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“Oops – Maybe I Should Have Mentioned That!”



tea with cannabis

A Swarm of Chickens

I heard a funny story from a colleague the other day. He said he was setting up an open house and was ready to open when he remembered to turn on the basement light. To his shock, he glanced down the stairs and was greeted by a “swarm” of chickens! According to him, there were so many chickens that they were climbing on top of each other and vying for dominance like a pack of steroidal World Wrestlers. He immediately called the seller, who explained that there had been a fire on his brother’s ranch in Ojai, so they had moved the chickens to the basement the previous evening. “I guess I should have mentioned that before you arrived” the seller mumbled. He then added sheepishly, “Maybe you shouldn’t look in the back yard.”

Oops Moments

It occurred to me that I had experienced a few “Oops Moments” myself, and when I asked around the office, I heard some great tales. Here are a few things the client SHOULD HAVE MENTIONED…but didn’t until it was too late:

“Did you see my son’s snake – it’s gone.” (No, but I saw an agent running North on the freeway in her high heels.)

“Did you notice the mushroom growing at the base of the toilet?” (Yeah – I had to put a glass over it and call it a terrarium.)

“I should have mentioned that the back step is loose.” (Tell that to Mrs. Hinkle’s hip, which is now lodged in her diaphragm.)

“Did you see those strange plants my son is growing behind the garage?” (Uh-oh – did you see how many open house visitors wanted your home-grown “mint” in their iced tea?)

“Oops, I meant to tell you not to show the house before 8:00 am because my neighbor waters his garden in his boxers.” (Oops – the incessant butt scratching was a real treat, too.)

Unconscious at the Wheel

“Oh that – well my husband got drunk last night and drove through the garage wall.” (Has it occurred to you that he’s still in the car?)

“Sorry – I accidentally left the door to the dog cage unlocked.” (Sorry, I accidentally left your house unlocked and wrote “Free Stuff” on your front door.)

“Did I mention we got a new alarm?” (No…did I mention that the EMT guy was cute but those paddles on my chest were no picnic?)

“I didn’t tell you about the mold I painted over because I didn’t want to worry you.” (And I didn’t tell you about my cousin Sal “Crunch” Angelino because I didn’t want to worry you.)

“Didn’t I tell you it was broken?” (That’s the same question the EMT asked poor Mrs. Hinkle.)

“I forgot to warn you my mother would be there – I know she’s VERY critical.”  (Did you also know she LOVES iced tea with lots of your home-grown “mint”?)

I guess I should have told you the toilet has been overflowing. (And I guess I should have told you I was serving La Salsa burritos at the Open House…)

“Oh, maybe I should have hidden the collection of porno in the shed…” (Nah – your butt-scratching neighbor is out there in a lawn chair “reading the articles” to your stoned mother!)

Go Forth and Survive!

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. Joe Loomer

    July 24, 2009 at 9:13 am

    Another zinger Gwen! I actually experienced the “new” alarm issue myself just yesterday. Good thing my client is an Army Nurse!

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  2. Lani Rosales

    July 24, 2009 at 9:32 am

    La Salsa burritos… OMG I’m dyin’ here laughing!!!!!! These are hilarious, Gwen!!!

    Sidenote: tell your cousin to call me, I have some work for him 😉

  3. tomferry

    July 24, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Chickens huh!!! Wow. I have heard it all … at least ’till next week, that is.

  4. Gwen Banta

    July 24, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    Truth is not only stranger than fiction, Joe – it appears to be more life threatening. Some of those alarms can make your heart stop…and if that doesn’t get you, the cops will show up and beat you senseless. Of course, I live in L.A…. 🙂

  5. Gwen Banta

    July 24, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    My cousin is on his way to your house in his Caddy, Lani. You’ll recognize him from the scar on his cheek, the shiny suit, and the buldge in his pants. (Uh, perhaps I should have said, “in the WAIST of his pants.”…)

  6. Gwen Banta

    July 24, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    Tom, I guess it could have been worse, such as flamingos, which STINK, or snakes. Can you imagine how pleasant the house smelled after a day or two? Of course, if the seller didn’t sell his house, he could always sell the eggs…

  7. tomferry

    July 24, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    Gwen … I like how you see the sunny side!

  8. Gwen Banta

    July 24, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    Thanks, Tom – it has something to do with Friday afternoon martinis 🙂

  9. Missy Caulk

    July 24, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    You sure lead an interesting life….cracking up here.

  10. Kim Curran

    July 24, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    I always enjoy your posts Gwen. Thanks for the laughs.

  11. Gwen Banta

    July 24, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    Thanks, Missy. You are the genius at thoughtful, meaningful posts – I’m the class clown – I record the bizarre. In fact, I AM bizarre. It’s all that sun we get here in L.A. – it bakes the brain!

