Seriously, a phone ATM?

I got the strangest email from Redbox over the weekend. I actually thought it was a delayed April Fools message. Basically it was announcing “EcoATM.” No it is not a new form of an ATM machine, it is a kiosk that allows you to sell your old cell phone back. Complete with videos that show how you are given a sticker, have to put your driver’s license into the machine (and hope it does not get stuck), place the sticker on the back of the phone and they will proceed to send in your phone and confirm the amount you get paid. If you want, you can allow the proceeds of your phone go to the charity of your choice.

Why does it seem so strange to me? Sure, I am grateful that it is another way for folks to be paid in hopes that their phone does not end up in a landfill, but would you go to a kiosk and submit your phone (while also returning your Redbox movies at the neighbor kiosk). It just seems very unlikely. It feels rather cheesy actually.

It looks like all the local kiosks are in very strange suburbs. Ones that are not on the normal beaten path, almost as though they have purposely launched in obscure locations. You can even “price your device” by selecting your model and phone provider and they will let you know the range of what you can expect to receive back.

I still think it is odd. Maybe because Chris and I have found that we can make so much more selling our old phones on eBay. I am not sure if the “sell your phone” kiosk is a sustainable business model. I suppose we go through phones much faster than we used to. So if they can cover picking up phones and clean up of kiosks, and then sell them for 50% more, then maybe it is sustainable. I guess we have gone from kiosk movies, to coin exchange, to selling phones. What is next?

Would you use it?

Strangest Online April Fool’s Day

What was up with all the email marketing messages on April Fool’s Day? It was as though all the past years of my life April 1 did not happen. I do not remember a recent year where I received a marketing message about April Fools. Here is a random list of what I received (or heard about):

_A message from Redbox featuring a new product: Petbox, all the movies were pet renditions such as “Fifty Shades of Greyhound” or “Paws”
_A Facebook friend stated they received an email from West Elm that said: “Thanks for the recent order” — which linked to a furniture sale. Wonderful West Elm, put fear in your customer’s mind that they had been hit with identity theft. I wonder how many folks made purchases after receiving that email?
_Orbitz email subject line: “No joke” — but then the body of the email had nothing to do with the subject line
_6pm.com email subject line: “These deals are not a joke”
_Gap email subject line: “haha”
_Ann Taylor Loft email subject line: “Today, nothing’s on sale” — body says “April Fool’s Everything is 40% off”
_Banana Republic email subject line: “It’s no joke, 41% off”
_Clymb email subject line: “This is the smallest sale ever” — email body says: “Yeah Right.”
_Amazon homepage went retro showing an early 2000’s version of what their site would have looked like. I honestly thought they had lost it.
_A local Apple dealer sent out an email advertising a new product called “The Awesome.” Check out the link and you will get the joke.
_At work, an announcement went out that construction on a parking lot was halted due to the discovery of an ancient settlement and the artifacts found. Once you read about the “artifacts” listed you knew it was a spoof.

Did some massive digital announcement go out to marketers to make 2015 the Year of April Fools? I have never in my life seen so much focus on it. I find it odd actually. None of the direct marketing emails I received were really even funny at all. Come on world, we can do better.