Tag Archive | patience

Brand Loyalty – Should we? Why?

If you happen to be a friend of mine on Facebook, you may have seen the banter back and forth between my brother and I arguing Samsung vs iPhone. Rather, he fights for Samsung, I simply state I like my iPhone since I switched into it.

Here’s a brief glimpse of our daily conversations (he posted a link about an iPhone burning):

Facebook Chat Discussing Samsung verse iPhone

This goes on a lot. I posted a link of Samsung burning people. 😉 Before his Samsung (which he got a week ago) he was a huge HTC fan until he dropped it and smashed the screen. I remember him also stating his Kyocera was the best a few years past. I can pick on him because he’s my brother.

So this makes me think about brand loyalty… 

Rewind 20 years…

My same brother, late teens maybe early 20’s, gets his first car: blue Ford pickup truck (which he handed down to me and I totaled within a month). He loved that thing. He went to a Ford Taurus SHO, again, in love. My dad had Ford, we were a Ford family. I would argue with friends at the time (I was near 11/12 years old) that Ford was better (because dad said so).

Several years later, my brother jumps to Toyota. This was controversial, this was unheard of, he almost was excommunicated from the family. Now he drives a Dodge. <shuddering>. To this day, I prefer Ford (especially since their remake a few years ago), also I wouldn’t mind a Maserati.

Fast forward to about 6 years ago…

I’m a Microsoft man: Windows computer, Windows Phone, Microsoft EVERYTHING. I trashed talk my friends who got iPhones, Mac PCs, and anything else that wasn’t Microsoft. Brand loyal to the core… Then something changed, something sparked, oh, I remember, I dropped my Windows Phone into a puddle. I drove to Sprint immediately to get a new phone. All they had were Androids and the evil iPhone. I walked out with an Android and never regretted it, haven’t been back to Windows Phone since (though it’s tempting as of late).

This is where things changed for me. I had an epiphany

I loosened up my brand loyalty: verbally admitted Microsoft was terrible at creating phones. I shed a tear, and let go. By letting go this little bit, I became aware of so many other things I was holding onto that maybe I shouldn’t have. Chains were released, the burden lifted. I wasn’t afraid of the iPad anymore, I could actually enjoy a Mac, admiring my friend’s new cars though not Ford (I will still only buy a Ford) and so on.

Fast forward to about 2 months ago…

I caught myself doing it, desiring to stay and fight with a brand… We’ve been Verizon FIOS customers for years. I’m a huge fan of their service and TV offering. My wife and I decided to go cable free and use a Roku instead (awesome decision, I’ll blog on that once we’re on it for about 6 months, and yes, I know Apple TV exists). As part of the change, we went from Verizon to Comcast since Comcast had a 2 year deal at a great rate for internet only. I had a sour taste in my mouth moving to Comcast, I didn’t want to do it, but I forced myself to save some money and committed. It’s been great since. I keep myself in check though, I don’t let myself drink Comcast’s koolaide, they’re a corporation, a service, not a reason to fight.

Fast forward to Monday of this week…

chickenWe’ve been a member of JustAddCooking.com (if you sign up, use code CE8K for $20 off your first box), a food service that ships your food and recipes and all you do is cook. It’s a lot of fun and has allowed me to cook, a lot. I love it. They’re a local company, Boston based which makes them a little more special to me (Boston rocks!). Anyway, I had a conversation with a colleague about cooking and this service and he mentioned BlueApron.com… My gut wrenched as I wanted to tell him how much better JAC was, but instead I said, “oh yes, just like that, but Just Add Cooking provides 4 person meals, Blue Apron is only 2, right?”. How mature of me…

The only brands that get my loyalty now are those that continue to prove they are industry leaders and that benefit me (why would you be loyal to something that doesn’t benefit you?): iPhone, Windows 8, Ford, Coke, Five Guys, PayPal, Verizon (I’m a Sprint guy wanting Verizon) and I could go on. I bet you could argue with EVERY SINGLE one of those because

Opinions are like arm pits: everyone has them and they all stink.

