Connect with us

Business Marketing

Could You Unload This Mutant Lemon?

Published

on

lemon poster

Attention all salespersons: It’s time to take a test to determine how good a salesperson you really are. Could you sell a house that’s a 10 on the Suckometer? If you get all the answers right, you will receive a can of Spam. Or not… 

1.  The house is devoid of natural light, so you: a) turn on all the lights b) pass out BIC lighters and tell everyone U2 might drop by c) install the disco ball light you won playing Bingo in 1972 and yell, ”Let’s get down!”

2.  The house lacks color, so you: a) bring in greenery from the yard to brighten the room b) give a vacation slide show on the living room wall, or c) place a green leprechaun in the corner and paint his lips hooker red

3.  There is an unsightly hole in the wall next to the couch, and thus you: a) suggest that the prospective buyer ask for credit or repair b) push the Lazy Boy (the chair, not your teenage kid) in front of the hole or c) stuff the leprechaun into the hole and tell him to stifle it.

4.  You forgot to print the ever-so-important hand out materials, so you: a) distribute your business cards b) distribute the seller’s Playboy magazines c) distribute your S.A.G. resume and headshots, which any good L.A. agent always keeps in his trunk

5.  The view is by far the only nice thing about the house, so you: a) set up the refreshment table on the patio to lead visitors outside b) put police tape over the doors of all the ugly rooms, or c) pass out binoculars and tell everyone there’s a naked couple in the pool down the hill.

6.  There is mold on the bathroom wall, so you: a) disclose it and suggest that the buyer ask for credit or abatement b) bring in the neighbor’s kids to paint a mural around it or c) explain to the prospective buyer that it is holistic Velcro wallpaper

7.  You forgot your portable CD player to assist in creating the perfect ambience, so you: a) Ask the seller permission to use the stereo b) invite visitors to your car to listen to your commercial voice tape or c) make the leprechaun sing, “Oh Danny Boy” (from his hole in the wall, of course)

8.  Knowing that scent is a powerful sales tool you: a) heat brownies in the oven during the open house b) smoke a cigar so everyone can enjoy the rich tobacco aroma or c) slap a fish on the burner and set some cheese aflame

9.  Beverages are important of course, so you: a) bring a selection of designer water, tea, coffee and  punch b) offer everyone a swig of joe from your Home Depot thermos, or c) lace the punch with vodka so everyone will stop asking about the leprechaun stuck in the wall

10. There are major foundation cracks, and thus you: a) assure the prospective buyer that a foundation specialist will be brought in to address the issue b) explain that the buyer is looking at a topographical map of California that has been cut into the floor…at no extra charge, or c) explain that everyone knows that a foundation is designed to move in the event of a quake (Hey – at least I gave the leprechaun a break on this one!)

11.  A scruffy and belligerent derelict wanders into the open house, so you:  a) politely but firmly escort him outside b) You whisper, “Not now, Uncle Mickey, I’m trying to sell this turkey” c) “You yell, “Dodgeball” and then  throw the leprechaun at him

12. The open house visitors complain that the gas appliances don’t work, so you:  a) explain that the seller probably had the gas turned off b) offer to test the pilots with the acetylene torch the seller has in the shed c) You laugh and reply, ”Well the methane gas you’ve been expelling ought to be enough to jump start Edison!”

13. A prospective buyer nervously comments on the amount of repairs detailed in the inspection report, so you: a) get him to focus on the safety issues b) tell him the inspector has a substance abuse problem and imagines things, or  c) You smack the guy in the chops and yell, “Buck up, dude – a four year old girl has more testosterone that you do!”

14.  You are allergic to the psyco cat and become nauseous, thus you: a) place an Open House Canceled sign outside and leave b) drug the cat so he’ll stop following you like a bad smell, and then lie down on the couch for a nap while visitors stroll through c) ask a prospective buyer to hold your hair back while you vomit…on the psycho cat of course.

15. A recalcitrant child gets his hand stuck in the old, rusty barbecue, so you: a) call 911 b) grease him up with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and pry him loose with tongs c) Laugh like a Bellevue Ward B inmate and yell “Let’s fire up the Barbie!”

