back to article Marketing company chases Twitter for $7,000 over 'swag gift box for Elon'

Canary Marketing is the latest entity to join the orderly queue asking Twitter to pay its invoices – this time to the princely tune of $400,000. The California-based company describes itself as a "multi-faceted marketing company that, among other things, helps businesses promote themselves by designing, packaging, and …

  1. WolfFan Silver badge

    $800 for a cheese board and cheese?

    I would want the whole cow for that kind of money.

    1. Maximus Decimus Meridius

      Re: $800 for a cheese board and cheese?

      According to Clarkson's Farm, supermarkets pay around £1200 per cow, so you could have the back of one and make your own cheese for $800

      1. Jim Mitchell
        Alien

        Re: $800 for a cheese board and cheese?

        Um, that isn't how it works. Everybody knows you plant the whole cow in the ground and harvest the milk. That's why it is called a dairy farm.

        1. Scotthva5

          Re: $800 for a cheese board and cheese?

          That's only for whole milk, skim and 2% use hydroponic cows.

          1. MrDamage Silver badge

            Re: $800 for a cheese board and cheese?

            Whereas the 0% milk is just harvested from a creek that flowed past said dairy farm.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

            2. Elongated Muskrat

              Re: $800 for a cheese board and cheese?

              That's "chocolate" milk

              1. Cheshire Cat
                Coat

                Re: $800 for a cheese board and cheese?

                Nonono... chocolate milk comes from *brown* cows. Normal white milk comes from the black and white, or 'friesian' cows (thats why the milk is always cold).

                Strawberry milk comes from pink cows ofc

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: $800 for a cheese board and cheese?

                  Brown? Black? What are you, racist?

        2. zuckzuckgo Silver badge

          Re: $800 for a cheese board and cheese?

          > Um, that isn't how it works ...

          Milk comes from cows? I thought it came from almonds. Free range of course.

          1. Elongated Muskrat

            Re: $800 for a cheese board and cheese?

            What I fail to understand is why they can call this "almond milk" but if you take milk, and add lactase to it, to make it lactose free, suddenly it has to be referred to as "lactose-free semi-skimmed dairy drink" and not "lactose-free milk". What dirt have the oat, soy bean and almond Mafia got on legislators?

            1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

              "Almond milk"

              Cases exist, but most of the ... Bing (this is at work) image results from searching for "almond milk" show rectangular cartons that are not labelled with the word "milk", but that do carry the word "almond". And in one case, "milked almonds". Though what appears to be the manufacturer's own web site - maybe - then does describe it as "almond milk".

              1. Elongated Muskrat

                Re: "Almond milk"

                This is, indeed true, so I suspect that in plenty of places, retailers are indeed not allowed to refer to "oat-based drink" and "almond-based drink" as "oat milk" or "almond milk". I'm sure I've seen them in the supermarket labelled that way though, in the cabinet I swiftly walk past.

                FWIW, I have a dietary intolerance to the proteins in "soya milk" (it has a similar unpleasant effect to the one lactose has on some people) and soya protein in general. Even if that wasn't the case, I find the texture of such stuff in tea or coffee to be wrong compared to actual milk. I have to confess I've not tried "almond milk" or "oat milk" which are apparently popular these days, but my experience with soya has put me right off!

                1. tiggity Silver badge

                  Re: "Almond milk"

                  @Elongated Muskrat

                  Oat "drink" is (IMHO) the best of the milk substitutes (& also quite a green / environmentally friendly option compared to e.g. soya, almond) - though my tea (with milk, not lemon) drinking partner says that none* of the non dairy options really do the job in tea. I don't drink tea so cannot give an opinion on that

                  Avoid hazelnut drink for adding to beverages as strong hazelnut taste makes them taste very odd - but its great on a nutty muesli!

                  * Tried soya, oat, hazelnut, almond "drinks" - I'm aware there are other options such as spelt but not seen those others to buy & try in the shops (living in the sticks less choice) so cannot comment on how good they are.

          2. cookieMonster Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: $800 for a cheese board and cheese?