Brand loyalty. It’s so odd. I do it, my brother does it, chances are you do it as well. There are some brands we’re loyal about and we have no idea why (milk, oil in the car, gas station). I’d guess we do this for a few reasons:

  1. I just spent a whole lotta money on this, it better be the best.
  2. I’m too proud to admit I didn’t get the best.
  3. This thing is good for me, it works really well and I want to share, tell the world, that it’s the best thing since sliced bread.
  4. I want to fight for something, it’s the human element to defend a cause, pour our energies into something, even if it’s a silly corporation (human rights and hunger would be a better cause).
  5. Sometimes it’s cool to be the odd guy out, to be loyal to the minority (how many of you still love Blackberry?)
  6. Again, it was a lot of money.

Sometimes we can be fickle, and loyalties can change as fast as technology does. I believe they should. That’s my goal, to keep moving and keeping up with what’s the best, now, not 3 months ago. Granted, in technology that can get really expensive, so maybe every 6-9 months. I guess that isn’t brand loyalty anymore is it? It’s doing what’s best for me, my family, within my budget and my expectation of satisfaction. Why should I keep with Windows Phone 6.5 for years when Androids are just that much better?

Think of how companies would have to react if more people did this, went to the latest and greatest regardless of the corporation. iPhone is great, for me, now. It isn’t always the greatest, it’ll be behind the times in a few months when HTC/Samsung/Nokia/Acme comes out with their latest and greatest (though iPhone has something none of them do, awesome APPS! oops there I go again). What if Apple couldn’t rely on brand loyalty, would they treat their customers differently? Their market is strong due to loyalty, and it continues to thrive. They get away with a lot due to loyalty…

Can we get around this, ever?

There are things in life worth being loyal to: not brands or companies, but human rights, your religion/beliefs, the hungry, poor, desolate, Earth, our authorities, the USA, and there’s more.

What I have decided to do is to share my opinions and preferences how I want, and I will not judge, criticize, fight, condemn, shame, prosecute, humiliate or destroy another human based on their opinions (unless you’re my brother). I believe we were made with passion and emotion, we were made to care, to pour our energy into something. If you decide to pour that into companies, services, gadgets, or vehicles, that’s your opinion and it’s your right, but it is yours and if I disagree, that’s cool. I may have a fun casual argument just to flex our intellectual muscles. 😉

And to my brother, your Samsung is a great phone, I don’t think I’ve ever denied that. It works for you, and meets your needs. I’ve decided to move from Android to iPhone because it works for me and my family. And on that day when you decide to move to another phone, I won’t remind you of this at all.

Loving your “Enemy”

One day, my 8-year-old son wrote two notes. Being the attentive parents that we are (more my wife than I), we confiscated the notes. One note was to one friend, Bob, and said basically that I’m not your friend anymore, and you’re not Mike’s friend either, and only Mike and I are best friends. The second note was to Mike, and said not to be Bob’s friend anymore. He even signed the one to Bob: Love (crossed out) Jeremiah.

Before heading to work, I talked to him about it. I asked what’s going on, and he said that Bob made fun of Mike’s shoes so he’s mean. I tried explaining that people will be mean to him for life, it happens all the time, and the best thing to do is to accept this fact, and don’t fight back, rather move on. He didn’t like that answer. Then I asked him what he thought Jesus would do. He wasn’t sure so I explained that Jesus said to love your enemy.

He slapped his forehead and didn’t believe me. He left the room and came back with his Bible, and said show me (I love his eagerness to know the truth, and not simply trust my word for it). So I turned to Matthew 5:44 and read a few lines. He then wanted to see it and read it himself. I said read all the way to verse 48. He was bewildered.

I then headed off to work, but told him to think about it, and what it means to him.

My wife texted me a little later and said she and him had a conversation about it as well, and he couldn’t understand why the Bible would say that. It doesn’t make any sense! And alas, that’s the truth, sometimes the Bible doesn’t make any sense, but regardless its the truth.

Explore 1 Corinthians 13, what is Love? It’s not an emotion, it is action. Love is something to do, and doesn’t care what your mood is or how bad the other person is. In its perfection, Love is unconditional.

This made me think long and hard that day and since. How am I loving my enemies? Well, I don’t think I have any, I’m an easy person to get along with, and I seriously can’t think of anyone who I’d call my enemy.

Then I got thinking some more.

