Marketing to Women Through Direct Mail

On AMC hit movie Mad Man, an excellent made for TV movie about life on Madison Avenue in the Sixties. The star of the show, muses in an advertising pitch meeting. “What is that women want?”

This is the same problem that has been plaguing advertisers, marketers, shop owner and entrepreneurs for years and years. And will continue to plague us for many more years to come.

David Ogilvy, the famous advertising giant and founder of Ogilvy and Mather. Was famous for quoting in meetings. “The consumer is not an idiot, she is your wife. Now what will it take for her to buy this product.”

As one who evaluates countless ads and attempts to reach and communicate with this audience for a living. I to try to establish what women want.

Over the years through study, trail and error and getting knocked around a few times, this report is meant to help those who want to find there way in the dark.

The Pivotal Role of Women in regards to Spending

This Chapter contains Excepts for Treasure Hunt, by Michael Silverstein.

Women of course are the center of household spending and consumption. They are responsible for 100% of the growth of in real household income between 1974 and 2004.

They control and influence over 75% of discretionary spending and are masters in material-goods acquisition.

Women research their products carefully, and they have a sharp instinct for value and a clear sense of their own individual preferences. They can make a brand or new product concept successful within months of its launch. Or they can crush a flawed idea in ninety days or less.

They are working hard to live a rich and balanced life one that is distinctly their own. They develop elaborate coping strategies and smart purchasing tactics to help them buy most of what they want, live their lives almost as they please, and avoid as much financials stress as possible.

Women are the Principal Influencers of Shopping and Consumptions:

o 85% if women over 18 identify themselves as the principal shopper in the household.

o 90% of married women identify themselves as the principal shopper.

o 80% of consumer good purchases are made or influenced by women.

o 51% of consumer electronic purchases are made by women.

o Women purchase 50% of all cars and Influence 80% of their sales.

o 48% of stock market investors are women.

o Over 40% of households with at least $600,000 in assets are headed by women.

If you are selling any of these products and not focusing your marketing message on her, you are in for a rude awakening if your competitors start today.

What is the media that she wants her message to be delivered in?

Vertis Communication of Baltimore completed an exhaustive Customer Focus Study which was published in 2007 and this is what they found:

o Despite the influx of electronically generated ads in the past decade, 85% of women ages 25-44 read printed direct mail marketing pieces.

o 72% responded that they have replied to direct mail campaigns that contain a “buy one, get on free” offer

o 63% said they have responded to a direct mail campaign that offers a percentage discount on merchandise. (Up from 54% in 2005)

o 57% of women ages 35-64 prefer that companies they express interest in, send follow up communication through direct mail pieces personalized to their needs.

o In comparison 38% of men prefer generic direct mail follow up

o Personalized follow up information is more effective than generic follow up information.

o 56% of females said that email is an accepted form of follow up communication. Versus 52% of men.

o Only 5% of females prefer text messages as follow up

o 53% of females have access to email.

o 40% of adults are comfortable with providing credit card information online; this is down from 52% in 2003.

What does this all mean for Me?

At the end of the day you need to drive sales to your door, phones to ring or customers into your restaurant and shop. We have a saying that simply states our CODA “Nothing Happens until Somebody Sells Something.” With us that somebody is you our advertisers.

When you are marketing to women a few thoughts come to light in helping your drive her to your doorstep.

o Respect Her. Listen to her feedback and input and treat her as you would your most trusted business advisors because she is. She will make you and or break you. So treat her with the respect and dignity she deserves. Talk to her, not only her husband because she is writing the checks.

o Have a conversation with her. Focus on her, her wants and needs and have a real conversation over the course of your communication pieces. She wants many things but authenticity rates the highest. Remember she has a “phony” meter that can read a phony from a mile away. Communicate the value that you bring instead of a list of features. Build Feedback into the process.

o Quality is Key. She is willing to pay for it. Look at Whole Foods as a case study their stack is up 1,552 percent over the last decade. She wants only the best for her family, with in reason and has no time for shoddy workmanship, service or goods. And trust me she will tell everyone when she has been wronged. To quote Shakespeare, “hell haft no furry as a woman scorned.” So deliver her the quality and product that she deserves and wants.

o Communicate with her in a way that she wants. She as no time for methods other than direct mail. Though many other methods are sometimes sexier, do what works. Incorporate an entire campaign but have it revolve around response driven direct mail. Use that to open up the conversation with her, and then use other methods plus direct mail to get her to continue to come back to you. If direct mail is not part of your arsenal of marketing communication you are doomed for failure.

o Understand she is part of many communities. If you do all the right things to reach her and to serve her well she will do the right things by you. She will share her experiences BOTH good and bad with all her communities. From the sidelines at soccer games and football games, to in the salon or out to lunch with her girlfriends. She will share it all.

o Be Real and Unique. Need I say more than Target, Whole Foods, Starbucks, No Pudge Brownies, Costco, and Tealuxe in Chicago. Know who you are and who you serve and continue to enhance the experience. It’s all about a real experience. And most importantly know who she is and what she wants.

The Next Steps

We wish you well on your journey to serving this wonderful market. You should go on many field trips to those that have done it well and those that need some help along the way. Learn for everyone, create your own community. Listen and learn do the best you can. Pick yourself up when you make a mistake and learn from it.

Still the Best – Sirius Satellite Radio

Sirius satellite radio has been in the market for a long time and is still a hot seller. I bought one last week and the salesperson said that Sirius radio is one of the best selling items in his store. You see, the design is very nice and the quality is just great. For a person who lives alone in a small room like me, I need something to cheer me up and accompany me whenever I feel lonely.

Sirius radio is just the exact thing I’ve ever wanted. There are tons of music channels to choose from, from country, jazz, R&B to pop, rock, etc. Every kind of music for whatever mood you are in that moment. The service also offers sport channels, especially football. But if you get bored from music and sports, Sirius satellite radio can keep you focused and informed with the latest news and political issues.

Satellite radio is a new kind of radio compared to traditional radio, but its advantages have surpassed those of the traditional ones. The benefits of satellite radio are plenty; you can listen live to a sports game; you can have the latest information about an upheaval in far-away countries of you can just enjoy your favorite music.

