The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Florida loves its specialty license plates. The Sunshine State currently has 88 varieties, although that changes as new ones are introduced and unpopular ones get dropped. On tap for this year: Adding a John Lennon "Imagine" plate and discontinuing the Girl Scouts and Arena Football's Tampa Bay Storm.

In addition to the normal roster, a bunch of Florida's smaller colleges jumped on the specialty plate bandwagon late in 2003. As a result, there's not a lot of them on the road.

The plate above commemorates my alma mater, Eckerd College. Kind of a lame design, with the sailboat; why not the Fightin' Tritons?

But that doesn't bother me as much as the grand total of plates that have been issued: Seven. Seven! That's oh-seven. That's so embarrassing. But not quite as embarrassing as having to discover the very existence of this plate in the newspaper, instead of through my alumni association. The same alumni association that manages to send me a dozen bleating pleas for contributions every year, yet apparently isn't on the ball enough to let me know about the one gimmick that I might actually kick some money toward. Can there possibly be a more inept organization?

My friend Tom used to be quite active in the alumni association, mainly in the years right after graduation. He eventually gave up on them, pretty much precisely for things like this. They spend all their time writing the same generic contribution letters that get no response instead of coming up with a solid marketing pitch that might actually generate some donations. In light of this episode, I finally understand.