Root, Root, Root for the Cubbies…

12Oct08

Ok, it’s been a few days, and I’ve had a chance to cool off a little. Yes, the Cubs blew an entire season’s worth of hard work and dedication in three games, but I’m on the road to recovery. After all, there’s always next year. Right?

As a loyal fan for 25 years, I’ve seen ups and downs. Granted, it’s been more downs than ups, but the (few) good times make weathering the bad worthwhile. But as I watched Game 2 from Section 400 of the Friendly Confines, I couldn’t help but entertain the thought of switching loyalties. After the third loss, I mentioned this idea to one of my friends. She supported it, but still, I simply can’t see myself, come Opening Day, tuning in to another team for the next 162 games.

Thinking about this did, however, make me wonder what it would take for Cubs fans to finally call it quits. The Cubs lose, year after year, and yet Wrigley Field still sells out (almost) every game, merchandise flies off the shelf, and more Friday afternoons in the summer are spent in the bleachers than in your cubicle.

We’re the ultimate brand loyalists. Even the rare fits thrown by angry fans aren’t long-lasting – or genuine, for that matter. Airing complaints and the occasional ‘boo’ from the stands is our way of saying, ‘We’ll put up with 100+ years of losing, but that failed double play is just too much.’ And with the recent sweep to end the season, I’m hearing fans around Chicago speak more in anger these days than in frustration, sadness or tales of misfortune. It seems as though, the impenetrable armor of the Chicago Cubs brand has finally acquired a couple chinks.

But I have no doubt that come Opening Day 2009 the fans will have settled down and, again, pledged allegiance to Cubs Nation.

All of this loyalty talk got me thinking. With most brands we deal with on a daily basis, even our favorites, what would it take to cut ties? Take cable companies, for example. One slip-up, and they’re on their way out. Airlines? Well, there are certainly plenty to choose from if one does you wrong, but I think people almost half-expect to go through some sort of ordeal when flying, so loyalty (especially with frequent flier miles) is relatively strong. It should, however, be interested in see how this theory plays out with all the extra fees popping up during travels. And finally, take a much-loved brand like Apple. Because, in my humble opinion, I think their products are superior in many ways, I put up with some things I wouldn’t with other companies. Like, when I had to replace my MacBook’s powercord and it cost me $80. Or, how I can usually expect to buy a new iPod every couple years because 1) the earbuds crap out and 2) the lithium battery is bound to wear out sooner rather than later. It’s those little things that would normally send me running with any other company, but I stick with Apple for all the good that outweighs the bad.

Kinda like the Cubs, I guess.

Where do you draw the line? And where do your loyalties lie?

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