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Un-Real Estate – The Caravan From Hell

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The Caravan From Hell

Yes, we have all had those caravans that were not exactly successful. But there reaches a point when a gal just wants to burn her license. My friend from Nelson Shelton told me a tragic story (hilarious to my sick mind, of course), about a Caravan gone so wrong that Right was just a burg in another galaxy. The agent had advertised, prepared a luncheon, purchased flowers, lit candles, and even said a few Hail Marys before getting her listing ready for the first Brokers Open.

Smoking Will Kill Ya!

The agent decided that a fire in the fireplace would be the final touch in setting the ambience. She lit the fire and went back to her food prep. When she smelled smoke, she realized that she had forgotten that little fireplace device called a ‘flue.’ The instant she opened it, something out of the depths of Hell flew past her face…something too dense to be smoke. In a moment of disbelief that could rival only a Hitchcock film, she looked up to see three bats overhead, freaking out from the smoke. Apparently they had taken the fastest path out of the chimney – the open flue – rather than the upper path to freedom. Or maybe they were just blinded by the smoke. The ratlike creatures were absolutely manic. She reckoned that the screams that were erupting from her prolapsed jaw were not helping matters.

Is There a Continuing Ed Course For This?

Being the brainy agent that she was, she grabbed a broom, opened the wall of French doors, and managed to scoot two of the flying vermin out of the house. Then came the showdown. The remaining bat hovered against a skylight, eyeing her coiffure with a taste for vengeance. In the nick of time, the first agent on caravan arrived at the scene of the disaster. Being the macho sort, he sized up the sitch, told the listing agent to grab a towel and stifle her screams, and then he mounted a chair. Carefully…oh so carefully, he grabbed the bat with the towel and ran for the door. By this time, he also was screaming like a girly-man. He threw the towel onto the patio, and waited for the bird to break free and head back to Lucifer’s den. The OK Corral had better results.

Some Visitors Just Can’t Take a Hint!

The bat had other plans. Its foot, or talon, or whatever those creepy things have attached to those vampire-like bodies, was stuck in the towel. It tried to launch itself, but the heavy towel kept the evil thing tethered. (Back off, PETA – no vermin was harmed in this rumble!) Now both agents were yelling as they helplessly watched the horror show. Soon a few more agents arrived (packing loaded business cards); and then the Police rushed in (armed with high-tech donuts, no doubt), having heard reports of screaming. Last to join the soiree was the seller, having been alerted at work by a neighbor who was sure a homicide had occurred in their normally tranquil neighborhood.

Eight Heads Are Not Always Better Than One

The cop offered to shoot the bat. (Joking) The agents all vied to sell it a condo. (Half-joking) And the seller was pissed about the Egyptian cotton towel used for extrication purposes. (Not joking) Finally one brave cop, not content to wait for Animal Control because his coffee was cooling in the squad car, approached the weary bat. Reluctant to use his pepper spray on such a breezy day, the Man of Law shook the towel a few times as everyone scattered, screamed, and looked for a nearby bush where they could empty the contents of their stomachs. But no could drag himself away from the adrenalin rush. More agents arrived, too curious to keep driving after seeing the squad car. (Hey – cops are prospects, too!) Finally the bat, having had about all he could take of the noise and hysteria, broke free and escaped. Alas, no one was quick enough to get his email address.

Moral of the Story

(Yes, Virginia, We Agents Still Have Morals.)
Check fireplaces before burning anything, especially the Living Evil. Carry your own towels – you never know when you may need to soak up something nasty. If you ever have bats in a fireplace – or anywhere – be sure to get the bat pre-qualified for a loan. In this economy, everything breathing is worth your time.

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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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Elaine Reese

    March 20, 2009 at 7:40 am

    Well, I’ve heard funny Realtor stories, but this one is the best! I truly empathize with the agent as I grew up in an old home that had bats in the attic. Occasionally they would get into the home. We did the screaming as well.

    Loved your embellishments!

  2. Matt Stigliano

    March 20, 2009 at 8:38 am

    If you ever have bats in a fireplace – or anywhere – be sure to get the bat pre-qualified for a loan. In this economy, everything breathing is worth your time.

    I finished reading your post about 5 minutes ago. Thanks to the above quoted lines, I’m still laughing.

    Thanks Gwen.

  3. Austin Smith - Goomzee.com

    March 20, 2009 at 9:12 am

    Ahaha nice work!! You have a gift for embellishment…not too much, not too little.

    …”By this time, he also was screaming like a girly-man.”…

    Look forward to reading more of your stories in the future!

  4. Melina Tomson

    March 21, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    This was hilarious. I look forward to future installements…

  5. Vicki Moore

    March 22, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    Super excellent writing – what a hoot!