In this age of information and technology, being the first person to know something is sometimes critical to your success as well as your well being. Satellite radio is just one of the very effective methods to do the job. Some cons of Sirius satellite radio include that it does not support live concerts. This is a sad point for any of us who love to listen to live concerts. But well, let’s be happy because Sirius satellite radio has many pros to compensate for that little shortcoming.

It even offers two channels dedicated to Howard Stern and celebrity host Oprah Winfrey. I am sure that’s enough to cheer you up. There is an additional subscription option of $2.99 monthly to get the best sound quality. You can choose this option if you feel that the sound you get is bad, but I bet you won’t need it because the sound quality of my radio is just great and there is nothing worth complaining about.

Jan and Dean Forever! "When We Get to Surf City" by Bob Greene – A Good Read For Jan and Dean Fans

Bob Greene has always been one of my favorite writers as he writes with a unique and flowing perspective on interesting and offbeat stuff that most writers would not think about or touch. I've been a fan of his since his newspaper column days as his sensibilities are very close to mine and I own a few books and anthologies of his. When I found out by chance that he just came out with a book about touring with Jan and Dean from the 1990's onwards, I could not wait to read it because I've always been a Jan and Dean fan as well. Jan Berry unfortunately passed away in 2004 but the book is partly a celebration of the 38 years he managed to live with grace and determination after his tragic car accident in 1966 that left him with severe permanent injuries that would have totally destroyed the spirit of most people .

Greene somehow permanently not being a professional musician and not being particularly musically gifted, was invited to play in Jan and Dean's touring band and this book is about life touring and playing with the band for the last 15 years or so. What makes this book unique is, I do not think a book has ever been written before solely about the later years of a group after the hits ended. Surprisingly, neither Jan or Dean is really bitter – Jan Berry looks to live for the stage and performing, Dean Torrence seems to gracefully accept the fact that he'll never be a star again and just tries to make the best of things and at the same time unselfish helps take care of his friend Jan in a hidden, low key way. I almost get the feeling, perhaps erroneously, that if it was not for Jan's happiness on being on stage, Dean might not have continued to perform. The back-up band just loves playing live even though they will not get rich doing it and Greene is just ecstatic about everything- he's playing with and befriending a musical duo who's music he loved and grew up with in Ohio, he's become friends with the guys in the band and he's touring the US and feeling young again doing something he loves. The book basically focuses equally on Jan and Dean together and separately, the backing band, Bob Greene's thrill of performing and touring with musical legends, Bob's relationships with the band and Jan and Dean, and what life is like touring together.

I would give this book an "A-" and say its mandatory reading for anyone who loved Jan and Dean's hits such as "Surf City", "The Little Old Lady From Pasadena", "The New Girl in School", "Deadman's Curve" "(as an aside, Dean Torrence sang the lead vocal on the Beach Boys hit," Barbara Ann ") as you need the vibe of knowing their music to have this book come alive and give meaning to you. On the other hand, if you are not familiar with those songs, I do not think this book will work for you, as I think you need to know the context of their music to relate to the tone of the book and the people in it. To those unfamiliar with Jan and Dean's songs, I'd give this book a solid B- to C +, as I think you will have trouble relating.

The pluses in the book between the subject matter, is Greene's excellent concise but warm writing style which I've always loved, his tender but non-saccharine descriptions of Jan and Dean's complicated friendship, his matter of fact portraits of Jan Berry, Dean Torrence , the band and himself, life on the road and performing in concert. My main criticism of this book is that it's is too long and could easily have been edited from 339 pages to 239 pages without losing any meaning other then perhaps making life on the road feel more immediate then it really is. I also would like to have read a little bit more about Greene's and / or the bands encounterers with performers like Freddie "Palisades Park" Cannon, the Monkees and more – in all fairness Perhaps their encounters were too brief for detail, though Jan Berry was a particularly close friend in the late 60's of the Monkees Mickey Jones after his accident (as written about in the excellent "Dead Man's Curve and Back: The Jan and Dean Story by Mark Thomas Passmore, which supplements" Surfs City "), and a bit more detail about the bands members lives when not on tour as well as a little more about Jan and Dean's musical history, though again, if you're a fan you already know it.

Vampire Diaries: Stefan Salvatore

Stefan Salvatore Profile

Characteristics:

Stefan is a tall and lean, handsome man. He has short, brown hair with green eyes. He is often serious and sad, but can have an engaging smile. His right shoulder has a tattoo of a rose.

Character History: Season 1:

Personality:

At first, Stefan is somber and a little distant towards a lot of people, but it often polite. Most of the time he has the ability to control his emotions. Although his brother, Damon, can stir up anger easily. Elena Gilbert, on the other hand, seems to bring out the passionate side in him.

After being tortured by the tomb vampires in ‘Let the Right One In’, he becomes very weak. Elena feeds him her blood, but this causes his predator side to come out, a side he hasn’t revealed in over a century. Damon and Elena try to help him return to animal blood and eventually it works, returning him to his usual self.

Background:

Stefan was first born in 1847 in Mystic Falls, Virginia. It appears that Stefan hasn’t visited the town since 1953.

Powers:

  • Can jump to and from the roofs of buildings.
  • Can control memories with his mind, but his powers aren’t too strong.
  • Has sensitive hearing and can hear things a normal human can’t.
  • It is suggested he can float or fly.
  • Has the ability to move quickly, faster than a human.

Family:

His brother is Damon Salvatore. He has some ties to Zach Salvatore who is likely a descendent. Stefan mentions that the Salvatore’s come from Italian lineage. Their family was one of the original settlers in the town of Mystic Falls, Virginia.

Character Relationships:

Elena Gilbert:

Elena is a nearly identical picture of his old love Katherine. Stefan came back to Mystic Falls after he learned about Elena so he could get to know her. In the episode ‘Bloodlines’, he finally admits his love for her. He reveals that she was adopted and says she isn’t like Katherine. He tells her that he is the one who saved her from the car crash in which her parents died.

