Leinenkugel Summer Shandy, TJ Maxx and Scarcity

 “It is more rewarding to be complicit with scarcity than excess.”  Will Oldham.”  

Hey, things change and then, sometimes they don’t.

Here’s what I’m talking about.

If, like me, you are over the age of 50, there was never a need for a reality pie to be thrown in your happy, little face in recognizing the obvious that the last vestiges of summer have, once again, been issued a cease and desist order to vacate the premises with only the slightest hesitation.

Sure, there are the usual tell-tale signs of impending departure: The back-to-school-sales.  Nurse!  Even before the local boards of education close shop for the year and unleash their charge upon a soon-to-be panicked public, there are already hints of back-to-school promotions.

And then, there’s Labor Day; talk about shrink-wrapping the season. Yes, I know it’s the last chance saloon for seasonal discounts and brief respites but let’s not push it.  As Yankee great Yogi Berra put it, “it ain’t over ‘til it’s over,”

I don’t know about you but as much as I’d like to get away and enjoy the summer, there is always something else to do, some unexpected bill to pay and then, there’s the cold hearted truth about warm-weather getaways.

However small the retreat may be, it becomes a big ticket item. Fantasy, wish fulfillment and good weather are the driving forces for seasonal escalation.  We all pay for scarcity.

Nothing the matter with that.  Hey, we all want our version of “fun in the sun.”

In fact, years ago, I was a cruise director.

What a fabulous experience.  Sailing from New York to most of the Caribbean islands was the stuff of dreams.

I met so many great people and it was life-seasoning.

Bear with me while I share one quick story:  On board the Leonardo di Vinci, I met a couple from Long Island, absolutely great people. The ship was ready to disembark at the port to Caracas, Venezuela, La Guaira.

They asked me if I would like to join them. They both spoke Spanish.  So why not? So not only would I enjoy their company but their Lengua Espanola might come in handy.

Jump cut ahead: We wound up at a high-end specialty shop.  I saw this silver wine goblet.  It was rugged and handsome.  As soon as I saw it, it became a “I have got to have it” moment.

Now, working as a Cruise Director was fun but, in those days, it was not a high-paying job. I made $125.00 a week along with free room, board and discounts on drinks and, that was it.

The husband and wife noticed my interest in the goblet. Although it looked way out of my price range, I asked them to find out its cost.

Then, as soon as the Long Island woman reverted to Spanish, her whole demeanor changed.  While speaking English, she was very soft-spoken with a slight New York accent.

But, switching to Spanish, she chewed up the scenery.  She had the flair of Iberian aristocracy.  It was split-personality time.  It was a jaw-dropping “Wow” moment

She told me the price: $500.00.  Well, suffering from financial anemia, I put an end to my dream right there.

But then, the nice soft-spoken little lady from Long Island performed her Castillian transformation and literally took charge of the negotiation process.

I don’t think the salesperson knew what happened.  This lady was a storm trooper on a mission for me.  There was no haggling.  She was in total control.

Then, she switched back to English. And, in her soft Long Island accent, she asked if I could afford $70.00.

After more than 30 years and multiple moves, that goblet is still magic to me and the experience, a treasured memory.

Talk about scarcity.

Nowadays, as tough as things are, I try to stretch the moola as far as possible.

What I’m saying is it is tougher today getting what you want, when you want it especially when what you want, is what everyone wants, at the same time, and that defeats the purpose of getting away in the first place.

Scarcity engenders congestion.  Everyone wants in on the deficit at the same time.

But, the most brutal acknowledgement that screams “it’s over”, the true end-of-season Maginot line-celebrating the autumnal equinox and the official sayonara summer recognition, occurs now in late August.

This is the time when grocers, delis and liquor stores throughout this great nation cease to stock their shelves of plenty with the libation of the gods: Leinenkugel Summer Shandy.

It is absolutely fabulous suds with a slight lemonade taste that, without a doubt, puts the competition to shame. And, its limited seasonal release creates what is known in the trade and referred to only in the most somber and hushed tones as PRSD-Palate-Recollection Spasm Syndrome. It is a disorder heretofore unknown, unexplained and enigmatic and should be brought to the attention of government officialdom.

People want their Leinie Shandy.

I mean the stuff is good.

If you live in the Midwest, most likely you’re familiar with the product. It’s been around for quite a while. But then, someone in marketing, in a pique of infinite wisdom, suggested to ownership, “go national.”

They did. And voila, over the last few years, Leindnkugel’s Summer Shandy has successfully quenched the thirsts of the formerly cotton-mouthed multitudes.

Yes, I know it’s a summer release thing.  But, Playa del Rey is a little more than a lotta miles away from Chippewa Falls, Wis-cansin; it’s a whole different world.

