My Favourite Time of Year: Top US and Canadian Google Searches for 2016.


This is my favourite time of the year, where all of the year-end lists begin rolling in.  Below you will find the top 10 US Google searches, and what is likely the top 10 Canadian Google searches.  Enjoy, and please do not hesitate to comment.

Google’s top trending searches of 2016 (US).

  1. Powerball – The lottery handed out $1.6 billion dollars in prizes in January 2016 alone.
  2. Pokemon Go – either for tips or to read stories of people who walked into holes, or traffic while playing this game
  3. Rio 2016 – Olympics were a popular search item because of many sub-stories such as the polution in Rio, the Russian athletes being banned for doping or bad sportsmanship on behalf an Egyptian “athlete” who was kicked out of the games for refusing to shake hands with his Israeli opponent.
  4. Election 2016 – US presidential election had so many sub-stories including everything Donald Trump and everything Hilary Clinton and the email scandal. The CIA got involved as did the Russians and Anthony(s) Weiner all played part.
  5. David Bowie who died in January.
  6. Prince, who died in April.
  7. Hurricane Matthew, which barrelled through the Caribbean and made landfall in the US in October.
  8. Brad Pitt was Google’s top trending actor searched in 2016 for “abusing” his child on an airplane while intoxicated and then being divorced from Angelina Jolie.
  9. Prince Harry’s girlfriend, Megan Markle, trended most among actresses as the American actress currently residing in Toronto as hounded by paparazzi forcing the Prince to step in and berate those in the media who are harassing her.
  10. Beyonce topped musical searches, and her song “Formation” was the top trending song in Google searches for 2016

 

 

Canadian 2016 Top Trending searches must have included the following;

  1. Justin Trudeau
  2. Justin Trudeau’s hair
  3. Justin Trudeau is so cute
  4. Justin Trudeau is so pretty
  5. Justin Trudeau stylish
  6. Who is Justin Trudeau
  7. Gord Downy
  8. Tragically Hip
  9. Kathleen Wynne is killing Ontario
  10. Which JT is cuter, Justin Timberlake or Justin Trudeau
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Starbucks For Life Sweepstakes is Back!


For members of the Starbucks Rewards™ loyalty program (like me!), it’s time for the annual return of the Starbucks for Life sweepstakes.

For the third consecutive year, Starbucks has featured this popular game of chance, which launched December 6th, 2016 here in Canada (also in the US).  Starbucks Rewards™ members have an opportunity to win prizes, including Starbucks for Life, Starbucks for a Year, Starbucks for a Month, Starbucks for a Week* and millions of Bonus Stars.

The Way to Play

From now through January 16th, 2017, eligible Starbucks Rewards™ members can earn game plays when they make a purchase* using either their registered Starbucks Card or the Starbucks® Mobile App in participating U.S. and Canada (excluding Quebec) stores.

Members can redeem their game plays and collect digital game pieces by logging on to www.starbucksforlife.com in the U.S. or www.starbucksforlife.ca in Canada. Starbucks Rewards™ members may earn up to two game plays per day by making an eligible purchase transaction with a registered Starbuck Card or App.

What’s New This Holiday?

Members can complete challenges found within the game to earn extra game plays. Examples of challenges include “Jump the Line,” which rewards customers for making a purchase via mobile order, and “Hot Streak,” which provides three extra plays if a purchase is made five days in a row. Also new this year is the ability to trade three duplicate game pieces for one new game play.

Exclusive Prizes

Starbucks Rewards™ members can win prizes by collecting all of the game pieces in a given row on their digital game board. Only seven lucky customers (five in the U.S. and two in Canada) will win the grand prize of Starbucks for Life. 45 customers (25 in the U.S. and 20 in Canada) will win Starbucks for a Year. 250 customers (125 in the U.S. and 125 in Canada) will win Starbucks for a Month. 800 customers (500 in the U.S. and 300 in Canada) will win Starbucks for a Week.

Customers can also collect game pieces to win Bonus Stars in increments of 125 and 50 Stars. Instant-win prizes with Bonus Stars in increments of 5 Stars will be awarded as well. When Starbucks Rewards™ Gold Members collect 125 Stars, they earn a Reward, which they can redeem for a food or beverage item of their choice at participating stores.


*“Starbucks for Life” means the winner will receive a daily credit for 30 years for one free food or beverage item redeemable at participating Starbucks® stores in the U.S. Alcoholic beverages excluded. Winner must present a registered Starbucks Card. Credits are non-transferable and expire within 24 hours.