Damon Salvatore:

The relationship between the two brothers is very complicated. It has been implied that the two brothers got along well in the past, but seems that something came between them. This is likely Katherine. Stefan seems to dislike his brother and Damon has promised to cause his brother an ‘eternity of misery’. Damon also tries to bring out the darker side in Stefan, in order to get his original brother back.

After Stefan becomes a vampire in the episode ‘Blood Brothers’, he brings a young woman to his weak brother and tells him to drink from her if he wants to survive. Damon initially refuses, but then gives in and completes his transformation. Damon later says he wished he had died instead because he wanted to have Katherine for himself. Despite the bad blood between the two brothers, they likely still love one another.

Katherine Pierce:

Stefan’s family first took in Katherine in 1864 as a war orphan from Atlanta. Stefan quickly became enamored with Katherine because she was beautiful and festive. Stefan takes her to the Founder’s Day Celebration. They start to have a sexual relationship. At first, Stephan doesn’t realize that Katherine is a secret vampire who is also having a sexual relationship with his brother Damon. Katherine uses mind compulsion in order to keep Stefan acting normally. Stefan thinks his father will support his relationship with Katherine and tries to convince him to spare Katherine’s life when the citizens of the town capture and burn all the vampires. Although Stefan never specifically mentions Katherine by her name. However, Stefan’s father correctly assumes he is talking about her and spikes Stefan’s drink with Vervain in order to protect him.

Later, Stefan and Katherine are having sexual intercourse and afterwards Katherine is poison by drinking his Vervain-filled blood. A weakened Katherine is captured by Stefan’s father and Damon blames Stefan. Stefan also feels guilty about allowing her capture. After many years of reflection, Stefan tells Damon that he never really loved Katherine and that it was just her mind compelling him to believe he did. Stefan holds onto a photograph from Katherine that was taken in 1864, which leads to some problems when Elena discovers it. Paul Wesley had this to say about the relationship between Katherine and Stefan:

“He realizes after meeting Elena that he never loved Katherine… It’s kind of like being in a relationship, you think you’re completely in love, you’re infatuated, and then you meet another person and you go, ‘Oh my God, what was I thinking?’ And it’s kind of like that but a little different because that person also gave me eternal life. His obsession with Katherine was something that was finally broken by this human. And not for a 160 years, no one could break this obsession. And that’s why he would die and breathe for Elena for the rest of his life. For the rest of her life, I should say.”

Matt Donovan:

At first, Matt is very distrustful of Stefan, likely because Elena is very interested in him. However, Matt is enough of a gentleman to introduce himself to Stefan rather than simply ignoring him. However, after the attack on Vicki, Matt automatically suspects Stefan. Matt is still suspicious about Stefan when he follows him to the hospital where he visits Vicki and is upset when Stefan vanishes suddenly.

Matt also appears to look for Stefan first when Vicki disappears and is open suspicious of him. However, upon learning that Stefan helped Vicki return safely he is openly grateful. Matt admits to Elena that Stefan may be a good guy and regains enough trust in Stefan to follow his orders when it comes to helping Vicki in her transformation into a vampire. In the episode, ‘There Goes the Neighborhood’, Matt tells Stefan that he is happy Elena is having a good time with him.

Vicki Donovan:

Stefan takes it as a personal mission to try and teach Vicki to live on animal blood so she doesn’t have to feed on humans. Stefan is very sympathetic and patient with her, but when she continues to ignore his advice and give in to her passions, which causes many people to be placed in harm’s way his patience starts to wear thin. In the end, Stefan is forced to stake Vicki in order to save the lives of Jeremy and Elena.

Lexi:

Lexi is another vampire that is 350 years old and is one of Stefan’s oldest friends. Stefan is known to be very close to her since he is able to joke and relax around her more than others.

Random Facts:

  • The name was originally Stefan Whitmore in the Pilot, but then the name Salvatore was approved at the last minute.
  • The role of Stefan was the last to be cast, just ten days before the first day of filming for the Pilot.
  • Paul Wesley was originally trying to get the role of Damon.
  • Stefan is the new wide receiver for the high school football team and wears jersey number 17. It appears that Stefan learned football from Damon.
  • Stefan was present at the first ever Mystic Falls founder’s party.
  • Damon says that Stefan was enrolled at Harvard in the 70s.
  • Stefan says his favorite book is The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald published in 1925.
  • Stefan says his favorite movie is Taxi Driver directed by Martin Scorsese in 1976.
  • Stefan considers himself to be a good cook, especially when it comes to Italian food.

Paul Wesley’s Thoughts on Stefan:

In an interview with MTV News, Wesley had this to say about his character Stefan: “Stefan’s really tempted by human blood. He’s so tempted. He’s not perfect… He’s still flawed. Stefan is fully aware of hurting others and harm, and so for him he’s, like, always unhappy… It’s almost like someone who’s dependent on some sort of drug and then being in rehab, and you’re never the same.”

The Dance Of Success: Top 7 Principles Learned About Passion, Propulsion & Performance in Business

Jerry Rice, former NFL receiver with the most touchdowns, said it was the hardest thing he has ever done. What is it? Competing on TV's show "Dancing with the Stars" last year. "I worked more on dancing than when I played football."

Dancing – one of my greatest life passions – has also been my greatest teacher. I have learned more about life and success from dancing, than any book, seminar or even business mentor. When I step out on a dance floor, my whole world changes. I transcend my everyday world of busy activities, demands and challenges to a place of timeless … that defies words. It touches every fiber of my being.

This "wise teacher" has taught me how to:

o Achieve my goals and visions more effortless.

o Fill my days with a defect sense of passion and joy.

o Increase my productivity and focus dramatically.

o Develop synergistic relationships resulting in more powerful win / win outcomes.

o Live what I call an "inspired life."

Regardless regardless of whether you are a dancer or not, you too can experience the same powerful gifts. Below are 7 critical principles that can teach you how to transform your business journey and destination … beyond what you thought possible.

PRINCIPLE 1: MAGIC happens in the experience, not the output.

Last week, I went to a seminar by Robert Dilts, top NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) trainer, called "Demystifying the Wealth Factor." Using the NLP tool of modeling with hundreds of entrepreneurs, he identified the top 7 critical factors of business success.

