The Question

Looking through the glass window, Cathy paced on the floor, sat down and tapped her pencil on the table waiting. Tap. Tap. Tap.

 “This is taking forever,” she complained, got up and looked through the window again.

“What are they waiting for – divine inspiration,” she barked and sat down again, tapping her pencil. Tap. Tap. Tap.

Impatient, she got up and looked at the window again. “You’d think I asked them solve the meaning of life. Even a Rubik’s cube would take less time.” She yelled and sat down again, tapping. Tap tap tap.

“Cathy, here’s some decaf, give them a moment, this can be a difficult question to answer,” Rick said calmly handing her a cup.

The warm coffee helped for a minute. Cathy swirled it around in her mouth, trying to identify the flavor du jour. Since her ad agency only offered focus group participants coffee and donuts, both had to be pretty good. They gave a variety of sugar-topped cake donuts, cream and jelli-filled frosted selections and the most popular glazed donuts in town. And a gourmet coffee house in the area provided a different unique blend of coffee every day.

“Sometimes I think they take so long just so they can suck up the coffee and donuts,” she barked again and began pacing. “After all, they have nowhere to go.”

Cathy was anxious; this account has been a difficult challenge. As a 30-year-old marketing assistant, she couldn’t get her head into the fifty-five-plus brain to figure out how to sell to them. She successfully marketed everything from sneakers and cell phone cases to beer and perfume to her age group and was bucking for a promotion to marketing manager, if she could come up with a good campaign to sell to this target market. 

“What do they want?  Don’t they know what they want?” She said sitting down and tapping her pencil again. Tap. Tap. Tap.

“Here you go,” Jean said opening the door and handed Cathy a stack of surveys.

“Finally, let’s get some answers,” Cathy handed some of the papers to Rick and excitedly sifted through them.

With each paper, she anticipated more and more and was satisfied less and less.

“Where did we find these people – asleep in a nursing home?” She tossed the papers across the table. “Grandchildren! More free time! Reading! Playing Mahjong all day? This was a useless waste of time.”

“Now, wait, there are some good ones here,” Rick console her. “Here’s one that says more money.”

“That just says they can buy, but it doesn’t tell us how to sell them ultra-caffeinated energy drinks!” Cathy objected. “All we asked them was the best thing about getting old is________? How hard is that?”

Their client sold caffeinated energy drinks to a younger market and wanted to expand into the senior market by only changing the packaging, branding and advertising, but leaving the drink the same.

“If you ask me, I think our biggest problem is the warning labels,” Rick added. “After you remove diabetics, heart and cancer patients, and people with varicose veins, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and gout, there’s not a lot of people this age level in the buying pool. We don’t want to kill anyone.”

“Some of these people have to be active,” Cathy said feverishly looking through the papers again.

“I know, Rick said.  “What about this for a slogan…Drink Caffi energy drinks…you’re not dead yet!”

(c) Copyright Suzanne Rudd Hamilton, 2021

Published by suzanneruddhamilton

I write anything from novels and children's books to plays to relate and retell everyday life experiences in a fun-filled read with heart, hope and humor. A former journalist and real estate marketing expert, I am a transplant from Chicago, now happily living in southwest Florida to keep warm and sunny all year round. You can find me at

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