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Holiday Open Houses – Dumb and Dumbest



funny witch on broom
The holidays are approaching, so I thought I would share my favorite holiday blooper tales so that some of you could avoid the pitfalls of theme oriented open houses.  Those who pay heed may avoid disaster. The rest of you are on your own.

Ditch the Witch

One clever agent decided to increase traffic for her Brokers Open by planning a Halloween fun house. She advertised in the MLS Open House Guide that there would be a few “Halloween surprises.” It never occurred to her that SOME agents just follow the MLS open house lists and do not read the Open House Guide. (Cue the music from Nightmare on Elm Street, maestro.)

On the day of the open house one broker entered, delighted to see the Halloween décor. As she began her tour of the house, she opened the door in the foyer. Suddenly there was a piercing cackle, and a witch dropped down on a broomstick. The agent screamed and nearly fainted from shock. Fortunately there was no pacemaker involved, but the hapless agent unexpectedly emptied her bladder and had to go home – wet, humiliated, and p_ssed. (How redundant!) Moral of the Story: It’s great to come out of the closet, but make sure your audience is prepared…or wearing Depends.

What Day Is It Anyway?

Full of holiday spirit, one agent decided to do a Christmas open house in mid December. The day before, she baked,  decorated, and set up for the open house in the seller’s dining room. While adding the finishing touches, it dawned on her that a large target group in her area hailed from Israel. At the last minute she decided to do a Hanukkah theme and hurried home to send out email fliers announcing a Hanukkah Brokers Open. She ran out to purchase Star of David cookies and other non-Christmas baked goods so she would be politically correct and oh-so-hip.  (Cue the music from Fiddler on the Roof, boys.)

The next day, the open house had steady traffic, but the reaction of many agents seemed unusually reserved.  In fact, a few seemed downright curt. Finally one person from her office spoke up and said, “The cookies are delicious, Barb, but if I were you, I’d lose that centerpiece. The hostess glanced at the table and her jaw dropped in horror. There, proudly displayed, remained her original centerpiece: a lovely crèche, complete with Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus.

Moral of the Story: Mixing holiday themes is like mixing your colors and whites when doing laundry – the result could involve serious bleeding.

Come One, Come All

My friend told me about an agent in Lake Arrowhead who makes gorgeous holiday wreaths. Apparently there is no end to her cleverness. She decorates like a pro, and every open house she does is worthy of a spread in Better Homes and Gardens. She even sells her handmade crafts, so open houses are a great venue for advertising her side business.

One year she had a holiday open house that was lavish in its décor. One highlight was the handmade wreath on the door. It was a prize-worthy beauty adorned with velvet ribbon, silver balls, and copious amounts of dried fruits. Perhaps this agent had been dipping into the eggnog. Perhaps this agent had been knocking back some Mothers Little Helpers. Whatever excuse she had, there was no explanation for her colossal lack of judgment. (Cue the music from Jaws, and then run like hell.)

The day of the open house, she was dismayed that an hour had passed and no one had arrived. Finally she heard a car horn beeping madly. She ran to the window and looked out to see a caravan of agents sitting in their van – they were wild eyed! They hit the horn again and signaled to her to stay inside. She glanced at the porch and noticed a pile of shredded ribbon and shattered balls. (Christmas balls, in case you’re wondering.) Hunkered over what had been the world’s most glorious wreath was the world’s most satisfied bear.  Fortunately, the honking of the horn drove the critter back into the woods, but not until he swiped the car with one paw and came periously close to eating the agents. (I’m sure there were some shattered balls in the car, too.) The open house was a bust.  The subsequent press did garner the seller some free advertising, however, and the agent sold a lot of wreathes that year. I’m told that none of them contained dried fruit.

Moral of the Story:  Will food draw a bear? Answer: Does a bear s __t in the woods?

A Short One for the Road

One Los Angeles agent with a big heart and lousy baking skills made reindeer-face cookies for her open house. The cookies were the talk of the office because not only were they awful, but the reindeer faces, when viewed upside down, were very phallic in appearance.

The irony: her last name is Johnson.  Seriously.

Moral of the Story: Never eat a cookie if it’s a Johnson.

(You can cue the hook and drag me off now.)

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,, SherlockOfHomes, IMDB or you can shoot arrows at my head via email. I can take it.

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  1. Gilbert AZ Homes

    October 9, 2009 at 11:53 am

    Wow! That is a lot of misguided creativity!

  2. Joe Loomer

    October 9, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    Wonder if the Pope was s____ing in the woods too, after hearing about the Meshuga Christmas party! Oy Vey, Boy am I Toisty!!

    Navy Chief, Lakhaiim!!

  3. Atlanta Real Estate

    October 9, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    OMG that’s a bad one. Resltors are always outdoing themselves in the marketing area.


  4. Steven Beam

    October 9, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    Keep it simple right? It usually works best. I hold very few open houses as they seem to be mostly a waste of time in our area.