Passion was one of those factors. Although passion being a critical success factor is not new, what was new was Dilt's view on passion. He said "true passion happens when the destination and the journey become one and the same."

A big "AHA"! I now had words to describe my own experience with dancing. Being goal-oriented by nature, dancing has taught me to suspend my need to be at a specific place at a specific time. To experience the magic of dancing, you can not be anywhere other than where you are at in the moment.

Dancing teachers me to stay focused on the experience of the moment. That each moment is a destination in itself. That only in the moment can passion and magic happen. What's your experience of the moment … right now … in your business?

PRINCIPLE 2: Ensure that you have the right structure. It allows maximum movement and helps you achieve goals easier and faster.

From day 1, a dancer learns the importance of the right frame, whether as a leader or follower. You will often hear a dance instructor say in class "No noodles or hand squeezing."

For a leader to lead and a follower to follow, there must be enough (not too little or too much) tension in the arms. Too little tension, and the leader must effort for the follower to do her steps. Too much tension constricts movement, can injure the body and make the dance anything but an enjoyable experience.

The same is true in business. Too little structure and you have to work harder to achieve your goal. Too much structure constrains the ability of an individual or organization from moving with ease, speed and momentum. Make sure you have the right amount of structure. To what extent do you have "noodle arms or squeezing" in your business?

PRINCIPLE 3: True mastery happens when you shift your focus from "doing" to "becoming." Only then can you experience optimal performance.

One of my favorite classic books is George Leonard's "Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment". George Leonard was a master black belt martial arts instructor who applied the principles of aikido to leadership and success in business.

As a runner, he used the example in his book that true mastery comes when you transcend from "doing" the run, "to" becoming the run. "Great musicians and artists know this state. I have experienced this state in dancing. you move from "doing" to "becoming," you experience an amazing sense of effortlessness and "flow," as Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi described in his classic book, "Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience."

In the business world, there is a big difference between "doing the right thing" and "becoming the right person." Great achievers know that when you focus on "becoming" more, you will do more. On what side of the equation is you focus on?

PRINCIPLE 4: Timing and rhythm are everything in business. Know when to move quickly; know when to slow down and pause.

Every dance has a certain rhythm, utilizing a combination of quick and slow (or hold) movements. Eg., In salsa, for every 3 quick steps, you pause on the fourth. For a dance to be graceful, fluid and dynamic, mastering its varying tempo is essential.

In business, timing and rhythm are equally important. The most successful businesses know that there is a time to grow and seize opportunities quickly. There is also a time to pause, regroup and put the necessary resources in place to go to the next level. Do you honor your own business rhythm? Do you know when to move quickly and when to pause? How can pausing help you to get to your goal faster?

PRINCIPLE 5: Developing strong business (or personal) partnerships requires sensory acuity. Pay attention to the unspoken communications.

One of the most critical skills in partner dancing is developing sensory acuity. Both the leader and the follower must learn to communicate and "listen" to each other, without words.

A follower must "listen" to a leader's cues – communicated from his frame to her frame – for next steps. The leader uses this skill to discern whether his partner "heard" his dance cues correctly and, if necessary, to adjust his lead accordingly.

Powerful "partnerships" are at the heart of every business. Whether between a boss and employee, between a company and their customers, or among peers, such partnerships listening to the unspoken communications.

Only 7% of our communications comes from words; 60-70% through physiology. Pay attention to a person's physiology – such as their gestures, posture, etc. What are these unspoken "signals" telling you? How can mastering this skill improve your bottomline?

PRINCIPLE 6: Great leaders lead from behind. They know how to put the spotlight on others and help them succeed.

In dancing, the leader's role is to lead the steps, bring out the best in the follower and let their partner shine. The follower's "job" is to implement the dance choreography … ie., Its vision and essence.

So it is with business. Your business success is directly proportional to your ability to lead from behind, bringing out the best in others and helping them succeed. Such is the paradox of great leadership.

To what extent do you bring out the best in others and help them succeed? How can leading from behind make your "job" easier and produce better business outcomes?

PRINCIPLE 7: The greatest dance of all is the dance with uncertainty. To succeed in today's times, you must learn to let go of control, be "light on your feet" and ready to respond in a moment's time.

The greatest gift that dancing has taught me is the ability to live in the moment, let go of the need to control / anticipate the dance steps and to trust myself and my inner guidance. Every follower must learn to live with 100% uncertainty and be ready for any step – even those never learned – that the leader chooses in the moment.

The 21st century is one of rapid change and unpredictability. Social upheaval, technological breakthroughs, environmental catastrophes, etc. can instantly change the course of a business. To survive and thrive, you must learn to dance with uncertainty, Every change presents threats and opportunities. Your ability to flow with, not against, the tide of change will determine your ultimate exit.

How comfortable are you with uncertainty? How does your management style prevent you from responding to change? Do you move with or against the tide?

As Jerry Rice learned that being great in dancing is not different from that in football, so too have I learned the same holds between dancing and business. As diverse as these disciplines seem on the surface, they intersect at the core elements driving every great success story. Timing, intuition, passion, creative expression, spontaneity and rhythm are just a few of the commonalities. The "Dance of Success" is not about winning the medal. It is the path to mastery itself that catapults us beyond the edge of who we are and what we are capable of. I hope you enjoy the dance ☺).

I Finally Realized it: Part 1 of 3

Was I a famous and a friendly guy? Yes, I was. At school, I was known by everyone. I was smart and friendly. But I was not a lucky guy in terms of romantic relation. I had always fallen in love for girls who did not even care about me or who would cause me pain. Especially for these girls, I used to wear my heart in my hands. That was, I used to fall in love easily for them.

I was funny, and that helped me to have all those friends who would later cause me pain or cause me to face humiliation in my life.

But those pains and those humiliations helped me to grow. They helped me to become a better man, and I learned from them.

I had just graduated from a community college. I attended a public university. During the first week of school, everyone who lived in the dorms, as usual, would stay outside to meet new people and get to know them.

I was outside, sitting on a black chair in front of my door apartment. As I sat, I saw two girls passing by. “Hey,” one of them said. “How are you doing?”

