(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘retailing

“If you’re lucky, people will get the message”*…

 

From the early 80s to today, a graphic look at “The History of Icons.”

Special bonus:  browse through the sketchbook of pioneer Susan Kare.

* “If you look at that blank canvas and say, ‘Now I’m going to create a masterpiece’ — that’s just foolhardy. You just have to make the best painting you can, and if you’re lucky, people will get the message.”  – Susan Kare

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As we point and click, we might send mercantile birthday greetings to John Vansant Wanamaker; he was born on this date in 1838.  A gifted merchant who helped define the modern consumer era, Wanamaker’s flagship store in Philadelphia– an enterprise that helped define the “department store”– was designed by famed architect Daniel Burnham, featured a pipe organ, an art gallery and a 2,500-pound bronze eagle that became a favored meeting place for Philadelphians.

Wanamaker was a committed innovator:  he was the first to use electric arc lighting in a retail setting (in 1878); and starting in 1910, sensing its potential as an advertising medium, he used his stores as a base for experimentation with radio– starting a radio broadcast station in the store in 1922 to initiate radio receiver sales.

Wanamaker served as Postmaster General in the late 19th century, introducing the first commemorative stamp and laying the groundwork for Rural Free Delivery.  And in the early 20th century, he helped establish Mother’s Day as an observance.

An aggressive advertiser and promoter, Wanamaker is credited with the famous observation, “half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

July 12, 2015 at 1:01 am

Convenient Crustacea…

A Chinese inventor has developed a vending machine that distributes live Shanghai Hairy Crabs; a Japanese reporter demonstrates:

The inside of the machine is kept at 5 degrees celsius, a temperature cold enough to send the crabs into a state of hibernation. Signage on the machine assures potential purchasers that all the crabs inside are fresh; indeed, the owner promises that if a coin-op crab is dead-on-arrival, the disappointed buyer will receive three free crabs.  But perhaps the biggest incentive to buy: eliminating the need for store personnel and reducing the overall cost of storage means that the crabs cost 30% less than the customary store price.

As readers will see, the second half of the video is a more general survey of Japanese vending machines– including the marvelous banana vending machine inside Shibuya station, and a bar equipped with sake dispensers.

Via Japan Probe.

As we lay in rolls of quarters, we might recall that it was on this date in 1858 that Hamilton E. Smith received a patent for cycling reheated water in a washing machine.  While earlier washers existed, Smith’s innovation is generally agreed to have created the modern washing machine.

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The romance of retail…

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But then, Zippy can console himself that, as recent honoree H.L. Mencken observed, “no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”

As we revisit our plans to open that book store, we might recall that this is the anniversary of the premiere (in 1954) of Walt Disney’s first prime-time television program (Disneyland, on ABC; later re-titled The Wonderful World of Disney), the second longest running television franchise in the country (as measured in seasons aired), and arguably the nation’s first major full-length infomercial (…though Bonomo, The Magic Clown, which ran on NBC from 1949 to 1954– and which was essentially an advertisement for Bonomo Turkish Taffy– has a defensible rival claim to that honor).

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Your correspondent is headed for points antipodal, where, as it happens, the drains do not spiral in a different direction, but where connectivity promises to be uncertain…  consequently, for the next week or so, these missives are likely to be more roughly than daily.

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