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Foot in mouth disease? Hilarious MLS missteps

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Here we go again, folks – hang on for the ride of your life. I think the holiday drinking spilled over into the work week, because there were some real knee-slappers in the MLS listing remarks this week.

With material like this, who needs sit-coms?

Reading the MLS and the L.A.Times ads can be a great stress reliever. And L.A. does not have a corner on the market. Wait until you read Andrea Swiedler’s contribution from New Milford, CT! As soon as

I wipe the tears out of my eyes I’ll try to type this week’s treasures. …There, I am composed, so here we go:

Lust Among the Ruins

“Latchis, door nobs and kochs will be replaced”  (That’s gonna hurt like hell…)

“This lusting won’t last” (Unless you are Tiger, John Edwards, Jesse, Gov. Sanford, James McGreevey…)

“Taro on roof is temporary due to leak” (A good psychic would have seen that storm coming!)

“Very Zen w/ stone walkaways amuck the flowers” (Stoned agent flower child runs amuck in Zen garden.)

“Home in Rancho Coccamongas” (Whose cocca is amongas? Or did you mean “humongous”?)

“A lovely canopee or bouganvilla” (I don’t think urine and flowers are difficult to distinguish, pal…)

For My West Hollywood Buddies:

“Call for inqueeries” (Alert Ricky Martin – there’s a new listing in “Boys Town.”)

“Small Home O Dues” (I believe the large Home Os do, too.

Dubious Distinction…

“House  snows EZ”  (Offered by Kip from Kilimanjaro)

“Playground nearby with slides and swingrs” (Kinky dinky.)

“Your buyers will flop.” (Well your sale ain’t lookin’ so hot either, pal.)

“Huge fire in living room” (Obviously, a fire sale.)

“Leader in stales.” (Loser who sucks.)

“Big gas girll on patio.” (…which is where big, gassy girlls should remain.)

And One of the Best Ever! (Thanks, Andrea):

“Big Dick Pond under a huge outcrapping of rocks” (Any guy tough enough to outcrap rocks deserves to brag about his big, uh, uh,…“pond”!)

I wear several hats: My mink fedora real estate hat belongs to Sotheby’s International Realty on the world famous Sunset Strip. I’M not world famous, but I've garnered a few Top Producer credits along the way. I also wear a coonskin writer's cap with an arrow through it, having written a few novels and screenplays and scored a few awards there, too. (The arrow was from a tasteless critic.) My sequined turban is my thespian hat for my roles on stage, and in film and television, Dahling. You can check me out in all my infamy at LinkedIn, LAhomesite.com, SherlockOfHomes, IMDB or you can shoot arrows at my head via email. I can take it.

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49 Comments

49 Comments

  1. Denise Hamlin

    June 4, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Nice one Gwen. My favorite was the last one too. That actually had me chuckling. (I’m a Brit, notorious for having a warped sense of humor.:-)

    Have these guys never heard of proof reading??

    Denise

  2. Rebecca Johnston

    June 4, 2010 at 11:57 am

    I am a communicator by profession, and am always stunned when my Realtor husband regales me with tales from the MLS. Proof read, yes! But also think about what you’re writing, and whether or not the information is actually (a) useful; (b) relevant; (c) interesting; and (d) going to help influence an action. How many people really care about the bougainvillea, after all?

  3. Joe Loomer

    June 4, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    Just when I thought you could sink no lower, along comes the “Dick Pond.” When will end, I ask you! When Gwen??

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

    p.s. off to change my shorts, fer crissakes.

  4. Gwen Banta

    June 4, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Denise, there is nothing better than a British sense of humor…or British PG Tipps tea! Thanks for reading.

  5. Gwen Banta

    June 4, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    You can thank Andrea for that contribution, Joe. I must admit, the visual is hysterical! (And yes, I can always sink lower when given even a glimmer of hope 🙂

  6. Andrew McKay

    June 4, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    and our sense of humour (with a u) will come to the fore over the next few weeks when we go out of the World Cup to Germany or Argentina on penalties ( again.) There gain this may be the year it comes home 🙂

    Great comments as always. Not just a dick pond but a “big” dick pond!!

  7. Gwen Banta

    June 4, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    HAHAHAHAHa…Spoken like a true, witty Brit, Andrew! It’s the naughty British behavior resulting in penalties that we love so much about our neighbors across the big dick pond, uh, I mean “big pond”! 🙂

  8. Gwen Banta

    June 4, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    Yes, Rebecca, some of the descriptions are puzzling, I agree. I have heard of Listing Seminars wherein one is taught how to “paint a picture” with the listing remarks. I think some agents are too liberal with the paint. I once read about a home that had “seductive rooms that dance in the dappled light.” Huh?