“I am doing great,” I responded. “What’s about you?”

“Normal, as usual,” she replied. “What is your name?”

“Nicky!” I said.

Nicky was a nickname that everyone used to call me; as a result, it became my preferred one. That meant, if anyone asked me what my name was, I would say that my name was Nicky.

Usually, even though I was friendly, I never initiated a conversation with someone that I did not know. I was shy when it came to that. People that I did not know usually were the initiators of almost every first conversation.

When those people became my friends, they would feel surprised because they did not expect that I would be so open with them like that.

“My name is Sarah,” said the girl.

Sarah was beautiful. She had long hair. To me, she was one of the most beautiful girls that ever existed on the face of this earth. However, she did not impress me that much because I did feel more attracted to the other girl, the girl who was with her.

“What is your name?” I asked the other girl.

She smiled and said nothing.

Sarah said to her as Sarah petting her right shoulder, “He is talking to you.”

“Mhmh,” she mumbled. “My name is Jenny.”

“Why you give him the wrong name?” said Sarah. “Her name is Camellia.”

I responded to Sarah, “Thank you.”

Sarah was twenty-years-old as she told me. She was a junior at the university, majoring in communication. She lived in the sixty eighth apartment. “I like your dress code,” said Sarah. “I would like to become friends with you.”

As usual, I liked to dress. I was known by everyone as a great dresser since back at my community college. A lot of girls had liked my style because of my dress code. As a result, many of them became my friends.

I told Sarah that I was twenty-two-years-old, a junior, majoring in business. I had passion for writing. “I live in this building,” I said to Sarah.

I exchanged phone numbers with her. Before she left, she gave me a hug.

I tried to shake hands with the other girl. “I don’t shake hands,” she said as she placed her hands in her pocket.

“Shake hands with the man Camellia,” Sarah yielded. “Don’t do something like that.”

In a desperate way, Camellia handed me her left hand, and I shook it tenderly.

As I shook her hand, I could feel something. I could feel that there was something that was beating and transforming within me that I was incapable of describing. I felt so blessed that day to shake hands with her. However, I also felt that a part of me seemed to tell me that something between me and her wasn’t common.

When I came closer, I noticed her scrolled ears and her elegant nose. She nuzzled me with her nose, and I couldn’t believe it. It was the custom for her people. I reckoned. It was love at first light. Her luminous, heavenly-white teeth flashed as she pawed at me with her film star nails. Her hair was a glorious tumble of star beam-gold and her virility-brown eyes set my heart a-thump.

“Good night,” said Sarah.

“Thank you,” I responded. “Have a great night.”

Sarah gave me a hug again before she left. She waived her right hand at me as she walked to her apartment.

During that night, I had met a lot of people, especially females, but unfortunately, Camellia was the one who preoccupied my mind.

Before I left home to go to the university, my mom told me something. “Be careful with people, especially girls. In this country, they have all the power,” I remembered she said to me.

I had just been hurt in the past by someone who did not care about me. All I wanted at that time was someone to cure me, someone that my heart and my soul would really want. I was looking for someone who would show me what love-something that I had never really experienced for a long time-was all about.

I did not want to get hurt again because I knew how it felt. “It is painful,” I said to myself.

Even if I had been hurt so much in the past, I still believed in love. I wasn’t trying to be revengeful. I was ready to forgive all the ones who had been hurt me so that I could start all over again.

There was something that had always happened to me in my life. The people whom I truly loved never felt the same way that I did and never cared about me, but those who did love me and care about me, I did never feel the same way that they did.

There were times that I wondered, was it my destiny?

I did not decide that for myself. It was the heart that decided.

My destiny simply did not give me the chance to avoid those pains, those tears.

My heart was ready to love, but unfortunately, it could not find the right person.

The next day had come. In the morning, Sarah called me and asked me about how I was doing.

I told her that I was great. “How are you doing?” I asked. “How is your friend?”

She responded, “I am doing okay, and she is doing okay.”

“That is great,” I said with a joyful voice.

Sarah said that she spent the whole night thinking about me. She thought about calling me, but she did not want to disturb me in my sleep. “I thought that you were sleeping,” said Sarah.

I told Sarah that I was thinking about Camellia. I wondered, how could I get close to her?

She laughed desperately on the phone. She said in a desperate way, “Okay.”

As usual, since back home, I liked to watch sport, especially basketball and soccer. One day, I went to the main room of the village. A lot of people watched a football game final on a big TV screen. I watched the entire game with them. Everyone was noisy. Both teams were playing very well. That satisfied almost everybody.

Since that day, it became usual for me to go to watch sport in that room. There were times when I was in that room, I used to see two policemen. I never talked to them. I was always quiet in the room.

One day, one of the policemen asked me what my name was. “Why you never talk?” they said. They told me their name. I gave them my name in return.

Even still, anytime I went to the room, I always was quiet. I never had a deep conversation with them.

There was a time that Sarah called me. She told me that her father was a billionaire. He owned many businesses, encouraging her to major in business, but she was more interested in communication or journalism. She told me that her father paid for all her school expenses.

“What is your father’s name?” I asked her.

She told me that her father was named Christ.

When I asked her to tell me a little bit about Camellia, she responded that Camellia was a multimillionaire. Her father was a football player, and her mother was a singer; as a result, that made her judgmental or snobby. “That may be why she did not even want to shake hands with you when you first meet her,” said Sarah.

After Sarah told me that, I could feel something within me. I felt intimidated and petty. From there, I started thinking about how I could get in contact with Camellia. I had found no way despite all those deep thoughts.

When it came to me, I was intelligent, but I did not have money. I came from a poor family. I relied on my parents to pay for my education. I did not receive any grant from the government, but I received one from the school that I came from because of my intelligence. My father was a farmer, working all day and all night to educate me. My mother was a merchant, selling candy down the street.

There were times that I struggled financially in the dorm. After I paid for all my school expenses, I had inadequate money to keep up for the rest of almost every semester.

I did not have a car, not even a bicycle for little.

My father’s name was Jean Jacques. Being a farmer wasn’t a big deal for my father because he believed that he was doing this type of job to educate his children. He was sixty-five-year-old.