            Nut juice ?

      2. NoneSuch Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: $800 for a cheese board and cheese?

        I'd feel better with Kaleb in charge of Twitter.

        "We should all know by now (he won't shut up about it)"

        I muted his Muskness on Twitter. Bliss I tell you. Pure bliss.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: $800 for a cheese board and cheese?

          It gets even better if you delete your account and the app. Trust me on this :).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: $800 for a cheese board and cheese?

      Well, given the range of cheese in a US supermarket vs that found in (for example) a Sainsbury's in the UK, possibly a large chunk of the $800 is the cost of travel to somewhere that sells good quality cheese.... (Yes, I know you can get better cheeses in shops other than Sainsbury's....)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: $800 for a cheese board and cheese?

        Are there cheeses beyond Cheddar, Stilton, and Stinking Bishop?

        1. Steve Hersey

          Other cheeses?

          There's always X-14 cheese, but it's only for the daring...

          https://www.jasperfforde.com/specops/cheeseindex.html

        2. MrDamage Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: $800 for a cheese board and cheese?

          >> Are there cheeses beyond Cheddar, Stilton, and Stinking Bishop?

          I guess it depends on how well you wash yourself.

        3. Commswonk

          Re: $800 for a cheese board and cheese?

          Are there cheeses beyond Cheddar, Stilton, and Stinking Bishop?

          Oooh lots... see https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=cheese+shop+sketch&view=detail&mid=6C4BDECD7C1E9BAFC1B16C4BDECD7C1E9BAFC1B1&FORM=VIRE

          Sorry about the HUGE link.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: $800 for a cheese board and cheese?

          You have to check your local cheese shop:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hz1JWzyvv8A

        5. Stork Silver badge

          Re: $800 for a cheese board and cheese?

          Appenzeller, Gruyère, dolcelatte- I’ve heard they also do some in France

        6. parlei Bronze badge

          Re: $800 for a cheese board and cheese?

          "How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?" ― Charles de Gaulle

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: $800 for a cheese board and cheese?

            and just to prove him right, the number of different cheeses in France is now well above 1 000.

            Macron, prend garde!

            (this Fall: Mondial du Fromage in Tours, France, followed by Cheese / Slow Food in Bra, Italy)

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: $800 for a cheese board and cheese?

            So the French are to cheese what the Belgians are to beer varieties?

            Wow.

    3. Paul Herber Silver badge

      Re: $800 for a cheese board and cheese?

      Don't eat a cow, man!

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: $800 for a cheese board and cheese?

        Having nearly been trampled to death by a herd of cows, the only way I want my cows now are as leather goods or on a plate.

        Vengeance is a dish best served medium well, with fries, onion rings & garlic toast (With a Icon to go with it).

        1. Paul Herber Silver badge

          Re: $800 for a cheese board and cheese?

          In France I have had my beef "Saignant". Perfect.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: $800 for a cheese board and cheese?

          "Medium well"?

          Heathen.

          You should be able to hear the faint echoes of its last moo before the chef wipes it's arse, pulls out its horns and stick it on a plate.

      2. runt row raggy

        Re: $800 for a cheese board and cheese?

        were you trying to channel Bart Simpson,"don't have a cow, man"

        1. Paul Herber Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: $800 for a cheese board and cheese?

          Correct.

  2. Randy Hudson

    Musk is just sharing some of the company culture outside the company. Namely: character limit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Character limit?

      I think you meant "of limited character".

  3. Howard Sway Silver badge

    Does Elon live off whisky cocktails and cheese?

    The contents of the box suggest this, and it would kind of explain a lot of his erratic behaviour.

    Also, the socks suggest he's one of those people who wears them once them throws them away. Some interesting problems there already for his dream of a colony on Mars : the cow farm and distillery will no doubt be considered early essentials, but pity the poor underling that explains to him that an unlimited supply of new socks might be too hard for phase one of the project.

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Does Elon live off whisky cocktails and cheese?

      pity the poor underling that explains to him that an unlimited supply of new socks might be too hard for phase one of the project.

