Wednesday, December 22, 2021



One of my favorite business books is The Pursuit of Wow! by Tom Peters. I read this book many years ago and have referred back to it on a regular basis. The book basically talks about the old saying "If something is worth doing, it is worth doing well". But, Peters takes that idea to an even higher level. He talks about doing things in a way that a person would come away from the experience with the thought of Wow! He explains that if you are in charge of the office Christmas party, do the task at such a high level that those that attend come away with the feeling of Wow! what a party. Peters talks about applying this Wow! approach to any thing you do. The thought is so go above and beyond and even outside the box to provide an exceptional product. 

I used this idea when approaching at least two promotional interviews during my career and believe those that interviewed me came away with the feeling of Wow! and promoted me. In preparation for those interviews I talked with district managers of the area that was covered by the new job. I talked with customers in that area to ask what is going well and what needed improved. I talked with employees on that team that I would manage. I talked with fellow managers about that position. I called and talked with anyone I could think that had been impacted or would be impacted by the position I was looking to get. When asked in the interview "How did you prepare for this interview?", I was able to Wow! them with my prep. The typical answer they heard was probably, "I reviewed the policy and procedures and memorized the mission statement". When I answered, I believe they would have said to themselves "Wow, This guy really wants this job".

I believe any new graduate, new employee or new entrepreneur could benefit from reading this book. You could use this practice of Wow! in any situation. You could use it at work, at church and at home. If you used this idea, you could create the best birthday or neighborhood party. You could put on the best program at church. You could run the best scout group or school PTA. You could put on the best cookout. I routinely have a Hotdog Extravaganza! It's a basic hotdog but it sounds better to call it an Extravaganza. 

If you think about it the Wow! feeling does not come around often. One business that must use this concept is Chick-fil-a. You are greeted and treated very well, the food is good and they take care of you while you are there. The phrase "my pleasure" is uttered every time you thank them for bringing your order or refilling your drink. They come around to your table to ask if you need anything and refill your drinks. What other fast food chain does this? None that I know of. I think if you had never been to a Chick-fil-a and go in for the first time, I think you come out the door with the thought Wow! that was a great experience!

I recently had a Wow! experience at a Discount Tire store in Houston, TX. I had a large screw in my tire and needed a repair or a new tire. I was met at the car by a guy who was ready to take care of me. He looked at the tire and escorted me into the store. He provided top notch service and got my car right in for new tires. He had to order two and scheduled me for a return appointment. While I sat there looking into the shop through a large window I felt like I was watching a NASCAR pit crew. The workers were fast and efficient. They were getting cars in and out very fast. The shop was organized and super clean. Not your typical garage junk and gunk. While I was watching my car, the inside guy comes over to update me on my wait time. On my return trip to get the other two new tires, I noticed a long line of cars getting their air checked. The weather had turned cool overnight and I'm sure half of Houston had a low tire light on. This store provided a free air check. The worker was quickly going around each car and topping off the pressure and then on to the next one. What a Wow! The store owner was paying a guy to put air in your tire for free while you waited in the comfort of your car. The owner obviously was paying the employee to do something that brought no revenue in but was taking care of current and future customers.  My two tires were put on in a flash and I was out of there. I told the inside supervisor how impressed I was with the operation and he immediately went out to the the shop who relayed the message to the owner or manager who looked pleased. I left a great online comment similar to the above words. I noticed a ton of accolades for the store and then one person who left a negative comment about the stool cushion not being soft enough. Of all the Wow! surrounding them, they found a tiny little thing to complain about because their seat wasn't soft enough.

These Wow! moments are rare and you can see how you could stand out if you made the effort to Wow! someone with your efforts. It is a great tactic that can be used in every aspect of your life. Last night my wife and I had a small Wow! moment. We are temporarily in Houston for my wife's cancer treatment. We are in a housing complex that gives free housing to patients. Most of the residents are cancer patients and transplant patients that need to be close to the hospitals for lengthy treatment. We have met some great people here and last night one couple invited us and another couple to their apartment for a Christmas dinner. We are all here with what we brought in our car or with things provided with the apartment. There is limited cooking supplies and space in the apartment. This couple put together a Wow! dinner. We arrived to their apartment to find a cooked turkey, a huge pan of dressing, a huge pan of green bean casserole, a huge pan of sweet potatoes, a huge pot of corn and rolls. They had a nice Christmas table cloth on the table and had a fire going on the TV with Christmas music. It was a great night of food and talking. They provided a Wow! dinner with limited resources and helped brighten our Christmas season under our current circumstance. Thanks Stan and Tammie!

