It all started at Wal-Mart

DSC00011It started with the purchase of a $5 watch at Wal-Mart yesterday. My 9-year-old daughter, Darby, wanted a watch like mine, so she bought one. Little did we know that the alarm on the watch was set for 4:00 a.m.

When the alarm sounded, it awoke both Darby and her 10-year-old sister/bunkmate Alexandria. Darby can not figure out how to shut off the alarm and yells up the stairs for me to help her. Meanwhile, Alex decides to head to the bathroom. She shuts the door and finishes her bathroom business. After flushing, she notices a spider which, from its tactical position in front of the door, is now blocking Alex’s exit from the bathroom. Alex is now screaming for help. Darby is now screaming through the door trying to help her sister. The watch alarm is now drowned out by the sound of two girls screaming in the night.
Dad to the rescue. Using my keen fatherly instincts to determine that the situation is not going to work itself out, I grab my robe and head for the stairs.

Our fat, old dachshund, Hank, using what’s left of his own instincts, comes to the same conclusion (or he just wants to know what the heck is going on) and heads for the stairs at the same time as me.

As God is my witness, I did not know that Hank was just a step ahead of me as I made the corner in the dark. He has just started down the stairs when my foot connects with his hind end as I rush to the scene of the spider emergency. There is dim light at the bottom of the stairs and the unforgettable vision of a fat flying furry black wiener dog making a rough carrier-landing in the night is now forever etched on my guilty conscience.

The dog hitting the wood floor takes all of the excitement out of the spider emergency. By this time, the girl’s older sister, Whitney, awakened by the screams, has opened the bathroom door and dispatched the tiny spider to the arachnid after-life.

Hank is now traumatized from his brief flight. He stands up, pees on the floor and then limps into the girl’s bedroom where he pees again. I feel so bad about kicking him down the stairs that I ignore the pee. He is more shaken up than injured. Julie, my wife, has now joined us in comforting Hank. Five of our six family members are gathered in the hallway at 4 o’clock in the morning. Courtney, who complains of being a light sleeper, is soundly sleeping through the entire event.

Hank seems to be ok now. A couple of treats cheer him up noticeably. I reset the alarm to go off at 10:00 a.m.

If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably wondering what this has to do with branding. Nothing. Except this: We usually feel best about the people and brands we know the most about. If you’re a regular reader of the Brandingblog, you know that I’m interested in brands. Now, you know a bit about me and my family as well. Your brand is built in a series of conversations with your customers. Your time spent here is part of my conversation with you. When you need branding help, I’d like you to think of me and feel good about me. Part of feeling good about someone is knowing that they are a fellow human.

This true event happened at 4:00 a.m. today. My family thinks it was God’s April Fool’s joke on us. I agree.

3 thoughts on “It all started at Wal-Mart

  1. Amanda.Murphy

    I don’t know about Hank but our black dog (a doberman) has a terrible habit in the summertime of moving from her normal sleeping place to the foot of the stairs by the bathroom. That’s not bad enough but she also has bad nerves and tends to get frightened when someone approaches her while shes sleeping and jumps aburtly to her feet. Long story short – I have taken a number of headers into the bathroom door at 4am. She’s pretty sturdy on her feet so the only one tumbling is me. 🙂

    I’m glad to hear that Hank wasn’t hurt too badly (other than the scare). Great blog by the way!

  2. Michele Miller

    Hey Dave,

    If great experiences are part of the branding process, then you’re doing it right with the Hank story. Makes me want to come back to read more.. and more, and more. But I think Hank’s been through enough… don’t you have a cat to pick on?



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