Selling CRAP

I just thought this was an interesting acronym that Amazon uses for selling unprofitable knick knacks.


They call it:

CRAP


It stands for:


Can’t Realize A Profit. 


Sometimes, you see people buying stuff, lots of stuff, and it’s not important–often, it’s all a lot of junk. 


But they like to shop–bordering on shopsholics’ compulsion. 


Maybe they don’t even have a lot of money for this stuff.


However, just the act of buying it–of having some control in their lives and some freedom of the purse–makes them feel good and buy and hoard more and more things. 


Likely it ends up in Goodwill, recyclables, the attic, or the trash. 


Is it crap?


Well you can’t make realize a profit on it. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Appreciating Employees @ Holiday Time

happy-employees

So before the holidays, like Thanksgiving, many nice organizations try to do a little something for their employees and let them go home a little early.

It’s a small something that let’s people know they are appreciated, and on top of it, they get to “beat the traffic.”

I heard from someone that one organization was stopping this long time practice, saying that only the very head(s) of the chain of command, could do this for the people…but they didn’t.

Sort of “penny wise and dollar foolish” to take away that little spot-on giving to one’s staff. 

It’s goodwill, appreciation, and kindness that is especially appropriate before the holidays for hardworking and good people. 

One manager told me how their people especially looked forward to this little gesture, and often came to asking about it with such joy.

So the manager told me that they just said before holiday times, “I’m not looking what time you leave today.”

To me that sounded like genuine leadership, where people are not just treated as “human resources,” but instead “human capital”—something to invest in and not just something to use `willy nilly. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Stupid Stupid Ties

Ties

So ties are an unfortunate part of a man’s wardrobe. 


But while some ties may look nice (in a feminine type of way), for the most part they are nothing but a pain in the neck.


– Feels like a noose


– Looks like a dog collar


– Enforced as the yoke of oppression


– Constraining since a tie ties 


– Costs as much as $385 at Nordstrom


– Klutzy when oops!! it hangs out your fly


– Hazardous when caught in an office shredder. 


– Filthy when eating soup, spaghetti, etc. 


– Disgusting when bending over and it flops into the toilet


Some day fashion will grow up and ties will go the way of The Waltons, and even Goodwill will throw them unabashedly into the trash where they most rightfully belong.


(Source Photo: here with attribution to bark)

What Is This World Coming To?

No Biz No Whiz
This sign from a business on trendy Las Olas in Fort Lauderdale…for real.



Pay for the water you drink, the air you breath, and the doings you leave behind. 



Money makes the world go round, but what happened to love, friendship, and brotherhood. 



It only goes as far as the restroom apparently! 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Recongition Inspires

Recongition Inspires

Thought this was really nice at Starbucks.

A place to show respect and recognize your colleagues.

How often to we take others for granted for what they do–oh, it’s their job or as one boss used to say coldy and harshly that their employees’ recognition is that they get a paycheck every 2 weeks!

But people are not machines–they have feeelings, they need to be motivated, inspired, and appreciated.

And recognition doesn’t just come from the chain of command, but from peers, customers, and other stakeholders.

We can do a good deed simply be recognizing the hardwork that people make on our behalf, for the customer, or the organization more broadly.

Taking people for granted is the easy way out.

But saying a genuine thank you and placing a card of recognition in the pocket of the posterboard or otherwise showing your appreciation with an award, a letter of gratitude, or telling people they “did good”–takes an extra effort, but one definitely worth it! 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

When To Build Relationships Or Burn Your Bridges

When To Build Relationships Or Burn Your Bridges

Why marriages (and relationships) fail is a topic of discussion in the book Fighting For Your Marriage by Markman, Stanley, and Blumberg.

The book is anchored in research from the University of Denver and their Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP).

So here are the four main reasons:

1. Escalation–People escalate the fight, rather than deescalate it. Harmful words and actions beget more harmful words and actions as each side tries to win the fight, rather than save the relationship.

2. Invalidation–You put down the other person (their feelings, thoughts, and character) with sarcasm, disrespect, and contempt, rather than raise them up with understanding, concern, comfort, and encouragement.

3. Accusation–Assuming the worst, you negatively interpret the actions and motives of another person, rather than looking at and accentuating the positive and giving them the benefit of the doubt.

4. Abandonment–Leaving the person emotionally and/or physically, you withdraw and avoid them and possibly even cheat on them, rather than engaging with and cleaving to each other, and working together to solve problems.

Essentially, these relationship issues all have to do with a breakdown of communication and trust–where instead of trying to work it out, there is a feeling that nothing can be solved by talking anymore and that there is no reason to even trust the other person.

Once trust and communication are broken–it is very difficult to go back and rebuild it.

Then instead of mending fences, people may choose the nuclear option: go to war, fight it out, threaten, hurt, or leave–and the relationship spirals to a timely demise.

What was once a nuclear family, or close relationship (friends, associates, etc.), may end up a broken and shattered one, full of hatred and as enemy combatants, perhaps not much better than the Hatfields and McCoys.

So the first thing is you have to decide whether you want to build the relationship or end it.

If you love the other person and want to be with them (and they with you)–then say and do positive things to maintain communication and trust–give selflessly to each other.

Relationships thrive when people behave as true friends, looking out for one another, sincerely–when they help their partners achieve their goals, grow as human beings, and find meaning and happiness.

A relationship is not a business transaction, but a joining of hearts and an intimacy of soul–it is based on mutual respect and goodwill.

If you really value the other person and the relationship–don’t burn your bridges when things get heated, but cross and meet the other person (at least) halfway and embrace them with love and caring–most of the time, it will come back to you.

But at the same time don’t be a fool–if the other person is wicked and cruel, out only for themselves, and would throw you under a bus in a moment–get with it and quick because the bridge is already burning and at a very high temperature. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Never Worn, But Not For The Reason You Think

Never Worn, But Not For The Reason You Think

I remember learning for my MBA about people’s shopping addiction (aka compulsive shopping) and how it consumes their time and money and fuels their self-esteem.

Like a high gotten from alcohol, drugs, and sex, shopping can give people a relief from the everyday stresses that engulf them.

An interesting article in the Wall Street Journal (18 April 2013) called “A Closet Filled With Regrets” chronicles how people buy stuff they never wear and are sorry they bought it.

In fact, the article states, “Only about 20% of clothes in the average person’s closet are worn on a regular basis.”

One example given is a Pulitzer Prize -winning author who spent $587,000 on Gucci items between 2010-2012, before seeking treatment for his addiction.

A related disorder is shopper’s remorse that occurs, because people second guess themselves and feel maybe an alternative would’ve been a better choice (i.e. they made a bad choice), they didn’t really need the item to begin with (i.e. it was just impulsive), or that they spent too much (i.e. they got a bad deal).

For me, as a child of Holocaust survivors, I find that when I purchase something nice (not extravagant), I put away and also never wear it.

The difference for me is not that I have shoppers remorse, an addiction to shopping, or that I am unhappy with my purchase, but rather that I cannot wear it because I feel as a child of survivors that I have to save it–just in case.

No, it’s not rational–even though I am a very practical and rational person in just about every other way.

It’s just that having seen what can happen when times are bad–and people have nothing–I cannot bear to grant myself the luxury of actually wearing or using something really good.

Perhaps also, I look at my parent’s generation, who suffered so much, and think why am I deserving of this?

They sacrificed and survived, so we (their children) could have it better–what every parent wants for their children, or should.

But still, in my heart, I know that I am the one who has had it easy compared to their lives, and so those purchases are going to stay right where they are–never worn until I donate them to Goodwill.

I never really considered them mine anyway. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)