Have you experienced a Wow! moment recently? Have you used this concept to provide a Wow! experience to an individual or group? Maybe you did something way over the top, like had a real elephant at your kid's birthday party! Tell me about your Wow! moments.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Frauds and Swindles


  • 1.wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain:"he was convicted of fraud"


  • 1.use deception to deprive (someone) of money or possessions:"a businessman swindled investors out of millions of dollars"


  • 1.a fraudulent scheme or action:"he is mixed up in a $10 million insurance swindle"

It seems, in this world of ours, that there are many, many people out there trying to separate you from your money. Most people and businesses are doing it the right way and trying to get your money by offering you something you need or want. The oil companies try to persuade you that their gas is better for your car or their oil will make your engine last longer. Restaurants offer you a great meal with price and convenience. Walmart offers you everything you need to run your household from toilet paper and food to camping gear. Online shopping offers you a great deal and shipping right to your door. You make your own personal decision on where to spend your money based on questions of "What do I need?", "What do I like?" and "What do I want?".

On the flip side of this is the evil, criminal element that tries to get your money by giving you an inferior product or no product at all. There are countless frauds and fraudsters out in the world. My career in law enforcement exposed me to many fraudulent schemes over the years. When I first started working in the early 1990's the big fraud was the "boiler room" operations that operated by mail and phone. A victim would be sent a postcard or letter advising them that they had won fabulous prizes or cash. All you had to do was call a 1-800 number to claim it. Once they got you on the phone they attempted to collect fees for taxes or shipping and then sent you nothing at all. If the heat got to intense from law enforcement they would vacate their room and move to a different city or state and start all over again. Next came the Nigerian scams where you were notified that a large sum of money needs to be moved by a Nigerian prince and that you would be paid well to help facilitate getting the money out of that country. 

There are frauds that involve winning your love or friendship which is employed by prisoners or internet prowlers who profess their love for you and slowly drain you of funds. They love you but need money to pay for a plane ticket to come see you. Then they need money to pay customs officials for some made up reason. They give you a thousand excuses that cost money and they dearly need your help. My wife was friendly to a lady at a local hamburger restaurant and she kept telling her of her latest online love and how they were going to marry her and were building her a brand new house. She was in the middle of sending him payments to total $5000 so she could get the new house. No amount of talking with her would convince her it was a fraud. Then she continued to tell us about previous frauds and how she was paying her bank payments on several of those frauds. 

Some of the latest scams involve crypto currencies. I read a news article about scammers setting up brokerage style websites where you could buy a wide variety of crypto currencies and then buy and sell on their website. The issue was that you could send them money, buy the crypto currencies but you could never get your money out. Eventually, the sites just disappear as well as your money. There are fraudsters who swoop into a storm damaged area and take cash up front for debris removal, roof repair, etc. and then never show up to do the job. There are fraudsters on the internet who will sell you something with cash up front and then never provide the product. One of the most recent internet frauds, that I saw, was the selling of pets. Never give anyone cash through the internet based on a photo. Another recent scam involved fraudsters selling or renting out vacant homes that they did not own. They break into a vacant house, change the locks and the rent it out and collect cash on a monthly basis until they are found out. One woman in Detroit had bought a vacant home, was promised a title, and then remodeled the place. She was later evicted by the real homeowner. It is crazy what these fraudsters come up with. 

At the bottom of this blog is a list of scams that are listed on the AARP website, a great source of information.

There are fraudsters everywhere, so beware. Do your homework before you spend your money. Retirees are especially vulnerable to fraudsters. As retirees age they become a huge target of fraudsters hoping to take advantage of your trust. Look out for yourself and if your parents are still around look out for them. These fraudsters pray on those that are older and may be more trusting or those that are at stages of dementia and have reduced capacity to understand these scams.

Have you been the victim or target of a fraud? Have you heard of any unusual scam that we all need to know about?

I've got to close this out for now. I have to call a guy back about my car warranty!