 Extra Credit Essay Question:  Doesn’t this agent deserve a bonus? 

The seller returns and inquires, “How did the open house go?”

“Fine, I managed to disguise the hole in the wall.”

“What hole??? And what’s that green thing stuck in my wall?”

“It’s the leprechaun I shoved into the wall to disguise the hole.”

“Are you on crank? Leprechauns are imaginary.”

“Then so is the hole. Problem solved!”

“You’re an idiot.”

“Well your house sucks.”

“OMG – Your leprechaun is moving!”

“OMG – Your cat isn’t.”

“You’re fired.”

“Uh, can I offer you some punch?”

 

(Dear readers, please send me  your suggestions for question # 16, as mine involved an agent and a corpse. Incidentally, the correct answer to all the questions is “d.”)

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.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Bob Stahl

    February 19, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Funny! I’m not, so I’ll have to refer to a good point I read into your post – there’s a very fine line between “selling” a house (every house has its weaknesses) and violating SPDS regulations (not to mention ethics).

  2. Gwen Banta

    February 19, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    Yes, Bob, beneath all good satire is an underlying truth, and that IS the point. No matter how challenging the circumstances, and we agents face many, there is always a way to keep a clear head and to address the situation logically, expediently and legally. That being said, did you pass the test?

  3. Matt Stigliano

    February 19, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    Gwen – I wanted to pick the right answers, but after reading the (c) answers, I couldn’t help myself and colored them in with my sharpest number two pencil.

    holistic Velcro wallpaper” – One of the best phrases in your work to date. So good in fact, that I’m to google it to see if it exists.

  4. Gwen Banta

    February 19, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Because you failed the test by answering all the C questions, Matt, I will give you a Hail Mary question: Your obnoxious cousin Buck has an allergic reaction at your property and begins to gyrate, so you a) Call 911, b) drag his sorry ass off the property, or c) Play Muskrat Love on the stereo and tell the bystanders Buck just loves to dance. If you get this one right, you win a Captain (of Captain and Tenille) hat and 3 rolls of that holistic Velcro paper for your bathroom.

  5. Ken Montville

    February 21, 2010 at 11:51 am

    God save me! I could only get to #11 before I just couldn’t focus anymore.

  6. Fred Glick

    February 21, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Only if I could double-bubble it to foreign investors that use it as a tax shelter and a need just to have an American address (and then forwarding it to a P.O. Box) followed by a request to the local authorities to eminent domain it for use as a city dump and getting it appraised for triple because of the new highest and best use and getting a double bubble commission on the way out along with a lifetime consulting contract with th city at 100k per year to do nothing…..

  7. Bob

    February 21, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    “Could You Unload This Mutant Lemon?”
    Yes. Price it right and it will sell. Period.

  8. Gwen Banta

    February 21, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    I can give you a crib sheet if you wnat to take the test again, Ken 🙂

  9. Gwen Banta

    February 21, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    I think I need you to run my business, Fred. I like your style – more thinking and less work!

  10. Gwen Banta

    February 21, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    Bob, you are right about pricing…but the true test is the one that requires patience when that bird won’t hunt 🙂

  11. Bob

    February 23, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    There are only three factors involved in selling any property:
    1) Price
    2) Exposure
    3) Terms

    The rest are merely objections. Real estate 101.

  12. Gwen Banta

    March 16, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    Love it, Bob! I think you meant exposing the house, not one’s nether regions, right, Bob?

  13. Gwen Banta

    March 16, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    Hey Grant – You’re my bouncer – dump the stiff!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Business Marketing

Healthcare during pandemic goes virtual, looks to stay that way

(BUSINESS NEWS) Employment-based health insurance has already been through the ringer with COVID-19, but company healthcare options are adapting for long term.

Published

on

Stethoscope with laptop, showing healthcare going virtual.

Changes in employment-based health insurance may end up costing employers more, but will provide crucial benefits to workers responding to the healthcare challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a recent survey by the Business Group on Health, a member-driven advocacy organization that helps large employers navigate providing health insurance to their employees, businesses will increase access to telehealth, mental health resources, and on-site clinics in the upcoming year.