While the Midwest’s deciduous foliage take their ‘leaf’ and begin their descent, the temperature today is 92 degrees at the LA beaches.

It is still summer here and across the Sun Belt.  I understand the limited release thing.  It makes sense but a few more months of your “Leinie Shandy-alchemy” along with regional distribution ain’t gonna kill the brand.

I spoke to my wife about this and she had 2 schools of thought.

First of all, she is not a beer drinker.  However, she absolutely loves Leinenkugel Summer Shandy and is not ready for some pre-requisite taste revision, especially on a hot day.  The change makes more sense at the end of October.

Secondly, I bow to her Midwestern practicality. She reminded me of the TJ Maxx strategy.  In fact, a recent Business Insider article points out TJ Maxx is clobbering Macy’s, Nordstrom’s and other retailers.

So how and what does this have to do with Leinenkugel’s?

TJ Maxx specializes in limited release.  When an item is gone, it’s finis! When it comes to investing on consumer inducements and display, they leave that to the big guys-we see how well that is working.

Plus, TJM passes those savings on to the customer base while building their bottom line. And that’s just for starters.

My wife is a TJ Maxx junkie.  She genuflects at their altar of scarcity and fabulous discounted price a couple of times a week in fear of missing out on something good.

The best advertising is “word of mouth” advertising.  And, along with TJM and Leinenkugel’s marketing efforts, the 2 brands have created remarkable consumer buzz with tactical scarcity.

Hey, things change and sometimes they don’t.

What I’m saying is I get it but want it and yes, absence does make the heart grow fonder.  It’s not just the scarcity of the brew, it’s how my summer is now dictated by the early polar zephyrs beginning their breach of the upper Midwest precincts.

I am so alone.

 

 

A Few Things

“The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we see through it.”    Jean Paul Satre, Philosopher/Writer

You know you’re getting older when life slaps you silly with the sudden recognition that you were never really as smart as you thought you were back in your 20’s and 30’s. 

The worst part of this realization is the accompanying paralysis that takes place.  I call it Achievement Hibernation.

You look back in retrospect on all the foolish and outright stupid things done “way back when.” This is accompanied by the concomitant practice of diminishing past accomplishment and dismissing lessons learned along the way.  Sound familiar?

The result: You wind up beating up on yourself incessantly.

What’s overlooked is an undeniable truth:  When you’re younger, you’re Invincible.  You have little or no real life experience but why should that be a hindrance? Relatively speaking, your slate is clean and free of error. OK

The world would be so much better off if only mere mortals would abide by every syllable enunciated by you.

Of course, to the Invincible, this is not hyperbole, it is only truth. It’s noble.  And, of  course, humility comes easy to all great minds.

Yeah, got it!  Nothing like walking on sponge.   

When we look back on our youthful, boneheaded miscalculations, we can wind up taking permanent residence on what Author/Speaker Brian Tracy calls, “Someday I’ll.” 

We become gun shy, and lost in the notion that further undertakings will only add to our list of glitches and shortcomings.  So we fester in the delusion that Achievement Hibernation is the best course of action. 

So, what do you do?  Reflecting on the past is a worthwhile mechanism.  We all should do that every now and then.

But, life is movement.  Life is error.  Life is filled with misjudgments.  Hopefully, we learn from our mistakes, forgive ourselves and then get on with life.  None of us is perfect.  We are all certifiable “screw-ups.”  

In fact, this just in: HSN no longer carries Sackcloth and Ashes.

Here’s something else-

You become aware of the paradigm that if you’re over the age of 50, most likely you’ll never land another full time job. And, this is true.

Now, hold on.  All hope is not lost.  It’s just a matter of readjusting to the realities of today and that does not mean giving up.  No way.  Read on.     

Today, it is all about projects.  Very few organizations are going to hire those of us in the aged 50+ category on a full-time basis. Those days are gone.  BUT, companies need you on a project to project basis. 

You are needed for your experience, your knowledge and know-how.  Then, when the project is completed, it’s on to the next project. 

So, as soon as you land that project, start looking for the next one.

It might not be right, but, it’s real.  And, unless you have an “in” someplace, you’ll be dealing with people in Human Resources 

Now hold on:

Good old HR.  And, who works there?  HR is inhabited primarily by people in their 20’s and 30’s.  Sound familiar?

Look back to when you were their age.  You too thought you knew all there was to know.  These are the brand “Invincible” recruits. That means anyone beyond their immediate age cluster is considered a relic; nice to look at under sealed glass for a moment and then move on before you get infected.

But, you’re probably thinking that even though some strands of grey hair have begun to populate the top of your head or maybe there’s been a hostile takeover by grey follicles, that shouldn’t be a problem?

It is. 

