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Counselor Senior Editor Michele Bell's slanted view of the world.

Moments that Make Me Ask, “WTF?”

Filed under: Fun, Personal

Hey from Philly, where it’s chilly today but everyone’s on fire reveling in our first World Series win in 28 years! Lots of people are taking the day off to enjoy the celebration parade through downtown Philly, but I’m here, applying red lipstick to my work BFF Joe Haley and brushing his bouffant. (Here he is, in all his glory, with editor-in-chief Melinda Ligos as Daphne from Scooby Doo.) Let me just say this: Joe is not a pretty little lady… .



I’ve only dressed in a Halloween costume at ASI once — last year — and it was so ironic in a disturbing, unnerving way that I don’t think I could ever top it. See photo below…


Exemplifying the concept of “irony at its finest,” this was my costume for last year’s ASI Editorial Department Halloween Contest. And yes, “Sister Sacrilicious” unnerved the hell out of countless colleagues… Christian Brandt, my pal who’s the executive director of distributor services, wouldn’t even stand next to me for fear of lightening striking and, well, eternal damnation.

I’m going to do a blog posting early next week featuring my favorite products of 2008, which I’m gathering now, so stay tuned for that.

In the meantime, though, can I have a moment of your time to regale you with some of the “WTF?” (“What the Frak?”) moments I’ve encountered lately? And yes, I’m well aware that I spend WAY too much time mulling over this nonsense…

1. Recently, my friend Jeremy Young and I went out for cocktails. Jeremy is the one who keeps our e-mails and server functioning at optimum capacity here at ASI and the one I whine to first when something’s wrong with my beloved Blackberry. We’re also big Sci-Fi dorks and political junkies, so our conversations vacillate between the substantive (how and why the next president’s Supreme Court choices will have a monumental impact on our society) and the weapons-grade wacky (who’s the fifth Cylon on Battlestar Galactica and the brilliance of Jean-Luc Picard as a starship commander…). As I’d had one wine over my limit the night we went out, I curled up in the back of my car, wrapped in my fur coat like a cat, to take a nap. Upon waking up, all refreshed, alert and looking fabulous with a nickel stuck to my cheek, I drove to the nearest 24-hour convenience store to get coffee. First, they had no coffee, because second, they had just opened. Twenty-four hour convenience? I think not… Teases.

2. I bought one of GE’s eco-friendly “Energy Smart” lightbulbs last week — you know, the squiggly ones shaped like fusilli pasta — that are supposed to be more efficient and do less harm to the environment. All well and good, except… the decidedly not so eco-friendly over-sized plastic packaging that was so difficult to open, I broke a nail and cut my finger. Consequently, my blue language offset my green efforts. So while I applaud GE’s new lightbulbs and am fascinated by their shape, does the plastic packaging encasing the bulb have to be twice the size? Really?

3. I’m a big fan of Panera for a quick lunch — their broccoli & cheese soup is delish! However, when you order a sandwich — made on their famous thick, crusty bread — they give you a choice of two sides: potato chips or… bread. So I’ll have a side of bread with my bread, please? You gotta love a company that so flagrantly ignores the nutritional pyramid chart.

4. In case you didn’t know, Pennsylvania, a state founded on Quaker ethics and beliefs, has really odd and restrictive laws for selling alcoholic beverages. For example, you can’t buy beer and liquor in the same place, and certainly not in some convenient establishment like a grocery store, where you’re buying other staples. If you want beer you have to go to a beer distributor, where you can only buy beer by the case or keg — no six-packs unless you go to a deli or pizza place; if you want liquor, you go to a liquor store — or “Spirits Shoppe” as some, like my pal Jeremy, call them in an effort to sound less heathen-like. Got it? Now you know why we all drink so much in PA — we’re annoyed and confused…

So, one would naturally think that a PA liquor store would be the model of buttoned-up, conservative propriety. Apparently not. On my weekly pilgrimage (as Jeremy calls it) for supplies, a very nice lady who looked as if she should be presiding over a PTA meeting stood behind a fold-out card table offering patrons samples of Patrone tequila shots and margaritas. “Would you like a couple of shots and a margarita or two, hun?,” she asked me. Two things: First, she served up the sauce under a large sign that said, “Never Drink and Drive.” Now, unless you live in the back room of the liquor store (tempting…), don’t the majority of customers drive?

Second, I had to explain to her that while the offer to throw some tequila back with her was enticing, the chances that she would have to bundle me up in a shopping cart and wheel me home were quite high.

5. A very nice industry apparel supplier I know sent me a super-soft and fashionable T-shirt from one of his new lines as a gift. The problem? The size and cut were made for someone with the body of a 12-year-old gymnast. What’s fascinating to me is that the supplier knows me well and has spent time with me, certainly enough to be familiar with my body type. So while I thank him for the gracious gesture, I would ask that wearables suppliers consider that some chicas have curves and spongy girl parts when sending out sample sizes. ; )

Any brow-furrowing “What the Frak?” moments for you? Feel free to share!

More next week when I share my favorite products of the year!

— M


  1. Jill Albers Says:

    My thoughts can best be summed up by quoting the dictionary…

    Main Entry: 1nun
    Pronunciation: \?n?n\
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Middle English, from Old English nunne, from Late Latin nonna
    Date: before 12th century
    : a woman belonging to a religious order ; especially : one under solemn vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience
    — nun•like \-?l?k\ adjective

    Michele Bell and the phrase “one under solemn vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience” DO NOT GO TOGETHER.

    I love ya, darlin, but you and I… we were not made from that mold!

    I am more appropriately a Captain Morgan pirate girl… You should have been the grey goose.

    P.S. I love Panera as well, and if you ask… they will substitute the bread / chips for an apple. The problem is, they give you the tiniest apple you have EVER seen. So you get a huge slab of carbs, or a tiny apple… What the Frak!!!

    Love ya! Happy Halloween!

    Friday October 31, 2008
  2. micko Says:

    So, as a newer member, do you ever write about anything that relates to business?

    Monday November 3, 2008
  3. Michele Bell Says:

    Yep! This week I’ll be writing about some of the best promotinal products of 2008; next week, I’ll be reporting from ASI’s Power Summit in Palm Beach, FL. It’s our annual meeting of the owners/principals of supplier and distributor companies to discuss topics crucial to the industry, such as price increases and how the economy will impact the ad specialty business in ’09.
    — Michele

    Monday November 3, 2008
  4. Tom Craig Says:

    Wow Michele, you’ve got some tense readers! Hey, I noticed the Power Summit session you’re moderating starts at 7:45 AM. Kinda early, huh?

    Thursday November 6, 2008
  5. Michele Bell Says:

    LOL! I know!!! As you’re aware, I’m not really a “morning person.” ; ) Too bad there are no sessions I could have moderated at 11:00 p.m. That’s when I shine! ; )
    Take care, Tom! — M

    Thursday November 6, 2008
  6. Jill Albers Says:

    Michele, are you on “Punked”… That show that Ashten Cusher used to produce?

    Becasue the last time I checked, the people that read your blog had a freakin’ sense of humor…

    What is up with all the stiffs? Thay need to loosen up!

    Friday November 7, 2008
  7. steppermar Says:

    Add to my Bookmarks :)

    Thursday December 4, 2008

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