For that, I had much more respect for my parents, and I made a commitment to myself not to disappoint them.

As usual, at the university, I went to the pool every afternoon.

One day, on the afternoon, as I was plunging in the pool, I saw Sarah, Camellia, and a girl were coming.

When they arrived, they said to me, “Nicky! How are you doing?”

“I am doing great,” I responded to them as I got out at the pool to come to shake hands with them.

The pool was white-lined like a sheet covering its bottom. The shape was that of a rectangle with its edges smooth and rounded. It was filled with glittering water clear as the sky, not murky anywhere. It sloped gently, going far down enough that I couldn’t guess the depth. Some parts were tiled, and the tiles glinted in the sun, making the water glint and shimmer even more. There were no waves-all was still. The water was so calm. It looked like I could walk out on to it and just keep walking forever, never getting wet at all. Like a silvery blue sidewalk, it was straight and formal looking. When I looked at it, my instinct was to dive in, dive down, down, down… all the way to the bottom, however far that might be. As I looked closer and my first awe wore off a tiny bit, I noticed some peculiar things. One was that there was a little ledge right before the water began, and water was constantly rushing into it and falling down into. I also saw the walls-they white, true- but. They also had little markings on them, mostly crosses and thick lines. I saw that these markings continued on as tile down the way on the bottom. These were the tiles I had seen before, and I wondered about them.

“Her name is Betty,” said Sarah as she pointed one of her fingers at the girl that I did not meet before.

“My name is Nicky,” I said to Betty.

After a while, I was looking at Camellia. She stayed speechlessly. She did not want to get in contact with me. But I knew. I knew better why.

Without hesitation, I dove back at the pool.

After a couple of minutes, I talked to Betty, exchanging phone numbers with her. She was welcoming me as her friend.

Even if I was talking to Betty, although camellia saw that, she did not say a word.

It was time for the pool to clean. The guy who was in charge was coming. He was big and had strong muscle. He came with a lot of materials including a pool cleaner machine to do the job.

“Hey guys, I am not going to be there later,” he said. “May you do me a favor please? May you let me clean the pool? I am sorry for the inconvenience.”

“Yes,” we responded.

Camellia, Sarah, Betty, and I left the pool. I headed to my room. When I was about to arrive, I said goodbye to them and got inside. Camellia, Sarah, and Betty walked to their apartments.

After a couple of hours, I went to class.

The class was now over. I headed to the village’s main room, the IVP room, to watch TV.

The heat was playing. The room was full of people making noises. Usually, it had been for years in Florida since most people were heat fans.

“Why you never talk?” asked one of the officers.

“As usual, you are always quiet,” said the other officer.

I laughed secretly to myself.

I was quiet not only because I did not like to talk but also because I was thinking about how I could be in a relationship with Camellia.

The officer said that his name was Lieutenant Roro as he shook hands with me.

“My name is Evens,” said the other officer. “You are welcome to talk to us anytime. You cannot be quiet all the time.”

When the game was over, I shook hands with them and said good bye.

I was going to sleep.

The next day had come. It was a Saturday morning. Sarah called me, inviting me to go out with Betty, Camellia, and her. She advised me to call Betty to confirm to her that I was going to the party.

I called Betty. I told her that I was going to the party.

“Great,” she responded.

Betty profited this occasion to tell me that she was twenty-years-old. She was a freshman at the community college of the city.

I told Betty a little bit about me.

After an instance, Sarah was coming with a 2012 BMW. It was the car of the year.

Betty, Camellia, and Sarah were extremely beautiful. They got out in the car. They dressed extremely proper.

“Hey Nick,” I remember Sarah said when she got out in the car to come to hug me.

She kissed me on the front head and on the mouth. She opened the car’s door for me so that I could sit in. She closed the door after a while.

“How are you all doing?” I asked Betty and Camellia in the car.

“Great,” responded Betty with an exciting voice.

Camellia, on the other hand, responded with a little voice as she did not want to respond, “Okay.”

“Are you ready for the party?” asked Betty.

“Yes,” I said. “I am ready.”

Sarah said, “Let’s go.”

She started up the car and drove it.

When we arrived, we got out at the car and headed to where the party was.

The party took place at a pub, a drinking establishment, which the local folks came to relax and socialize after a hard day of work or enjoy the weekend with friends and townsfolk. The selections of beers were varied as the local customers, and there were many brews that originated from the local area, and there was a brewery behind the building with its metal exterior hidden from the street. The walls were a variety of brown hues that glowed golden from the yellow lights hanging from the rafters. The interior had a warm glow to it that had a homey feeling. This homey feeling caused the people to forget their worries and chat with the locals. The pub was a place that was not too small, but not a nightclub either. Some people enjoyed the beer, wine, and spirits, but a few overdue it sometimes if they got rowdy and had to leave. It was peaceful and homey once again. Eventually, the townsfolk left the pub for what some of the men call “their other home” with their wives and children. After a while, music was playing.

As I was at the party, “Would you like to dance with me?” Sarah asked me.

“Yes,” I responded.

As I was dancing with Sarah, I could feel something. I could feel within me that she felt something for me. She felt something that seemed to be special. She danced with me in a way that no other girl had never done before. Like I was more than her boyfriend, she was dancing with me. She hugged me and kissed me as she definitely wanted to give me something that was holy during that night.

As I was dancing, Camellia was the only one who was in my mind. I kept looking at her as she sat somewhere with Betty.

“Why you keep looking at her?” said Sarah.

“I want to get in contact with her,” I responded.

The music was now over. Sarah and I stopped dancing.

“May you do me the favor to dance this new music with me please?” I tenderly demanded Camellia.

She responded, “I do not want to dance Sr.” But she danced the music with Betty.

Soon, the pub was empty and then was closed for the night, only repeating the same pattern for tomorrow.

We left the pub to go home.

Still, I did not give up. I always wanted to talk to Camellia. She humiliated me sometimes, but I continued to persevere.There were times if I tried to talk to her, she would walk away without saying a word. When she did that, I would follow her for a second chance. I would say to her, “Please talk to me. Why you don’t want to talk to me?” She would use profanity to disrespect me.