Let’s get real.  You look older than someone younger than you.  You don’t have much in common with them either.

And, here’s the real challenge: Why would an outfit hire you if you’re just as good as the person they just got rid of?

Why replace mediocrity with mediocrity?

Reality Alert:  You’ve got to be better than most and prove it.  And, you are better and can prove it..

Now here’s the good news:  If you have an “in” or get beyond the HR process, most likely, you’ve got some technical skills.  Plus your strong suit is the ability to get along with others.  You have excellent communication and social skills compared to the Invincibles.  They inhabit “Text and Twitter-land.”  Business has discovered that Social Networking ain’t the same as Social Skills. 

And, add this: You know how to spell correctly and write a complete sentence.  Invincibles may possess every academic degree imaginable but most can’t write a complete sentence or spell correctly,  Today, this is a major concern for Business. 

You don’t make many sales in 140 characters. Face to face wins hands down over interface. 

Shakespeare once said, “All the world is a stage.”  Guess what?  He’s right.

Recently, I interviewed Author/Speaker and Master Sales Trainer, Tom Hopkins on my eponymous radio show heard weekends on TalkersRadio.com, 9PM Eastern, 6PM PDT.

Even though I mentioned this in an earlier piece, his advice bears repitition. It is that important. Hopkins said to be prepared for “No.”   

It takes 5-6 no’s to get to a yes.  So whether it’s an interview, a sales call, a follow-up or whatever, load up.  Be prepared for no’s.  Be prepared to come back with another of your assets.  Have 5 or 6 answers or attributes ready in waiting.

You have enough past experience to call upon; good and bad.  You have depth. Use all you’ve got to get what you want. 

One more thing- 

I just finished reading an article about “The Yummies.” Yummies stands for young, urban  male. They lack self-confidence but to make up for their deficiencies they “dress to kill.”

HSBC Bank forecasters are telling their clients to forget the young or middle aged woman.  The real money today is found targeting young urban males.  

But looking good goes only so far. You can walk the walk.  You can talk the talk, but customers balk at the walk and the talk if there is nothing behind walk and talk.  (I kinda like that.)

What I’m saying is being a theorist goes only so far,whether male or female.  Customers can smell inexperience a mile away.  The Invincible can be all decked out in a $1500 outfit but that doesn’t increase the credibility of an empty suit. 

The 50+ Adult has experience and knows that when dealing with customers, “you are on.”  We are more outgoing.  We have excellent social skills. We’re playing a part and for most of us, we’ve played these roles so well, they have become a part of our fabric. We know how to play to an audience, whether large or small.  

Ever work in a grocery store?  Do you know what they call the area where goods and products are displayed for shoppers?  It’s known as “the Staging Area.” 

Where does a doctor perform surgery?  Sure, it’s at a hospital.  But, where do doctors perform in the hospital?  What most of us call the operating room is known in the medical field as “the Theater.”

What I’m getting at is when you’re “on”, you’re on.  It’s all “Show Business.”  Now, please don’t misinterpret that to mean anything allied with Entertainment.  You see it’s about how you Show or demonstrate that you mean Business in an entertaining way.

You might not be Invincible but you’re pretty damn good.

So get off your butt, stop beating up on yourself.  You’ve done enough of that.  Get back into action and win.  Do it.

No, How? vs. Know How

“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.  The old skin has to shed before the new one can come.”                                      Joseph Campbell

“Pick yourself up and start all over again.”   Good grief that sounds sooo vacuous and superficial.  It disregards the cruel, intractable and unforgiving nature of life today.  The mere utterance of that expression morphs quickly into a noxious fusion of the absurd, the sappy and the contemptible.

Although it might be right, it ain’t real.   Life is tough.  It’s not just a matter of accepting change it’s more about what course of action should actually be undertaken.

When desperation is added into the equation, all that does is cultivate a breeding ground for unwise choice. Throw in distraction along with a scarcity of time and the pressure of hopefully making the right decision and voila, all components are there awaiting a crash and burn situation..

It’s the same with New Years resolutions.  There has to be some illogical rationale why most of us find it almost impossible to follow through on our proclamations for the future.

Maybe it’s the way we are hard wired.  Let’s say that most year- ending forecasts are replete with best of intentions.  OK.  But somewhere along our neural pathways, the fervor, dedication and execution of the resolutions are rendered defective, incomplete and call for mentally re-booting.

All that does is either delay implementation or, erase all memories of and the commitment to promised change.

Hey, you never know.  Perhaps, I’m wrong. I’m certainly no scientist.  But, on the other hand, maybe Elvis really is alive and well and living in Seacaucus, New Jersey.

Starting over and being 50 Plus are two compounds that don’t naturally lend themselves to compatibility.  In fact, the older we get the more hard-wired we are to the same old, same old.