  12. Gwen Banta

    July 24, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    Hey – It’s my ol’ friend Kim! Happy Friday, Kim – I’m glad I could help you start it with a few chuckles. have a great weekend.

  13. Elaine Reese

    July 24, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    I really, really enjoy your posts. The alarm was the best! So funny because we’ve all been there.

    I can add one. During the home inspection, inspector, buyer and myself were in the basement. No notice that there would be a caged dog – a German Shepherd – in the basement. We were standing on one side of the furnace, talking for a couple minutes. Couldn’t see the dog cage. All of a sudden the dog decided to let out a blood-curdling bark-bark-bark. I think we all peed our pants just a little. LOL

  14. Gwen Banta

    July 24, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    Elaine, it’s stories like yours that give me credibility! I’m just the bookkeeper for all the insanity we agents have to deal with on a daily basis. Who says we don’t earn our commissions? Have a great weekend!

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Business Marketing

Amazon attracts advertisers from Facebook after Apple privacy alterations

(MARKETING) After Apple’s privacy features unveil, Amazon adapts by taking a unique approach to targeting, disrupting revenue for the ad giant Facebook.



Two African American women work at their desks, one viewing Amazon's advertising landing page.

As a de facto search engine of its own persuasion, Amazon has been poaching ad revenue from Google for some time. However, disrupting the revenue stream from their most recent victim – Facebook – is going to turn some heads.

According to Bloomberg, Apple’s recent privacy additions to products such as iPhones are largely responsible for the shift in ad spending. While platforms like Facebook and Instagram were originally goldmines for advertisers, these privacy features prevent tracking for targeting – a crucial aspect in any marketing campaign.

Internet privacy has been featured heavily in tech conversations for the last several years, and with Chrome phasing out third-party cookies, along with Safari and Firefox introducing roughly analogous policies, social media advertising is bound to become less useful as tracking strategies struggle to keep up with the aforementioned changes.

However, Amazon’s wide user base and separate categorization from social media companies makes it a clear alternative to the Facebook family, which is perhaps why Facebook advertisers are starting to jump ship in an effort to preserve their profits.

This is the premise behind the decision to reduce the Facebook ad spending of Vanity Planet by 22%, a home spa vendor, while facilitating a transition to Amazon. “We have inventory…and the biggest place we are growing is Amazon,” says Alex Dastmalchi, the entrepreneur who runs Vanity Planet.

That gap will only widen with Apple’s new privacy features. Bloomberg reports that when asked in June if they would consent to having their internet activity tracked, only one in four iPhone users did so; this makes it substantially harder for the ad campaigns unique to Facebook to target prospective buyers.

It also means that Amazon, having demonstrated a profound effectiveness in targeting individuals both pre- and post-purchase, stands to gain more than its fair share of sellers flocking to promote their products.

Jens Nicolaysen, co-founder of Shinesty (an eccentric underwear company), affirms the value that Amazon holds for sellers while acknowledging that it isn’t a perfect substitute for social media. While Nicolaysen laments the loss of the somewhat random introduction charm inherent on Instagram, he also believes in the power of brand loyalty, especially on a platform as high-profile as Amazon. “The bigger you are, the more you lose by not having any presence on Amazon,” he explains.

As privacy restrictions continue to ramp up in the coming months, it will be interesting to see how social media advertising evolves to keep up with this trend; it seems naive to assume that Amazon will replace Facebook’s ads entirely, tracking or no tracking.

Apple's privacy landing page showing iPhone users ability to shut off location services and a desktop image of a user's ability to control how their data is managed.

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Business Marketing

How many hours of the work week are actually efficient?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Working more for that paycheck, more hours each week, on the weekends, on holidays can actually hurt productivity. So don’t do that, stay efficient.



Clock pointed to 5:50 on a plain white wall, well tracked during the week.

Social media is always flooded with promises to get in shape, eat healthier and… hustle?

In hustle culture, it seems as though there’s no such thing as too much work. Nights, weekends and holidays are really just more time to be pushing towards your dreams and hobbies are just side hustles waiting to be monetized. Plus, with freelancing on the rise, there really is nothing stopping someone from making the most out of their 24 hours.

Hustle culture will have you believe that a full-time job isn’t enough. Is that true?

Although it’s a bit outdated, Gallup’s 2014 report on full-time US workers gives us an alarming glimpse into the effects of the hustle. For starters, 50% of full-time workers reported working over 40 hours a week – in fact, the average weekly hours for salaried employees was up to 49 hours.

So, what’s the deal with 40 hours anyway? The 40 hour work-week actually started with labor rights activists in the 1800s pushing for an 8 hour workday. In 1817, Robert Owen, a Welsh activist, reasoned this workday provided: “eight hours labor, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.”