  5. Lani Rosales

    October 9, 2009 at 1:33 pm…AWESOME! LOL

  6. Gwen Banta

    October 9, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    You know, Gilbert, “The best laid plans of mice and men…”

  7. Gwen Banta

    October 9, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    “Misletoef,” Joe 🙂

  8. Gwen Banta

    October 9, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    Or, UNDOING themselves, RM!

  9. Gwen Banta

    October 9, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    A lot of agents agree with you, Steven…but they can be SUCH a source of entertainment. I recently went to one where an agent sat in a chair where a pie had been placed. It was hilarious. (Well…at least for the observers.)

  10. Gwen Banta

    October 9, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Lani, my world is crazy enough, but my brain takes it to a whole new level, I know. Maybe it’s time for me to consider meds. But honestly, can’t you just picture those reindeer cookies???

  11. Matthew Hardy

    October 9, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    You know, you look a lot better in your profile picture than you do in the witch outfit… any other costumes, Gwen? 😉

  12. Gwen Banta

    October 9, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    I tried the French Maid outfit, Mathew, but I couldn’t get the vaccum cleaner to lift off.

  13. Matthew Hardy

    October 9, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    yeah. they suck.

  14. Gwen Banta

    October 9, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    So much for a “lightweight Oreck!” I thibnk I will just stick with baking reindeer cookies 🙂

  15. Matthew Hardy

    October 9, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    > baking reindeer cookies

    You don’t have to tell us what you’ll be wearing. if. you. don’t. want to…

    (gawd, i’m going to get in such trouble…)

  16. Joe Loomer

    October 9, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Thank you Matthew and Gwen – my next Open House is going to be “clothing optional!”

  17. Gwen Banta

    October 9, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    It’s no secret, Matthew – I’ll be wearing my antler hat and a big red nose. Enjoy the visual!

  18. Gwen Banta

    October 9, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    Let me know how that goes, Joe. You should expect a lot of traffic…including the Augusta PD. be sure to take photos for your AG family!

  19. Matthew Hardy

    October 9, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    > antler hat and a big red nose

  20. Matthew Hardy

    October 9, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    { . . . }

  21. Gwen Banta

    October 9, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    Ho Ho Ho

  22. Augusta GA Homes

    October 10, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    Amusing stories…These agents must have way too much free time on their hands.

  23. Gwen Banta

    October 11, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    I like your comment @ Augusta, but I have never known a working agent who has ANY time on his/her hands. I do agree, however, that sometimes a few could use a compass…

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Business Marketing

Who’s teaching Gen Z to adapt to working with other generations

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Gen Z patch 1.1: How to work with other generations. The newest tech savy generation might need an update to work well with others



generation z

We know the current work force is made up of a multitude of generations which is the first time so many have been working at the same time in history and this is should be absolutely fascinating to dig in to the research and how this drastically affects businesses.

To think how we each have our work ethic and style influenced by so many factors on how and when (and where) we were raised, plus what generation our parents were in and what was passed down to them from the generation before. Millennials received a lot of attention for being entitled and lazy. Gen X receive constant jokes that they are the forgotten generation. And let’s not forget the cringe-worthy “OK Boomer” meme theme recently.

Now we have moved on to Gen Z (b. ~ 1997-2012) in the work force and many are currently attending college. There were other considerations for their name: Gen Tech, Gen Wii, Net Gen, Digital Natives, Plurals, and Zoomers. If you google about them, there are many books to read about this generation that has never NOT known technology.

They are used to being seconds away to finding an answer on Google, sending their current status to friends via a fun picture or video and learning anything they want to learn via their laptop (for example on YouTube, LinkedIn Learning, Google online courses, Udemy, Teachable, among others). They are no strangers to businesses evolving to continue to be consumer-minded and have an app for that when it comes to convenience like: ordering your coffee before you get there, order a ride from no matter where you are, order your groceries online and pick them up outside the grocery store or (gasp!) even have them delivered to you via some other third-party app. And let’s not forget, there better be Wi-Fi on the plane.

There are a lot of wonderful things about every generation and maybe some things we all contribute to regarding stereotypes. No matter age, experience or style, it’s key to learn about the people you are working with (peers, supervisors, leadership teams) or if you are an entrepreneur and business owner: your customers and any differences needed for them (should you be on Tik Tok? Is Instagram still where it’s at? How do you add online appointments to your site? Do you need an app for that?).

In this world of instant gratification, we have all adapted to the conveniences of technology so why would this new generation be any different. There’s been research shared with how they shop and even how they learn. Is anyone teaching them about those that came before them when they enter the work force or look to gain professional experience working with entrepreneurs, startups or small business owners?

