Monthly Archives: September 2012

Fifty Shades of Chicken

Fifty Shades of Chicken

Hannah Copper was about to graduate college as a big “v” (vegetarian.) She’d just been waiting for the right meat.

Her senior year in college, she meets a handsome billionaire who has only ever known the dangerous side of chicken.

“Oh Hannah, until I met you, I never knew I could eat chicken because I was hungry, I thought that it had to be charged with hate or at least a political statement.”

Coming soon to a bookstore near you.

Okay, not really. But I was as riveted to the whole Chick-Fil-A debacle as most were to the Fifty Shades Trilogy. When I read the Fifty Shades Trilogy, I wound up skimming through those racy scenes that were supposed to be the reason to read the books as I concentrated on the rest of the story. I kind of did the same thing with the incidents surrounding Chick-Fil-A CEO Dan Cathy’s comments. At the core of the controversy was the issue of same-sex marriage, but what made the whole situation fascinating were the slew of other simply American things it made me think about. In fact, I came up with about fifty of them.

So, I was kind of glad to see Chick-Fil-A come back into the news with the whole Chicago promise-that-wasn’t-a-promise because I’d been sitting on this graphic and intro for a while and I thought it was pretty clever. Never mind that I can’t seem to find any focus for this blog and keep jumping around topics like they tell you not to do if you want people to keep reading. (I even had to create a new category for this.)

Anyway, here are the aforementioned 50 thoughts, things learned, and things wondered presented to you in a sort of stream-of-consciousness list that I call “Fifty Shades of Chicken”:

