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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

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.



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.

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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.



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.

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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?



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.

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