Unfortunately, that state of mind is considered highly undesirable and certainly unemployable in an environment that exacts unconditional tribute at the altar of The “What Have You Done For Me Lately” sanctuary.

The past is the past and quickly disregarded by those who have no past nor experience.  In order to conceal their deficiencies, they attempt to fuse together the unstable alloys of hubris, tenacity and theory.  Believe it or not, that’s their problem.  The truth comes out eventually. We cannot let it fester within us and allow it to become a hindrance to our achievement.

We have already too much on our plate.

Author/Speaker/Broadcaster Dennis Prager is a thought leader.  If you haven’t listened to his Radio program or read any of his books, you are missing out on something extraordinary.  Prager is gifted with a far above average intelligence.  He does not pander nor does he patronize. He uses his mental horsepower in a very entertaining manner to simplify the complex and clarify the complicated.

I interviewed him for my book, “Out of the Fog and Into Focus.”  He told me about a death that occurred that had deeply affected him.  Now, it was not an actual death.  It was his divorce which at the time, he had recently experienced.

He said that divorce is like a death.  It takes time to recover.  A part of you is missing.  But, you must go on and live through the pain.

Eventually, the pain subsides, the memories recede and supplanted hopefully by more loving and meaningful designs.

The point is don’t give up.  Change takes time and change can be excruciating.  We have to shed the past to appreciate the present and revel in the expectation of a prosperous future.

And, life is fluid.  Each day is different.  We are different.  Whether we want to admit it or not, we don’t look as we did 30 years ago.

Celebrating pain, reversals and dissolution gets old.  So get with it.

Even if you are not in a particularly positive mind frame, you owe it to yourself to fake it until a more positive outlook actually becomes a part of you.

Fake it till you make it.  What’s the alternative?  There is no recourse.

If that provides but meager comfort, then be grateful for what there is right now and find solace in that.  Things could be worse.

If all else fails, forget pride and get professional and clerical help.  The obligation to yourself right now is urgent.  It’s incumbent upon you to rise above your current circumstance.

Now, let me ask, what is important to you?  What is your plan?  Do you even have one?

Commit to the realization that you are no longer imprisoned by the past.  It is time to stop “going through comatose motions” and allow yourself to be liberated by your dreams.

For too long, your dreams have been a blank state because the past possessed a strangle-hold on any meaningful vision for the future..

This isn’t fuzzy BS.  Dreams beget Aspiration. Aspiration creates Strategy.  And Strategy engenders Tactics and Tactics demand Implementation.

Right now, it’s absolutely critical to create an action plan.   This is not a New Years resolution soon to be forgotten. This is your life.  Don’t put it on hold.

What are you telling yourself?  Are you saying  NO. HOW as in NO WAY, NO HOW or are you communicating  KNOW HOW as in finding a way of taking greater control and outcome of your life?

It takes focus and conviction to start over.

I remember working in Sales for a magazine.  I knew nothing about Print Sales.  I asked the owner what do I do?  He gave me the greatest advice, which at the time, I didn’t really appreciate nor fully understand.  Ah, the wisdom of the ages.

Even now, his words are so relevant and yet so simple.

He said. “just do it.”  And this was years before Nike’s adoption of the phrase.

Necessity is a Mother, and that’s used as a half word.  I needed the job and the money derived from commissions.  I didn’t say NO.  I certainly wasn’t sure HOW.  I had to improvise.  That was my KNOW HOW.

Stop with how or what or where.  Start somewhere and work your way from there.  Life does not come with an instruction manual.  So stop wasting time looking for one.

You are the architect of your life.  It is your blueprint, your brand, your self-actualization put into action without distraction.

Allow yourself to finally bring to fruition those long held concepts now liberated from self-imposed servitude, rooted in past doubt and failures.

You cannot build a solid structure with faulty construction tools.

And that reminds me of an interview I saw recently with TV’s Judge Judy.  She made an interesting observation related to blueberries.  Blueberries?  Yes.  She discussed how in a package of blueberries, you might find one shriveled up and decayed.

So, what do you do with the bad fruit?  You get rid of it.

But, if it’s not removed from the package, the next day more berries will be found to have gone bad.

If the shriveled berries are not discarded,  within a very short time, the whole package of fruit becomes decayed, shriveled and toxic.

The same is true by masochistically celebrating past defeat and fortune reversals.  That is what occurs by inaction.  We become decayed and toxic.

Sure we learn from turn downs but can’t allow those lessons to obstruct a path rich with the opportunity of attainment.

So, Is it NO.  HOW? Or is it KNOW HOW. It’s all up to you

I always reply to comments sent only to dickheatherton@outlook.com