Besides the obvious impacts of the coronavirus itself, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have also rippled out to affect other aspects of public health and how we engage with medical care. With so many people staying home to reduce their in-person contacts, there has been a significant increase in the use of telehealth services such as virtual doctor’s visits. According to the survey from Business Group on Health, whose members include 74 Fortune 100 companies, more than half of large employers will offer more options for virtual healthcare in the upcoming year than in the past.

The pandemic, resulting economic fallout, and dramatic changes to our lives have inevitably exacerbated peoples’ anxieties and feelings of hopelessness. As we move into cold weather, with no end in sight to the need to socially distance, this promises to be a particularly dreary, lonely winter. Mental health support will be more necessary than ever. In 2019, 73% of large employers provided virtual mental health services. That number will increase to 91% next year, with 45% of large employers also expanding their mental health care provider networks, making it easier for employees to find the right the therapist or other mental health service provider, and making it easier to access those services from home, virtually.

In addition, there will be a 20% increase in employers offering virtual emotional well-being services. Altogether, 9 out of 10 of the employers surveyed will provide online mental health resources, which, besides virtual appointments, could also include apps, webinars, and educational videos.

There has also been a slight increase the availability of on-site clinics that provide coronavirus testing and other basic health services. This also included an expansion of resources for prenatal care, weight management, and chronic health problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

These improvement won’t come free of charge. While deductibles will remain about the same, premiums and out-of-pocket costs will increase about 5%. In most cases, employers will handle these costs, rather than passing them on to employees.

Continue Reading

Business Marketing

How Instagram’s latest redesign is more sinister than it seems

(MARKETING) Instagram’s latest updates have all but repurposed the app into an online mall – one that tracks everything you see, say, and buy on it.

Published

on

Woman in hijab taking photo on her smartphone for Instagram, affected by the redesign.

Instagram started the new year off with a makeover in their latest redesign. The notifications button teleported to the top of the screen in the app’s new design, and now the “Shopping” button is in its place.

It’s a subtle yet insidious switch. You’re much more likely to select the marketplace out of habit, by accident, when searching your next dose of online validation.

The app has always been a vital tool for artists, craftspeople, and small businesses to promote their work — including myself. And the new redesign is intended to boost the visibility of those groups. At least, that’s Instagram’s argument.

In an article for The Conversation, Nazanin Andalibi of the University of Michigan School of Information provides a glimpse of what’s going on behind the scenes.

“By choosing to make the Shop tab central to its platform,” she writes, “Instagram is sending its users a message: This platform is a business, and interactions on this platform are going to be commodified.”

As an advertiser, Instagram’s popularity has exploded in the last decade. Even big pharma is in on the surge, with seventy pharmaceutical companies purchasing ads on the app in 2020. (That made it the fastest growing pharma advertiser of the year.)

As we know, Instagram not only runs ads, but also uses user information to filter who sees what advertisements. Now, shopping is explicitly a central function of the app. It sometimes feels like a digital mall… And that’s not really what people signed up for.

I’ve had my account for since I was a teenager, and the experience I have using the app today is totally different from what it once was. For one, it’s increasingly difficult to differentiate paid ads from regular user content on Instagram.

And second, I use Instagram to promote my work, but I don’t feel comfortable sharing personal details about myself anymore.

Because, to use Anadalibi’s words: “Sharing or seeking information about a difficult, personal experience on a social media platform and then having the platform capitalize on an algorithmic understanding of the experience–which might or might not be accurate–is problematic.”

That goes doubly so for youth, who may not be fully aware of that engineering.

For instance, a teenager searching for body positive posts might receive personalized ad results for weight loss programs. A human would probably realize that’s an inappropriate, even triggering suggestion. But algorithms don’t think that way.

Alongside the redesign update, Instagram has also faces recent criticism for their Community Guidelines, which prevent suggestive and explicit images and speech.

And whether you agree with the guidelines or not, don’t be fooled. Instagram isn’t concerned with uplifting its creators, or protecting its young users. Their only goal is protecting their new bottom line, and staying as ad-friendly as possible.

