Something to Remember if You Ever Forget Your Wallet During a Trip to Dahl’s Foods
My workday started at 6 a.m. and I was all business in West Des Moines until I took off late this afternoon to help a friend and client haul a piano from a country home back to the suburbs.
Felt good, getting in a little physical activity at the end of a long week of work and time well spent supporting local businesses all over Greater Des Moines. Glad I dressed down a little, too, like many normal human beings do on Fridays, and actually enjoyed putting a little mud on the boots and jeans.
Of course, by 7 p.m. I was hungry, and given I had forgotten my debit card at home this morning, was happy to know that Dahl’s Foods down the street would – for a reasonable fee – cash a check with valid identification, since I’ve done it many times in the past at multiple stores in Des Moines proper.
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve respected the Dahl’s brand, and Mom took me regularly to the old Eastside location to both eat in the diner and shop when we could afford it, even though the prices were always a little higher than other grocery chains around town.
As an adult, I’ve happily spent thousands of dollars on groceries in Dahl’s Foods stores, and for as long as I can remember have recommended its products and service as nothing less than good to great.
So I take no great pleasure in informing you that given the way a manager at the 50th Street and EP True Parkway location treated me tonight, it’s highly unlikely I will ever step foot in a Dahl’s supermarket again.
Yeah, I had mud on my jeans. Heck, I even sport a beard. I also have cash in the form of a checkbook, valid photo identification, and enough self-respect to not let people look me in the face, decline cashing a personal check for a measly $25, and sling an o’ so familiar attitude that I’ve seen in people’s faces – in the eyes of many-a-suburb dweller while growing up poor and outside the mainstream east of the river – that says, “Boy are you on the wrong side of town.”
Oh, and this classic: “I don’t have to give you a reason.”
You know what, the manager is right. He doesn’t have to give me a reason. But I know this. He was certainly capable of – big assumption here – choosing to ask me for a second form of identification, or simply showing me enough courtesy to explain the store’s policy.
But what’s the point of going to all that trouble when the face, eyes and general attitude say it all? The last time I can remember a merchant on the other side of town looking at me that way, I was in my early 20s. That was a long time ago.
Perhaps in his mind, my rough-and-tumble appearance following a 12-hour workday – and perfectly legitimate request to cash a personal check based on a service offered and fulfilled by Dahl’s Foods stores all over town – was too hard too swallow, especially given that my muddy jeans and boots may not quite fit the bill of your typical West Des Moines office worker looking for a bite to eat.
And, clearly, I must be some kind of fool to have forgotten my card, because even after I presented a signed check, a Dahl’s Foods employee made it a point to ask if I had the plastic with me. As if presenting it would have somehow persuaded the store to cash the check, which, to my understanding, isn’t dependent on having a debit card.
Perhaps I’ll tackle the irony of that question in a subsequent post regarding the poor treatment I received at Dahl’s Foods, and maybe it will elicit some type of generic response such as, “We’re looking out for your best interest.” Funny, the manager couldn’t even bring himself to utter those words to a former paying customer, and apparently borderline character.
But I am smart enough to know that Hy-Vee is right down the street. And that’s just fine with me.
A tribute to the founders, startups and entrepreneurs who reset instead of resign
Don’t ever quit. That phrase, typed as a status update in the social media sphere, is something I’d been holding onto for weeks as entrepreneurs I respect shared similar pieces of broadsided advice.
Searching for inspiration after a somewhat uneventful day at work, my intention was to encourage countless startups living on the verge of a breakthrough. Feedback from Facebook friends led to delivering this post, which delves into reasons why acknowledging conflict and taking risk, as well as a willingness to leave things behind, are crucial elements of entrepreneurial success.
One response: “There are plenty of things worth quitting.”
Given that giving up and quitting are different subjects, one would think the editor in me would draw greater distinction between the two. Though my attempt at brevity may have failed, it’s allowing me to further reflect on these bold concepts, and to point out that the possibility of success derives from a deep understanding of our tendency to fail. It’s also worth noting that entrepreneurs don’t choose a profession and pursue it. They discover who they are and learn how to live it. I’ll return to those topics later. For now, let’s consider: Who are these people?