I was so thirsty of her love. I consequently looked naïve, but I wasn’t stupid. I looked desperate.

I was so patient and tolerant toward her.

Seeing her made me feel so blessed and so alive. I would sit by her class everyday just for that.

She used to work at the university. I would sit outside of the building that she worked at so that I could see her or get in contact with her. When she got out, there were times that I would say hey to her. If she did not respond, I would say to her as I followed her for a second chance, “Please talk to me.” She would ask me to leave her alone or to stop annoying her. Sometimes I would tenderly respond, “But I do the things that I do because I care about you.” Sometimes she would get mad at me.

In the country that I went to study, it was against the law to contact someone consistently or too much especially if the person did not want to get in contact with you. It was a crime; as a result, they would consider you as a criminal. Following someone was also unsuitable especially when you inappropriately pursued the person when she did not want you to.

Back in my country, it wasn’t that much a big problem, particularly if you loved the person, unless you tried to harm.

It was also a good thing in my country to hug anybody even if the person was a woman. When you hugged or kissed someone on the cheek, especially your parents or family members, you showed unity, friendship, love, and respect.

Men kissed men on the cheeks and hugged as a way to show love and unity.

Like any Haitian family, it was mandatory for children to kiss or hug their friends, the adults of the community, or their family members after coming from to school or church. If they did not do it, their parents or the adults would beat them up. They would consider them as disrespectful children.

It was also awkward and offensive to shake hands with a woman. You had to hug or kiss on the cheek.

It was offensive because when you shake hands with a woman, it simply meant that you considered the woman as a malgason.

“Malgason is a creole word that means gay or lesbian,” an Haitian would respond to you if you asked one question regarding this word or its definition.

Most Haitian women or rarely, if ever, all of them, did not like to be called by this name. They also may not want to shake hands.

You had to hug or kiss on the cheek.

However, in the United States, it was different. It was against the law to do something like that. Shaking hands with somebody could even be against the law depending on the circumstances, a hug was a bigger deal, and a kiss was the worst thing that you could do.

It was considered as sexual harassment.

Police would arrest you as a sex offender. A sex offender was a person who committed a crime involving a sexual act, such as harassing men, women, or children sexually.

As a sex offender or once you had sexual harassment charge filed against you, you would not allow to stay around females, especially kids. Convicted sex offender faced notably strict probation. You could not visit any public park. You would be forbidden from owning a smartphone or using the Internet or computer and not allowed to talk to anyone younger than 17, even immediate family. You would ban from going to any establishment that served alcohol, and you had to be home before 8 p.m. every night. Sometime it may be before 5 p.m. Convicted sex offenders were forbidden from visiting any public areas where there might be children, so a convicted sex offender also wasn’t allowed to live in his or her parents’ house or any family member’s house if the house was 800 feet of a public boat ramp, just shy of the 1,000-foot distance minimum. They may force you to leave jail, go to a house, and be by yourself, and be lonely basically. It may be hard to find a place to live either. I meant because of all of the restrictions. You almost could not live in any city in the country at all because you had to be so many feet from a school, a church, and a park. You had to stay in a place that like a desert in any city that met the distance requirement. They tried to make you felt like you were less than a monster. They wanted you to be a monster. You got treated worse than a murder.

An action was considered as a type of crime if the other person saw it as such type of crime.

Any unwanted touch was considered as a battery or an assault.

The law was too excruciatingly complicated in this country.

Contacting someone too much was considered as harassment or stalking.

However, unfortunately, I wasn’t aware of those.

I became more unaware of those especially when my female friends at the university would jump on me to hug me and kiss me. It wasn’t one or two friends. It was more than many.

As a result, when I saw them, I would do the same thing in reciprocity. I would give them a friendly hug even if their boyfriends were there. Their boyfriends would not care. They knew me as a friendly guy. It wasn’t only my friends and their boyfriends who knew that. It was almost everybody.

I would friendly hug them in return without expecting anything bad in reciprocity.

At that time, Betty and Sarah were my best friends.

There were times that I used to talk to my father, Jean Jacques. He used to tell me that he had been going through a lot with females. He knew how they were.

“Females, especially those who are your friends, are hot and cold at the same time,” my father used to say to me. “When they are with you alone, they would do anything with you. Hug you. Kiss you. Play with you anyhow. When they are with their boyfriends, they would pretend that they do not even know you.”

He used to tell me things also about romantic relation.

He said to me one day, “Sometimes the way that you feel for a woman is not how she feels about you. When a circumstance like that presents, all you have to do is move on. If you continue to stay, you will get hurt by almost every single thing that she will do to you.”

What my father used to say weren’t big deals to me. I did not believe in them. I rather believe in perseverance. No matter how hard was it for you, it was better to persevere. I did believe in friendship.

My friends would hug me and kiss me. I would do the same thing in return when I saw them. Even in front of their boyfriends, they would do it. I would do it too sometimes.

Even if Camellia showed me that she did not feel the same way about me and did not care about me, I did not surrender.

Sarah, on the other hand, would do her best to listen to my voice at least once a day. She used to sit in front of my class every morning, waiting for me so that she could at least see me or get in contact with me. She would call me every day, asking me to go out with her sometimes.

I could not even say hey to Camellia. She would get mad if I did. But she was the one that my heart and my soul wanted.

I felt that I got comforted from my pain when I said hey to her.

On the other hand, I would ignore Sarah sometimes when she asked me to go out with her. There were times when I decided to go out with her, she would pay for everything.

She said certain things to me sometimes to impress me or to stimulate me so that I could make the first move. “You look cute,” she said sometimes. ” I like the way you dress. Is there anything that you like about me?”

I would respond, “Thank you. I like all my friends, and I like everything about them.”

One day, she said, “Nick, don’t you know that someone is dying for you?”

I laughed. I knew for sure what she meant, but I used other statements to contradict hers or to fight against what she really wanted to say to me.

I would even ask her sometimes, “How is Camellia?”

She would laugh and said to me, “Camellia does not care about you. There is someone who cares about you. Try to make the first move instead.”