  1. Same sex marriage. This is a big issue. This was the least interesting part of the Chick-Fil-A affair. Not that it’s not important, but this wasn’t the conversation that should have sparked debate about it.
  2. Language used matters. Dan Cathy has talked about his support of “traditional marriage” before, just using different words- here in March, 2012 and here in November, 2011. While his support of anti-gay groups was sort-of news in the past, it did not receive the full country’s reaction the way it did this summer. It was this, the original Baptist Press interview that ignited the national firestorm this summer, where he used the words “Guilty as charged,” in response to a question about his position supporting traditional family. If he had said “Yes, like I’ve mentioned many, many times, we support the traditional view of marriage,” I bet there wouldn’t have been all this hullabaloo. Incidentally, that Baptist Press article did not mention gay vs. straight marriage, or even gay anything at all.
  3. The media sucks. This really shouldn’t have been news. It was old news, rephrased to help fuel readership. Here’s how the NY Daily News switched up the Baptist Press article to their own article with a headline reading “Chik-Fil-A: A-OK with Being Anti-gay, Says Prez.” Not that anyone’s really claiming the Daily News is a bastion of journalistic integrity, but no matter who you’re writing for, is a rhyming headline that stirs up lots of hate better than a more accurate one?
  4. Some of the LGBT community were very angry and suggested a boycott. I can understand why some folks were pissed – the media is telling them that they’re very hated publicly and that people are spending money to prevent their happiness; I’d be pissed, too.
  5. It didn’t surface where I saw it in July, but Cathy did say some very negative things about supporters of same-sex marriage. He stated: I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say ‘we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage’ and I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.” It’s not nice, but still not news, although you would think it should have been bigger news than the “Guilty as Charged” comment.
  6. Many of the LGBT community refrained from hating and supported free-speech. Like this insightful gentleman who wrote an ireport on CNN. Maybe they wouldn’t spend their money there, but most of my gay friends didn’t want this to be the platform for or against gay marriage. And they hoped to be able to speak their mind freely, too, and recognized that meant allowing those with whom they disagree do the same. It’s very American.
  7. Some governments decided that this guy’s opinion would allow or disallow him from being able to do business in their city. Here’s an example from Boston.What? Can I lose other rights if the mayor disagrees with my opinions? Seems very un-American.
  8. The backlash resulted in what I’m terming an “unboycott.” Chick-Fil-A appreciation day was August 1.  The idea was to go eat at Chick-Fil-A to back Cathy.  I think that if you were at Chick-Fil-A that day, your statement was likely unclear. Were you anti-gay? Were you pro-free-speech? Were you hungry for chicken? Do you just like long lines?
  9. We have a constitutional right to free speech, so this guy can say whatever he wants. Sarah Palin was part of the unboycott and said the boycott threatened free-speech. I would think a boycott is another kind of free speech, but I’ve never been to Alaska.
  10. All publicity is good publicity. If Dan Cathy has any business sense, I bet he’ll try to stay wishy-washy on this deal so he can fire it up again when things get slow. Like maybe in late September?
  11. I was surprised that other fast food restaurants didn’t try to cash in.
  12. Fast food has become as American as free speech.
  13. Americans are fat. I can imagine that there are some folks in a third-world country who wish they could be half as fat as us and shout their opinions from the greasy-smelling confines of a fast-food restaurant.
  14. Gays felt hurt by long lines at Chick-Fil-A. I guess I would feel hurt, too, but I can hardly stand to eat at a fast-food place much less determine the future of marriage there. It made me sad that people were airing their thoughts on this in a fast-food restaurant.
  15. The boycott’s unboycott was fought by the un-un-boycott, the “Kiss-In.” I don’t care who you or your partner are, public displays of affection are gross. Fast food restaurants are gross. Don’t combine them. I’m just glad this wasn’t followed by an un-un-un-boycott of old “traditional” married couples making out. Eww… I just threw up in my mouth a little at the image of elderly people pressing their wrinkled, chicken-breathed, mouths together while sitting on old waffle-fry covered booths. Just gross.
  16. No kiss-in in Tallahassee. I have a friend on Facebook who is a TV news reporter in Tallahassee. She was sent to cover the local “kiss-in.” She said there wasn’t one. Made me wonder if other folks realized that a fast food restaurant isn’t the most romantic or political venue the media would have us believe it to be.
  17. I’m now curious about what Chick-Fil-A tastes like. I haven’t been to one since the one in the student union at Oklahoma State University and I haven’t been there in over 15 years. I decide to visit the Chick-Fil-A website, where I’m struck by these next few items that I learned.
  18. They claim to have invented the chicken nugget.
  19. They also take credit for the boneless chicken sandwich.
  20. They are closed on Sundays. Everyone seems to agree that this is really cool. But everyone seems to keep eating fast-food and shopping on Sundays.
  21. Cows want us to eat mor chikin? Seems like their cause would be better supported if the cows and chickens got together. Probably avoiding cross-species integration I suppose. Is this another Chick-Fil-A statement for bias and segregation?
  22. The nearest Chick-Fil-A to me is almost 100 miles away. I cannot even make a statement about their food even if I want to without driving to New Jersey. People from Connecticut try not to do that. (This is where the facts I learned from the Chick-Fil-A website in this list end.)
  23. Not being able to weigh-in with a boycott, unboycott or kiss-in is similar to my ability to influence the Presidential election. Connecticut is not a Chick-Fil-A state or a swing state. That seems unfair. People say vote with your dollar (meaning a donation.) I think that the $20 I can afford would be better used in a local charity. It could actually go for a Chick-Fil-A purchase if I put it towards a political campaign, though (click to view an article on what money gets spent on on the campaign trail.)
  24. The swing state thing reminded me that there is an election going on. And that it sucks that my choices are big-government Obama and big-involvement-in-my-personal-life-including-abortion-and-marriage Romney.
  25. Thoughts of the election reminded me that lobbying matters, so where Dan Cathy spends his foundation’s money could significantly change my world.
  26. Chick-Fil-A isn’t the only company using money to support causes. Amazon and Target have openly and financially supported the cause for gay-marriage. I don’t know if this means a lot of southern Kindles got thrown away or what.
  27. Thinking about corporations having political opinions, I was reminded that in January, the Supreme Court said it is okay for a corporation to spend money on a political campaign; a corporation is protected by the First Amendment the same way that an individual is. So maybe I should pay more attention to where I buy stuff.