Continue Reading

Business Marketing

Ghost Reply has us asking: Should you shame a recruiter who ghosted you?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Ghost Reply will send an anonymous “kind reminder” to recruiters who ghost job candidates, but is the sweet taste of temporary catharsis worth it?

Published

on

Stressed woman at a laptop with hands on head, considering if she should send a Ghost Reply.

People hate to get “ghosted” in any situation, personal or professional. But for job seekers who may already be struggling with self-esteem, it can be particularly devastating. Ghost Reply is a new online service that will help you compose and send an email nudge to the ghoster, sending a “kind reminder” telling them how unprofessional it is to leave someone hanging like that.

Ghost Reply wants to help you reach catharsis in all of this stressful mess of finding a job. Almost all of the problems and feelings are compounded by this confounded pandemic that has decimated areas of the workforce and taken jobs and threatened people’s financial security. It is understandable to want to lash out at those in power, and sending a Ghost Reply email to the recruiter or HR person may make you feel better in the short term.

In the long run, though, will it solve anything? Ghost Reply suggests it may make the HR person or recruiter reevaluate their hiring processes, indicating this type of email may help them see the error of their ways and start replying to all potential candidates. If it helps them reassess and be more considerate in the future and helps you find closure in the application/interview process, that would be the ideal outcome on all fronts. It is not likely this will happen, though.

The Ghost Reply sample email has the subject line “You have a message from a candidate!” Then it begins, “Hi, (name), You’re receiving this email because a past candidate feels like you ghosted them unfairly.” It then has a space for said candidate to add on any personal notes regarding the recruiter or process while remaining anonymous.

I get it. It’s upsetting to have someone disappear after you’ve spent time and energy applying, possibly even interviewing, only to hear nothing but crickets back from the recruiter or HR person you interacted with. It’s happened to me more than once, and it’s no bueno. We all want to be seen. We all want to be valued. Ghosting is hurtful. The frustration and disappointment, even anger, that you feel is certainly relatable. According to several sources, being ghosted after applying for a job is one of the top complaints from job seekers on the market today.

Will an anonymous, passive-aggressive email achieve your end? Will the chastened company representative suddenly have a lightbulb go off over their heads, creating a wave of change in company policy? I don’t see it. The first sentence of the sample email, in fact, is not going to be well received by HR.

When you start talking about what’s “unfair,” most HR people will tune out immediately. That kind of language in itself is unprofessional and is a red flag to many people. Once you work at a company and know its culture and have built relationships, then, maybe, just maybe, can you start talking about your work-related feelings. I believe in talking about our feelings, but rarely is a work scenario the best place to do so (I speak from experience). Calling it unprofessional is better, less about you and more about the other person’s behavior.

However, it’s unclear how productive Ghost Reply actually is. Or how anonymous, frankly. By process of deduction, the recipient of the email may be able to figure out who sent it, if it even makes it through the company’s spam filters. Even if they cannot pinpoint the exact person, it may cast doubts on several applicants or leave a bad taste in the recruiter’s mouth. It sounds like sour grapes, which is never a good thing.

There may be any number of reasons you didn’t get the job offer or interview, and they may or may not have something to do with you. Recruiters answer your burning questions, including why you may have been ghosted in this recent article in The American Genius.

Ultimately, you will never know why they ghosted you. If it makes you feel better or at least see the issue from both sides, the amount of job candidates ghosting recruiters after applying and even interviewing is equally high. Some people simply either have awful time management skills or awful manners, and at the end of the day, there’s not much you can do about that.

Focus on your own survival while job hunting, instead of these disappointing moments or the person who ghosts you. It will serve you better in the long run than some anonymous revenge email. There are other ways to deal with your frustration and anger when you do get ghosted, though. Try the classic punching your pillow. Try taking a walk around the block. If it helps to put your frustration into words, and it very well may, then do so. Write it on a piece of paper, then burn it. Or type it all in an email and delete it. For your own sake, do NOT put their email address in the “To” line, lest you accidentally hit “Send.”

The sooner you can let it go, the sooner you can move on to finding a better job fit for you.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Our Great Partners

The
American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.

Emerging Stories

Get The American Genius
neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to get business and tech updates, breaking stories, and more!