Most entrepreneurs typically don’t begin anywhere near the top. They are your neighbor, your teacher, your brother, your barista or the guy selling sunglasses at the mall. They’re the woman who’s been sitting in the cubicle next to your office for 10 years. They are your boss, your employee, your coworker and your friend. They keep pushing the pencil. Holding down the fort. Looking at the bottom line.
They punch a clock, take a salary or run the show. Each day is like another. They wait. They watch. They wrestle. Executives tell them each quarter that their department is the first line of defense, but their insights never made it to a boardroom, a whiteboard or training manual. They know their industry, their customers and their roles with the company, but never quite fit in. Valuable ideas and opinions may be misunderstood, undervalued or dismissed by supervisors or peers.
They go home from the office unfulfilled in their work, underutilized in their positions, and sick of the standard political fare. They keep their heads down, numbers up and resumes loaded in lieu of the next round of layoffs, cutbacks or uncanny decisions of some corporate giants.
Then something happens. Maybe they got bored. Maybe they got educated. Maybe they got fired. Maybe a conference, a seminar or a networking group blossomed into a new career. It could have been the recession. Perhaps an extended period of time off work. One day, they took a big step back. They sucked up everything society had taught them in terms of how to best employ their time, talents, gifts and abilities as those relate to stable, long-term employment and a weekly paycheck. They examined their accomplishments, failures and the time they’d put in. They did the math, inhaled a deep cleansing breath and took the biggest step of their professional lives.
They gave up on quitting. They started over.
Startups shoulder heavy burdens, but don’t lie still. They offer extraordinary value, and give much of it away. They lack experience, yet excel in leadership. They aren’t always the smartest, richest or fastest, yet stay in demand. They put dozens, even hundreds of hours into projects and campaigns with no guarantee of a payday. They stop for red lights, yet rarely stand down. Each moved from silent worker to decision-maker. They took risk. They wanted something more.
They are the founders. The startups. The entrepreneurs.
Their motives are alternative. They stopped working for a promotion they didn’t want and started pursuing dreams that won’t die. They’ve exchanged fantastic, even once-in-a-lifetime deals for extraordinary growth. They finally figured out that once you start something innovative, it never stops. And despite the constant flow of unique challenges and lucrative opportunities in life, they gave up on quitting because it no longer applies.
Taking proactive steps could help improve reach amid new SEO page ranking rules
Google is changing the algorithm it uses to determine SEO-related stuff such as page rankings, and I suspect the new rules will motivate a greater number business owners and publishers to pay more attention to reaching customers online.
Those who have long ignored the social media space, and others who’ve rejected best practices and resorted to buying or begging webmasters with unrelated goals to write insincere reviews or link to company websites, may realize just how much an overall lack of engagement is undercutting their ability to drive traffic in the digital age.
Google is also working to integrate Google+ Local pages across multiple properties, including its arsenal of search, maps and mobile tools, an indication of the email and search engine giant’s emphasis on the social networking arena. The advent of desktop publishing, advances in mobile connectivity and the phenomenon known as social media have extended to companies and brands countless opportunities to inform, encourage and interact with target audiences online. Now Google wants in the game, evidenced in part by the company’s interest in content.
It’s awesome to see owners, executives, contractors and other decision makers with a vested interest in reinforcing real-world relationships, increasing customer satisfaction, and reaping the rewards associated with value-add marketing, near-zero-agenda networking and hands-on public affairs.
Others sit on the sidelines, waiting to see what happens.
In traditional customer service environments, such as inbound call centers or retail storefronts, two primary principals apply: 1) identify the problem 2) present a solution. Any first year CSR could probably tell you that. Now consider the conflict: How would these solutions work if nobody was there to stand behind the counter or talk on the phone? In the digital space, that notion translates into a number of areas.
