Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I have a Zune. (Pause for for laughter) I've had it for about a year. One of the new things that Zunes do is keep track of all the songs you listen to. It can post your most-played artists and songs to a web page so that you can find other people who listen to the same kind of music as you.

One day, I accidentally left my Zune on while it was playing a Julio Iglesias album that I downloaded for RO. It played the album hundreds of times before I stopped it.

Now, when you go to Julio Iglesias on Zune, I am one of his top listeners.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving has been very good for the store.

In two days, we've sold more than we usually sell in two weeks.

In one day, we've sold more than all three days of Thanksgiving 2006.

This is a big comfort. Sales were flat in September and October and I was worried that we would have another year of barely earning enough to get by. Maybe it was the so called credit crunch. Maybe it was the old staff that quit and the new staff we hired. Maybe it was the mailer and hype. Maybe it's the wine and mimosa's that we offer our customers at our store. Whatever it is, people are now shopping in droves.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Turkey Day everyone.

Thursday RO and I spend that afternoon with his family and then the evening with Matt and Sandy. Much food was consumed.

Friday is Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping days of the year. We started it off as we usually do-- with confusion and misunderstandings.

I had to run some errands before the store opened so I left in the truck and let RO take the van so that he could open the store.

While I'm half way through my errand, I get a call from Co whom I haven't talked to in years. He relays a message "RO left his keys and cell phone in the truck. He's stuck at home and needs you to return ASAP!"

I quickly returned home and picked RO up. He said that when he realized where he'd left his keys and phone he knocked on all our neighbors doors, but no one answered. Then he signed onto Bear411 and frantically started messaging everyone he knew.

RO was angry at himself for leaving his keys in the truck. I secretly felt smug. Sometimes RO has this habit of letting others pick up after him. If he gets angry at himself, hopefully he'll learn to watch after himself a bit more.

The rest of the day was very busy. The store had one of it's best days ever. I like that because rent and sales tax are due tomorrow.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Christmas is uppon RO and I. The store is decked with seven huge Christmas Trees and thousands or orniments. Every week till the 25th, RO and I have holiday parties.

It feels a bit strange.

Last night RO and I went to a Thanks giving party hosted by one of his closets friends. About twenty people where there. At one point we went around the room and said what we were thankful for.

Three guys broke out in tears when they said their part. What's that about? I can't imagine welling up from talking about the good things in my life.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

My neighborhood is going through some kind of near-gentrification. But, instead of transitioning from run-down to high-class, it's topping about half way at "Box Store"

On the down the hill from my place, there used to be great views of Lake Washington. Now, a huge athletic center is going in. The center is prestigious, it's the trainging facility for the Seattle Seahawksb But it must really piss off the neighbors. The area used to be a quiet water front community.

Just down the street we have new Lowe's, Fry's and Target stores. It's more difficult for me to be irritated by them. They land they are on was formerly Boeing parking lot.

The thing I regret is that this area could become a world class waterfront district. Instead it's all about shopping. Yes there is a nice park on the lake, but you wouldn't know it's there from the Target parking lot.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Last night RO and I mailed out 5000 post cards.

We found this great website ( that lets us easily do all sorts of bulk mailings. It has made one of store's the biggest chores easy.

The only advertising we know works is direct mailings to our customers of about 5,000 people. Unfortunatly few bulk mailers will touch bulk orders for less than 10,000 addresses. Mailing out 5,000 post cards by hand is big pain in the ass

First you need to find a printing shop who can do a mail-merge-- take your address list and print the addresses on each post card. I'm suprised how difficult that is. The last company that did it for us, wrecked so many post cards when they went through the 2nd printing pass that the told us they would never do a mail merge again. At another print-shop only one guy know how to do the mail-merge. When he went he left, we were SOL.

After you have 5,000 addressed post cards, you have to buy 5,000 stamps and affix them to said postcards. This is tedious. It takes four of us hours to complete the job.

Post office people look at you funny when you ask for 5,000 stamps.

Then we stumbled upon CardStore. Now all we have to do is upload our mailing list and a couple of images, enter a credit card number and voila-- instant junk mail. In less than an hour we can do what used to take two days and four car trips.

One day this internet thing is going to catch on.

Friday, November 09, 2007

I've been on a leadership trainging course for the past fews of days. It was very intense, 8am in the morning to 9pm at night, plus homework. Plus Homwork! at 9pm on Thursday evening I was told that I had to give a 20 minute presentation at 8am the next morning.

I think half the point of the program was to place me under stress, and ensure I delt with it professionally as opposed to blowing up. To paraphrase the instructor, everyone knows how to speak clearly, to validate, to give and ask for freedback and to deal with agressive people. But, unless you actually practice, you won't do it well.