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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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Business Marketing

Why you must nix MLM experience from your resume

(BUSINESS MARKETING) MLMs prey on people without much choice, but once you try to switch to something more stable, don’t use the MLM as experience.

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Discussing including MLM experience on a resume.

MLM experience… Is it worth keeping on your resume?

Are you or someone you know looking for a job after a stint in an MLM? Well, first off, congratulations for pursuing a real job that will provide a steady salary! But I also know that transition can be hard. The job market is already tight and if you don’t have much other work experience on your resume, is it worth trying to leverage your MLM experience?

The short answer? Heck no.

As Ask the Manager puts it, there’s a “strong stigma against [MLMs],” meaning your work experience might very well put a bad taste in the mouth of anyone looking through resumes. And looking past the sketchy products many offer, when nearly half of people in MLMs lose money and another quarter barely break even, it sure doesn’t paint you in a good light to be involved.

(Not to mention, many who do turn a profit only do so by recruiting more people, not actually by selling many products.)

“But I wouldn’t say I worked for an MLM,” you or your friend might say, “I was a small business owner!”

It’s a common selling point for MLMs, that often throw around pseudo-feminist feel good slang like “Boss Babe” or a “Momtrepreneur,” to tell women joining that they’re now business women! Except, as you might have guessed, that’s not actually the case, unless by “Boss Babe” you mean “Babe Who Goes Bankrupt or Tries to Bankrupt Her Friends.”

A more accurate title for the job you did at an MLM would be Sales Rep, because you have no stake in the creation of the product, or setting the prices, or any of the myriad of tasks that a real entrepreneur has to face.

Okay, that doesn’t sound nearly as impressive as “small business owner.” And I know it’s tempting to talk up your experience on a resume, but that can fall apart pretty quickly if you can’t actually speak to actual entrepreneur experience. It makes you look like you don’t know what you’re talking about…which is also not a good look for the job hunt.

That said… Depending on your situation, it might be difficult to leave any potential work experience off your resume. I get it. MLMs often target people who don’t have options for other work opportunities – and it’s possible you’re one of the unlucky ones who doesn’t have much else to put on paper.

In this case, you’ll want to do it carefully. Use the sales representative title (or something similar) and, if you’re like the roughly 50% of people who lose money from MLMs, highlight your soft skills. Did you do cold calls? Tailor events to the people who would be attending? Get creative, just make sure to do it within reason.

It’s not ideal to use your MLM experience on a resume, but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. Still, congratulations to you, or anyone you know, who has decided to pursue something that will actually help pay the bills.

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Business Marketing

This smart card manages employee spending with ease

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Clever credit cards make it easier for companies to set spending policies and help alleviate expense problems for both them and their employees.

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Spendesk showing off its company credit cards.

Company credit cards are a wonderful solution to managing business expenses. They work almost exactly like debit cards, which we all know how to use, am I right? It is the twenty-first century after all. Simply swipe, dip, or tap, and a transaction is complete.

However, keeping up with invoices and receipts is a nightmare. I know I’ve had my fair share of hunting down wrinkled pieces of paper after organizing work events. Filling out endless expense reports is tedious. Plus, the back and forth communication with the finance team to justify purchases can cause a headache on both ends.

Company credit cards make it easier for companies to keep track of who’s spending money and how much. However, they aren’t able to see final numbers until expense reports are submitted. This makes monitoring spending a challenge. Also, reviewing all the paperwork to reimburse employees is time-consuming.

But Spendesk is here to combat those downsides! This all-in-one corporate expense and spend management service provides a promising alternative to internal management. The French startup “combines spend approvals, company cards, and automated accounting into one refreshingly easy spend management solution.”

Their clever company cards are what companies and employees have all been waiting for! With increasing remote workforces, this new form of payment comes at just the right moment to help companies simplify their expenditures.

These smart cards remove limitations regular company cards have today. Spendesk’s employee debit cards offer companies options to monitor budgets, customize settings, and set specific authorizations. For instance, companies can set predefined budgets and spending category limitations on flights, hotels, restaurants, etc. Then they don’t have to worry about an employee taking advantage of their card by booking a first-class flight or eating at a high-end steakhouse.

All transactions are tracked in real time so finance and accounting can see purchases right as they happen. Increasing visibility is important, especially when your employee is working remotely.

And for employees, this new form of payment is more convenient and easier on the pocket. “These are smart employee company cards with built-in spending policies. Employees can pay for business expenses when they need to without ever having to spend their own money,” the company demonstrated in a company video.

Not having to dip into your checking account is a plus in my book! And for remote employees who just need to make a single purchase, Spendesk has single-use virtual debit cards, too.

Now, that’s a smart card!

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