Who’s talking about you online? Have you joined in or listened to the conversations? Is anyone monitoring those efforts? How outdated is your website? Are there time constraints or budgets involved? What must happen to get buy-in from your team? These aren’t new questions. And the answers lie in the form of another:
Are you everywhere your customers expect you to be?
This post has little to do with how good you are and everything to do with where you may be found. I know you’re good. I know you’re a leader in your industry. I know you’ve given back to the community. I also know you’re interested in bringing in new business. You’re interested in standing out from the competition. You interested in maintaining a respectable image. Your interested in hiring the best employees. You’re less interested in making a sales pitch, and more interested in starting a conversation.
How do I know? I read a blog post. I watched the video. I found you on Pinterest. Your marketing rep emailed me. You pushed it out on Twitter. Google alerted me. I’m subscribed to your newsletter. We’re friends on LinkedIn. A Facebook friend told me.
Maybe you didn’t bother to update your website. Maybe you forgot to tell him. Maybe you didn’t have time. Regardless of where your business is in the media cycle, maybe it’s time to realize that Google is going social and it is going full steam ahead.
Warm referrals are the lifeblood business-to-consumer organizations. And professionals in growth-oriented business-to-business oriented companies depend on credible leads to drive revenues and achieve long-term goals. As Google works to weed out the so-called black hats, and level the playing field in terms of how it rewards those who form dialogue in the social media space, it’s a great time for owners and agents to shore up their digital assets take an honest inventory of their level of engagement. Search, discovery and consideration have already taken on new meaning as more sets of wondering eyes look to videos, testimonials and online forums for answers that can’t be found on static websites, inactive social media accounts or in the yellow pages.
Consistency, transparency, and authenticity are hallmarks of social networking, and the companies and individuals most successful in the space tend to interact with friends, followers and subscribers in meaningful ways. Every business has a story. As a mind-meld of search engine optimization and social media optimization inches closer to reality, what’s stopping you from enriching the communities in which you operate, and empowering mavens, connectors or salespeople to increase visibility, raise awareness and tell stories of the brands most important to you?
On the other hand, how costly would it be if you looked back at this time next year and saw your closet competitor miles up front? Importantly, what steps can be taken to ensure you’re staying ahead of the curve?
Maybe you had the resources to solve an issue, yet failed to identify the problem. Maybe you knew what was wrong, yet failed to present a solution. Maybe you’ve got answers, yet failed to pick up the phone.
Perhaps I’ve been calling and when it picks up all I hear is static on the other end of the line.
From the mind and desk of Todd Razor.
1. The possibility of success derives from a deep understanding of our tendency to fail.
2. Children often know exactly what they want to do next. Lifetimes of opportunity make the choices more difficult.
3. Entrepreneurs don’t choose a profession and pursue it. They discover who they are and learn how to live it.
4. People who dislike their job can’t wait to turn it off. Those who love their work struggle to separate personal life from career.
5. Pure motives allow for the natural fulfillment of one’s full potential.
6. You can’t manufacture time. If we were given 25 hours then we would ask for 26. People prioritize the things most important to them.
7. Moderation is a fickle thing and the ability to practice it tends to wane with each over indulgence.
8. Pride and humility wax similar on the surface yet on the inside couldn’t reside further apart.
9. The closer we get to totally honesty, the more credibility we have in any given space. Once we cross the line, the conversation many times tends to be over.
10. Assumptions are like opinions and everyone has one.
A June rehearsal reveals quality of actors preparing to entertain Des Moines audiences
The Iowa Shakespeare Experience is brewing up an absolutely wicked concoction for its fourth season. Starring Janae Hohbein and Nick Toussaint, “Romeo and Juliet” will headline the 2012 Shakespeare Festival, July 18-22, in Greater Des Moines.
Three Razors Media caught up with the Iowa Shakespeare troupe at Simon Estes Amphitheater downtown during a mid-June rehearsal of the more than 400-year-old play, which reveals an intricate bond between young love and heartsick violence.
