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The MLS Whoopee Cushion

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Fault Sign

Beware all agents: My loyal spies and I are watching everything you put in print. Why? Because real estate ads can be more fun than a whoopee cushion! We found another batch of blatant bloopers that will set February into full swing. Here we go again – jump onto the MLS Malapropism Merry-go-round and enjoy the ride:

 The Demise of Webster and Roget

“House near Malibu Whinery” (Buy a bunk near the Drunk n Funk)

“Bambo floors” (Bimbo Agent)

“Paneling made of imported Europein wood”  (If you’re a peein,’ Ima leavin’.’)

“Delicious abbatizers served” (Cue the Abba music: “You are the dancing queen…”)

“A real diamond in the rust.” (…And a water intrusion problem, it seems.)

“New flushing installed in back for drainage.” (I believe that’s called an outhouse.)

“After stop at Sixes Tavern, turn left, then right, cross tracks and wind uphill.” (This must be the sobriety test AFTER the stop at Sixes Tavern.)

“Chandeleer & other fizures stay” (Home for sale in prime San Andreas Estates)

“Ranch with beautiful hillslide view” (Welcome to Avalanche Ranch)

“Property line goes to last swill”  (Agent apparently does also.)

“House on pile ons”  (Must be near the ranch with the hillslide view.)

 “Near Beverly Hills Hortel” (Enough said.) 

Too Much Information, Bozo 

“Please don’t ask seller about the hole in the wall.” (And shall I also ignore the arrow in his forehead?)

“Seller wants fast sale – doesn’t like area” (Great pitch – next you’re going to tell me he hates the corpses in the cellar.)

“Tenant is difficult, please leave fast if threatened. Seller Motivated.” (Motivated or mutilated?) 

Best Sense of Humor Awards: 

 “It’s Hollywood – someone famous must have spent the night here.”  (Especially if it’s Hollywood Lock-up)

“Short drive to famous rehab…just in case” (In that event, perhaps driving is not the best choice.)

And This Week’s Faves: 

“This house has gott titt all.” (Hmmm…is that a good thing or a bad thing?)

“Marble floor – great for clogging” (A swingin’ house near Holland Tunnel)

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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39 Comments

39 Comments

  1. Bruce Lemieux

    February 5, 2010 at 8:19 am

    You made some of these up … didn’t you?

    Showing instructions for two homes I recently showed:

    “Door is unlocked and no lockbox. Push front-door really hard to get in”.

    “Seller requests that you don’t take anything when showing”. Disappointing since I normally take a lamp or end-table on all my showings.

  2. Sheri Moritz

    February 5, 2010 at 8:41 am

    Thanks for the laugh from both of you. A great comedy book could be spun from comments agents make.

  3. Ross Therrien, Prudential Verani

    February 5, 2010 at 9:12 am

    Our mls has trigger words that will prohibit the use of certain words ie. we can’t say trash pick up if its a mobile home listing. Wonder why?

  4. Joe Loomer

    February 5, 2010 at 9:27 am

    Wow Gwen! Bruce is putting up some stiff competition today!

    Oh, and once very early in my real estate career, I showed a home to an investor. List agent told me the tenants knew we were coming. Got there before my clients, tenant answered the door with a 12-inch hunting knife, I asked him if he knew we were coming, he said yes, and then stuck the knife in the door frame. I said “I’ll just wait out here for my client.” He says “client? ok that’s fine” and goes back in.

    Client gets there, I knock again – get a “c’mon in” – BIG MISTAKE. Two dudes smoking crack on an upside down crate, Glock next to the stash – didn’t bat an eye as we looked around. Client says “yeah, uh, can we see the back?” Well homeboy #1 loses his freakin mind. “What the %#@ you need to see out back ##$%#?” hand inching toward the Glock.

    By now I’m fingering the mace in my pocket wondering if we’ll live to SEE the back. I state – didn’t John Doe the Listing Agent tell you we were coming to see the house?

    A dim light of awareness crosses his gold-toothed countenance. “Oh, y’all heah to see the house? Go ahead out back then….”

    We back out slowly, go out back, and there’s the obligatory abused pit bull with spike collar protecting some dubious barrells of chemicals. This client – who I fired before we got back to our cars – wanted to go back in and ask them what the smell was, why they needed a gun, and why they treated their animals that way.

    Needless to say, I now phrase my introductions to tenant owned properties like this: “Did John Doe the Listing Agent for your Owner tell you a real estate agent – specifically ME would be bringing a client to see your home today?”

    I managed to survive people trying to kill me during my military service, I didn’t realize I needed to be better armed AFTER I retired – my old Master Chief used to say – “I ain’t never seen no &%#@ like this before.”