I’d like to recommend taking a look at Lindsey Pollak’s research, read or listen (thank you, Audible) to her latest book, The Remix, How to Lead and Succeed in the Multigenerational Workplace and even her new podcast, The Work Remix, for any limited on time or attention span. It is really powerful how she is able to easily translate lots of research in to actionable items (let’s bring back apprenticeships! Skip the ping pong table for more time in nature!). she is kind and provides refreshing ideas on how to adapt our work styles to others and well as what is important in the workforce. She is also really against generational shaming. ALL OF IT. And that’s beautiful.

So, before we roll our eyes and throw a generational comment at someone, can we get to know each other better and be flexible and adaptable in how we find and work toward our common goals? For one, I’m excited working with iGen and am always asking myself (as a loud and proud Gen Xer) how I can adapt or meet their learning styles. All in fun, I do wish they would read my emails but I might have to let that go and get more used to text.

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Business Marketing

Malomo helps online retailers keep up with retail giants

(BUSINESS MARKETING) With giant companies like amazon able to offer free shipping, and super fast arrival times, how can a smaller company keep up?



Malomo home page

When Amazon is out here offering two-day shipping on all kinds of products from televisions to toothbrushes, ordering something from a smaller online retailer can have an almost humbling effect.

When faced with a basic UPS tracking number and shipping email, you realize how accustomed you’ve gotten to receiving play-by-play shipping information and a little photograph of your package when it arrives at your front step.

People have come to expect a lot from their online shopping experience. Huge online retailers, like Amazon, are crafting these expectations as another strategy to edge out competition. It’s all by design. So, how are smaller companies supposed to keep up with this demand?

Online retailers need tools that allow them to compete with the big boys and Malomo is here to help. Malomo is a shipment tracking platform designed for ecommerce marketers who want to level up their customer experience. Their mission is to help brands build authentic relationships with customers. Their platform allows online retailers to keep their customers up-to-date with shipping information using a beautiful branded platform.

Malomo could be a game changer for online retailers looking to build a more faithful customer base. Malomo’s platform can do so much more than send tracking information. The platform adds another layer to the customer journey by letting you create a digital space where your business can continue to build that customer brand connection.

Online retailers can use the platform to inform customers if there are any issues with their order such as a late shipment or a problem with an item. The platform can also be used to advertise other products, educate customers about the brand, or send targeted coupons.

In addition to offering a beautiful platform, Malomo provides online retailers with valuable analytics on customer behavior such as click-through rates on tracking information. Malomo integrates with popular ecommerce platforms such as Shopify making it a smooth addition to your overall strategy.

By integrating these ecommerce tools online retailers can harness the power of data to improve their customer experience, drive future sales, and keep up with customer demands for a world-class shipping experience.

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Business Marketing

Is Easy Advocacy the tool your business needs for ad campaign reach?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Product claims to make employee advocacy easier than ever with a tool that’s designed to enlist employees to share campaign content online.



easy advocacy welcome page

Ever wished you could get all of your employees in on your campaigns, enlisting them all to help make your digital content go “viral”?

No? To be honest, me either – at least not until I learned about a new program called Easy Advocacy, created by a company called Agora Pulse.

Easy Advocacy is a productivity and marketing tool geared towards harnessing the power of larger internal groups (employees) in order to make content sharing (campaigns, social media posts, etc.) as easy as possible. The product is listed on Product Hunt, which is essentially a tech geek’s paradise for new and interesting technology. This week, on February 19th, Easy Advocacy was listed as the #1 product of the day.

The website boasts features like:

• Quick campaign setups
• Making content easier to share
• Knowing the reach of your shares

In addition to making it easier for employers to have their employees share content, the platform also offers basic analytics pertaining to things like number of shares and website visits. Employers can also identify their top advocates through a leaderboard.

Their website’s description of the toolset says that the tool “dispels the hassle of the usual employee advocacy complaints and makes the process of sharing content with employees, who then share on their social channels, easy peasy.”
One way it does this is by emailing your employees the exact instructions and copy the company would like them to share, making it somewhat automated.

Now, while this all seems great, my biggest concern is who their market truly is. Are they going after small teams? Probably not as having a team of only 5 people sharing a campaign would be nearly fruitless – unless you happen to have a major social media influencer under your employment.

If they go after larger companies, like Apple, for example, I can see this tool being helpful. However, it’s a little bit of a double-edged sword. Larger companies typically are beyond the point of needing word-of-mouth campaigns. Let’s use Apple as an example here, too. They’ve been around for years, and according to Statista, 45.3% of smart phone owners in the U.S. go with Apple iPhones. Given this, and the fact that everyone already knows what an iPhone is (unless you live under a rock…), I really can’t see much need for a tool like Easy Advocacy for such a large company.

So, where does that leave the company? Only time will tell. My first bit of advice to the company is that the name definitely needs work. The name “Easy Advocacy” implies that there’s some kind of advocacy happening for employees, when in reality, this platform is meant to help employers. But given my points above, I think they need to think about their model some more and maybe make this tool something that’s more robust that companies of all sizes can use.

Full disclosure, this does not mean it’s not worth trying out. Give it a shot and let us know what you think.

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