  28. The Baptist Press article came out on July 16 and one week later Sally Ride died, and upon her death it came to light that she was a lesbian with a long-time life partner. Unrelated, but wow, this would be a big deal if you were born gay and had a hero like Sally Ride. It was also pointed out that her life partner would receive no benefits.  This meant two big news pieces for the LGBT community in one week.
  29. The thought of no benefits reminded me about health care, and how health care sucks right now in this country. Obviously, there are other benefits that Sally Ride’s partner is missing out on but just showing how this Chick-Fil-A thing brought my mind everywhere.
  30. Through all of the conversation that erupted from the Chick-Fil-A thing, I learned that some people still think being gay is a choice. Whether you think it is right or wrong or whatever, to believe that someone would choose homosexuality is silly to me. Try to imagine that being attracted to whomever you happen to be attracted makes other people sick or angry. Would you pick that for your life?  I don’t think we get to pick much about who we fall in love with.
  31. Where does the Biblical interpretation that homosexuality is a sin come from? All this has a lot of people bringing up this old quote-things-the-old-testament-says-are-wrong-that-we-do letter. (I direct you to Snopes because it is attributed to so many different people in so many different places.) The letter makes a good point about the Bible telling us lots of things are wrong like wearing polyester clothing. I believe that Jesus taught love and tolerance in the new testament and that you have to love sinners.  Maybe you don’t feel the same way, but neither you nor I is actually God so we can totally disagree here. The key to any religious scripture is learning it, having faith in it, and living that faith. And my interpretation (from the open and affirming UCC’s Sunday School) of Jesus’ word is that you should encourage others to have the same faith, but you can’t hate them when they don’t.
  32. So now engrossed in this whole issue, I found this pic that I thought was amusing and ironic three days after the unboycott. It was an internet meme-style pic of people in line at Chick-Fil-A and it said “You’d never see that many Christians lined up to help at a food bank or homeless shelter..And that’s something Jesus actually said to do.” I now wish it had said “You often don’t see that many,” instead of “never.”
  33. Christians felt accosted by my pic. I have several Facebook friends who really do live their faith and have done a whole lot more than wait in line. They were examples that the pic wasn’t true. And one, who happened to be eating a Chick-Fil-A egg and chicken sandwich for breakfast, made this statement, which I’m going to quote because it was very eloquent and summed up the 15 or so comments that were made: “And Jen, I believe very little of this “debate” for lack of a better word has to do with chicken or even gay marriage/rights. It is simply the liberal media and activist groups latching on to one man’s statement of his beliefs and using it to incite a frenzy with the only objectives being to draw attention to themselves.” I won’t mention her name unless she asks me to, because she can’t pick who sees her words in my blog, I just want you to know the eloquence didn’t belong to me. I think that’s fair.
  34. Chicken and egg sandwich? So gross. Especially for breakfast.
  35. All that made me realize that social media fires people up. I’m grateful because when someone posts something, especially something I think I disagree with, I educate myself on the topic. I’ve learned so much about politics, science, pets and Gangnam Style because of what people post on Facebook.
  36. I can make my Facebook arguments sound smart. Social media gives me time to do my research and arrive at an educated stance on something. In person, I’m more likely to retort, “Yeah, well, your mom wears sweaters.”
  37. Dan Cathy has a girl’s last name and every time I read an article about him I picture a woman because they refer to him as “Cathy”.
  38. I had always thought that more marriages would mean more stable relationships that would benefit children, but there had recently been a study on children of gay marriages. From Texas, this study:  How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study is cited in many articles and is used to imply that children of same-sex marriages are not as healthy as young-adults as those children of heterosexual adults.
  39. After a deeper look at this study, I remembered that studies suck. The “same-sex” contingent was represented by any parent who has had a same-sex romantic relationship. And the whole study sample was pretty small. For these and lots of reasons the study shouldn’t be cited in the debate for or against gay marriage. I remembered why I never finished my thesis – the owners of money funding my research wasn’t liking the results I was finding and I didn’t want to change it up. In most cases you can find a statistic that will support your case no matter what data you have.
  40. When discussing gay marriage, people point out that in some states it’s okay to marry really young or if you’re first cousins but you can’t marry your soul-mate if he or she is the same-sex. I have never understood the relevance.
  41. Some folks who are anti-gay marriage still say it will lead to marriage to animals and/or multiple spouse marriages. I think that if the government can tell you the sex of your spouse, why couldn’t they tell you what age, race, or religion?
  42. I support same-sex marriage but don’t do much about it, and it reminds me how I always question where I would have been on the slavery issue. I know that I have trouble with owning a cat, I know owning another human is way wrong. But would I have stood up against it the way I should have or sat back and let others take action? What about the later civil rights movement? Are there issues I sit back on now that I should be taking more action on?
  43. What should I tell my kids about marriage? My brother’s getting married in November and I was explaining a wedding to my daughter. Of course I started with, “When a man and a woman love each other…” Is that wrong now?
  44. A couple of days ago, the media reported that Cathy had caved on his stance in order to open a restaurant in Chicago, and I was confused.
  45. The Chicago situation brings the government back into this issue. An alderman, Moreno, was only going to let Chick-Fil-A open because he received this memo implying Chick-Fil-A would stop donating to anti-gay groups. Is that okay? Shouldn’t the concern be about zoning and traffic and not religion or opinion?
  46. The media still sucks – he hadn’t really caved. Chick-Fil-A actually said they were going to try to make sure that his donations wouldn’t go to organizations with political agendas.
  47. Chick-Fil-A’s director of real estate understands what language does work. Here’s the Windy City Times’ article including the letter that had Moreno believing Chick-Fil-A was all pro-gay-marriage now. I wonder if he read it?  Or did his assistant (or probably former assistant now) just think this would be funny?
  48. How were we going to make sure Cathy made good on the Chicago deal anyway? There are lots of organizations that probably don’t support gay marriage but that might do other good things. Like the Boy Scouts?
  49. Now the media is reporting that Cathy went back on his word. Again, it was director of real estate’s letter. It actually never said they’d stop donating to those groups. Ughh. Media keeps this issue alive because they know it keeps me reading.
  50. We’re lucky to live in a place that the media and citizens can say whatever we want. We just have to be a lot more diligent about making sure it’s true because the internet and social media make it way to easy for anyone to make anything news just to keep us watching them or reading their words.