  9. Shea Bunch

    June 4, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Thanks Gwen. After a long day, I really needed that laugh.

  10. Andrew Mckay

    June 4, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    wait till the generation who have grown up texting start.”By gr8 crib 4 sale innit”

  11. Gwen Banta

    June 4, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    You are welcome, Shea. “Word,” Andrew 🙂

  12. Lani Rosales

    June 4, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    oh.mah.gawd.

  13. Gwen Banta

    June 4, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Incidentally, I just wrote an email to a colleague and wrote “Thank your, Dick.” Spell check did not catch it, but fortunately I did. I wonder how many times my clumsy fingers have made such hilarious errors without my knowledge. I am a danger to myself…

  14. Gwen Banta

    June 4, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    @ lani – You said it, girlfriend!

  15. Gwen Banta

    June 4, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    Thanks for your faith in me, Andrew…but most of the men in MY neighborhood like to dress up as Girl Scouts…

  16. Gwen Banta

    June 4, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    Only if you are a member of the troop 🙂

  17. john

    June 4, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    this is a particularly good batch. your interjected comments make them 2x as amusing. good stuff.

  18. Gwen Banta

    June 5, 2010 at 1:08 am

    Thanks, John. I just hope the agents who wrote these bloopers have a good sense of humor. And I hope John Edwards loses my address 🙂

  19. Michele Nixon

    June 5, 2010 at 10:47 am

    I work with an agent who remarked on one of her listings as having a “walk-in panty”.

    Damn! Those are some really big undies!

    🙂

  20. Gwen Banta

    June 5, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Oh my! Michele, I have seen “big panty” and “new panty,” and even “roomy panty,” but never one you could actually walk in. That’s a panty that sees some traffic!

  21. Joe

    June 6, 2010 at 9:06 am

    Too funny! Sadly, one does not have to go very far to find these in our MLS. 🙂

  22. Gwen Banta

    June 7, 2010 at 1:51 am

    Thanks, and hello, Memphis!

  23. Maxwell McDaniel

    June 8, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    These are hilarious! Must.repost.

  24. Nadina Cole-Potter

    June 9, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    ROFLMAO!!

    The great thing about entering the real estate field (at least, here in Arizona) is that, aside from taking the initial classes, passing the test, coming up with the money to join the brokerage, the board, the MLS, and being able to survive without income for ???, there is no barrier to entry.

    The worst thing about entering the real estate field …, there is no barrier to entry.

    Literacy and the ability to proofread (and to know when you are seeing a mistake and to know what to do about it) are not required. That is why the residential contracts are pre-fab and why commercial contracts are often prepared by attorneys.

  25. Gwen Banta

    June 10, 2010 at 2:46 am

    Thanks, maxwell. Spread the word: Pruufreed!!!

  26. Gwen Banta

    June 10, 2010 at 2:48 am

    Very funny, and very true, Nadina. Isn’t it interesting that very complicated legal contracts are being handled by some people who cannot read properly…or who are just plain careless? Ouch.

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Business Marketing

Use the ‘Blemish Effect’ to skyrocket your sales

(MARKETING) The Blemish Effect dictates that small, adjacent flaws in a product can make it that much more interesting—is perfection out?

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blemish effect

Presenting a product or service in its most immaculate, polished state has been the strategy for virtually all organizations, and overselling items with known flaws is a practice as old as time. According to marketing researchers, however, this approach may not be the only way to achieve optimal results due to something known as the “Blemish Effect.”

The Blemish Effect isn’t quite the inverse of the perfectionist product pitch; rather, it builds on the theory that small problems with a product or service can actually throw into relief its good qualities. For example, a small scratch on the back of an otherwise pristine iPhone might draw one’s eye to the glossy finish, while an objectively perfect housing might not be appreciated in the same way.

The same goes for mildly bad press or a customer’s pros and cons list. If someone has absolutely no complaints or desires for whatever you’re marketing, the end result can look flat and lacking in nuance. Having the slightest bit of longing associated with an aspect (or lack thereof) of your business means that you have room to grow, which can be tantalizing for the eager consumer.

A Stanford study indicates that small doses of mildly negative information may actually strengthen a consumer’s positive impression of a product or service. Interesting.

Another beneficial aspect of the Blemish Effect is that it helps consumers focus their negativity. “Too good to be true” often means exactly that, and we’re eager to criticize where possible. If your product or service has a noticeable flaw which doesn’t harm the item’s use, your audience might settle for lamenting the minor flaw and favoring the rest of the product rather than looking for problems which don’t exist.

This concept also applies to expectation management. Absent an obvious blemish, it can be all to easy for consumers to envision your product or service on an unattainable level.