One day, I called Betty and told her that I had been going through something in my life for so long. One thing that I wanted right now was that I wanted to get in contact with Camellia.

“I am going to try to help you out,” said Betty.

The next week had come. It had been the end of Spring Break. I went to my economics class. After the class was over, I went to sit in front of the class of Camellia.

As she got out in her class, I stood up and said, “Hey Camellia! How are you doing?”

“Don’t talk to me,” responded Camellia. “Can you leave me alone please?”

As I tried to approach her, she slapped me in the face.

This day was one of the most painful days that I ever had in my life. I cried secretly to myself. I let her go.

I went to my room. I took a shower. I laid down on my bed, thinking about what had been happening to me and about some possible course of actions that I could take. After a couple of minutes, I fell asleep.

The afternoon had come. I woke up. I took a shower again. I headed to class.

It was becoming more usual for me to go to sit by Camellia’s class every day. I did it just to see her, and that helped me to cope with the tribulation. Seeing her pleased me and lessened my pain. When she got out, I never said a word to her because I took deep and great cautiousness. I was afraid of receiving a slap from her again. The first one was painful.

Betty told me one day that Camellia wasn’t interested in me. However, I did not get discouraged by what she said.

After a while, I went to class. After a while, I went to sit in front of the class of Camellia. I tried to talk to her. She got mad. She closed the door on my face.

OH NO! An FDA Recall is All Over the News! How Do I Survive?

Your best-selling product was recalled by the FDA and it is all over social media and TV. What should you do? How do you handle guest questions? Is it time to throw in the towel and sell out? Will your guests even care?

In fact, on average, there is a food related FDA recall every 3 days. Did not know that did you? Most food related recalls are so small reporters do not care because it is not "big enough" news. Since 2010 there have been 675 individual recalls incorporating anywhere from a few hundred pounds of food to millions of pounds. The problem really is not IF a recall happens but WHEN a recall happens and if it involves your specific brand products or your product line.

The summer 2017 Sabretts recall affected all hot dog vendors even ones not specifically advertising Sabretts. What should a street vendor do?

1. Start today BEFORE a recall and cultivate relationships with local news on radio and TV, local social media influencers and your suppliers. When a recall does happen, these folks are already in your pocket.

2. Check your inventory and if necessary secure a supply of safe product. Contact your supplier seeking pickup and credit instructions if you do have tainted product.

3. Expect questions and complaints if you sold the brand that was recalled. Contact your insurance company and ask for a procedure on handling a recalled product related complaint. Follow the instructions to the letter.

4. Expect slower than normal sales. If you advertised the brand in the past expect very slow sales. Counter the declined sales with social media posts explaining the recall and your actions to ensure safe food for your guests.

5. Post more frequently to social media showing guests enjoying your food, offer discounts for shares and likes. Be prepared to answer any questions about the recall in a profession manner in the comment sections.

6. Take lunch consisting of your delicious food to local radio or TV stations. If the recall is "big" news you could ask to be interviewed showing the human-interest side of corporate recalls and the impact on a small local business.

7. Create highly visible signage to attract attention to your safe product. Have fun with the recall and show you are on top of the problem.

8. Be up and active around your cart, trailer or truck. Get attention and offer samples of "safe" products.

9. Allow the recalled (but safe) product to be in the shadows for a while if you can. Feature different products if your menu is large enough. Consider a different brand short term. If your cart or truck advertises the brand logo really focus on number 4.

10. Use your guest loyalty program to encourage more visits, offering extra punches on cards, bonus points on electronic loyalty programs or other incentives. Deeply discount or offer a free drink, chips or deserts with a purchase. Sacrifice short term profits (read as "reduce profit margins" NOT "take a loss") to keep your cash flowing. Just manage the numbers and you will ride out the storm.

The absolute worst thing to do is nothing. Sitting around whining about taking a beating and how slow today or yesterday was not improve tomorrow. Be up talking to everyone in ear shot about food safety and how committed your cart or trailer operation is to it. Brag about knowing about the recall BEFORE it hit the news, if you did. Show off the case or packaging with the good manufacturing dates. Print off the email from FSIS showing the tainted manufacture dates with your products safe date listed. Just be prepared you will survive!

Are You Obamatose Or in Nirbama?

Every year the world of current affairs and the media provides fertile ground for the further development of the English language. Often it is the journalists or politicians themselves who conjure up new words or additions to the English language to better explain the concepts that they are trying to get across to us, the general public.

Where journalists and politicians fail, comedians fill the gap by mocking said politicians and providing us with a much more accurate and humourous presentation of current affairs. Of course, since genius come from the gutter (to quote Boy George), much slang or innovation to the English or any other language comes from young people.

This article will have a look at some of the recent and more comical additions to the English language (neologisms for the purists).

  1. Chronocide (chronocidal): a way of describing any wasteful means of spending time.
  2. Digicandy: electronic gadgets that are unnecessary and therefore purely self-indulgent.
  3. GBH-ing: coined from the sport BMX-ing, this new term describes a thrilling combination of aerial cycling acrobatics and extreme fighting.
  4. Goaldiggers: Young girls who fall at the feet of famous football players in hotels around the world.
  5. Googlicious: Something that is highly prized or sought after i.e. at the top of Google result listings.
  6. Groovimonious: pleasant and agreeable in every manner possible.
  7. Heirhead: The term used to describe heirs and heiresses to vast fortunes who currently live in a constant party circuit (Here I’m mostly thinking of Paris Hilton).
  8. Linguaplasty: The act of making language more beautiful.
  9. Multifacelifted: Think of the way Michael Jackson looks after his numerous operations…
  10. Nirbama: The state of inner peace brought on by an Obama presidency (and consequently no more Bushes or Clintons).
  11. Obamatose: In deep slumber, dreaming of an Obama presidency
  12. Rackology: The study of breasts.
  13. Schmuckometer: A device used to determine how much of a ‘you know what’ someone is.
  14. Ubiquitinpotaqueous (my personal favorite): The state of affairs where there is water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink.
  15. Web-emy: Google looked like it was going to become web-emy number one with its anti-privacy policies.