Sunday, April 23, 2023

Rotisserie Chicken Tuesdays!

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

Running low on dinner ideas? Look no further, grab a freshly made rotisserie chicken for just $6.99 each Tuesday at Kings Food Market! Make dinnertime a breeze with all-natural ingredients and gourmet flavors. 

I live in Boonton Township, NJ which is around 30 miles (as the crow flies) West of Times Square NYC. So now you are picturing a Crow (make it a Pigeon) flying due West from NYC to NJ, right? OK, well NOW you are. 

And I shop at Kings in Boonton (almost) every day. I am a terrible shopper. If something is on the end of the aisle, it has a good chance of making it into my shopping cart. I always take a tiny cart, better yet I try to use one of those tiny baskets that you have to carry. If the basket gets heavy, then I bought too much. 

So, it is "in my brain" that Tuesdays is Cheap Chicken Day at Kings. Normally $9.99 you save $3 on Tuesdays. Hey Dianne, it's Cheap Chicken Day - I'll get dinner! 

Pivot: my friend just bought a video conferencing camera from Amazon. Actually my GOOD friend, someone who KNOWS what I do for a living, bought a camera - from Amazon. My friend of 10+ years who knows that I sell (every) brand of video conference camera - a PAID member of - did not even think to buy it from me. We shall come back to this.

I am not the "primary" grocery shopper for the household. My wife is good at it, I am not. She knows the ins and outs of ShopRite, ACME, ALDI, and others. Sometimes she gives me a short list for things that we need (bread, dog food, eggs) but it is not the major grocery shopping for the week. It usually goes something like (text to Dianne) "I'm at Kings. Do we need anything?" USUALLY she says "Don't buy anything!" Kings, it turns out, is too expensive. Or better put - is more expensive than ACME, which is more expensive than ShopRite, which is more expensive than ALDI

Pivot again: my video conferencing shopping friend has a very interesting business. They do PowerPoint presentations for Fortune 1000 companies. He has clients who need PERFECT presentations. Think of a big pharma company launching a $100M+ campaign for a new drug or such - they need a perfect pitch deck. My friend owns a boutique digital agency that makes perfect PowerPoint presentations for clients that are willing to pay big bucks for - perfection. My friend's clients are not shopping for a bargain. In fact they are very aware that this PowerPoint is going to cost several hundred dollars - per hour. Several

WHY do I have "Cheap Chicken Day" renting space in my head? WHY do I (now) refuse to buy rotisserie chicken from Kings unless it is Tuesday? Ah, did you know that ACME (a mile down the road) has rotisserie chicken for $7.99 every day. And, my wife now tells me that - one day a week - ACME has rotisserie chicken for $5.99!!! WHAT? That feels like Gastronome Blasphemy! 

Wait, there's more! It turns out that Kings AND ACME are owned by Albertsons! Turns out that a ton of stores across the country are owned by Albertsons. 

Both Kings and ACME have a loyalty club - an app - but it all rolls up to Albertsons. I could save even more money if I got the app. I could get digital coupons! I could get spiffs and specials and deals - and free stuff on my birthday (if I tell them my birthday). So, I have Kings Cheap Chicken Day renting space in my head, but I will not go to ACME - FOR THE SAME EXACT CHICKEN - and - I did not (and don't) feel that I will be getting the Kings - ACME - Albertson app. What is wrong with me?

The Kings app is free. The Kings app would save me money. I know this. And still I will not change my shopping behavior. I asked my friend directly: "Why did you not get your new camera from me?" And he honestly said, very simply: "My brain is trained to Google stuff, and just buy stuff from Amazon. It's easy, it's simple." 

Buying behavior is a powerful thing. 

Epilogue: I am a Tier 1 ELITE partner with Verizon. My gross margin is 50% - that's FIFTY PERCENT! Example: if someone were going to get BlueJeans by Verizon they would save 50% if they get BlueJeans by Verizon from me. 

If anyone in North America is ever, ever, EVER going to get BlueJeans by Verizon they should !!! And yet... 

Kings (Albertsons) cannot force me to download and use their app. Maybe once I see enough of my friends using the app, maybe once someone in my family starts using the app, maybe once I feel that I am the only one on the planet who is NOT using the app - I'll start using the app. I think that this is how (and why) I originally started using Uber, and Netflix, and even Amazon Prime. I felt left out. I felt like I was missing out on all the fun. So I made the leap - to Uber and Netflix and Amazon Prime. And now, many others.  

