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TGIF Theory

I worked at TGI Friday’s for nearly 8 years – after Tom Cruise helped make it famous by flipping bottles in the movie Cocktail but before the cool Guy Fieri commercials. Remember the creative genius who came up with the “In here, it’s always Friday” slogan? That was the era of my employment.

Starting at TGIF meant you had to go through weeks of training, both on the floor and in a classroom. The class was accompanied by a thick workbook with the company history, food and drink menu descriptions and theories.

Duck Pond Theory

My workbook is long gone but I remember the concept of this theory quite clearly. When you see a duck swimming in a pond it appears smooth and graceful, but looking under the surface you’ll see it’s feet paddling away like crazy. In the restaurant biz this means that when you’re out on the floor you want to look as calm and collected as possible at all times. Back in the kitchen is when you can flip out about how long the food is taking or complain about a bad customer. See the movie Waiting for a good example, parts of which are very accurate..

The duck pond theory applies to real estate the same way. At the office it’s easy to be hectic with scheduling appointments, calling inspectors and dealing with clients. But when you’re out showing houses or at the closing table it’s usually best to be calm and professional.

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Written By

As the son of two music teachers, Ben spent his first 21 years trying to make a living with his slightly above average trumpet playing. After no return calls from Dizzy Gillespie and then a failed attempt at becoming a fly girl on "In Living Color," he switched gears and finally found his nichè in real estate. He's a Minnesota appraiser and also a Realtor with his better half, Stacia. Labeled “one to watch” from an anonymous source (thanks mom), Ben is smart, good looking, athletic and a rock star inside his own head. He also never passes up a chance to write his own bio. Find him online at twitter or selling Stillwater Real Estate.



  1. Michelle DeRepentigny

    June 12, 2009 at 11:46 am

    Amen! I had a showing agent call me in tears a couple of days ago because her lockbox key wasn’t working & she could get into the house – all I could think of is I hope she is not standing in front of her clients while making this call, but she was. Maybe she was having a really bad day, but I would never cry in front of a client, unless I ran over the seller’s dog in the driveway!

  2. Jason Sandquist

    June 12, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    I think the bigger question here is ‘what type of flare did you have’?

  3. Missy Caulk

    June 13, 2009 at 8:25 am

    Good timing on this one, one of my buyers agents called me crying yesterday…standing on the porch. The deck was not finished, their were tools and concrete bags in the garage. The yard was a mess.

    The builder was in Brazil and his partner dropped the ball.

    Did they close?


    It’s easy to be calm for someone else’s ordeals.

  4. Austin Smith -

    June 15, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Very good comparison. I’ve worked in three restaurants, one of which was scarily close to Waiting (we played ‘The Game’, I am ashamed to say), and the way you were expected to act while on the floor was the same in each. Nice job in relating this to real estate.

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