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Saturday, January 01, 2005  
First off - thanks to George over at Brewed Fresh Daily for giving me some great laughs tonight. Cat lovers, be sure to swallow any liquids before clicking this link!

And since George asked for pictures of our favorite mugs, show your appreciation for all the laughs (and his daily brew of great stories ideas and links) and send your mugs along to him now. Here's mine:

Written at: 11:40:52 PM

Wednesday, December 29, 2004  

Still perking along. While I was feeding the starters tonight I took some quick photos. I notice that the stiff levain is quite stiff right after you've fed it, almost to the point where it's hard to incorporate all the flour. A day later it's a sticky, stiff, nicely mixed mass, usually with nice bubbles throughout. The after is almost identical to the starter I received from King Arthur Flour.

The more "liquid" rye mixture is usually well-aerated by bubbles before feeding too, but what I notice is the change in color. Before: oatmeal grey/tan. After: pinkish beigey/grey. The after is definitely looser and wetter.

I don't suppose I really need to keep them in their little heated "swimming pool" anymore. They're pretty mature at this point. I like to see them perking away though so I might just leave them there but turn the heater down some.

Written at: 11:50:19 PM

Tuesday, December 28, 2004  
Customer becomes evangelist

I recently read some books by Guy Kawasaki and a recurring theme was the notion that successful companies' customers become evangelists for them. Now that's not something you can just DO -- you have to have good products, good business practices etc -- but when it happens, there's a whole 'nother level of spreading the word going on.

Today, after transacting some business with Williams-Sonoma, in the very same mall where I work, I paused to speak to the two women who had helped me. You know, I said, that I work for Apple. And yes, the one young woman did know that. Well, you've just done a really Apple-like thing -- you've made me a total evangelist for Williams-Sonoma and I want you to know how extremely grateful I am for what you did.

What happened?

My 5 qt kitchenaid mixer died Friday. I didn't think it was possible to kill one of those, but when I started to mix the dough - the beater wouldn't turn anymore. I was really heart-sick about this, thinking about the expense of shipping this to whereever, and the cost of having it looked at and possibly repaired. So yesterday, after the crowds thinned at the mall, I went up to Williams-Sonoma to ask for advice about places I might have it looked at. The nice young man asked me some questions, expressed some surprise at what had happened (I told him I thought I'd killed my KitchenAid) and then asked -- did you get it here?

And the answer to that was yes. To which he replied:

Then bring it back!

But, I said, I've had it for several years. And I don't know if I have the box. I think I have the receipt (my practice being to staple it inside the book that comes with the appliance). Well he said - no problem about the box. If you have the receipt, even better. If we don't have the model you have, you can get a credit towards something else.

When I came home I was way excited to find the box in the attic. I found the receipt in the book. I dusted off the flour and packaged it up as best I could and put it in my car. At lunch time I returned to Williams-Sonoma and they weren't too busy so I presented myself and my mixer at the counter. And they did just what the young man had promised: they returned it and gave me full credit for the amount paid for the previous mixer towards a new one.

I'm still amazed and astounded! So folks, it pays to consider where you're buying things that you hope to have around for awhile. I don't know what W-S has to gain from swapping out a four year old mixer for me, except what I can give them which is some long-term faithfulness and some word of mouth evangelism, so here you go.

Written at: 8:17:02 PM

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