When you're struggling, some of your ideas can hobble from the moment you utter them.
It's hard to notice, though. You're so desperate for things to change.
Perhaps JC Penney was merely trying to be at one with the crowd, when it had the notion of giving customers a discount if they say "hashtag" at the counter, accompanied by the word "offer.
As BuzzFeed reports, the idea was to give $10 back on $25 to anyone who made themselves temporarily -- and, perhaps, quietly -- look absurd in conversation with a Penney employee.
JC Penney's Twitter account proudly proclaimed: #Tomorrow #is #HashtagDay #at #jcp #Say #HashtagOffer #AtCheckout #ForA #10off25 #Offer #DetailsAndExclusionsInStore #ThatsHowWeDo."
Despite wanting to have sympathy with JC Penney, a retailer that's struggling for dollars, I wonder why, when this particular idea came up, no one said: "Don't you guys watch Fallon?"
Those of normal disposition might remember that only last week, Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake. This is the habit of hashtagging your way through conversations online.
Actually asking someone to speak with a hashtag prefix surely wafts along an axis somewhere between insult and cruelty.
I know that shopping is supposed to be fun. And shopping at JC Penney is supposed to be cheap fun.
But isn't requiring your customers to utter a slightly inane phrase making cheap fun out of them?
Perhaps Penney was trying to frighten customers with its hipness. But wouldn't it at least have been more fun if the customers had been asked to say something that was a little more, well, poignant?
For example: "HashtagWhatTheHellIsJCPenneyDoing?" Or "HashtagJCPenneyForYourThoughts"? Or even something charming associated with free money like "YourHashtagOrYourLife"?
Wouldn't you like to be able to go to JC Penney and be paid $10 in order to say: "HashtagIHearTheresAReallySillyPromotionGoingOnInHere."
These things, you see, need to be thought through. To the very end. Before being discarded (or not).