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.

 

 

Failing on the Way to Success

 “When you get to the fork in the road, take it.”  Yogi Berra                                           

Every time I see that Berra quote, I have to laugh.  It’s not only funny, it’s true. 

Decisions, decisions, decisions.  It’s like it never ends.  It reminds me of the story about the stressed out executive. Every time he turned around he had to make another decision.  It got so bad, he stopped turning around.

So you have to ask yourself what is it you want to do?  What do you want to accomplish? What is important and what takes priority?

Whatever is on your wish list amounts to nothing without a high level of passion, conviction and action taken.

A few years ago, I interviewed a time management expert.  His name is Peter Tula. Check him out.  Tula is fabulous and what he told me was invaluable and made so much sense.

His advice: Iimagine having 95-one dollar bills in one hand and in the other, you are  holding 5-one hundred dollar bills.  Then, throw all that money up into the air and let the money fall all over the floor.

The next step: You have 10 seconds to pick up all that money.  So, ask yourself, what denomination are you going to reach for first?  Will it be the dollar bills or the five $100 bills?

What great advice!  Of course, we would all go for the bigger bucks.  That’s natural.

But, more important and significant are the choices we make.  What are the $1.00 choices and what ideas or projects do you consider to be $100.00 choices.  When you look at it that way, it really is up to you and what you consider to be of value.  Fabulous advice.

That’s not to say you can’t do everything.  When opportunity strikes, go for it, but prioritize.

I don’t know about you but I love what I’m doing.  Being over the age of 50, life has provided me a wide array of experiences; mostly good and some a lot less than swell.

Sure I’ve made some bad choices along the way but I think I’ve learned from those experiences.

Every once in a while, I’ve been known to brow-beat myself based on some past judgment lapse, but signing up for membership in Masochists Anonymous ain’t no option that’s even open for discussion.

I believe in the Law of Averages. Even when the only luck you’ve got is bad, eventually things do change for the better. That is if you allow it.

We learn from failure.  And, I find most people don’t use failure to further their lives and fortunes.

Now hold on, let me explain.

There is nothing worse than whiling away in splendid ambiguity.  You’ve got to make up your mind.

In life, we make choices.  Sometimes we don’t know what choice to make and then get stymied.  I believe one important reason for that is a mind set where the fear of and expectation of failure exists.

As you know, I’m an Author and a Speaker and now a Coach.

What I see missing in plans of action are failure steps.

Now, I’m not an advocate of the school of thought where if at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you even tried.

Funny line.  Now that might work in politics, but it doesn’t work here.

What I’m talking about is placing failure steps into a plan of action.  I’m not talking about celebrating failure.  But include some failure as steps needed to be taken on the way to success.

In other words, by failing you are actually succeeding.  You’re succeeding because you’re supposed to fail at a particular stage.  It’s built into your plan action so it doesn’t come as a surprise.  Some failure is expected. 

Look back.  Remember years ago, as you were working your way up the success ladder, it took some time. There were ups and downs. But, now in retrospect, it is pretty easy to overlook all those shortcomings on the way. And, who wants to dwell on that?

We’re human and past disappointments become meaningless.  Sure, they are lessons learned.  But failure is trounced by the number and quality of accomplishments  accumulated over the years.

So failure is not an option, right?

Wrong. And, therein lies the problem.

It is absolutely essential to eventual achievement to recognize and integrate failure steps into any plan of action in order to enhance a greater probability of success.

Consider it insurance.

Business consultant Mark Cofano says it is absolutely essential to include the possibility of failure into an action plan.  He refers to it as the Fatal Flaw Analysis.

Failure to do so gets us stuck, wastes a lot of time, wears us down and gets us nowhere.

And, once again you find yourself whiling away in splendid ambiguity wondering where to go and what to do.

Just the other day, I gave a talk.  Because the event was held a few days prior to a holiday, the audience size was fairly small.

But, it gave me an opportunity to add some new techniques I had learned recently from two expert coaching mavens, June Davidson and Dian Anderson.

First, I listened attentively.  Then I had members of the audience discover their own solutions.  I didn’t provide answers.  I just asked a lot of questions.  If I did anything it was guiding participating audience members to some solution.

Out of the questioning came some keys to resolution.  Needless to say, in the short amount of time we had to do this exercise, it gave the participants some food for thought.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best: “When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.”  And, right now, I’m seeing quite a few heavenly creations that I call opportunities.

Currently, I’m helping raise $15 million for an environmental project.  I’m assisting a friend in selling lighting by getting him to the right people.  I’ve got my Radio show on Talkers.com.  I’m studying Coaching and working with a Radio syndication firm selling programs to stations.

Will I fail?  Of course I will.  I have included failure steps in my plan while I’m on my way to success.  Will any of these projects flop?  I don’t know but I’m a persistent SOB and there’s enough on my plate where if one thing doesn’t happen, I’ll just throw the cards up in the air and pick another $100 idea.

The best part of all this activity is the energy it gives me. I am not bored.  In fact, I can’t get bored. I don’t have the time.  These are all “hands-on” opportunities.

Believe it or not, I am not overloading myself.  Just as with the time management expert, I have my order of priorities. I’m just making sure that they are of the $100 variety.

I’m sticking with it so I don’t go on overload.

All of this activity gives me more information, information that I’ll add to my platform presentations and my second book.

Speaking of which, it is now half way to completion and should be out in a few months.  The book is called “The Upside to Down Times.”

One undertaking powers my interest in other areas.  Plus, it’s surprising how often all these projects are similar in nature and seem, at some point, to actually intersect with each other.

What I’m saying is that once getting beyond the initial stages of mechanics and basic understanding of each area of interest, I found out that there’s surprisingly so many similarities to everything else.

It proves to me that there really is nothing new under the sun.

Do I know anything about the science behind environmental projects?  Nope.  When it comes to lighting, the only thing I know how to do is throw a mean electrical switch on and off.  Radio is in my blood so that takes care of the show and syndication.

And I’ve been writing now continually for the past few years, and my composing is actually improving; not award winning but…improving.  Most important, I’m now comfortable with the notion that writing is really all about re-writing and re-writing with the hopes of expressing myself with greater clarity.

I’m certainly no genius.  If I can do it, I know you can too,  in your own way.

The hard part is just getting started.  Don’t worry about starting at the beginning.  Just start anywhere. If you give it time, whatever project you’re involved with will disclose its own form and reveal its own beginning, middle and an end.  Remember you are failing on your way to success.

Otherwise, what’s the alternative?  Let me tell you: wiling away in splendid ambiguity is a tough way to live.  So, make up your mind what you want, be specific and allow for some failure in your plan of action otherwise you become a featured player in the story of your life.

Isn’t it time you do what you want to do?  Failure is just a stepping stone on your way to eventual success.

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