It’s easy for me to love my wife, and my kids, and my friends.But…

What about that stranger I’m behind in the grocery store who has 20 items in the express 12 items or less lane. Am I acting in Love when I grumble under my breath loud enough so they hear me?

What about that person I just clash with, our personalities are oil and water, we just can’t seem to get along so I avoid them. Is that Love to avoid them? It makes my life easy, but is Love selfish?

What about that family member that drives me nuts with their conversations, and their attitude. Easy for me to blow them off and ignore them. Am I Loving?

What about that person who I think is trying to be my friend? Since I don’t need any more friends, or see value in becoming their friend, I act polite and walk away as fast as I can. Love?

This is a tough one. Sometimes I think it’s easy, or almost romantic to say “I love my enemy”, but what about those who aren’t our enemies? Are we still loving them?

The New House!

It’s finally happened, we’ve moved in! We bought the house the first of June 2011, and we moved in third week of September 2011. What were we doing for the 3 and a half months in between? I thought you’d never ask!

First let me tell you about the house. We’re in Wilmington, MA. Our house is a 1969, 2 floor colonial, 3 bedroom, 1 bath, fireplace, full basement (unfinished), about 1100 sqft living space. We’re on about 14,500 sqft lot, 50ftx290ft, long and narrow. The house currently green with white spots (previous owner patched up some spots with primer and left it) so it’s very ugly.

We want to first say thank you to Lisa Pijoan, with Wilson Wolfe Realty. She worked with us for just over a year in finding the perfect house. We visited dozens of houses with her, and made plenty of offers. We found the perfect house in our price range (hence the amount of work needed) If you’re looking to buy or sell, we HIGHLY recommend Lisa, she rocks!

We upgraded the house, significantly. We bought it as a fixer-upper, and underestimated the time and money it would take to get it ready to move in. I don’t regret it though, it was worth every penny, and all the sweat, blood (usually quickly followed by) and  tears.

A brief overview of what we’ve done thus far: (I will jump into greater detail on select items in coming posts. Stay tuned!)

  • Pulled up nasty old carpet in living room and stairs
  • Tore down wall between kitchen and dining room, and opened up wall between living room and hallway
  • Ran multimedia wires through wall above fireplace for TV
  • Replaced basement exterior door
  • Washed, primed and painted all rooms
  • Stripped wall paper from master bedroom, then decided to skim coat
  • Refinished all hardwood floors (great job by Square Floor Service)
  • Refinished kitchen cabinets, new sink, counter, tile back splash
  • New floor in kitchen and dining room
  • New bathroom: shower/tub, walls, vanity, toilet, floors
  • Ran new outlets in kitchen, light over sink, replaced a few plugs and switches throughout house

It was a collective effort, we’d still be working on the house if it wasn’t for our friends and family helping out. Heather and I would like to say special thanks to my dad, Michael Lozzi and my brother, Mike Lozzi Jr., for hours and hours of work in demolition, construction and finish work throughout the entire house. Thanks to my father-in-law, Ken Dorothy, for the beautiful bathroom. Thanks Kirk for the electrical work. And thanks to our many friends and family (Dan, JJ, Diane, Michelle, Nancy, Kyle, and some more I forgot)  who helped paint, clean, wash, and move in! We couldn’t have finished it all with you!

And what I’ve already discovered as being a new home owner: there is always plenty to do around here. Our goals for the next year or two (in no particular order)

  • Replace siding and windows
  • Remove oil heat and install gas
  • Add gutters
  • Paint deck
  • Replace stairs on deck
  • Throw a play room in the basement
  • Rework entire back yard
  • Patio

So there you have it. We’re new proud home owners having fun making our home the best it can be. Check back soon or subscribe to my blog, I’ll be posting a lot more photos, videos and info about what we’ve done and will be doing.

Pray like a kid

My family recently moved. Before the move, a friend of ours, let’s say Jane (to protect the innocent) came by with her son Billy (yes fake again). Her son Billy and my son Jonny are friends. We were looking at an apartment around the block from their house. Billy was happy because he’d be able to see Jonny more. I asked Billy to pray for us to get that house.

Jane tells me the next day that they all sat down that night and prayed for our family to move into that apartment. She said that her two oldest sons, Billy being one of them, prayed that they want Jonny to move in so they can come over and play with all of Jonny’s toys and Legos. Jane then finished off the prayer with a less selfish prayer, the type of prayer an adult would pray, the whole “let your will be done” thing. This has been stuck in my head for a few days so I decided to share what I’m thinking.

