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Small Towns Remember

 

Blog_185_Small Towns RememberEvery year, I follow holidays and try to find a new spin. Not that they need a new spin but that I think it might be more interesting to find out something new. For Memorial Day this year, I thought I would highlight or showcase small towns that have parades. Oh, there are 1,000’s of small towns having parades and celebrations. Only, most of us are aware of the ones in our own area or those that are large enough to make an appearance on television or on the news. Those noteworthy Memorial Day celebrations include the events in Washington DC, Denver, Chicago, Philadelphia, etc. But they only tell part of the story. Small towns remember as well.

In my opinion, it is hard to beat a small town holiday parade for an event. There are all kinds of events and I really have affection for all of them, obviously. But small town celebrations of holidays that are pure “Americana,” are pure golden. Not big, professional, floats or award-winning bands; but rather boy scout troops carrying a banner or the local fire company with decorated trucks and sirens. Seriously, it is something taken right from a canvas of Norman Rockwell. I am getting all weepy eyed and sentimental, just thinking about it.

Kids on bikes, police on horseback, antique cars with local officials and beauty queens are all elements that make you proud of your hometown and of your country at the same time. I highly recommend that you find one in your area and make it a family requirement to attend. The whole reason for the holiday, the sacrifices men and women have made over the years, should be more than enough of a reason to show your support. That warm and fuzzy feeling you get in pit of your stomach and your heart are just a fringe benefit.

 

Memorial Day Parade

May 26, 2014

Downtown University Heights, OH 44118

Since 1967. Family activities following parade. The parade ends up at John Carroll University with a family day of activities.

Chelan Memorial Day Parade

May 22, 2014

Downtown Chelan, WA 98816

Features over 65 entries. Honoring police officers and soldiers killed in the line of duty. Entries include a grand marshal, members of WA State Concerns of Police Survivors, Mayor Jay Witherbee, Chelan County Sheriffs Department, VFW Post 6853, Tomb of the Unknown, Chelan County Fire Department, plus many more.

Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony

May 26, 2014

Memorial School Medford, NJ 08055

Traditional holiday parade with firetrucks, high school marching bands, police, veterans groups and more. The parade will start at Memorial Middle School on Mill Street, proceeding down Mill Street to Trimble Street to Main Street. The parade will then continue to the cemeteries in the village for a 21-gun salute and flag-raising. Returning to Main Street, the parade will then stop at the Veterans’ monuments at 21 S. Main St. for the official ceremony. VFW Post #7677 will host the activities in conjunction with Medford officials. In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held in the VFW Hall located on Church Road.

Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony

May 26, 2014

Downtown Fond du Lac, WI 54935

Parade will start on Main Street at Guindon Boulevard and travel north to Veterans Park for ceremony. Progran at the park begins immediately after the parade.

Memorial Day Parade

May 26, 2014

Rogers’ Memorial Park Bolton Landing, NY 12814

Performance by local high school bands, a DJ and ceremonies at the end of the parade. Parade goes from Rogers Memorial Park to Vet’s Memorial Park.

Memorial Day Parade

May 26, 2014

Downtown-Main Street Downers Grove, IL 60517

Celebrate our Nations holiday paying tribute to our men and women in the armed forces, as well as those in prior wars. Presented by the American Legions.

Memorial Day Parade

May 26, 2014

Downtown Appleton Appleton, WI 54911

The City of Appleton along with area’s veteran groups, businesses, clubs, organizations, schools, and more honor those service men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving their fellow Americans and country. The Parade begins on College Avenue at Appleton Street and proceeds east on College to Meade Street, then north on Meade to Pacific Street, then east on Pacific to Owaissa Street where the Parade route ends at the entrance to Riverside Cemetery. A ceremony occurs immediately following the Parade in Appleton’s historic Riverside Cemetery (at the George D. Eggleston, G.A.R. monument.

Marshall’s Memorial Day Parade

May 26, 2014

Downtown Marshall Marshall, MI 49068

Marching bands and special guests stroll through the streets in the downtown area honoring America’s veterans.

