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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

Use the ‘Blemish Effect’ to skyrocket your sales

(MARKETING) The Blemish Effect dictates that small, adjacent flaws in a product can make it that much more interesting—is perfection out?



blemish effect

Presenting a product or service in its most immaculate, polished state has been the strategy for virtually all organizations, and overselling items with known flaws is a practice as old as time. According to marketing researchers, however, this approach may not be the only way to achieve optimal results due to something known as the “Blemish Effect.”

The Blemish Effect isn’t quite the inverse of the perfectionist product pitch; rather, it builds on the theory that small problems with a product or service can actually throw into relief its good qualities. For example, a small scratch on the back of an otherwise pristine iPhone might draw one’s eye to the glossy finish, while an objectively perfect housing might not be appreciated in the same way.

The same goes for mildly bad press or a customer’s pros and cons list. If someone has absolutely no complaints or desires for whatever you’re marketing, the end result can look flat and lacking in nuance. Having the slightest bit of longing associated with an aspect (or lack thereof) of your business means that you have room to grow, which can be tantalizing for the eager consumer.

A Stanford study indicates that small doses of mildly negative information may actually strengthen a consumer’s positive impression of a product or service. Interesting.

Another beneficial aspect of the Blemish Effect is that it helps consumers focus their negativity. “Too good to be true” often means exactly that, and we’re eager to criticize where possible. If your product or service has a noticeable flaw which doesn’t harm the item’s use, your audience might settle for lamenting the minor flaw and favoring the rest of the product rather than looking for problems which don’t exist.

This concept also applies to expectation management. Absent an obvious blemish, it can be all to easy for consumers to envision your product or service on an unattainable level.

When they’re invariably disappointed that their unrealistic expectations weren’t fulfilled, your reputation might take a hit, or consumers might lose interest after the initial wave.

The takeaway is that consumers trust transparency, so in describing your offering, tossing in a negative boosts the perception that you’re being honest and transparent, so a graphic artist could note that while their skills are superior and their pricing reasonable, they take their time with intricate projects. The time expectation is a potentially negative aspect of their service, but expressing anything negative improves sales as it builds trust.

It should be noted that the Blemish Effect applies to minor impairments in cosmetic or adjacent qualities, not in the product or service itself. Delivering an item which is inherently flawed won’t make anyone happy.

In an age where less truly is more, the Blemish Effect stands to dictate a new wave of honesty in marketing.

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Business Marketing

Google Chrome will no longer allow premium extensions

(MARKETING) In banning extension payments through their own platform, Google addresses a compelling, if self-created, issue on Chrome.



Google Chrome open on a laptop on a organized desk.

Google has cracked down on various practices over the past couple of years, but their most recent target—the Google Chrome extensions store—has a few folks scratching their heads.
Over the span of the next few months, Google will phase out paid extensions completely, thus ending a bizarre and relatively negligible corner of internet economy.

This decision comes on the heels of a “temporary” ban on the publication of new premium extensions back in March. According to Engadget, all aspects of paid extension use—including free trials and in-app purchases—will be gone come February 2021.

To be clear, Google’s decision won’t prohibit extension developers from charging customers to use their products; instead, extension developers will be required to find alternative methods of requesting payment. We’ve seen this model work on a donation basis with extensions like AdBlock. But shifting to something similar on a comprehensive scale will be something else entirely.

Interestingly, Google’s angle appears to be in increasing user safety. The Verge reports that their initial suspension of paid extensions was put into place as a response to products that included “fraudulent transactions”, and Google’s subsequent responses since then have comprised more user-facing actions such as removing extensions published by different parties that accomplish replica tasks.

Review manipulation, use of hefty notifications as a part of an extension’s operation, and generally spammy techniques were also eyeballed by Google as problem points in their ongoing suspension leading up to the ban.

In banning extension payments through their own platform, Google addresses a compelling, if self-created, issue. The extension store was a relatively free market in a sense—something that, given the number of parameters being enforced as of now, is less true for the time being.

Similarly, one can only wonder about which avenues vendors will choose when seeking payment for their services in the future. It’s entirely possible that, after Google Chrome shuts down payments in February, the paid section of the extension market will crumble into oblivion, the side effects of which we can’t necessarily picture.

For now, it’s probably best to hold off on buying any premium extensions; after all, there’s at least a fighting chance that they’ll all be free come February—if we make it that far.

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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.



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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