I don’t believe God doesn’t always want us to ask him to do what he wants to do. He knows what he’s going to do regardless. I believe that God wants us to pray to him and tell him what we want, what we need. Several times throughout scripture we are called children of God. Jesus says in Matthew to become like a child to enter his kingdom. Why? I think because children will say what’s on their mind, and ask for what they want, they wear their emotions on their sleeves. At some point in growing up, we lose sight of this. We become “mature” and fight back emotions, manipulate people and lie (playing politics) to get what we want. God doesn’t want that for us! As a father myself, it would drive me nuts to always hear my kids say “whatever you want to do” and never tell me what they wanted.

I do believe that God wants us to be like children who simply know who our father is. We can whine and complain and ask him for everything we want. He’s our daddy, and wants to know what’s on our hearts. As we mature in our relationship with Christ, much like maturing in life, our hearts change and we begin to realize that whining to God that I didn’t win the lottery is just plain silly. We begin to realize that there are things we don’t need, but we want them so we don’t ask God for them any more because it’s not a need.

I want a new car, specifically the 2010 Taurus SHO. It is a b-e-a-utiful car, but has a ridiculous price tag (at least for me). The model below it will do just fine. It will get me from point A to point B, heck a 20 year old car that runs will do that. But I want it, it is not a need, but I want it. So, being the mature adult that I am, I don’t ask God for it because it’s silly. My current car’s lease is up in a few months so I will be in the position of getting a new car. Will it be the SHO? I doubt it. But you know what, I want to act like a child and complain to God about it, I want to let him know what I want, and I may even stomp my feet. How many times have you felt like this? How many times did you actually do it? Do it! He can handle it!

God can handle our temper tantrums. I encourage people who say they are mad at God to let him know it! Yell at him, tell him what you’re feeling and what you want. Act like a little kid and tell him everything. My God is bigger than me and my complaints. He’s bigger than you and your issues. All he wants is to be our daddy, so lets treat him like one! At the end of the yelling, learn to shut up and listen. Grab the Bible, read; take a long drive alone with the radio off; go for a walk; whatever it is, just go and wait on him. Just like having a real dad, we need to give God the chance to respond to what we said to him. No, he won’t slap you across the face or ground you for what you said. He will answer you, I guarantee it. And this is where maturity comes in.

As we mature in our relationship with God, we learn to listen after we complain and we wait. God has two answers, Yes or No. As children grow up they begin accept the No answer from their parents. Sometimes there might be a little push back “but pleeeeeeeeease dad” and the answer is still no. Accept it and move on. This is sometimes hard, but God does know what is best for us. Being a dad myself I see this metaphor of God being our dad so clearly. There are many times I say no to my children for their sake. They don’t realize it, but it really is for their good.

God’s other answer is yes. This can be the real frustrating one! God can say yes to our prayers, he can even give us promises of things to come. The frustrating part is that whole time thing. Know that old joke:

      A man was taking it easy, lying on the grass and looking up at the clouds. He was identifying shapes when he decided to talk to God. “God”, he said, “how long is a million years?” 
      God answered, “In my frame of reference, it’s about a minute.” 
      The man asked, “God, how much is a million dollars?” 
      God answered, “To Me, it’s a penny.” 
      The man then asked, “God, can I have a penny?” 
      God said, “In a minute.”

God may say yes, then we have to wait and be patient. My son asks to play Wii all the time. I will say yes, but not now, after dinner, after homework, after you clean the room, etc. It frustrates him because he wants it now and I said yes. How many times have I done that with God: you said yes so I went ahead and did it. I forgot to then ask God, when? I need to learn to wait more. I hear God saying yes a lot and I always jump on the first sign of it coming true. I recently had an issue (I’ll blog about it later once I completely understand it myself) that God said yes, and I jumped on something that I thought was awesome and it ended up hurting me, my family, and friends. So now I’m playing catch up and trying to undo some of this so I can move into what God said yes to. So much fun being human.

Pray like a kid, whine and complain, pout and throw your temper tantrum. Just let God answer you when you’re done.