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

    • Bruce Lemieux

      February 5, 2010 at 9:47 am

      OK – so this is how it went?
      – The guy answers the door with a 12 inch hunting knife. You don’t leave.
      – Once inside, you see two guys hanging upside smoking crack. You still haven’t left.
      – You spy an automatic weapon. You’re still there?
      – Pitbull and barrels of chemicals in back. Now you are ready to leave.

      I only have a few rules when showing homes. One of them: if the resident answers the door with a 12 inch knife, the home isn’t a fit for my client. Leave. Leave now. Nothing else to see.

  5. Patrick Flynn

    February 5, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Another great round of Oopsies from the wordsmiths of our industry! -Thnx Gwen

  6. Madison real estate

    February 5, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Absolutely brilliant – a real hoot! It’s also quite sad and reflects pretty badly on our industry. Thankfully (or not), I’ll bet a lot of those typos are the result of undermotivated (or undereducated, take your pick) support staff. Yep, I said it. Blame it on the office support. That’s why I’ve always made it my practice to input all my own listings on the MLS. I write it, rewrite it, catch my own typos, etc. Saves mega time and aggravation and there’s no one to blame but me if the description sucks!

  7. Joe Loomer

    February 5, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Bruce – you’re spot-on in everything you said. Problem was, it was so early in my real estate career I thought EVERY showing on the wrong side of the tracks was like this. Invester client was looking for very low end Section 8 (govt subsidized rent) properties.

    My wife blew a gasket when I told her about it – for the very reasons you state. Her tone was slightly more – shall we say – heated?

  8. Gwen Banta

    February 5, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    With comments like the ones you came across, Bruce, can one have any doubt about that bag of crazy we call the MLS?

  9. Gwen Banta

    February 5, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    You are right, Sheri – truth is always better than fiction!

  10. Gwen Banta

    February 5, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Ross – that is hysterical – subtle, but hysterical!!!!

  11. Gwen Banta

    February 5, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Good God, Joe – That’s more frightening than anything I have ever had to face, although I have heard similar stories from my colleagues (most of whom are now undergoing shock therapy.) But I really have to ask: Once you saw the knife in the door frame, what made you think the situation was going to get better? Who was the one on crack? NOTE TO JOE: If you see a knife, a glock or a pittbull, run like a hungry rabbit. Either you are at the wrong house, or you have drifted across state lines to Los Angeles…and then I will have to see your license and your botox discount card. And incidentally, even if the tenant says he was forewarned, what makes you think he would not like a Loomer popsicle (which involves a head and a stick)? We are all so very grateful for your service to our country, so we sure as the devil do not want to be pulling the teeth of a pittbull out of your Navy arse!

  12. Gwen Banta

    February 5, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    Bruce – I just read your comment to Joe. I think you and I are thinking the same thing: What about the word ‘knife’ made you think you should enter the building? Perhaps on first glance Joe thought it was a beer bottle opener, right Joe?

  13. Gwen Banta

    February 5, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Hi Patrick – The MLS oopsies today cannot rival Joe and Bruce!

  14. Gwen Banta

    February 5, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    Dear Madison: I love your style – passing the buck is the American way. From now on, I am going to blame all my goofs, which are continuous, on Joey Butofuoco, who never got anything right.

  15. Gwen Banta

    February 5, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Joe, your wife sounds very wise to me. I don’t know where the tracks in your town are or which side is the eighth ring of Dante’s Inferno, but I DO know you better be keeping your backside out of target range. I don’t think the government subsidizes arse reconstruction.

  16. Jennifer Rathbun

    February 5, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    You know…. each week when I read these funny comments, I think, “Boy, I hope I wrote my MLS comments correctly or they’ll be plastered all over AG!” I hope those that make a mistake can laugh at themselves! (Just writing this, I found 3 spelling mistakes!)

  17. Thomas Johnson

    February 6, 2010 at 12:41 am

    I don’t think the government subsidizes arse reconstruction.
    Gwen: They want to tax it.

  18. Gwen Banta

    February 6, 2010 at 1:05 am

    Jennifer – I am the one who accidentally referred to a seller Dr. Dunghill instead of Dunhill – so I guess we are all guilty. That’s where the fun starts!

  19. Gwen Banta

    February 6, 2010 at 1:07 am

    I think you are right, Thomas. But maybe the new Obama health care plan will at least cover arse botox. It would be nioce to sit on something firm for a change.

  20. Joe Loomer

    February 6, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Thanks Gwen, thanks. Ass Botox. Lovely. Simply $%##ing lovely. HAD to remind me, didn’t you?

    The Navy women’s softball team I coached back in the mid 80’s used to call me “Coach No-Butt.” I thought I was over it, but noooooooo. Thanks Gwen.

