Daily Buzz: When Freebies Are Problematic

Offering a giveaway? Let fashion retailer Forever 21 give you a lesson in what not to do. Also: the difference between workflow and process.

Freebies or giveaways might seem like a nice gesture, but they can also send the wrong message when not thought out carefully. That’s what Forever 21 learned when it started shipping out diet bars with online orders.

“The fast-fashion retailer has started sending sample Atkins lemon bars, which proudly advertise three grams of carbs, along with online orders,” wrote Tracy Clark-Flory on Jezebel. “It isn’t clear just which orders receive this unsolicited weight loss nudge, but judging from a growing number of complaints on social media, most of the impacted customers appear to have ordered from the company’s plus-size collections.”

Now the retailer is in hot water for imposing diet standards on its customers.

“To receive an unsolicited diet bar isn’t just an insult; it’s a potentially dangerous invitation to question and critique oneself,” Clark-Flory said. “That is especially true while buying clothes, and especially while buying clothes from the plus-size line of a mainstream retailer like Forever 21.”

Forever 21 has since issued a statement to Jezebel, saying that they surprise customers periodically with free test products from third parties in their online orders. “The freebie items in question were included in all online orders, across all sizes and categories, for a limited time and have since been removed,” the statement said. “This was an oversight on our part, and we sincerely apologize for any offense this may have caused to our customers, as this was not our intention in any way.”

Workflow vs. Process

In the zone on a work-related task? Then you’re in the middle of a workflow, Amanda Myers explained on the Personify blog. Where workflow emphasizes the completion of a certain task, a process focuses on accomplishing an organizational goal.

“Confused? It’s understandable as both terms do really sound the same, with the end goal being a major difference,” she said. It gets more complex considering that sometimes workflows and processes can be one in the same.

Other times, workflows can help inform new processes. “Analyzing your existing systems and workflows is the first step towards identifying opportunities for an improved process,” Myers said. “Look to a workflow when multiple tasks are needed to complete something important on a recurring basis.”

Other Links of Note

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What should you ask in your conference surveys? The Event Manager Blog offers 30 purposeful questions.

(Wolterk/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus)

Jeff Hsin

By Jeff Hsin


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