And so: my PowerPoint making friend with the million-dollar digital agency (my friend who will surely read this Sunday blog) don't be chicken. Start shopping at the Technology Assurance Cooperative ( for all of your telecom and technology needs. Make the leap! Why pay more?  

It is the way... (assuming you pay for Disney+ )

Shop at for all of your
Telecom and Technology. No app required.

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Hey, you got kids?

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

Many years ago (11?) Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood did a show at UCONN. My wife knew (I did not know) that my youngest son Bobby was a HUGE FAN of Colin and Brad. Like, BIG FAN. 

So, she bought tickets online for the kids, and some their friends. Around ten tickets in total. I was recruited to drive the New Jersey kids up to UCONN for the show. OK, fine. My son Tommy was already on UCONN campus, my son Bobby was in the car for the road trip from BOONTON USA to UCONN.

And as we got closer and closer to UCONN campus, Bobby became more and more anxious. "Oh, man, I can't BELIEVE that we are going to see Colin and Brad!"

When we finally got to UCONN campus all the kids were together, talking about the show that was going to start in around an hour. The conversation was becoming more and more... intense. I thought to myself: how did I not know how big a deal this was for Bobby? And how did my wife know this about Bobby, and I did not know?

When we finally sat down in our seats, I knew it was time to act. 

"I'll be right back...." 

I went down to the lobby and found an usher. "Can you tell me who is in charge?" They pointed out the guy in the blue jeans and sportscoat, a guy looking very anxious, looking very occupied. 

"Excuse me, my name is Tom, we just drove up from New Jersey for the show. Hey, you got kids?"

I went on to explain how (I had no idea) that my son Bobby was basically the head of the Colin and Brad fan club, and how he was upstairs with all of his friends, basically freaking out waiting for the show to start. I asked, "is there any way that he could get an autograph?"

"How many kids you got up there?"

I told him that there were ten kids in total, but Bobby was the one who was totally into Brad and Colin. 

"At intermission, meet me right here. I'll bring you two backstage and your son can hang out with Brad and Colin in the green room." 

In total, it took less than ten minutes from "I'll be right back" to return to our seats. "Bobby, at intermission, come with me, we are going to meet Colin and Brad backstage." 

Everyone was stunned. HOW? WHAT? HOW??? One kid said (and I'll always smile over this) "Bobby, your Dad is like a retired Spy who still has all of his contacts....." 

Today's Facebook Memory Feed reminded me of this day. I remember like it was yesterday, watching my son interact with Colin and Brad, who were totally generous with their time. Basically, they spent THEIR break with my son. Bobby asked questions, they answered, and I just soaked it all in.

When it was all over, we went back to our seats, and Bobby was on Cloud 9 for the 2nd half of the show. And the rest of the "posse" were amazed. 

The big (life/business) lesson for all ten kids that day was clear: you make your own luck. You have to ask. And, most importantly, people rarely say no when you simply and sincerely ask for help. Most of the time, people will be happy to help, if you simply ask for their help. 

Ask for help, get the help, and then (one day) you too can pay it forward. One father asking another father for help. "Hey, you got kids?" 

EXPERT LEVEL: looks like the Colin and Brad show is in Ridgefield, CT later this month, and also will be in Englewood NJ in June. I'm going to get the family tickets to one of those local shows. And, I am going to reach out to Colin and Brad and I'll show them the link to this blog post.  

And, I am going to see if we can take this picture (again). 

Brad, Bobby, Colin

Sunday, April 9, 2023

For me, it will always be Bugs Bunny

If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape / hold phone sideways. 

Easter Rabbit (or Easter Bunny) is a character from Loony Tunes series. His only classic appearance was in "Easter Yeggs." He is a lazy rabbit who "works" at Easter time.

History: Bugs Bunny finds the Easter Bunny (also known as the "Easter Rabbit") sitting on a rock, crying. The Easter Bunny tells Bugs that his feet are sore, so he cannot deliver the Easter eggs. Bugs takes up the job, not knowing that he, like other rabbits, was actually tricked into doing so yearly. "Every year, I get some 'dumb bunny' to do my work for me."  Here is a clip:

And so, Easter Yeggs, a 1947 Looney Tunes theatrical animated short was my first memory of the Easter Bunny. I was born in 1960, so Saturday Morning Cartoons in Cedar Grove, New Jersey was my jam growing up. And Bugs Bunny was the best! I'll bet you that I saw that specific cartoon a few dozen times before graduating from Kindergarten. Maybe you have seen it as well.   