“Starbucks for a Year” means the winner will receive a daily credit to his/her Account for one year (three hundred sixty-five days) for one free food or standard menu beverage item (excluding alcoholic beverages) redeemable at participating Starbucks stores in the U.S. (and likely Canada although not mentioned in their blurby). Food and beverage credits expire daily.

“Starbucks for a Month” means the winner will receive a daily credit to his/her Account for one month (thirty-one days) for one free food or standard menu beverage (excluding alcoholic beverages) item redeemable at participating Starbucks stores in the U.S. Food and beverage credits expire daily.

“Starbucks for a Week” means the winner will receive a daily credit to his/her Account for one week (seven days) for one free food or standard menu beverage item (excluding alcoholic beverages) redeemable at participating Starbucks stores in the U.S. Food and beverage credits expire daily.

Abbreviated Canada Rules

*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. LEGAL RESIDENTS OF CANADA, 18 AND OLDER AND WHO ARE MEMBERS OF THE STARBUCKS REWARDS™ LOYALTY PROGRAM AT THE TIME OF ENTRY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Starbucks Partners are not eligible to win prizes. Participating stores only. Promotion ends 1/16/17. For Official Rules, how to enter without purchase, prizes, and odds, visit https://www.starbucksforlife.ca. Limit for earning Game Plays:  2 transactions per day or up to 2 requests without purchase per day. Mathematical skill-testing question must be correctly answered to win. 300,000 instant win prizes (approximate retail values of $0.20 available to be won. 14,947 collect and win game prizes (approximate retail values from $2.00 to $51,574.50 available to be won.  Sponsor: Starbucks Coffee Canada, Inc., 5140 Yonge Street, Suite 1205, Toronto, ON M2N 6 L7, Canada.

Limit of one instant-win-game prize per day. “Starbucks for Life” means the winner will receive a daily credit for 30 years for one free food or beverage item redeemable at participating Starbucks® stores in Canada. Alcoholic beverages excluded. Winner must present a registered Starbucks Card. Credits are non-transferable and expire within 24 hours.

US Politics: Can You Hear it? Locker-Room Talk All About Trump’s Campaign Implosion


As a Canadian who has been besieged by US Presidential election coverage for over a year and a half I have to say it was Donald Trump who actually made me by attention for the better part of that year-and-a-half.  Heck, I even watched half of one of the debates.

If this were Canadian politics, I would have watch both debates in their entirety and would be bitching and whining on my blog.

But how could I not maintain interest in this election?  The 1st woman President was only going to be held back by her husbands wandering genitals until Trump, always the entertainer, told us she was dying, unfit, stupid, and that she would continue to do nothing for the US public…

He made her package of Hilary Clinton as confusing as his comb-up, comb-over, comb-across hair style, or the colour of his skin.

Sure, we have a Trump Tower here in downtown Toronto which, if I recall correctly, has been dropping panes of glass for a couple of year, but it’s Donald Trump!  He’s rich, he’s owned parts of Vegas, and he’s been bankrupt before once or twice.  Heck, he’s the host of the Apprentice!

You’re fired!

While everyone was discounting his chance of winning, Trump kept zinging left, right and centre at anyone and everyone in his way.  Sure, there was talk of a wall between Mexico and the US (Mexico is paying for it!), or the talk of a wall between Canada and the US (can’t trust those friendly Canadians, eh?  Might want to come to the US because our health system sucks).  Trump made noise which resonated with more and more people for all the wrong reasons, and he was gaining momentum.

Attacks on US soil by Americans who may or may not have had ties to Islam prompted Trump to propose a ban on “Muslims” coming to the US, which morphed into a “loyalty” test for Muslims travelling to the US, or applying for citizenship.

Call it crazy, insane, stupid, or impossible but it got people talking Trump.  The bigots bought into it, while the tree huggers called him a fascist.  He was in the news for all the right reasons.

The campaign progressed and out came comments praising China, Russia, Putin, etc., and Trumps popularity grew as he became the unpolitician.  Everyone knew these countries were huge violators of human rights, but boy were their leaders ever popular!

Trump campaigned as being different than the rest.  He was going to make America great again, and save citizens from the same “politicking” that goes on day in and day out.

He said Hilary Clinton has Parkinsons disease and his legend grew along with his approval ratings.

He deflected negative talk, had answers for everything except for his policies, and he was great to watch for his entertainment value…

He WAS entertaining.

Now he’s not.

Trump is in deep trouble because someone left the closet door open and there are a LOT of skeletons in his closet!

