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Everyone Will Let You Down Sometime

August 13, 2007 Leave a comment

If management has taught me anything it has taught me that people will let you down sometimes – no matter how well you treat them. (I recently had an employee quit on me and it bums me out because I worked hard for that kid and gave him many opportunities to grow).

I was thinking tonight about how sad the story is about the Michael Vick (the football player accused of organizing a dog-fighting ring). Michael Vick had everything going for him. He was a star in the NFL, the face of entire team, the hero of a city, and the future hope of an organization. Then, one morning, everything falls. And Michael Vick lets everyone down.

The sad truth is that at some point we are all vulnerable to letting others down. None of us is immune. Our broken and depraved nature virtually ensures that at some point we will fall short of being the person others want/ need/ perceive us to be.

This should drive us to Jesus as the only person in whom we can place all our trust. God is always faithful, always trustworthy, always good, always loving, and always there. No person in this world can be who God is. No husband, no wife, no friend, no teammate, no co-worker, no pastor – NO ONE. Only God.

Categories: A/W, Jesus, Thoughts

Putting Pop in a Water Glass is Stealing

July 31, 2007 1 comment

One thing that really makes me upset is when people come into my store, ask for a water glass and then fill it with pop. It predominately happens with high school boys, but there have been multiple instances where it has been adults doing the stealing. I have even seen mothers come in and blatantly take pop for their kids. Nice example – I’ll bet those kids will be the teenage boys in 10 years.

What happened today takes the cake though. A kid came in an asked for an application. While he was sitting in the store filling out the job app he was swearing and making a lot of noise. Then he comes up to the counter and asks for a water cup. Unbelievably, he proceeded over to the pop machine and filled up the cup with soda. Are you freaking kidding me! We didn’t feel the need to interview that dude.

I’m sure I filled up plenty of water cups with pop in my day – but man it drives me nuts.

Categories: A/W

Your Store Smells Like….

May 31, 2007 1 comment

One of my first customers today commented that the store smelled like a combination of the Zoo and Valleyfair. He said it was a mix of fish – like the polar bear exhibit – and all of the food at the amusement park.

Don’t know if that was a compliment, or a complaint, or simply an observation. I’m hoping for the latter, and I’m encouraged that he stayed and enjoyed his meal.

Categories: A/W

The Nerve of Some People

A man in his 50’s came into the store around 9:45 pm. After ordering his food he asked me what time we closed. I informed him I’d be locking the doors in about 15 minutes.

Next he asked what I was going to do with some extra hushpuppies sitting in the food warmer. I told him I could probably throw a few extra in his bag for him.

He thanked me and proceeded to ask if he could have something to drink while he waited for his food to cook. I replied that he could have a glass for some ice water. But as I was cleaning the counter I watched him to make sure he only got water because I was thinking to myself that he probably wanted some free soda.

Then, after turning my back for a couple minutes to pack up his food, when I handed him his bag I realized that he had refilled his water cup with soda. I could tell because under the cover the liquid was dark brown like Pepsi. It made me so angry that I wanted to say something really sarcastic like, “Here’s your food. Have a great night. Enjoy the hushpuppies you mooched and the pop you are stealing!” But I said nothing and just let him leave; I decided a guy like that isn’t even worth it.

Besides I was trying to do the same thing, oh wait a second, that was when I was 16!

Categories: A/W

Cheese Curds for Mother’s Day?

May 13, 2007 2 comments

When I took the job as General Manager of the A&W last September I told the owner that I would make a firm commitment not to work Sundays. Since I am required to work 50 hours a week I knew that I would need Sundays to recharge, enjoy my family and find some peace. So far that arrangement has gone well; so well in fact that today is the first Sunday in nine months that I have had to be at the store in the morning.

The reason I’m here today is because many of the employee took Mother’s Day off. Unfortunately as the GM I have to pick up the slack. This sucks for my wife because today is supposed to be her day to rest from her motherly duties, but I am planning on making that up to her tomorrow. It is pretty slow at the store today – maybe because most moms don’t want their special day to include a trip to the fast food joint for chili dogs and cheese curds.

Categories: A/W

3 Things I Learned Last Week in Leadership

Last week I wrote a very brief, one sentence post about the terrible day I was having. Mainly it was because I had a couple problems with employees and the frustration and agony over some hard decisions that were needing to be made was weighing on me.

Long story short, the more minor employee issue was resolved with a conversation Friday afternoon; funny how often having a simple conversation relieves stress from our lives. Unfortunately the larger problem took much more energy to resolve and involved the firing of an assistant manager that had worked for the company for three years and the rehiring of the same employee the next day.

Rather than me getting into the gory details let me elaborate on a few of the lessons I learned through the whole deal.

Lesson #1 – When there is a problem be sure you gather all the facts before you make decisions.
When I first caught wind of the developing situation I reacted to the information rather than gathering more information. This led to decisions being made on the basis of some misunderstanding and confusion. I never spoke directly to the person involved to get his side of the story. That was a mistake.

Lesson #2 – Be sure that you are emotionally stable enough to make a sound decision.
We ran into trouble last week because all of the parties involved were emotionally and physically exhausted. Then, rather than slowing down and make a sound decision, people reacted out of their exhaustion. I should be old enough know to know that I am crabbier and less patient when I am tired. Making difficult decisions is hard enough without trying to do it without the full compliment of mental and emotional capacities.

Lesson #3 – Don’t stuff frustrations and expect that the problems will just go away.
My rehiring of the employee on Saturday doesn’t mean that all the problems are gone. There are still expectations that will need to be met and conversations that will need to take place going forward. The goal however, is to make sure that open communication is undertaken concerning each individual issue before the dam of stuffed emotion explodes again.

Categories: A/W, Leadership

Mascots in Children’s Ministry

April 4, 2007 1 comment

I wrote a post as a guest blogger for the Church Marketing Sucks blog examining my experience as the A&W Root Beer Bear mascot and asking the question,

But couldn’t we at least use a mascot to engage the kids in hearing about Jesus? Why not use something larger than life to teach kids about the one who truly is larger than life? My instinct and experience tells me that our kids would go nuts over this kind of thing. It is sort of like how on children’s Sunday the pastor always uses puppets. There is something about the fantasy that hooks the attention of kids.

There have been some really great comments. It sounds like the mascot idea is working well in many children’s ministries across the country. You can read the entire post and comments here.

Categories: A/W, Marketing, Ministry