For the first ten years of my life, we lived next door to the Community Church of Cedar Grove, so the first ten Easter Sundays of my life (unless we were traveling) were right in my own back yard. We lived at 45 Bowden Road, and the Church was at (still is) 65 Bowden Road. I went to Nursery School (Preschool) there. I remember riding my bike with training wheels (and years later, my gas powered Go-kart) in their MASSIVE parking lot. Funny, in 2023, their parking lot seems, well, very tiny. When I graduated from 6th grade, we moved from Cedar Grove to Boca Raton, Florida - and we sold our house to the church. I think they still own it to this day (Pastor's Residence). 

And so, this Easter Sunday morning, my blog takes me down a Rabbit Hole: "The Community Preschool is a state-certified preschool, licensed by the Division of Youth and Family Services. The School is non-sectarian and non-profit and is located in the Community Church of Cedar Grove. It was established as a service to the surrounding communities in 1948."

Where are you going with this Tom?

In all aspects of life, first impressions are important. You remember (for life) your first experiences. In animals, imprinting refers to a critical period of time early in life, when it forms attachments and develops a concept of its own identity. Birds and mammals are born with a pre-programmed drive to imprint onto their mother. 

My first memory of "The Easter Bunny" and the one that I see in my mind's eye first, is from the 1947 Looney Tunes Easter Yeggs cartoon. My first memory of Easter is THE BIG PARTY that we would hold every year - in my yard! (I thought we owned the Community Church). Easter Sunday was a big party for everyone in the neighborhood - at our house.   

Yes, in business and in life, first impressions matter. A study from Princeton University has found that people make judgements on attractiveness, likability and trustworthiness within a fraction of a second after seeing someone. Even if presented with lots of opposing evidence, we tend to rely on our own initial impressions of people - and of a business

First impressions matter, and usually last a lifetime.

Community Preschool of Cedar Grove - Since 1948

"Our goal is to provide each child with a safe,
healthy and nurturing first school experience."

Sunday, April 2, 2023

What's your Agency?

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San Diego State's Lamont Butler

I was today years old when I learned about High Agency vs. Low Agency.

People with High Agency feel a sense of control over their lives, and they can make decisions about what they want or need and act to meet those needs. 

On the other hand, people with Low Agency may feel like something outside their control, such as luck or fate, is shaping their path. 

San Diego State's Lamont Butler hit an absolutely stunning Final Four buzzer-beater. 

And the NCAA color commentator said: "Wow, that is some High Agency right there!"

So I had to Google High Agency.

Agency is the sense of control that you feel in your life, your capacity to influence your own thoughts and behavior, and have faith to handle a wide range of tasks and situations. Your sense of agency helps you to be psychologically stable, yet flexible in the face of conflict or change. 

People with low agency experience common impediments when trying to make sound decisions. They tend to procrastinate, obsess over details, or worry excessively during the process; they may lack confidence and be risk-adverse; or their thinking may be too fast and they act on impulse. 

Ah, but what is the difference between high agency and high communion

Agency-oriented individuals experience fulfillment through their individual accomplishments and their sense of independence and separateness, whereas communion-oriented individuals experience fulfilment through their relationships with others and their sense of belonging. 

Like, when you are on a TEAM

San Diego State junior guard Lamont Butler willed his team to the 2023 men's NCAA tournament championship game with one of the best buzzer-beaters you will ever see. I had flashbacks to when Kris Jenkins hit a buzzer-beater that gave Villanova a National Title in 2016. 

I went down the Google Rabbit Hole this morning. The four agency themes are self-mastery, status/victory, achievement/responsibility, and empowerment. The four communion themes are love/friendship, dialogue, caring/help, unity/togetherness. 

Google: NCAA Buzzer Beaters. There are 129 (so far). 

And so: in basketball and other such timed sports, a buzzer-beater is a shot that is taken before the game clock of a quarter, a half, or an overtime period expires - but does not go in the basket until after the clock expires and the buzzer sounds - hence the name "buzzer-beater." 

OK, land the plane Tom...

A "buzzer beater" might be the highest form of AGENCY. But - there can be no buzzer-beaters without the team - without the highest form of COMMUNION

The coach of San Diego State said after the game: "All I said was get the ball to Lamont." 

That game went back and forth, back and forth. Either team could win. There was very HIGH COMMUNION on both sides, for more than 59 minutes. 

And with just seconds left in the game, the San Diego State Head Coach says. "I'm out of plays, I have no play. Get the ball to Lamont.

All of us dream of hitting the game wining home run in the World Series. Scoring the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl. Hitting the buzzer-beater to win the game. In sports and in business, we all want to feel that thrill of High Agency

But we all must remember, in sports and in business - there can be no agency without communion.