Dear Car Dealer, Don’t Make Us Slay the Mammoth. Thanks, The Ladies Responsible for 80% of Your Sales

So, I started off with this idea of hunting vs. gathering on my own, just about a few weeks ago, (and unfortunately not while my living depended on selling cars) but it looks like researchers already studied it, and it turns out this is a real thing: University of Michigan (2010, December 21). Shopping differences between sexes show evolution at work. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 7, 2012.  That being said, the rest of this is strictly assumption and narrative unless I use a specific statistic, and I will link the statistic back to where I found it.

How Shopping Got Started

Back in the day, men were hunters and women gatherers.

Men were responsible for obtaining meat to eat, bones for tools and fur to keep jealous mistresses quiet. In order to provide this, they would hunt down some large beast like a woolly mammoth.  A battle would occur and the animal would be slain. I picture it being a pretty emotional deal – man respecting beast, pride in the kill, love for providing for his family and the like.  It required a focus on the mammoth and the battle.  Man would have to head home right after the battle before the meat went bad – no stopping at Starbuck’s or anything on the way.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the women were doing their part in providing for the family. They would head out and grab things like fruit, berries, nuts, grubs, and insects to fill in between the hunts and to accompany the delicious mammoth steaks. While equally important, it was different from hunting. Little emotion would have been involved.  Berry-picking would have been a bunch of quick “this one over that one” decisions based on brambles that would need to be traversed vs. likelihood of poison in the berries. Also, if while berry-picking a woman stumbled upon some fat little grubs or acorns, she likely picked those up, too. The berries weren’t going to run away.

Providing Responsibilities Divided By Sexes

Dividing these responsibilities between the sexes would have had nothing to do with strength or brainpower. I bet the woman tried hunting. She would have cornered a huge mammoth and, thirsting to spill the blood of the kill, confidently raised her weapon. Inevitably, the infant on her back would have chosen that moment to have blow-out of his leaf diaper or start crying to be nursed. (Hey, probably no formula yet, she would have had to have brought it along right?) That’s what babies do. This type of emergency was more easily handled back amongst the gathering activities.