Memorial Day Parade

May 26, 2014

Downtown Annapolis, MD 21401

Join us for a very traditional Memorial Day celebration! Ceremony honoring those who have given their lives in service to our country with parade downtown.

 

Millard’s Crossing Concert Night

Oct 25, 2013

Millard’s Crossing Historic Village Nacogdoches, TX 75963

A free live music performed either in the chapel or on the grounds in summer. Talented amateur and professional groups from all over East Texas come to the Village to perform. Every event covers an exciting variety of styles including folk, blues, Cajun, Latin and some you haven’t thought of. The event is BYOB and people are welcome to bring coolers, deck chairs, children and pets for a relaxed and informal musical evening. The PineKnot Music Co-op accepts donations to support this event.

Memorial Day Parade

May 26, 2014

Downtown Westerly, RI 02891

Floats and marching military units parade through the downtown area in honor of our nation and our veterans.

Mount Joy Area Memorial Day Parade

May 23, 2014

Downtown Mount Joy Mount Joy, PA 17552

The Mount Joy parade has become a well known Memorial Day Parade in Lancaster County, with its origin in the late 1800’s. This event is organized by volunteers serving on the parade committee.

Memorial Day Parade

May 26, 2014

Downtown Waterbury Waterbury, CT 06702

The Memorial Day Parade Ride will be taking place on Sunday at 11am. This is surely gonna be a fun ride for everybody! All bikes are welcome, so be sure to come out! During this ride, riders will be leading the Memorial Day Parade, and this parade will travel in Downtown Waterbury.

Memorial Day Parade

May 26, 2014

Downtown Columbia Columbia, MO 65201

The Memorial Day parade winds through the beautiful streets of The District featuring more than 100 floats, veterans reunion groups, bands, military vehicles and patriotic organizations.

 

Maria can be reached directly at eventsblog@eventcrazy.com or @eventcrazy on Twitter

or  visit her website at www.eventcrazy.com
Copyright © 1998-2014 Events Media Network, Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Photos are copyright of their respective owners.

Tips to Explore Ice Cream

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by Jessica Steinweg

Nothing says summertime like ice cream and enjoying a fun activity with family and friends. This season, here are a few ways to make the most of this delicious and frosty treat:

1. Don’t reach for that grocery shelf. If you live in an area where ice cream is locally made, take advantage. Not only will the ingredients be fresh – You may find that the selection is
creative and delicious.

2. Appearance counts. The color of the ice cream must be close to that of its base ingredient, for optimal flavor. And check for the presence of ice crystals: if present, it may
be a sign that the ice cream has been preserved poorly.

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3. Know your personal taste. Did you know that all ice creams are broken down into two basic categories? There are those made with eggs and those made without. For example, the French style is a custard-based ice cream containing cooked eggs. Because of the egg, the taste is rich. The Philadelphia style is a non egg-based variety that is lighter in taste.

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4. Nondairy option. Speaking of “personal taste”, are you trying to stay away from dairy altogether? Try experimenting with sorbet, as an alternative to “traditional” ice creams. Sorbet is typically made from water that is sweetened with fruit; and is completely nondairy. For best quality, sorbet should taste and feel almost like eating fresh fruit.

5. Take your time. Yes, there are occasions that merit eating your frozen treat at lightning-speed. For example, the summertime ritual of racing to finish a melting ice cream cone before it drips down your arm. When given the opportunity, savor your ice cream. Eat it at a lusciously slow pace. This tactic will give your palate a chance to warm back up and fully experience its essence, while preventing another summertime tradition: brain-freezes.

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(Image Credits: NewAmsterDamMarket via Flickr)

An Enlarged Prostate Affects Women Too

Provided by Urologix, Inc.

At first glance, Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia or BPH may seem like a man’s problem. But the effects of this disease are wide ranging. In fact, according to the AUA Practice Guidelines, over 50% of men will have BPH symptoms by the age of 60. These symptoms can range from urgency and frequency of urination to sexual side effects. The bottom line is symptoms of BPH not only interfere with a man’s life – but affects the life of their significant others too.

The good news is there are many treatment options available to the man in your life – they simply require a proper diagnosis and a willingness, on his part, to get started.