He sexually assaults women.

And he’s okay with it.

No, he brags about it.

He bragged about grabbing a woman by the “pussy” and kissing them if he feels like it.

He’s gross, vile, and a criminal who just admitted to sexually assaulting woman.

“Just locker room talk” he said.

Rob Ford said he wasn’t addicted to crack cocaine.

If that isn’t enough reason to not vote for him, I don’t know what it.

Say what you will about Trump now… It really doesn’t matter.  He’s tainted himself and the American public.  If he gets elected, he’s the US President who grabs woman by the crotch.  If he wins, the American people voted in a leader with extremely poor ethics.

While voting for him doesn’t mean that you’re condoning sexual assault in the same way that supporting the Conservative party here in Canada doesn’t make you anti-abortion, pro-guns and anti-immigration, it does mean a man who admits to sexually assaulting women becomes the US President over a woman and that just seems wrong.

As a parent, of a girl and boys, do we really need to send the message to our youth that even if you sexually assault, or admit to / brag about sexual assault, it’s all okay and you can be anything you want.  I don’t think so!

Sideshow aside, Ronald Reagan was US President, and if Bobo can go to college, anything is possible…

 

Starbucks Prices Going Up in Canada and the US on July 12th, 2016.


Word broke a couple of days ago that Starbucks is planning to increase the price on select drinks, upwards of $0.30 per drink on July 12th, saying only that the increase would impact “select beverages.”

Starbucks raised its prices by 5 to 20 cents for some of its drinks in July 2015. That increase mostly impacted hot beverages.

Since 2013, Starbucks have been increasing prices every summer, including last summer’s increase of between $0.05-$0.20 on hot drinks.

Heck, they even changed their rewards program to make it a longer timeframe for purchasers of the cheapest drinks to reach their free coffee.

And, they posted a revenue of nearly $5 billion last year!

What a business model!

According to the Canadian operations, the price of a Venti coffee will increase by $0.10 in some but not all provinces, and the price of their lattes in Grande and Venti sizes will increase $0.20, again in some provinces.

In the US, Starbucks announced that their Tall, Grande and Venti-sized coffees will see a price increase of $0.10 each in most States in the country.

At this time of declining coffee prices, we can clearly see that Starbucks coffee prices are not closely tied to the price of the bean alone, but also tied to the other costs, including the stores, employment, and other items which comes with a Starbucks drink.

Target Corporation Announces Plans to Discontinue Canadian Operations… Immediately!


MINNEAPOLIS — January 15, 2015target

Today Target Corporation announced that it plans to discontinue operating stores in Canada through its indirect wholly-owned subsidiary, Target Canada Co. and an application for protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) has been made to protect Target Canada from it’s creditors.

I’m shocked, and sad.

With 133 stores across the country and around 18,000 employees many saw this news coming, and now that it has arrived, it’s still left many with their mouths open in shock.

According to Target’s press release, and to ensure fair treatment of their Canadian employees, Target Corporation has asked the courts to approve a contribution of $70 million (Canadian) into an Employee Trust which would provide nearly all Target Canada-based employees a minimum of 16 weeks of compensation, including wages and benefits coverage for employees who are not required for the full wind-down period.

Target Canada stores will remain open during the liquidation process, which is expected to begin immediately.  Speculation is that as stock is sold, stores will continue to close until there are few left with merchandise which will be either sold off or returned to Target’s inventory.

One of the leading factors behind this decision is the $5.4 billion of pre-tax losses in the fourth quarter of 2014 alone.

Additional factors leading to this decision include the poor introduction into the Canadian market after much excitement, when locations chosen were poor, shelves empty and prices much higher than prices in US Target locations or in rival Wal-Mart stores (which entered Canada nearly 20 years ago).

It will cost Target Corporation between $500 million to $600 million to leave Canada (less the sale of any real estate assets) and this is not expected to have any impact on US operations nor should any customers south of the border see an increase in prices to cover these costs.

With the departure of this big box brand, it will be difficult to see what could replace Target in the locations it held.  With K-Mart and Zellers, Simpsons, Woolco, Eatons and Sears leaving Canada it could spell the end of the this business model.  I did, however, notice on a recent trip through Western New York, that many malls had replaced their big box retailers with activities like mini-golfing and go-karting and they were packed with people.

Having had the opportunity to meet and become friends with some of Target Canada’s management team, I can say that this is a very sad day for us not only having to say goodbye to a business which failed in Canada, but to some really great people who tried their hardest to make it work.

See you in Minny!

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