As time went by, these two definitions of “providing” would have evolved (or been improved upon by God, depending on what you believe) differently in the sexes. Men became great at hunting, women at gathering. Agrarian society, the industrial revolution, and other advances in human society would somewhat negate the necessity of some of these skills. But the instincts that had developed would take a long time to go away. You can still see it in shopping habits today.

Shopping Habits Today:  Man’s Shirt vs. Woman’s Shirt

Say my husband and I are attending an event together and both need to get a new shirt. My husband is going to head out to one store, find the best one and bring it on home. He won’t leave one store to see if there’s a better shirt elsewhere because what if there are no shirts at the next store? Is there even more than one store for shirts? If it were his ideal situation, he’d have a “shirt guy” he’d see for all of his shirts; someone he trusted to tell him what looks good.  He’ll walk by six sock displays, annoyed that the walk is so long – he’s got a hole in his sock his toe keeps poking through but he had to wear them because the two pairs he had left without holes were dirty. But he’s not there for socks, he cannot let the shirt escape. He wishes he wasn’t paying the price on the tag; he’d like to funnel his “fight and kill” instincts into negotiating. Men have a primal need to feel they’ve won and someone has lost.

My search for a shirt will be different. I will visit several stores, trying on different shirts and comparing prices. I might even bring some friends along and make a day of it. Probably won’t get too far, though, because I’ll have the baby and he’ll need feeding and diapering. And if I don’t find it that day that I head out, I will wait. Perhaps I find the perfect shirt but it’s just not ripe enough to pick yet (i.e. I have a coupon for 20% off at that store but it’s not good until next week) I will wait and buy it then.  I’m only going to appreciate interaction with store employees if I need them, like to ask if the shirt comes in a different size. Customer service definitely matters, but it’s more in keeping the shopping environment easy to navigate, not in having someone there to educate me or influence me. If I want an opinion on how it looks, I’ll ask a friend. (Speaking of friends, I’ll tell every one I have and as many people as will listen if I feel the customer service was lacking.) If I see a great deal on socks, I’ll grab some for husband because I know he needs them, and other items I see. I feel like I’ve won when I’m satisfied with a purchase.

My husband hates buying shirts, of course. What does he like to buy? Cigars, ski equipment, cars, and if he could, boats and RVs. And he’s got a “guy” for each of those. (For years, his car “guy” was me.) He goes to the store and capitalizes on relationships he’s built through the years, sometimes bartering and always negotiating. He just buys one thing or a group of things that go together.

Me, I avoid those relationships for the most part. No offense, I’m sure you’re great, I just don’t care. No matter how big-ticket the item is, it’s one of hundreds of things I will buy this week. Because I’m the gatherer for my family. If I had a relationship for everything I buy, my day would be very long. Shopping is the one situation where I’m less emotional than my husband. In fact, if I think a purchase is getting too emotional, I think it’s awkward and will find a polite way to escape.  I do like to look around an entire store even if I’m there for one thing.  The stores I visit know this and are laid out accordingly.

Jenn, you filed this under cars, you gonna get to that?

Yup, here we go.  My husband likes buying cars probably because a car dealership’s sales process is custom-built for men. You can’t do anything else while you are there. You have to fight (negotiate) to get a great deal. It gets emotional. Yet, 80% of vehicle buying decisions are influenced by women. In fact over 60% of vehicles are purchased by women. Car dealerships need to realize what grocery stores, malls, department stores, convenience stores, and drug stores figured out.  But gatherers also need to realize that some parts of the “hunting”-like buying process are unavoidable.

