Tuesday, August 26, 2008

WOW the (Crookston) Natives are Restless Tonight

I can't imagine why some folks think it's some kind of secret about who attained the domain name ILoveCrookston.com ! A simple web search would give you all you needed to know about the web pages owner(which happens to be me). Although who owns it can be blocked, we (the ubiquitous "WE" meaning usually "I") didn't feel there was any reason to hide in our attempt to give a little ammunition to the fact that there's LOTS of good things about living in Crookston Minnesota! Lately there's a "WHOLE LOT O' NEGATIVE" being bantered about. I hear it in stores, I hear it in bars and eateries, and particularly I read it in the different GUESTBOOKS and FORUMS and such, where people seem to have a lot to WHINE about, but never come up with any positive solutions to their complaints, AND they don't seem like they want to come up with any solutions, they'd rather just whine and complain and feel bad about themselves. Well they have every right to do that if they so choose, but I find in incredulous that they would then try to tear down people who choose to try to see the good in the community we live in, who acknowledge that there may be problems, problems which need tackling and might take a lot of time to solve. BUT IN THE BIG PICTURE, I think Crookston is a pretty good place to live. I'm confident that the businesses that I interact with are honorable in their dealing with me as a customer or a consumer, and I'm pretty certain that the businesses that I don't deal with (because I like a different kind of car, or only need to get prescriptions from one pharmacy) also operate in an honorable fashion. I'd sure rather have a flat tire around crookston than in just about any where else I can think of, because I feel I can trust whoever stops to help me.

So in frustration one day, I went and purchased ILoveCrookston.com in an attempt to solicit comments from a broad base of people about what they find GOOD about our town and the people who live there. Not some slick ad agency copy (much of which I've had a part in creating over the years) or even worse, some intern who was assigned to write about the wonders of our hamlet, but comments from old people and young people, workers and retired people, students and the not so studious. High paid folks and minimum wage folks. I felt that by getting positive comments from a plethera of sources we could demonstrate that, "HEY this ain't such a bad place after all!" and "WOW they're right, I never thought of that!"

But right away the naysayers start chiming in. Folks who don't even have the courage to sign their name, or if they think that is to much exposure for them, could go and get a valid, but anonymous name at google or yahoo, but no, they hide behind fake or spoofed email accounts, or even worse sign someone ELSE'S name to their comments. Which is why you'll come to understand why I wouldn't add any one's comments, WITH THEIR NAME, to the website without making DANG sure that they were really the person making those comments AND wanted their name added. So let's take apart some of the comments that have been made...

This (in italics) is one of the comments....my response is below.

I too have some happy thoughts about Crookston and certainly this sounds like a great plan. Yet I must caution against the perceived image of outright paranoia Lori and that of your husband, as in "We". To state that you will put me, or others with positive, upbeat thoughts about Crookston, through a thorough and detailed vetting process such as the requirement of two or three contacts prior to verifying whether I'm real or not, sounds more like China then our great USA. A student of history might think you're more grounded in McCarthyism defined as distasteful practices: aggressively questioning a person's patriotism, using accusations of disloyalty to pressure a person to adhere to conformist politics. I think you should allow open comments section on your web page or if not, be prepared to be seen as narrow or close minded. Just a positive suggestion as to how you might better represent our fine city.

Janice Skyles kyles@titanindustries.com
Tuesday, Aug 26, 2008 (09:08:01 am CDT)

First of all this person is presuming that the website ILoveCrookston.com has something to do with the Crookston Chamber of Commerce or Lori Wagner it's President. WRONG ON BOTH COUNTS!

Although I have known the Wagner family all my life, and you could probably piece together some shirttail family relationship...I think my cousins Mother is Mr. Wagner's father's brother...Other than being neighbor farmers, I really have nothing to do with their family. We are of different political persuasions, and although we probably have some friends in common, I couldn't tell you who they were unless we sat down and compared black books.

I have known Lori for decades, since she was an employee at a drug store next to my music store in Crookston, in the 70's, and so we bump into each other now and then and compare notes about our lives and our parenting skills and our love of good food and travel. That's exactly what happened last week when I shared with her the link to the website. She was excited about it and asked if she could send it around to some of her inner circle to get some more comments, I said yes, and here we are today with some VERY UNINFORMED people making UNBELIEVABLE accusations that are TOTALLY WRONG!