If you do the math, that’s a whopping 66% of the day devoted to personal needs, rather than labor!

Of course, it’s only natural to be skeptical of logic from two centuries ago coloring the way we do business in the 21st century. For starters, there’s plenty of labor to be done outside of the labor you’re paid to do. Meal prep, house cleaning, child care… that’s all work that needs to be done. It’s also all work that some of your favorite influencers are paying to get done while they pursue the “hustle.” For the average human, that would all be additional work to fall in the ‘recreation’ category.

But I digress. Is 40 hours a week really enough in the modern age? After all, average hours in the United States have increased.

Well… probably not. In fact, when hours are reduced (France, for instance, limited maximum hours to 35 hours a week, instead of 40), workers are not only more likely to be healthier and happier, but more efficient and less likely to miss work!

So, instead of following through with the goal to work more this year, maybe consider slowing the hustle. It might actually be more effective in the long run!

This story was first published in January 2020.

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Business Marketing

Jack of all trades vs. specialized expert – which are you?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It may feel tough to decide if you want to be a jack of all trades or have an area of expertise at work. There are reasons to decide either route.



jack of all trades learning

When mulling over your career trajectory, you might ask yourself if you should be a jack of all trades or a specific expert. Well, it’s important to think about where you started. When you were eight years old, what did you want to be when you grew up? Teacher? Doctor? Lawyer? Video Game Developer? Those are common answers when you are eight years old as they are based on professionals that you probably interact with regularly (ok, maybe not lawyers but you may have watched LA Law, Law & Order or Suits and maybe played some video games – nod to Atari, Nintendo and Sega).

We eventually chose what areas of work to gain skills in and/or what major to pursue in college. To shed some light on what has changed in the last couple of decades:

Business, Engineering, Healthcare and Technology job titles have grown immensely in the last 20 years. For example, here are 9 job titles that didn’t exist 20 years ago in Business:

  1. Online Community Manager
  2. Virtual Assistant
  3. Digital Marketing Expert
  4. SEO Specialist
  5. App Developer
  6. Web Analyst
  7. Blogger
  8. Social Media Manager
  9. UX Designer

We know that job opportunities have grown to include new technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, consumer-generated content, instant gratification, gig economy and freelance, as well as many super-secret products and services that may be focused on the B2B market, government and/or military that we average consumers may not know about.

According to the 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics after doing a survey of baby boomers, the average number of jobs in a lifetime is 12. That number is likely on the rise with generations after the Baby Boomers. Many people are moving away from hometowns and cousins they have grown up with.

The Balance Careers suggests that our careers and number of jobs we hold also vary throughout our lifetimes and our race is even a factor. “A worker’s age impacted the number of jobs that they held in any period. Workers held an average of 5.7 jobs during the six-year period when they were 18 to 24 years old. However, the number of jobs held declined with age. Workers had an average of 4.5 jobs when they were 25 to 34 years old, and 2.9 jobs when they were 35 to 44 years old. During the most established phase of many workers’ careers, ages 45 to 52, they held only an average of 1.9 jobs.”

In order to decide what you want to be, may we suggest asking yourself these questions:

  • Should you work to be an expert or a jack of all trades?
  • Where are you are at in your career and how have your skills progressed?
  • Are you happy focusing in on one area or do you find yourself bored easily?
  • What are your largest priorities today (Work? Family? Health? Caring for an aging parent or young children?)

If you take the Gallup CliftonStrengths test and are able to read the details about your top five strengths, Gallup suggests that it’s better to double down and grown your strengths versus trying to overcompensate on your weaknesses.

The thing is, usually if you work at a startup, small business or new division, you are often wearing many hats and it can force you to be a jack of all trades. If you are at a larger organization which equals more resources, there may be clearer lines of your job roles and responsibilities versus “the other departments”. This is where it seems there are skills that none of us can avoid. According to LinkedIn Learning, the top five soft skills in demand from 2020 are:

  1. Creativity
  2. Persuasion
  3. Collaboration
  4. Adaptability
  5. Emotional Intelligence

The top 10 hard skills are:

  1. Blockchain
  2. Cloud Computing
  3. Analytical Reasoning
  4. Artificial Intelligence
  5. UX Design
  6. Business Analysis
  7. Affiliate Marketing
  8. Sales
  9. Scientific Computing
  10. Video Production

There will be some folks that dive deep into certain areas that are super fascinating to them and they want to know everything about – as well as the excitement of becoming an “expert”. There are some folks that like to constantly evolve and try new things but not dig too deep and have a brief awareness of more areas. It looks safe to say that we all need to be flexible and adaptable.

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