Are You a Gatherer?  Here’s Some Tips on Hunting

First of all, keep doing your thing.  Your gathering skills will net you significant savings online.  Eventually though, you’re going to have to head out to the store.  For two good reasons:  to test-drive (click here for my post on why that’s so important) and to take delivery.  I think this may be one of the reasons dealers have been slow to change – some of this process does need to be one-on-one: the test-drive and the signing of the paperwork.  There’s a lot of registration/financing/etc. that can’t really easily be done online.  So, here’s some tips on making the visits easier:

  • Attend an international auto show.  This is a great way to truly shop, although you can’t buy or test-drive.  Most manufacturers don’t have dealer representatives at the show – they hire actors to tell you all about the car who are knowledgeable but not pushy.  This is a great day to see all the cars you’re considering, but you’ll need to plan well in advance of needing a car as they’re only once per year.  The New York International Auto Show is in the spring, and the Connecticut International Auto Show (in Hartford) is in November.
  • Start early and do your homework online.  I probably don’t need to say this, but just in case.  Learn what cars are in your price range and which vehicles you want to consider from the comfort of your own home.  There are over 40 makes offering 5-20 cars each, and you may want to consider certified pre-owned, so you’ll want to multiply that by the last 2-3 model years.  There’s leasing vs. financing.  There’s your trade-in.  Lots to consider.
  • Make an appointment before you go in.  For the best experience, make it for a weekday if possible.
  • Have realistic expectations for your visit.  You need to test-drive the car and you need to discuss the details, it’s going to take an hour or more.  Kids don’t enjoy this experience, if possible leave them at home.  Also, it’s not feasible for you to install car seats in a car you don’t own. (It is important to get a feel for how the car seats will fit, though.)
  • A good salesperson can make everything smoother.  I’ve got a post coming up on the specifics but a great salesperson can make your experience less awkward, quicker, and easier after you make the purchase.  Go with your gut if you don’t like who you’re working with. This goes for the whole dealership, too.

Are You a Car Dealer?  Here’s Some Info on We Gatherers

If only women had some tool where all of their gathering were right there at their fingertips – perhaps something even in their homes, I bet they’d be all over it, especially to avoid those man-oriented shopping experiences. Oh wait, do you think this is why women’s Internet usage had surpassed men’s by 2000?  Since it is nearly impossible for people to actually buy a car over the internet, it has become the car dealer’s enigma to get these folks into their showroom.  They have awesome internet departments who do a great job communicating.  Still, when working with a “gathering” buyer, it’s like they’re sending engraved invitations to a keg party because the experience in-store is still not what the buyer is looking for.

I wish I had realized this while I was still selling cars. Or at least advising people how to sell cars. To think I was actually taught to show internet sales managers to bring the showroom process out to the Internet, to drag gatherers through that very hunting game they’d gone online to avoid.

If you’re still thinking that it doesn’t matter, women are only 1/2 the population, that you’d rather stick to the man-selling, bad news; these hunter/gatherer instincts are fading away, and we’re losing the hunters. Studies show that younger men shop more like women. That 18-24 year old group is about to get their first new car themselves, is your website and store ready for that or does it funnel them into the old-school hunter process?

These days there are female-friendly certifications and other consultants who are making the dealership experience better. Top “female-friendly” dealers offer more hospitality that makes women more comfortable spending time at the dealership. This makes sense, as gatherers like to explore the whole store or berry patch before picking the berries for their family. But I think they’re just scratching the surface on what needs to be a complete restructuring of the dealership from lot positioning, staff functions, and showroom layout.

If you’re thinking that letting people wander around on their own would mean customers would pay less because we didn’t start with that one-on-one relationship, I have two words for you.  Stew Leonard’s.  I have a friend who will drive 40 minutes to go grocery shopping there, where things cost more but the store is attractive, there are lots of free samples and the kids are occupied.  She always makes sure to spend at least $100 because that means she gets a free ice cream.  It’s only 20 minutes from me, and I’m there all the time.

So here’s some tips on helping me, the gatherer, in your dealership:

  • Don’t make me spend hours alone with joe-schmo-who-I-don’t-want-to-know.
  • Encourage me to wander around.
  • Change up your consultative approach so I’m the one asking most of the questions.
  • Make sure there are lots of things I can touch and explore without help.
  • Let me bring all my friends and kids (not on a test test-drive, obviously).
  • Sell me other stuff. Seriously. Let me multitask.
  • Or bring your car to where I’m already buying other things. Not locked up at a mall or bulk-buy club, that’s a waste. I have to be able to shop it!