      I expect they'd be told to put a sock in it...

    2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: Does Elon live off whisky cocktails and cheese?

      In space, no one can smell your socks.

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Does Elon live off whisky cocktails and cheese?

        Inside the confines of a spaceship (or similar airtight enviroment), rest assured they will.

        Icon - Covering the nose.

  4. MrAptronym

    While I don't think it sounds like Elon's management has been a boon for the company, things like this don't exactly paint old twitter in a great light either. Sometimes when someone is so loudly bad at their job you lose sight of all the regular day to day incompetence.

    If your unprofitable company has spent 8 figures on swag over the last decade, that looks pretty awful. Still, I know corporate budgets aren't the same scale as personal finance, that money probably would have only bought a couple programmers over the same decade. It still seems like a weird excess, but an extremely silicon valley one.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Two completely different companies

      Twitter.1 was owned by a large number of share holders who cashed out with a generous profit thanks to Musk. From their point of view, Twitter.1 and Musk both worked out fine - better than the small profits from Twitter.1's final quarterly results.

      Twitter.2 is owned by a small number of shareholders and banks. They each get something different from their purchase: interest payments, the names of people saying bad things about the Saudi royals, lots of attention, ... You would have to ask them if they think they are getting good value for money. Tesla shares have doubled in value since the start of the year and Musk has sold a large proportion of his holdings without getting fined for securities fraud (the jury found him guilty but set the damages to $0 because they believed the plaintiffs were not harmed by losing large amounts of money). Despite his best efforts, Twitter is still working for him.

      Although firing large numbers of staff has has damaged advertising revenue, a certain type of engagement has proliferated as a result.

      It may not be popular among the crowd that frequents this site but a large number of people believe that not paying bills demonstrates business acumen and strength: qualities they look for in a president. (Excuse me, I have to go and vomit.)

    2. Elongated Muskrat

      It probably depends on what "use" that swag was put to. Arguably, if it was used for marketing purposes, and raising "brand awareness" it could be said it wasn't wasted money.

      On the flip side, "freebies" given away at trade shows and the like tend to get thrown in a bag and then forgotten about. I'm sure I have any number of pens that have various brands emblazoned on them, that don't get looked at until I want a working pen, try to use it, find it has dried out, and throw it away. Ditto with the 16Mb memory sticks, T-shirts with company logos on (yuck, not wearing that!) and so on.

      There's probably a fairly subtle line between "marketing freebies" and illegal inducements as well...

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        T-shirts with company logos on (yuck, not wearing that!) and so on

        They could come in handy for doing DIY, or just slobbing around the house in. I think the best/worst bit of branded tat I got was a couple of pairs of Cisco powered boxer shorts. Their merch site also had exciting products like Cisco branded onsies for the most junior network engineers.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          That's usually why I keep them around, then I realize that I don't do all that much painting and that at my rate of predictable clothing destruction, a couple shirts will last for a decade. I've had a slightly better record using the tiny USB disks companies often give away. For a while, I had a couple 1 GB ones that were used for my recovery Linux images because they'd be too small to be erased when I needed a different disk. It didn't do much for the companies whose names were written on the disks, but at least I found them a bit useful.

          1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

            Too easy to catch a virus that way...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              That's why you never stick these in a Windows machine :)

            2. doublelayer Silver badge

              If you pick up one from the street, maybe. If you get one from a company you already know is at whatever event you went to directly from someone who worked for them and your first step is to dd your system repair image onto it, thus obliterating any filesystem and files there might have been on there, then you're likely fine. While it's possible they've added extra sneaky code to the controller and if you're using it in a sensitive environment it's best to get fresh ones from known channels, most times I've gotten one is when a company wants to sell things to me and all they include is some PowerPoint files I don't intend to read. For the same reason, it's possible that a company-provided pen has a microphone and transmitter in it, but for most companies, it's a pen made as cheaply as possible designed to write just long enough so that you see their name while you're there if you happen to use it.

