Today I saw two promotional gifts from a major company in New Zealand. Both gifts were given to their customers as a way of saying "thank you for using our product". The company in question is in construction and more specifically: in quarrying.
I spotted the first gift from a slight distance. It looked like an award. It seemed to be a speckled stone a little larger than my fist. Very "of the earth" and upon the slightly flatter front appeared to have the company's logo and name engraved into the stone and coloured white. It looked nice - from a distance. I wanted to touch the engraved words on the rough stone surface, and was completely surprised upon picking up the so-called stone to find it was actually not stone at all, but more like the stuff a nerf-toy might be made of. But worse, because it was poorly made and didn't sit straight. It was squishy and I wouldn't have been surprised, upon squishing it, if it had squeaked. But it didn't squeak. It just did nothing. Actually, squeaking would have been a bonus as at least the dog would've enjoyed playing with it. So this thing, that could've been *so cool* being all real stone, engraved with the company's name as a gift to their customers turned out to be a cheap, crappy representation of same in about the worse material possible to make such a thing. They'dve been better off making small cliche nerf footballs and handing those out instead.
Yes, I did my rant in that office squishing that fake rock until I was handed something new to look at. Again from the same company, this time the item in question was heavy - which was unexpected given what it was. This time the item was made of what it looked like it was made of - metal. The image of heavy construction gear and the company's name was in relief on the surface, it was rather cool until I remembered the thing I was holding in my hand was a coaster - for underneath a coffee cup. Coasters are to protect surfaces from the heat damage from a hot beverage, or from a wet ring left from the underneath of a coffee cup. They themselves shouldn't be made from materials which might in turn damage the surface they are protecting, and if a person dropped this coaster onto their highly polished [hardly scratched with keys] rosewood table, you'd be having to sand a lot to get that ding out. But wait, there's more.
The coaster was presented in a nice, black velvet bag with a gold draw string. Way classier than the squishy rock. Attached to the bag was a small card with a little information about the coaster. The information read "Pewter, the world's 4th most precious metal"
Now. I had to think. what are they telling me. My company is only worth the fourth most precious metal? how much gravel n' shit do I have to buy to get a coaster made of, say, the third most precious metal. Or, more to the point, who got the gold coasters? if gold is the first most precious metal and that's only a guess because it might not be. Maybe it's Platinum.
But really, talk about feeling like this was a consultation prize.
Rocks should look like rocks, and god only knows this company has TONNS of rocks. If you can't do rocks properly, don't do them at all. And if you give people coasters, make them a) a set of coasters (min.4) and make them of a substance that won't scratch or ding the surface they're protecting.