  21. Gwen Banta

    February 6, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    Ah, Joe – you took one for the team – way to go! I checked with some of the girls who were on the team, and they said you always misunderstood the sobriquet they had so fondly attached to your person – that being “Coach Po’ Butt” because the team was always getting their po’ butts kicked. I asked them if you needed butt botox, and they collectively agreed that you are “Navy Chief, Navy Beef.”

  22. Ken Brand

    February 6, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    I love that real life is better than fiction and I love that you share the most sinful stuff. We’re in cahoots and it’s a beautiful blessing.

    Cheers.

  23. Gwen Banta

    February 7, 2010 at 1:52 am

    Thanks, Ken – it’s so nice to hear from you. I don’t share the absolute most sinful stuff, as you can imagine, because we are PG rated. I’m saving all that stuff for AG After Hours – it’s a new club I plan to open on the Sunset Strip. I’ll make you bouncer if you promise to frisk anyone named Loomer 🙂

    • Ken Brand

      February 7, 2010 at 8:17 am

      Head Of Security sounds awesome (I just gave my self a promotion). And yes I’m happy to frisk, very quickly, Loomer….provided you give me, very slowly, a hands on demonstration/training session 😉

  24. Joe Loomer

    February 7, 2010 at 8:12 am

    So. Woke up Friday morning feeling pre-tay dang good about myself. What a difference two days and one Gwen Banta post make. Do these comments make my a** look fat?

    Navy Chie…..oh never mind…..

  25. Gwen Banta

    February 7, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Ok, Ken – Training starts at midnight. Be there and BE-Ware!

  26. Gwen Banta

    February 7, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Hey Chief – “J-Lo” is synonymous with “great butt.” I always thaought J-Lo was Joe Loomer, no?

  27. Gwen Banta

    February 7, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Hey All – I am always the one catching other people’s typos, but check out my last comment to Navy “Chief” Joe Loomer. It looks like I was on a heroin nod! ZZZZZZZZ

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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?

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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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Business Marketing

Free shipping is everywhere… how can small businesses keep up?

[BUSINESS MARKETING] Would you rather pay less but still pay for shipping, or pay more with free shipping? They may cost the same, but one appeals more than the other.

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Person standing over pacakge, sealing with masking tape.

When it comes to competing with huge corporations like Amazon, there are plenty of hurdles that smaller businesses have to cross. Corporations can (and do) undercut the competition, not to mention garner a much larger marketing reach than most small businesses could ever dream of achieving. But this time, we want to focus on something that most people have probably chosen recently: Free shipping.

How important is free shipping to consumers? Well, in a 2018 survey, Internet Retailer discovered that over 50% of respondents said that free shipping was the most important part of online shopping. In fact, when given a choice between fast or costless shipping, a whopping 88% of those surveyed chose the latter option.

Part of this has to do with the fact that shipping costs are often perceived as additional fees, not unlike taxes or a processing fee. In fact, according to Ravi Dhar, director of Yale’s Center for Customer Insights, if it’s between a discounted item with a shipping fee or a marked up item with free shipping, individuals are more likely to choose the latter – even if both options cost exactly the same amount.

If you’re interested in learning more, Dhar refers to the economic principle of “pain of paying,” but the short answer is simply that humans are weird.

So, how do you recapture the business of an audience that’s obsessed with free shipping?

The knee jerk reaction is to simply provide better products that the competition. And sure, that works… to some extent. Unfortunately, in a world where algorithms can have a large effect on business, making quality products might not always cut it. For instance, Etsy recently implemented a change in algorithm to prioritize sellers that offer free shipping.

Another solution is to eat the costs and offer free shipping, but unless that creates a massive increase in products sold, you’re going to end up with lower profits. This might work if it’s between lower profits and none, but it’s certainly not ideal. That’s why many sellers have started to include shipping prices in the product’s overall price – instead of a $20 necklace with $5 shipping, a seller would offer a $25 necklace with free shipping.

This is a tactic that the big businesses use and it works. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, right?

That said, not everyone can join in. Maybe, for instance, a product is too big to reasonably merge shipping and product prices. If, for whatever reason, you can’t join in, it’s also worth finding a niche audience and pushing a marketing campaign. What do you offer that might be more attractive than the alluring free shipping? Are you eco-friendly? Do you provide handmade goods? Whatever it is that makes your business special, capitalize on it.

Finally, if you’re feeling down about the free shipping predicament, remember that corporations have access to other tricks. Amazon’s “free” prime shipping comes at an annual cost. Wal-Mart can take a hit when item pricing doesn’t work out. Even if your business isn’t doing as well as you hoped, take heart: You’re facing giants.

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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.

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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!

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