              1. sten2012 Bronze badge

                That's another check in the possibly malicious column though - the USB sticks are also made as cheaply as possible, and being loaded up with malware (or inadvertently infected in the process of QA if thats believable) at the factory with the company whose buying them none the wiser.

        2. Elongated Muskrat

          Yes, that is a fair use For some reason, I always seem to manage to get paint, cleaning products, etc. on my favourite shirts, but at least attempting to sacrifice a crappy T-shirt helps.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          OK, now I want to know how Cisco powers boxer shorts.

          :)

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            OK, now I want to know how Cisco powers boxer shorts

            I think they rely on power via the male or female connectors, or probably plug & socket in modern parlance. At least that would mean they were unisex shorts. Shame they didn't print IP front and centre as a hint to users to configure them correctly, but I've heard there's a lot of online video guides available on that subject.

      2. Insert sadsack pun here Silver badge

        "It probably depends on what "use" that swag was put to. Arguably, if it was used for marketing purposes, and raising "brand awareness" it could be said it wasn't wasted money..."

        Swag is also given away to employees as a retention initiative (sometimes it's cheaper than paying them more). There is a certain Silicon Valley stereotype of boffins and tech bros being dressed in company-branded Patagonia jackets etc...

    3. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      It still seems like a weird excess, but an extremely silicon valley one.

      Or just California. It's one of those details that help to explain why Twitter1.0 was bleeding cash. I'd be digging back through the paperwork to see who set up the contracts, why, and if there were any 'related party transactions' between current or former employees. I'm sure the merch was ok, but seems to have been supplied at a rather excessive markup.

  5. Lost Neutrino

    "The hoard includes two branded bomber jackets for $1,000, two branded T-shirts for $550, socks somehow coming to $260 ... "

    That's a perfectly legitimate expense - it does get cold in space.

  6. Sam not the Viking
    Pint

    Freebies

    I received a free pen from one of our suppliers. It has a little light and writes nicely.

    I now feel I was under-valued by their marketing department.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Freebies

      My partner always complained about one supplier who left the gifts with the MD, but no one else saw anything, until the MD left and so he had to go into the office and publicly hand them over… No one complained about receiving a rather good bottle of wine each…

      One of the ‘best’ freebies I’ve received was from a data destruction company; a pot of small scale production finely shredded marmalade, bearing the label “Shred-it”…

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Freebies

        For the most part I've only received employers own branded tat & clothing, a great many polo shirts from one employer & a fleece is still utilised 20 years later, albeit for dirtier tasks.

        My last employer, provided very nice shirts to wear, but on getting the push I was so incensed that set about de-branding them as the company logo was adhered by heat transfer (I always meant to get some new transfers to cover up the mark).

        We also received a number of branded merch that our boss shared out, I have a rather nice insulated Cisco branded travel mug for my truck (It was a godsend keeping my tea hot while driving down through the US in -32C in December).

        Current employers have yet to send out any "workware" & the client site tends to give out freebies & lunches (Etc) only to it's direct employees (Which is a little awkward at times for them as well as myself & one other who are surrounded by them).

    2. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Freebies

      They valued you, otherwise the pen wouldn't have written at all

    3. Fifth Horseman

      Re: Freebies

      Many years ago when I worked in the finance department of a (long defunct, for good reason) engineering company, the finance department of a plasma profiling company we frequently used sent me a really rather nice pen for Christmas. I used it for many years afterwards.

      It came with a sweet little note: "You obviously don't have anything to sign our cheques with. We thought this might come in useful."

  7. Rich 2 Silver badge

    Elon

    The thought that keeps coming back to me after reading a seemingly unless stream of bad stories involving Twitter is why didn’t Musk just pay the $1 billion penalty for breaking out of the buyout and walk away? By now he would have more than made it back and the whole sorry story would have been forgotten about

    …instead of this ongoing train crash

    1. Elongated Muskrat

      Re: Elon

      The film "Forbidden Planet" had the famous "Monster from the id", the subconscious being of wonton destruction that could not be controlled and which finishes off the alien race that created it.

