.) He wanted to provide better typography …


Shut Up and Let Us Eat

We dined in Ocean Prime last night on the Boston harbor, one of my favorite places for steaks. We had maybe the finest bone-in filet we’ve ever had, and I sent that message to the kitchen. The drinks and wine were excellent. But the waiter was a cloying, annoying, interfering guy who thinks constant discussion enhances a meal. His “brief” descriptions of specials took five minutes. He interrupted us twice before we had chosen our dinner. He came over three …


What’s In It For Me???

I receive calls and emails weekly from people who want to “partner” with me. They bring zero to the table. They want to use my brand and my community and relationships to sell their crap—and it is almost always just that, crap. This ranges from publishing articles on my blog to using my lists to promote their products, or using my name to attract people to their offerings. Many of them have “internet learning platforms.” Their stupidity in assuming a …


Prison (Dumb Ass Stupid Management)

The Liberty Hotel in Boston is a fascinating property. It’s a former prison, so their “do not disturb” signs say “solitary,” and the bars and restaurants are called “The Clink” and “Alibi” and “The Yard” and so forth. Very clever. The prison closed in 1990, and apparently that was also the end of good service. Despite constant conversations with the general manager and senior people, they couldn’t persuade the chambermaids to conduct their normal turndown service. The orange juice was …


Dumb Ass Stupid Management in East Greenwich, RI

In the affluent community of East Greenwich, RI, where there are 12 places on Main St. to buy coffee in them morning—including Starbuck’s and the award-winning Main Street Café—the owner of Dunkin’ Donuts has decided to stop giving out free dog treats, a practice in place since the shop opened over a decade ago. He told employees: “That’s my money you’re throwing out the window”! How much does a stale munchkin cost? Don’t they have to be discarded? How much …