What would an ideal dealership experience look like from inside a gatherer woman’s head? “Sweet. I feel comfortable here. They have a lot of nice cars I’m interested in right in one place. If nobody bothers me, I can check all these babies out in no-time- gotta get back to feed the baby and get dinner ready. If I have a question, there are employees who can help right over there, to make this faster, and they look nice.  Glad I brought my friends, they’ll help me out. Sherry already bought a car here and I know Suzy’s lease is up in a couple of months, so she’s into this too. Is that chocolate really free? Ooooh, that’s a great price on socks- gotta grab them!!!”

And I’m only half kidding about the last two.

A quick note to my fellow car salespeople:  Think about it.  Did you notice that many times when you left a female customer alone at your desk she would either get up and walk around or get on her phone? I always chalked it up to nerves about being in a dealership.  I now believe it’s more about her primal need to multitask.  Have you started talking about your family (because it’s a woman and they’re emotional and dig that stuff) while you were waiting for a price from the manager? Did you think you built great rapport and then never heard from her again? Oh, really, this has happened more than once to you? (It sure did happen to me, and I’m a girl, they’re supposed to really like me.) Those mean ladies! You should not take offense, it’s just that they’ve got enough people in their life to care about and build relationships with. She just wants to “gather” the best car and move on with her life.

Ladies, if you are reading this, please comment below. I’m hoping to get a couple of dealers to look at this and they will respect your opinions. The change is not going to happen overnight, so I will continue to post on “gathering” the best deal in the hunter’s showroom. Dealers, if you read this, I have three or four revolutionary ideas that I think could make your women buyers really happy. Email me at if you want to be the dealer I test them at. If you have issues with employees still talking down to women or calling them “babe” or “honey,” do not email me. You should get comfy sit back and watch the boat you missed pull away from the dock.

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Sunshine In My Muffins Hurts My Toothies

Grating Sunshine

This is sunshine all over my counter.

So I learned a lesson about blogging in bed when I accidentally posted this picture in my sleep.  Here’s the whole story about a day the could bring about that kind of tired.

Monday was a comedy/tragedy of errors.  I set my mind to beginning a routine with the children.  We were going to get up and out the door by 8 am first a walk, then to the playground, out for grocery shopping then back to the house for lunch, art project and muffin-making.  Then the children would pass out from exhaustion around 1:30 pm and I would descend into mommy-bliss: housecleaning-Pinteresting-blogging-laundry-doing mommy-bliss.

The muffins, you see, were to be a reward for good behavior.  What Princess didn’t know is I’d be using all natural ingredients chock full of nutrients.  Bwaa ha ha ha!!!! (Evil laugh.)

Princess is not a good eater.  As far as real “food” goes she eats cucumbers, fruit, grilled cheese, pizza, baked beans, chicken nuggets and occasionally mac and cheese or pasta and sauce.  That is her entire diet, well except for all the sugary foods and chips she’s not allowed to eat because she eats so little real food as it is.

I’ve read all sorts of ways to get nutrients into toddlers.  “Give them healthful dipping sauces,” as if Princess didn’t know mixing textures like that was a serious foul.  “You can hide lots of things in mashed potatoes,” they’d stay hidden on Princess’s plate because she’s no longer eating mashed potatoes.  “Change up the hamburgers they love,” as if we could venture into hamburger-world.  “Smoothies are so delicious and they’ll love helping,” someone said. I might as well vacuum the house while trying to force feed her brussels sprouts – to her it’s the same; loud and disgusting.

Then, someone said muffins.  Hmmmm.  My mom got me the muffin-maker for my birthday.  This was a solid plan.  Here’s the recipe I would use for easy carrot apple muffins.  When I told Princess we’d be making muffins, she was psyched.

“Blueberry muffins, mom?” she asked; I’m certain she was thinking of a giant Dunkin Donuts variety dad had recently spoiled her with.

“No, yummy CARROT muffins!” I told her.

“I don’t want carrot muffins,”  she told me, clearly wary.

“Okay, sunshine muffins it is,” I said, impressed with my quick thinking.

“Sunshine muffins?!  Yay! Hip hip hooray!” she exclaimed.

