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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

How one employer beat an age discrimination lawsuit

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Age discrimination is a rare occurrence but still something to be battled. It’s good practice to keep your house in order to be on the right side.

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Jewel age discrimination

In January, the EEOC released its annual accounting for reports of discrimination in the previous year. Allegations of retaliation were the most frequently filed charge, which disability coming in second. Age discrimination cases accounted for 21.4% of filed charges. As we’ve reported before, not all age discrimination complaints rise to the level of illegal discrimination. In Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc., the federal court dismissed the claims of age discrimination, even though seven (7) plaintiffs made similar claims against the grocery store.

What Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores was about

In Cesario, all but one of the seven plaintiffs had spent years with Jewel Food building their careers. When Jewel went through some financial troubles, the plaintiffs allege that they began to “experience significant pressure at work… (and) were eventually forced out or terminated because of their age or disability.” Jewel Food requested summary judgment to dismiss the claims.

The seven plaintiffs made the same type of complaints. Beginning in 2014, store directors were under pressure to improve metrics and customer satisfaction. Cesario alleges that the Jewel district manager asked about his age. Another director alleges that younger store directors were transferred to stores with less difficulties. One plaintiff alleged that Jewel Food managers asked him about his retirement. The EEOC complaints began in late 2015. The plaintiffs retired or were fired and subsequently filed a lawsuit against their company.

Age discrimination is prohibited by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA). The ADEA prevents disparate treatment based on age for workers over 40 years old. However, plaintiffs who allege disparate treatment must establish that the adverse reactions wouldn’t have occurred but for age. Because none of the plaintiffs could specifically point to age as the only determination of their case, the court dismissed the case.

A word to wise businesses

Jewel Food was able to demonstrate their own actions in the case through careful documentation. Although there was no evidence that age played a factor in any discharge decision, Jewel Food could document their personnel decisions across the board. The plaintiffs also didn’t exhaust all administrative remedies. This led to the case being dropped.

Lesson learned – Make personnel decisions based on performance and evidence. Don’t use age as a factor. Keep documentation to support your decisions.

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Business Marketing

in 2021 the EU will enforce ‘right to repair’ for phones and tablets

(BUSINESS NEWS) The EU says NO to planned obsolescence by…letting you fix your own stuff? The right to repair has started to make headway again.

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Right to repair

Not to be a loyalist turncoat about it, but sometimes the European Union comes out with stuff that makes me want Texas to go back to being Mexico, and then back to being Spain.

The latest in sustainability news from across the pond is that in 2021, the Old World is saying no to Euro-trash, and insisting on implementing:

Right to repair laws
Higher sustainable materials quotas
Ease of transfer for replaced items (ie: letting you sell your old phone without the need for jailbreaking anything)
and Universal adaptors for things like phone chargers, and connection cables

Hallelujah!

Consumers worldwide have been feeling the pinch of realizing their (cough cough, mostly Apple brand) technology not only breaks easily, but either can’t be fixed afterwards, or requires costly branded repairs.

The phenomenon has given rise to rogue mobile repair shops, Reddit threads, and renegade fix-it philanthropists like Louis Rossman. And while they certainly HELP, the best thing for a problem is to cut it off proactively. Since companies were making too much money not picking up the slack, the EU’s decided to take the steps to force their hands.

I’m always on my soapbox, but I’ll stack another one on top for this: Planned obsolescence and the assumption that a company has any right to tell you you can’t repair, restore, revamp, or re-home your own possessions are obscene. And to be fair to Apple fans, it’s not just in tech—it’s in damn near everything that’s not meant to be EATEN. Literally.

I bought a STAPLER for a volunteer gig I had. A good, sturdy Staedtler one that I figured would serve the project and continue to stand me in good stead for a while. After a few dozen price tags attached to baggies, the stapler jammed, as staplers do. No worries, you find a knife and wedge out the stuck staple…except I couldn’t. Because the normal slot for that was covered by a metal plate literally welded in place so that I couldn’t perform a grade-school level fix on something I paid for less than 24 hours prior.

Rather than stand behind a product that’s supposed to last, companies, even down to simple office ware, have opted to tinker away to force consumers to trash their current products to buy newer ones. Which I did in the stapler case. A rusty second hand one that didn’t HAVE that retroactive BS ‘Let’s create a problem’ plate on it, meaning no company but the resale non-profit I was helping out in the first place got any more money from me.

Consumers are wising up, and fewer lawmakers are still stuck in the fog of the 90s and 2000s surrounding our everyday machinery. The gray areas are settling into solid black and white, and SMART smart-businesses here stateside will change their colors accordingly.

Now while we’re all still quarantined and hoping for these laws to wash up onto American shores…who has craft ideas for the five-dozen different chargers we all have?

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Business Marketing

Uber Eats waives delivery fees during COVID-19 quarantine

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Uber eats has decided to take a friendly helpful step forward while everyone seems to be quarantined, they have started to waive delivery fees!

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Uber eats

With everything canceled, including dining out for social distancing’s sake, food delivery service Uber Eats is waiving delivery fees in an effort to lessen the financial strain local restaurants are experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the company, Uber Eats has more than 100,000 independent local restaurants on its app. In addition to Uber Eats, Grubhub said it will waive commission fees up to $100 million for independent restaurants across the country.

“As more people stay home, local restaurants need your business more than ever. That’s why we’re waiving the Delivery Fee for all orders from every independent restaurant on Uber Eats—more than 100,000 local restaurants on the app,” the company said in a news release earlier this week.

To find the local independent restaurants on Uber Eats, just look for the EAT LOCAL banner. Delivery fees will automatically be waived, according to this story on Tech Crunch.

Uber Eats is also making it easier for locally run restaurants to get paid faster, offering daily payments rather than the normal weekly payouts, according to Endgadget. Also, the company is giving back saying it will provide 300,000 free meals to health care workers and first responders in the US and Canada.

Not only will waiving fees help restaurants and customers, it’s sound business for food delivery companies. Local restaurants drive roughly 80 percent of business on Grubhub.

“Independent restaurants are the lifeblood of our cities and feed our communities,” Grubhub Founder and CEO Matt Maloney said in a statement published on Endgadget. “They have been amazing long-term partners for us, and we wanted to help them in their time of need. Our business is their business — so this was an easy decision for us to make.”

To limit human interaction Uber Eats and other food delivery services, including Grubhub, Postmates, and Instacart, are encouraging users to select the no-contact delivery method. According to Uber Eats, as is the norm, once packed at the restaurant food items are not touched or opened.

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