NEXT this person seems to think that I have to VETT (her words) every comment that is put up there. HMMM where did you get that idea? ALL I said if you want your name added to the comments you're going to hear from me, maybe 2 or 3 times so that FOR SURE I'm not putting any ones name with something they either didn't say, or didn't want their name attached to. Can I make it any simpler?

ILoveCrookston.com is my website, I bought the rights to the name, and I'm paying to host it. If you want to add your comments send them to the email listed. If they're positive they'll get posted with little editing. If you have something unkind to say, send it to the guestbook at the Crookston Times, but beware, rumor has it that they're very close to shutting it down because of people like you!

Go purchase your own domain and make your own website if you feel so strongly about something, any variations of feelings are available, or would you just rather whine?

I have stood at a 4 inch curb near Kassel Germany (1982) where if I had taken one step forward would have been shot by Communist East German Soldiers, I've been handed off to Palistinian folks (2001) who had been trained all their life that killing me was the most honorable thing they could do, and only recently had changed their minds and were seeking peace, I've stayed at a Kibutz where I tried to sleep amidst whistling inbound shells, the guards said, "OH don't worry, that's over 3 kilometers away!" I've slept in the King David Hotel in Downtown Jerusalem and heard machine gun fire throughout the night. And none of those things come close to what our Soldiers and Reservists have gone through to protect your right to WHINE. Come on over, join the happy side, it's really quite a nice feeling when you get used to it.


With all respect Ms. Wagner, it's your PAID JOB to tout Crookston in the most POSTIVE WAY possible. And yes, I agree that citizens in formats such as this should, rightfully, identify themselves. However in my own defense, when ones colleagues may feel that comment here, might not best represent them or our organization in the best light I either keep quiet or, ...remain anonymous. To safeguard my colleagues I'll remain anonymous with what I'd like to point out. There's something strangely bizarre as to why someone, anyone and especially someone in a paid -city booster- position ( and pulls down quite a good salary I might add), would dare create or even think about creating, a I HATE CROOKSTON web page. What are you thinking? To be cute? What's worse is to think Chamber of Commerce funds are involved in such a hurtful idea. It may have seemed like a funny idea but at whose expense. Where's Wayne Melby on this one? Where are the involved business owners behind this poor idea. Do they support Lori Wagner's actions? Who, exactly, is behind this?

Accountable 2 Who? kimxxx911@umn.edu
Monday, Aug 25, 2008 (07:08:16 pm CDT)

First of all it's a SPOOFED or FAKE EMAIL ADDRESS so this person is double blind hiding, if they had identified themselves OR even had gotten a valid anonymous email address so that they could be responded to, at leas it would show they had some kind of backbone, but no they hide and shoot their barbs, so let's examine what was said.
The reason I got IHateCrookston.com was to BLOCK anyone seeing ILoveCrookston.com and trying to develop it into a whining downer site. If you knew anything about marketing on the web, or about football or about war you would understand that an aggressive offense is the best way to protect your defense. I'm sorry that Lori mentioned it but she was reacting to a very bad experience of some new people who had moved to town and everywhere they went they were asked, "WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO MOVE HERE?" (I'm paraphrasing the question). WHY do you think Chamber funds were involved? Have you ever thought of checking something out before you make such an accusation? We (I) attained the IHATE site NOT as a JOKE or anything funny, but as a way to make sure that there wasn't another negative website about Crookston on the web. Did you even go to IHateCrookston.com and read what's posted there???? By the way you did say one thing that we both agree with, I would WELCOME Wayne Melby's comments on the website! Matter of fact, I'll be happy to post them here in DOUBLE SIZE TYPE anytime and as long as we know that the comments are HIS! Darn, now we're back to that vetting thing again!

AND NOW, let me share with you the reasons behind ILoveCrookston.com
As it says on the web page, I'M TIRED OF WHINERS. My idea was to give folks like the Chamber, and the EDA (Economic Development Association) And the College and the Schools and the Churches a page that they could send folks to, to share all the good things about our community! How IRONIC that those very same whiners and now taking pot shots at what was intended to be an uplifting page. But I still choose to see the glass 1/2 full and NOT 1/2 empty and so will continue to share with the world the comments of those who choose to contribute their feeling about what's good about our town, current feelings and memories. And in the almost immortal words of Walter Cronkite (paraphrased of course) AND THAT'S THE WAY IT IS!