You are often the first line of defense against more serious lower urinary tract diseases such as prostate or bladder cancer. An enlarged prostate can be a sign of various diseases – benign and malignant – and requires a trip to a urologist for a complete check-up. While he may not want to visit a urologist for a number of reasons –you can help. Your knowledge and the help you can offer as a result, are invaluable.

So what can you do to help? Learn more about BPH and the treatments available. Be aware of the symptoms of BPH and suggest seeing a medical professional when they’re first suspected.  While making an appointment and getting treatment may require a nudge or two, it is important to discuss the alternatives and make the decision together. Finally, help him prepare for the visit to his urologist and offer to accompany him.

You can start by visiting www.beatbph.com and www.urologix.com to learn more. You can also watch The Balancing Act airing on Lifetime this July 9th at 7:00am where leading urologist Dr. Robert Pugach and one of his patients discuss BPH, its effects and treatments.

Four Ways Restaurants Can Improve the Customer Experience

And what you can learn from their mistakes

It’s no secret that I really like to eat and that I spend quite a bit of time in restaurants.  However, there are four things that occur in far too many restaurants that make it clear that they aren’t totally focused on the customer.  Here are my four tips to restaurants from the customers’ perspective: 

Take (and honor) reservations:
Time is our most precious and fleeting resource.  So, I don’t want to spend it hanging out in the waiting area (or bar) of your establishment, unless that was my predetermined plan.  Make sure that you take reservations to show that you value your customers’ time and when they show up, seat them at or very near the time of the reservation.  A 7:30 reservations should not mean 7:50 seating.

Write down my damn order:
When I go to a restaurant, I am well aware that I am not in a Jedi Mind Academy.  I am not impressed by memorization skills- I am impressed when my order comes out correctly.  So, have your waitstaff write the order down the first time.  Oh, and for brownie points (and by brownie points, I mean me not sending the food back), check the food against the written order before you bring it to the table.  Double points if your staff actually knows who at the table ordered each dish!

Stop leaning over me while I eat:
This is my #1 restaurant pet peeve and ranks in my top five peeves in life.  When I am enjoying a meal, I want to enjoy a meal.  I don’t know if waiters think are helping by clearing others’ plates, leaning over me and having their dandruff fall into my meal, or if it is just their way of rushing to turn the table.  Either way, it sucks (and in many cases, it is kinda gross).  I don’t want you leaning over me or my food, I don’t want you to bump into me, I don’t want to have to “excuse you” while you rearrange crap in front of me and I don’t want everyone else to have their plates taken away and have me be the “which of these kids is doing his own thing” at the table by being the last one left with a dish in front of me.

Don’t ask if you don’t give a flying ______:
If you are the manager, host, waiter or anyone else on the restaurant staff and you come by the table to find out how things were, then you should actually care.  If I have feedback that you don’t want to hear, deal with it or don’t ask the damn question in the first place.  Or if I give a compliment to the staff, make it clear that you are glad to get it.  If you are going to go through the motions to check on the customer, then you should want to act upon feedback. 

The takeaway:  What each of these issues demonstrates is how far removed many business owners are from their customers real wants or needs.  Restaurants aren’t just about food, they are also about an enjoyable social experience.  Make sure that you look at your business from your customers’ perspective and determine what needs (other than the obvious) you are really filling for them.

Identifying and Taming Your Professional Inner Muppet

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The Muppets are making a comeback to the big screen this fall and fans new and old couldn’t be more excited. But as adorable and funny as the Muppet clan can be, taking on their personality traits could be holding you back professionally.

While Kermit is solid- really, the backbone of the crew- his supporting cast has some interesting character traits. If you identify with any of the following, you may need to tame your inner Muppet to get ahead in your career or business.

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Miss Piggy: I remember a favorite Miss Piggy phrase was always “Is it for moi?” Miss Piggy is bold, brash, bossy and self-centered. If you identify with Miss Piggy, you can help your business or team stand out in a crowd, but beware of your interpersonal skills. Make sure to share the credit for a job well done with your team and your customers. Also, I do not recommend her trademark karate-chop as a good way to handle conflict at work either.