      In a similar vein, Musk is entirely subservient to his own ego, and his ego monster would never allow anything like admitting a mistake, it would eviscerate him and leave him dead on the dusty ground of an extinct planet first.

      1. TheRealRoland
        Coat

        Re: Elon

        i like wontons.

        1. Elongated Muskrat

          Re: Elon

          Yes, I blame the spiel chucker for that one, it was (hopefully obviously) supposed to say "wanton".

      2. Majikthise
        Joke

        Re: Elon

        Monster of wonton destruction...

        Is that like a soup dragon, then?

      3. Cheshire Cat
        Coat

        Re: Elon

        Does that mean that the lady who works in the local chinese takeaway is a wonton wench?

        I have in the past referred to the mrs as a wonton wench when she cooked dumplings for dinner, but it didnt go down well

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Elon

      That payment was only if he couldn't get people to fund his takeover. For some reason, he managed to get multiple banks to put up piles of cash for it, so that wasn't an option. He could still have backed out, but then Twitter would have tried to sue him for significantly more. That might also have been a fun thing to watch since he signed a contract eliminating all the good excuses for walking out on the deal.

    3. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Elon

      He couldn't pay $1 billion and get out of it. That fee was only if he was UNABLE to complete the purchase. Since he was worth much more than $44 billion he could have sold enough Tesla stock to pay the entire amount even if all his investors dropped out and no banks were willing to lend him a penny. Since he made the offer without contingency, a court would have almost certainly forced him to complete the deal.

      If he wanted a $1 billion breakup fee he could pay at any time to get out he could have put that in the purchase agreement. Maybe Twitter would have agreed to that deal, maybe not. But as far as we can tell he didn't even negotiate. Clearly he's just as good as a businessman as the orange clown he has been imitating.

      1. Lost Neutrino

        Re: Elon

        "the orange clown he has been imitating."

        He was imitating?!? Darn...

  8. FirstTangoInParis

    Contract?

    Did someone raise a purchase order for this lot against a quote? If not, it’s unsolicited goods, sent at risk. If a PO was properly raised, pay up. If someone said oh yeah just send it, they should be sacked for falsely pledging the company’s credit. Wonder if that someone is a certain Mr Musk?

  9. Grogan Bronze badge

    $400,000 and they are reneging? That's like us refusing to pay for a pack of chewing gum, in scale.

    Not that I have any sympathy for "swag" vendors, but twitter likely made considerable profit on the merchandise they aren't paying for.

    Some of these self annointed billionaires need to spend some time struggling for money. I don't mean declaring bankruptcy and then getting money from friends and calling themselves "broke", I mean actually having to triage their spending to make sure they have enough ramen noodles for the month.

  10. aerogems Silver badge
    Facepalm

    As much as I dislike Twitler, I can't bring myself to faulting him for not paying for a "swag" bag. Those are generally given gratis as a way of generating positive associations with a company/brand. Seems like in this case the company was hoping that Twitler would continue doing business with the company, maybe even expand the range of services ordered, and the "swag" was little more than an attempted bribe.

    Now, any invoices Canary has for actual contracted work, which aren't being paid, I'm fully on their side as far as being compensated per the terms of the contract and then maybe some kind of penalty for lateness of payment.

    1. AVR

      "Twitter performed on the parties' contract for nearly 10 years, but beginning in September 2022, it stopped paying Canary's invoices."

      It's not about how reasonable the invoices are, Twitter's stopped paying all kinds of bills. Notably their rent.

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      That would work if the company chose to give that. The way I read the article, Twitter asked for it and agreed to pay for it, but then didn't pay when the bill showed up. I'm guessing they wouldn't have a contract that allows any company to send them something unsolicited and expect payment.

    3. Dave@Home

      The way it's laid out is that Canary produced the 'swag bag' on Twitter's behalf. That is, they make branded merch for other companies.

  11. Winkypop Silver badge
    Devil

    Bomber jackets

    Seems apt.

    Twitter is bombing now.

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