When they’re invariably disappointed that their unrealistic expectations weren’t fulfilled, your reputation might take a hit, or consumers might lose interest after the initial wave.

The takeaway is that consumers trust transparency, so in describing your offering, tossing in a negative boosts the perception that you’re being honest and transparent, so a graphic artist could note that while their skills are superior and their pricing reasonable, they take their time with intricate projects. The time expectation is a potentially negative aspect of their service, but expressing anything negative improves sales as it builds trust.

It should be noted that the Blemish Effect applies to minor impairments in cosmetic or adjacent qualities, not in the product or service itself. Delivering an item which is inherently flawed won’t make anyone happy.

In an age where less truly is more, the Blemish Effect stands to dictate a new wave of honesty in marketing.

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Business Marketing

Google Chrome will no longer allow premium extensions

(MARKETING) In banning extension payments through their own platform, Google addresses a compelling, if self-created, issue on Chrome.

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Google Chrome open on a laptop on a organized desk.

Google has cracked down on various practices over the past couple of years, but their most recent target—the Google Chrome extensions store—has a few folks scratching their heads.
Over the span of the next few months, Google will phase out paid extensions completely, thus ending a bizarre and relatively negligible corner of internet economy.

This decision comes on the heels of a “temporary” ban on the publication of new premium extensions back in March. According to Engadget, all aspects of paid extension use—including free trials and in-app purchases—will be gone come February 2021.

To be clear, Google’s decision won’t prohibit extension developers from charging customers to use their products; instead, extension developers will be required to find alternative methods of requesting payment. We’ve seen this model work on a donation basis with extensions like AdBlock. But shifting to something similar on a comprehensive scale will be something else entirely.

Interestingly, Google’s angle appears to be in increasing user safety. The Verge reports that their initial suspension of paid extensions was put into place as a response to products that included “fraudulent transactions”, and Google’s subsequent responses since then have comprised more user-facing actions such as removing extensions published by different parties that accomplish replica tasks.

Review manipulation, use of hefty notifications as a part of an extension’s operation, and generally spammy techniques were also eyeballed by Google as problem points in their ongoing suspension leading up to the ban.

In banning extension payments through their own platform, Google addresses a compelling, if self-created, issue. The extension store was a relatively free market in a sense—something that, given the number of parameters being enforced as of now, is less true for the time being.

Similarly, one can only wonder about which avenues vendors will choose when seeking payment for their services in the future. It’s entirely possible that, after Google Chrome shuts down payments in February, the paid section of the extension market will crumble into oblivion, the side effects of which we can’t necessarily picture.

For now, it’s probably best to hold off on buying any premium extensions; after all, there’s at least a fighting chance that they’ll all be free come February—if we make it that far.

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Business Marketing

Bite-sized retail: Macy’s plans to move out of malls

(BUSINESS MARKETING) While Macy’s shares have recently climbed, the department store chain is making a change in regards to big retail shopping malls.

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Macy's retail storefront, which may look different as they scale to smaller stores.

I was recently listening to a podcast on Barstool Sports, and was surprised to hear that their presenting sponsor was Macy’s. This struck me as odd considering the demographic for the show is women in their twenties to thirties, and Macy’s typically doesn’t cater to that crowd. Furthermore, department retail stores are becoming a bit antiquated as is.

The sponsorship made more sense once I learned that Macy’s is restructuring their operation, and now allowing their brand to go the way of the ghost. They feel that while malls will remain in operation, only the best (AKA the malls with the most foot traffic) will stand the test of changes in the shopping experience.

As we’ve seen a gigantic rise this year in online shopping, stores like Macy’s and JC Penney are working hard to keep themselves afloat. There is so much changing in brick and mortar retail that major shifts need to be made.

So, what is Macy’s proposing to do?

The upscale department store chain is going to be testing smaller stores in locations outside of major shopping malls. Bloomingdale’s stores will be doing the same. “We continue to believe that the best malls in the country will thrive,” CEO Jeff Gennette told CNBC analysts. “However, we also know that Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s have high potential [off]-mall and in smaller formats.”

While the pandemic assuredly plays a role in this, the need for change came even before the hit in March. Macy’s had announced in February their plans to close 125 stores in the next three years. This is in conjunction with Macy’s expansion of Macy’s Backstage, which offers more affordable options.

Gennette also stated that while those original plans are still in place, Macy’s has been closely monitoring the competition in the event that they need to adjust the store closure timeline. At the end of the second quarter, Macy’s had 771 stores, including Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury.

Last week, Macy’s shares climbed 3 percent, after the retailer reported a more narrow loss than originally expected, along with stronger sales due to an uptick in their online business. So they’re already doing well in that regard. But will smaller stores be the change they need to survive?

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