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Fozzie Bear: Fozzie is affable and always telling jokes—usually lame jokes. That means that people like Fozzie, but don’t take him too seriously. If you identify with Fozzie, make sure to mix it up and project a serious and credible side as well. Prove that you are dependable or you may be left behind, while those around you are promoted or while cohorts create partnerships with other businesses.

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The Swedish Chef: The Swedish Chef has a serious communication problem- literally, no-one can understand what he’s talking about. If your ideas are constantly falling flat and not being used or if your marketing message is falling on deaf ears, it could be the Swedish Chef in you. Get feedback from others to help make your messaging more effective.

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Statler & Waldorf: The two cranky old guys in the Muppet balcony- Statler & Waldorf- have something to say about everyone. If you are overly critical, you may be squashing innovation or finding yourself on the outskirts of a team. Make sure to pepper some praise in with your punditry to come across more fair and balanced.

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Animal: Animal is creative, but crazy. He’s a loose cannon and needs to be kept on a short leash- again, literally. If you have the tendency to explode in stressful situations or go way outside of the scope of projects, dealing with the drama that you cause may not be worth the great work you produce. Try to tone it down and keep your “Animal” instincts to after-hours.

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Gonzo: Gonzo the Great is a risk taker- an entrepreneur of sorts. But his stunts- from being shot out of a cannon to eating tires- always end in disaster. If you are a Gonzo, aim to fail fast, quickly and cheaply and don’t make a big production out of it or eventually, you will lose your credibility with your team.

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Sam the Eagle: Sam is dependable but stiff; he comes across as boring (in fact, so much so that you may not even remember him!). If you identify with Sam, you or your business may also be forgotten, which is not good for your business or career. You may want to be counseled by a “Miss Piggy” to be more bold and stand out in the crowd.

What Muppets do you identify with?

Three Things Your Business Can Learn from the Jersey Shore

And we’re not talking GTL, baby

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If you haven’t been exposed to the pop-culture phenomenon, the Jersey Shore, you are probably more sane than I am (not a tough accomplishment, actually). But the kids that made “GTL” (Gym-Tan-Laundry) the catch phrase of the year can also teach you some lessons about your business (seriously).

Here are three things your business can learn from the Jersey Shore:

A focused, rabid audience can trump a broad, unfocused one

In TV, like business, niches rule. Just because it’s not everyone’s cup of tea (or perhaps, more appropriately, canteen of vodka), doesn’t mean that there isn’t a market for it.

Jersey Shore has been MTV’s best show in years and the #1 summer show across cable because it knows its audience and its audience eats it up.

Emulate this strategy by being willing to focus on developing a strong core following instead of trying to be all things to all people.

Bold is better than bland

It’s better to stand for something rather than nothing, even if what you stand for may seem ridiculous to the masses. Since you are focusing on your core audience, don’t be afraid to push the envelope (unless your target audience is the vanilla pudding type).

You shouldn’t worry about pissing people off; Jersey shore has upset all kinds of organizations and created uproars in all kinds of venues. That has only helped their success.

Strike while the iron is hot

You can buy all kinds of things branded Jersey Shore and expect more to come. Even “The Situation” has his own iPhone app that is being reported to be one of Apple’s Top 10 highest-grossing applications. The MTV folks and their “stars” realize that that no business cycle lasts forever, so they are maximizing the brand’s potential while it is en fuego.

Keep this same strategy in mind in your business. Business cycles are shortening, so don’t be afraid to make the most of your opportunities while you are hot.

How Safe Is Your Child's School? Take our quick survey!

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As our children start heading back to school and in the wake of various news stories about violence in schools, many of us wonder just whether our children are being protected.  Sadly, issues of bullying and violence are a growing concern at many schools around the country.

Whether your child is returning to school or heading off to kindegarten, be sure you are aware of the school’s policies and procedures for monitoring who enters the school and what systems they have in place in the event someone brings guns or bombs to school.