AND PS: the comment and pulls down quite a good salary I might add is really laughable! I got a lot of truck driver and laborer friends that make a quite a bit more and they don't have to take uninformed guff. I salute the council persons, the elected officials and boards, and the countlesss volunteers! You are indeed local heroes!

Monday, August 25, 2008


As you know if you're a regular reader of my blog, I've made my living since 1972 in some kind of marketing area. For those of you who thing marketing and sales are interchangeable works, let me point out a few of the differences. Marketing is sort of the "umbrella" that hangs over sales. It's the marketing area that decides on products, or creates campaigns for advertising, or packaging or products, or image for a company...all these things come under marketing. Sales on the other hand takes it's Q's from marketing. Sales takes the products, and tries to get them into stores, or catalogs, or direct to consumers. The work on numbers and goals. For some reason being a "salesman" gives people a bad feeling, so most Salespersons will tell you they're in Marketing...but they're really not! Their job is to sell 60 cell phone packages per month, or 15 new and 10 used cars, or 12 life insurance contracts. Also this would be a good time to explain what a "CSR" or customer service representative is.

So many times I've put out an ad to hire a SALESMAN, and mostly I get people applying who think they are salesmen, but are really just CSR's. They know how to smile and act pleasant and answer questions and make suggestions to the customer to buy a little larger product, or a little more of something, but the person was ALREADY sold on buying a certain product and from a certain place, they only moved the sale along a little bit and fulfilled the customers direct need. A real and true salesman finds someone who at the beginning of the process either didn't realize they had a need for that particular product, or if they had an inkling of a need, sure didn't know they were going to purchase that product at this particular moment from this particular company and from this particular guy! That's what a salesman can do that a customer service representative CANNOT!

But let's get back to marketing. If you're really and truly into marketing, you're able to be a dreamer first and foremost, BUT the big difference is that you can take your dreams, and those borrowed from others and make them into actual, fullfillable plans, products, packaging, delivery, commercial ads, sales sheets, the works. All this came up as I was in a marketing meeting this morning and I remembered back to the 70's and a sporting goods store in Grand Forks North Dakota. I was actually a DJ, a country music record spinner at KRAD radio in East Grand Forks, and the ad salesman came to me and wanted a favor. He had a sporting goods store in Grand Forks that really was down to just the owner doing everything. You could shoot a bowling ball down the aisles most anytime during the day and it would not hit a single person. He pretty much lived on the start of each season, hockey being the big one, when folks had to bring in their sporters and get outfitted for the new year. The rest of the time, things were pretty slow. Could I come up with a commercial that would do 2 things. 1.Get some more people in the store, and get some business happening in the "off seasons" which were a lot longer than the the busy times. 2.Convince the store owner that he should continue with radio spots from our station. So I really worked on it, and came with a commercial that I thought was really RIGHT ON in calling people to action. It had sound effects, I wrestled with word for days and finally got it just right. So the ad started to run in a busy rotation (meaning many times a day) on a Tuesday. I remember it so well 'cause when I got to my regular shift at 10am I played it right away and then again before noon and then again in the noon news hour. At about two o'clock that afternoon the owner called practically screaming at the front desk receptionist. "TAKE THAT D$%# COMMERCIAL OFF THE AIR!" "I've had people in here all day telling me how much they hate that commercial!"

HMMM. Well as you can see, the marketing department did it's job. It got actual human beings into a dead store. I'm thinking that this wasn't that big a deal that someone got in their car, drove across town, parked on the street, walked to his store and just said, "I HATE the commercial playing on the country station!" and then walked out. The sales force DIDN'T do their job! They didn't prepare him for that fact that the goal was to get folks into the store, it was then his job to sell them. Even to commiserate with them on what a bad commercial it was as he was SMILING ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK. BUT NO! He'd rather be alone and wondering how he was going to pay the rent, than to have customers complaining WHILE they were buying something. Marketing, I'll never actually figure it out! OH by the way, that store is long out of business, but I'm LIVIN' LARGE. GO figure.