By: Daniel Becker
Well, it’s that time of year again. The State of the Union. And the state of my business. So far, from what I’m reading regarding the expected content of the address by President Obama, I think I’ll just practice my playing as I usually do on Tuesday nights. Really? What’s the use in listening? We have a person who heads a company that is noted for pushing the off shoring concept of growing America via their prior celeb CEO, Jack Welch as Obama’s pick to head up the committee that is going to figure out how to boost job creation? And we wonder why this country can’t regain the glory days of accomplishment and prosperity. Actually, I don’t wonder. I know.
Though, I see Welch has had a change of heart? At least as it relates what a business should prioritize.
“On the face of it, shareholder value is the dumbest idea in the world,” he said. “Shareholder value is a result, not a strategy…your main constituencies are your employees, your customers and your products.”
Oh sure, after he got his.
Let’s get to it.
2010 started off looking hopeful for Fontana’s Flowers. We were up 1.5% for the first quarter, then April came. Off 17% even with Easter. By the end of June we were back up again 1.5%. So, I figured we had at least hit the bottom. WRONG! July came, off 21%. August came, off 20%. Every month since June as been off. It produced the following picture.
I guess we are hitting the bottom finally. It’s only been 5 years.
Now, before I start hearing about how flowers are a luxury, what does it say about a nation’s economy such as ours when a simple luxury that has the power to :
When women were given flowers, they always responded with a ‘real’ duchenne smile, and reported more positive moods three days later.
When men or women were given a flower, they responded with a duchenne smile and engaged in more prosocial activities (compared to control conditions of being given a pen or nothing).
Flowers given to elderly people resulted in more positive mood and improved episodic memory!
The researchers also reported other “unusual emotional displays that they were unprepared to measure,” (4, p122), including:
Hugs and kisses.
Invitations to participants’ homes for refreshments.
‘Thank you’ cards and letters – some with photographic evidence of the continuing beauty of the bouquet.
As they sum up – “In many years of studying emotions, we have never received hugs and kisses, thank you notes or photographs, not even for candy, doghnuts, hats, gift certificates, or direct monetary payment; flowers are different.”
…is not affordable to the masses? It says we are an elitist nation in the ugliest meaning of the word elite. I think considering the nation’s psyche, these pictures sum up the proper scientific based response to such ugliness.
Again, what does it say about our nation’s priorities when the masses can no longer afford such a simple luxury which has so many benefits that frankly, we need to experience desperately.
Back to business. There was a reason in part for our second half results. It was the stimulus programs of “shovel ready” projects. Seems many were not really shovel ready. Instead of having proper engineering and surveying performed, they went for quick and simple. This left me with 3 months of traffic issue powerful enough that even the big box stores were hampered. However, my “small business” is left with the following:
What you are viewing is a new, never existed prior, 6 ft wide concrete side walk that is 2.5” above my pavement and within 9 ft of my foundation. This might not be a problem if it were not for the fact that this new sidewalk leaves my foundation only 1/2” above the side walk. Can you say “gutter”. I am told, and I’ve tried, that I have to live with this. I also have to live with the curbing being 5” high, which means instead of having an easy in/out parking lot that was cut short when they originally widened the road, I have one that acts like a one way street. And, to add insult to injury, they stuck a “Tow Zone, Snow Route” sign exactly right where one backs up as they attempt to leave the left end of the parking lot.
Back to the Real state of the Union. Here is the all telling picture.