Please take a moment to fill out a quick survey about your school and their safety procedures.

http://svy.mk/ol2uMi

Two people will win $25 Amazon gift cards for completing the survey by 5P 8/23 (If, however, someone would rather remain anonymous they don’t have to provide their name and e-mail address but they won’t be able to win the prize as we then have no way of identifying them.)

http://svy.mk/ol2uMi

If You Fail to Prepare, You Prepare to Fail – How getting locked in a skyscraper’s bathroom supported my favorite mantra

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Preparation is key for every situation, not just the obvious business meetings or job interviews. Here’s a fairly recent occurrence where I was really glad to live by my “If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail” mantra.

I had an afternoon meeting with one of my clients at their lawyer’s offices. The offices were located in one of the gorgeous skyscrapers in downtown Chicago with sweeping views of the city and the lake. It was a very large office housing hundreds of lawyers and it took up the entire floor. We met in one of the conference rooms for several hours. The meeting ran a bit later than planned and it was nearly 6:00 pm by the time we were ready to adjourn. I had a decent commute on the train ahead, so I thought it prudent to use the facilities before I left.

I asked my client’s lawyer to show me where the ladies’ room was and he showed me to the front of the office, where the bathroom door was right behind the reception desk. He told me after I was finished to just exit and go to the right to find the elevators.

So, I entered the bathroom where there were two sinks, a second door and a then long row of toilet stalls. When I was finished in the stall area, I headed back to the sinks, washed my hands and went to call my husband to let him know I was heading home and to see if he wanted to join me. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get cell phone reception in this inner sanctum of a very high floor of this particular office building. I figured I would try again when I went outside.

I went to open the main bathroom door to leave and smack- it was locked! I figured I did something wrong and so I went to turn the handle again and again, nothing. The damn thing was totally bolted shut. I banged on the door a few times and said “hello, hello?!” figuring that the reception secretary wouldn’t have left a visitor locked in the bathroom, but there was no response. For about five seconds sheer and total panic set in and I could literally feel the blood draining in my body and my heart beating quickly. It was hard to breathe. I thought, “I can’t f***ing believe that I am going to be locked in a bathroom of a law office all night”.

I got myself together and started to think rationally. I always prepare for emergencies. The first step is bringing my cell phone, so I tried the cell phone again, but no reception. I then went through my bag to confirm another one of my preparations was in place and my trusty snack bars were in fact in my bag. I always travel with food just in case food is needed (and I always need food, I am addicted), including at a minimum a few snack bars and also a bottle of water if possible. So, I had food, water and a whole slew of toilets, so my basic needs would be met for the night.

I started banging on the bathroom door again, yelling at the top of my lungs as I pounded away, “Help! I am locked in the bathroom!” I was panicking, cursing and also sort of laughing at how ridiculous but terrifying the situation was.

I went back to my bag. I also make it a point to carry a pen and paper with me. So I figured I could write a note and slip it under the door and perhaps another lawyer or a janitor would see it. So, I scrawled on my notebook paper, “Please Help, I am Locked Inside the Bathroom!” and pushed the note under the small crack under the door.

I banged and screamed a few more times and thought about how my family would be completely freaking out that I vanished and certainly not guess that I was inside the bathroom of a law office. My car would be at the train station and they would think that something bad (or should I say much worse than my actual fate) had befallen me. I also shook my head at the annoyance of having to potentially spend the night trapped inside the bathroom.

I racked my brain to see if there were any other potential solutions available. I knew that a lot of bathrooms had fire alarms, so I went through the second door back by the stalls and started opening up each stall to see if there was an alarm of some kind. After I passed the fifth or so stall of about a dozen I noticed that at the back wall there was a curve. As I moved around the curve there was, hiding behind the last stall, a second door.

I ran to the door and opened it, to see another freakin’ door in front of it. I didn’t want to be locked inside the vestibule (that would be worse than the bathroom), so I put my purse in the doorway to see if that second door would open. Bingo, it did. I grabbed my purse and high-tailed it out of the bathroom. I then saw the main doors to the elevator and hurried over there to leave. I pushed on the glass doors and found that those doors were locked too! So, I was out of the bathroom but still locked inside the law offices (I was later told that the building has an autolock feature that locks all doors at exactly 6:00 pm and they can only be opened with tenants’ key cards, something that would have been helpful to point out to me prior to locking me in the bathroom).