I  was up and showered by seven.  Princess woke up at 8.  Buster slept until 9.  This is certainly a good thing most times.  I didn’t look at it as a setback, I plowed forward.  The day disintegrated quickly.  There was a potty accident, a too-long trip to the grocery store, haze of other typical problems, no art project and certainly no muffin-making.  By 3:30 pm, nap time had still not started and I was standing over Princess shouting “shut your eyes!” while holding her crying baby brother.  Good times.

Of course, I was not able to let my muffin-plan go.  So, after the toddler had redeemed herself slightly with a quiet dinner of cereal, cucumbers and strawberries, I let her put on her apron to help me with muffins.  As you can see by the picture, I didn’t even handle the carrot-grating process properly.  I have at least 3 different devices in my cabinets that would have handled the grating neatly and efficiently for me.  I also have a bigger bowl.  I thought it would be easiest to go with the grater and bowl that were already on the counter.  We can just add that on to the other delusions of the day.  Anyway, the muffins were made and loaded into the muffin-maker.  She couldn’t wait for them to be ready.

Finally, they were cooked and cool enough to eat.  And they were good.  Moist, just sweet enough, delicious.  “Finally, here comes my win for the day,” I thought as I handed her one.

She bit into it and said “Yum!”

She took into the other room to show Daddy.  As she continued to eat, I heard her say, “wait, there is  something in there.”

She came back in to the kitchen to tell me next.  “Yes, there is something in there, it’s sunshine, I told her.”

“Sunshine, yea.  I can’t like sunshine,” she told me.  “It bothers my teeth – see mommy?” She opened her mouth and pointed to her teeth.  “Sunshine bothers my toothies.”

Of course it does.  I should have known.

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Family Member Driving Me Bonkers; Experts Say “Let it Go”

I have one of those family members who is really getting under my skin.

To start, she is extremely critical – she’s even been known to bring me to tears.  From my cooking to my housekeeping to my appearance, she has something to say.  “This place is a mess,” she says, but offers no help with mud she tracks in or spills crumbs all over my couch, where I’ve asked her not to eat anyway.

She has no problem telling me how she thinks I should change my appearance.  “You’re gonna wear flip-flops?” she asks.  She, of course, in matching skirt and blouse, is wearing trendy silver flats to go grocery shopping.  Really?!  Sometimes it’s not  what I wear, it’s just me–“You look scary, does your back hurt again?”

When she has dinner with us, she’s rude.  “I don’t like this chicken.  Maybe I could have some crackers or something?”  She’s even been known to just jump up, without comment, and barge into my pantry to grab herself something she thinks would be better.  And this is all after zero help with the meal.  She won’t do much with the cleanup, either – if I’m lucky she’ll bring a plate in or help me load a dish or two in the dishwasher.  Rarely does she thank me even when she likes my food.

Lately, she’s been trying to involve herself in my parenting.  “You need to feed that baby, that’s why he’s crying,” she tells me.  “Okay, thank you, you who has no children of your own,” I think to myself, simmering inside.  If she did, they’d weigh 400 pounds each because a bottle is her solution to everything.

As a busy mom, my day is pretty taken up by household chores and parenting.  She has no respect for this.  After wanting nothing to do with me (sometimes even after I’ve invited her to do five or six different things and her response each time was “No thank you, I don’t want to,”) all of a sudden, while I’m finally getting some cleaning done, feeding the baby, doing laundry or whatever, that’s when she wants me to have lunch with her, or see a movie, or go hiking, or pay a visit to my parents, or one of those other activities someone like her can do any time they want because they have no real responsibilities.  When I can’t drop everything and join her, she throws a huge fit and takes it really personally.

Sometimes she’ll even tattletale on me – “I wanted to come see you,” she’ll tell my mom and then go on and on about how I couldn’t make time.

I’ve tried talking to her.  She says she’ll try to do better but the same stuff keeps happening.

Experts say when dealing with someone like her its best to keep talking to her but not to take it personally; to “let it go.”  Um, okay.

I would cut her off completely, but she’s really cute sometimes and there are actually laws against it.  Those aforementioned experts also say that it’s pretty normal behavior for an almost three-year-old and that the behavior should pass with time.  I hope they’re right–I’m about to pull my hair out and I’m not even interested in her opinion about that.

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