“Fear comes upon me. O, much I fear some ill unlucky thing.” – Friar Laurence
Period costumes, rapier sword fighting, atmospheric lighting and other special effects are planned for the 2012 production of “Romeo and Juliet,” a classic filled with the wide-range of raw emotions that coincide with gut-wrenching adoration and lives cut short.
Mainstage performances of the Renaissance-style show will kick off nightly on July 18, July 20, July 21 and July 22. The curtain goes up at 8 p.m. for all main stage shows downtown. On Thursday, July 19, a special Shakespeare on our Lawn traveling “Will Call” highlights show is scheduled to take place at the Jordan House mansion in West Des Moines. Patrons may attend Wednesday’s performance for a nominal gate charge of $5. Show up to early enjoy an ice cream social hour under the oaks on the historic West Des Moines home’s lawn.
The amphitheater gates swing open at 6 p.m. for picnics, pre-show concerts and other activities as 17 local and regional artists set their hearts on turning producers Robin Heinemann and Lorenzo Sandoval’s 2012 interpretation of the play into an emotional joyride for Shakespeare lovers both young and young at heart. If the high-caliber of talent displayed at an early-stage rehearsal is any indication of what’s in store next month, fans will surely flock to watch the timeless tragedy unfold on the Des Moines riverfront while enjoying a full-costumed version of this and other climatic scenes.
More information about the Iowa Shakespeare Experience and 2012 Festival, including details about how kind donations to the nonprofit organization help to support the arts in Central Iowa, may be found at www.IowaShakespeare.org.
The event will include 30 of Greater Des Moines’ most influential executives
Today’s Networking on the Green at the Principal Charity Classic will surely live up to the hype as the sold-out event enters its fourth year.
More than two dozen metro-area executives will give up their time this morning to mingle with young adults, area professionals and other attendees hoping to nail a hole-in-one of the go-forth-and-be-successful variety.
It’s inspiring to watch YPs strike up conversations with their role models and peers about aspirations both on and off the course. Two-thousand-and-twelve will be no different as big-name athletes and a roomful of Greater Des Moines’ brightest look on.
Thanks to the organizers of the Principal Charity Classic and the 30 Greater Des Moines business leaders who graciously agreed to be on tap during this year’s round of professional development festivities at the Glen Oaks Clubhouse.
Networking on the Green has become one of my favorite annual occurrences in Greater Des Moines. I always walk away like feeling I just birdied on the 19th hole.
An executive engagement study looks at CEOs from 64 countries and 18 industries
More than half of the world’s chief executives will likely use social media within five years, say the authors of an IBM study that found transparency and collaboration weigh heavily on the minds of future leaders.
Today, only 16 percent of the 1709 CEOs surveyed use social media. The growth to 57 percent will come as new technologies and communication platforms shape employee and consumer mentalities in increasingly competitive digital landscapes.
“Companies that outperform their peers are 30 percent more likely to identify openness – often characterized by a greater use of social media as a key enabler of collaboration and innovation – as a key influence on their organization,” writes Forbes contributor Mark Fidelman, in a breakdown of the study. He says social media is on track to become No. 2 organizational engagement method by 2017, right behind face-to-face encounters.
So what does this mean for real estate professionals who depend on building strong relationships with everyone from bankers to builders to get tenants in place or developments off the ground? Those aspiring to the C-suite are beginning to realize the value of laying their digital media foundations. If your business or career depends interacting with customers and collaborating on the B2B front, it may be a good time to assess where you stand in the social media environment.
Which of you business associates, industry partners and competitors have built out their presence on sites such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn? What are they talking about? Who are they talking to? Why does it matter?
More gatekeepers and decision-makers are looking for ways to do business right out in the open, in real time. It makes no difference whether you’re a sales associate or the vice president. Taking a hard look at current your social media strategy – or lack thereof – could place you in a stronger position for an executive-level promotion.
As social media moves further away from fad and closer to the norm, those who stake their claims now will reap greater benefits as they move up the ladder.