I figured that there had to be at least one lawyer still working at 6:00 pm and worst-case-scenario there were actual phones, so I set out to find someone who could let me out of the offices. I walked around and around until I found the employee kitchen, where lo-and-behold there was my client’s lawyer heating up a Hot Pocket in the microwave.

I told him I couldn’t get out of the building and he told me about the autolock feature (again, great timing, buddy). I asked him if we could swing past the women’s bathroom as well, letting him know that I wrote a “help” note and that I hoped to get to it before someone else. Unfortunately someone else found the note and either they thought it was a sick joke or more likely, it is posted in the employee kitchen as a reminder of that day when a visitor got locked in the bathroom.

I actually do a hilarious re-enactment of this story in person (particularly the screaming and banging on the bathroom door part), so if we ever have the chance to meet, ask me to tell it again to you. It will be totally worth your while.

But aside from the scary hilarity of it, my preparation ritual was a big help to me in keeping my sanity and should I have not found that second door, keeping me fed, hydrated in decent spirits for the night. Even more than before, I always prepare before I have out of the office meetings by stocking my bag with my fully-charged cell phone, snack bars, water, a pen and paper. I have also contemplated adding a crowbar to the mix. I am sure that the Boy Scouts of America would be proud.

You Don’t Bring Me Flowers Anymore: What Your Business (and Personal) Relationships Can Learn From Setting the Right Expectations

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Whether you are in a professional or personal relationship, setting authentic expectations up front can really create a foundation for the relationship’s longevity.

If you do something when you first interact with a prospective customer (or partner), they will expect that to be the norm.  If you decide you no longer can or want to do that something, then you look like a jerk.

For example, I buy a lot online from prestige cosmetics retailer Sephora.  Even though their products are pricey, they won me over originally with a number of sexy offers, from free shipping and free samples to a points program and free gift packaging.

At some point in the last 12 months or so, they took away the free gift packaging online- it now ranges from $2-4 per order.  This does not break the bank in any way and theoretically shouldn’t matter as I buy more for myself than I do as gifts there, but I still feel cheated.  Why?  They set the expectation that free gift packaging was part of their offer.  The worst part is that they didn’t need for it to come to this; the other offers were enough to win me over as a customer, but they went too far, offering something that they couldn’t fulfill long term and now it is a deficiency in my customer relationship with them.

There are plenty of other businesses that are affected by their expectations.  The spa that I frequent always has a coupon, so I won’t go if I can’t get the discount.  Many of my friends won’t buy their Clinique makeup if it is not “bonus time” because it is almost always bonus time somewhere.  If you make something the norm, your customers will expect it.

People do this all of the time in personal relationships too.  A woman may show off her domestic skills early in a relationship by cooking and doing housework and a man may try to woo a woman by bringing her flowers weekly.  That becomes the expectation.  However, if you can’t authentically keep that up over time, when you stop, it becomes a loss.

When I met my husband, I was very clear that I don’t cook, I don’t clean and I really don’t do much of anything that would be considered “domestic”.  Now, I had to bring something of value to the relationship, so I was clear about all of the things that he would find valuable, such as the fact that I love sports ranging from football to MMA, that I am independent (financially and otherwise), that I am fairly low maintenance (personally, not professionally) and also a few other things that my husband would not be pleased if I wrote about, but let’s just say they add lots of value to a marriage.  These are all things authentic to who I am and not something that I struggle with fulfilling.

Now, if I ever do anything domestic (which is very rare, but does happen once in a great while), I become a hero because it is out of the ordinary- it is not expected.  This creates a very different situation than if I had pretended up front that I love to iron and then couldn’t keep up that charade.

Your business needs to do this as well.  You need to have an outstanding value proposition to the customer, but it has to be something that you can keep up long term.  Sephora never needed to offer the free gift packaging as an “always” perk.  They could have done a special offer with orders over a certain size or if you reach a certain level in their loyalty program.  Then it would have been a benefit, not an eventual deficiency.

Think hard about the expectations you set with your customers (and everyone else too).  Nothing good ever comes from someone saying, “You don’t bring me flowers anymore…”.