Best Buy

I think that all Best Buy employees should have to wear a badge that shows if they really know about the products they are selling.

The other day I went to Best Buy with my dad to help him get a new laptop computer. His old one had died and all he wanted in a new one was something that was fast enough to handle large excel spreadsheets he uses for work.

There were two guys who were helping us decide which laptop was best for him and while they seemed nice, I questioned how much they actually knew about the computers. They seemed more interested in simply getting him any computer than making sure it was the right computer.

I know very little about computers and I don’t doubt that they knew 50x the stuff that I know, but their lack of interest and enthusiasm made me question their knowledge.

I started to wonder if they knew about electronics or if they had just been at Best Buy for years and worked their way up from store greeter.

Is there a test or anything that Best Buy employees are required to take to prove they know what they are selling? And if there is, why not put their test scores on their name badge?

It could say, “My name is Adam and I scored a 70% on the computer test (although I bet it would have a better name than “computer test”).

The name tag test score would work in two ways:

First, if someone had a great score they would immediately be seen as trustworthy and knowledgeable. Customers would want to work with them and their sales numbers would go up.

If Lindsey had a 97% and Brett had a 67% I would definitely ditch Brett and ask Lindsey for advice. Lindsey’s sales would go through the roof

Second, the above situation would hopefully have a positive effect on Brett. His low test score, and subsequent low sales numbers, should motivate him to learn more, retake the test and improve his score. And if it does not motivate him, I don’t want Brett working at my Best Buy.

Just by putting test scores on a name badge, Best Buy could create better employees and generate reassurance for their customers that their employees actually know what they are talking about.

Just a thought Best Buy. Take it or leave it.

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YouTube: An Instant Cure Of Boredom

Remember 10 years ago when, if you were bored, you had to use your imagination to find something productive to do? I’m glad those days are over.

If you are anything like me, an easy cure for boredom is YouTube.

Minutes just fly by when you can watch cats play the piano, dancing cats, or Cats the musical. Who knew there were so many videos of cats?

And YouTube has millions of videos of pretty much everything you can think of. There are so many videos that you will never run out of things to watch.

Another great thing about YouTube is that people love to recommend a video to friends and family that they’ve watched and enjoyed. People want to share the joy of watching that video with you.

I am pretty sure that if a bar organized a YouTube night where people could show up, drink and suggest different YouTube videos to watch, the place would be packed.

Today, I am thankful for YouTube. Here are a couple of my favorite videos. What are some of your favorites? Let me know in the comment section below.

Yawn & Order

When I know that I am going to have a busy day, I often set my alarm an hour or two early so that I have enough time to write before my day gets started.

This morning, I couldn’t stop yawning while I was trying to write. That got me thinking…why do we yawn?

My first guess was that yawns are our brain’s way of telling our body that it would rather be doing something else, something more interesting. Think about it, don’t you find yourself yawning more when you are really tired or bored? I think that is your brain saying that it would rather be sleeping or riding a waverunner.

Comedian Daniel Tosh has a funny bit about how money can buy happiness. He says that money can buy a waverunner and have you ever seen an unhappy person on a wave runner?

I’d ask, have you ever seen a person yawn on a waverunner? I didn’t think so.

Why We Yawn:

Apparently no one knows exactly why we yawn. Here is a great article by Sara Klein at the Huffington Post that explains a few yawning facts. A study done in 1986 showed that college students yawned more when they were shown a pattern of colors than when they were shown a rock video.

Despite not knowing exactly what causes a yawn, here are a few things Klein found.

Yawning Prevents Hot Heads:

When we yawn, we cause our sinus walls to expand and contract. This lowers the temperature of our brain by pumping air into it, according to National Geographic. It was also found that people yawn more often in winter. Healthy Living surmised that this is because the exterior air is cooler in the winter and yawning brings more cold air inside the body.

Yawns Are Contagious: 

According to one study, 50 percent of people began yawning when shown videos of yawning. Yawns also were found to be contagious among animals. A 2004 study found that chimpanzees and baboons yawn when seeing one another yawn.

Yawn & Order:

Turns out that maybe my guess isn’t too far off. But I would like to see scientists study people on waverunners to see if anyone yawns. If scientists are spending time studying the yawning patters on chimpanzees, then I assume they also have time and money to conduct a waverunner study.

One thing I know for sure is that yawning is contagious. I counted and I yawned five times while reading the Huffington Post article.

How many times did you yawn while reading this blog post? If you answered a lot, I will assume it is because yawning is contagious, and not because your brain was telling you that it would rather be doing something different.

Looking Ahead vs. Planning Ahead

YOLO is probably the most popular acronym right now. YOLO, or You Only Live Once, can be found on t-shirts, bumberstickers, and in the lyrics of songs. This popular motto implies that one should enjoy life and live in the moment.

On the one hand, this can be a very positive message.

Getting people to appreciate life and live in the now is important. Too often people stress themselves out by focusing on a future they can’t control.

But on the other hand, simply saying “YOLO” doesn’t justify taking irresponsible risks or forgetting about the future.

The comedy hip hop group The Lonely Island created a hilarious song parody called “YOLO” in which they take a different spin on the phrase “You Only Live Once.” The song takes a pessimistic view that everything is a threat so always take preventative measures like building a bomb shelter or burying all of your money (If you would like to watch the video, I have included it below).

This got me thinking about a question I’ve struggled with my entire life.

How do you find a balance between looking ahead and planning ahead?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve constantly looked toward the future. I’ve always need to have a plan. I’ve eaten healthy, exercised and saved money so that when I am 60 years old I will have a healthy, well balanced, and stable life.

It would be much easier to eat whatever I want, watch TV all day and blow through my money. The time I spent planning could have been spend having fun.

On the contrary, who’s to say that I’ll even make it to 60? Am I sacrificing my now to plan ahead for a future I may not even be a part of? I often feel that I don’t truly appreciate some experiences because I am looking ahead.

A constant theme in sports is to take one game at a time. Players and coaches always say that they are focused only on the practice or game that is directly ahead of them. They can lose their edge if they look past their currently opponent and think about a game that is weeks away.

But another important theme in sports is to picture yourself at the highest stage. As we talked about last week, it is important to visualize your goals. You can’t become a champion unless you dream of winning that championship game.

See the contradiction? How can you take one game at a time yet also dream of the championship game which could be weeks or years away?

How can you live in the now and also plan for a rainy day?

I am not nearly smart enough to answer those questions, but I did come across a quote that may help.

Late Christian missionary Jim Elliot said, “Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”

If you are at the beach, rocking a YOLO shirt, great! Be all there.

If you are meeting with your financial planner to try and figure out how to pay for your eight year old’s college tuition in ten years, great! Be all there.

God is the ultimate balance scale. Give him your now and your future and he will help you find the right balance.

30 Words or Less

Author Jon Acuff says in his book Start that everyone with a blog should be able to state what their blog is about in 30 words or less.

Acuff reasons that the only way to differentiate yourself in a world with millions of blogs is show clarity. Clarity gives context which is essential to getting people to want to read what you have to say.

This is something that I have struggled with since I started my blog. I have a hard enough time explaining Blog by Bake in 300 words, how am I supposed to do it in 30? How can I describe a blog that talks about sleepwalking one day and cures to choking under pressure the next?

After giving it some thought, here is what I have come up with.

A daily mix of funny and thought provoking posts made to help us look at how we got here, where we are going and give thanks for everything in between.

I know that my explanation will likely change as my blog continues to grow and form, but I feel that it is a pretty good start.

How would you describe Blog by Bake? Give me your best 30 word explanation in the comments section below.

Kids Are Crazy

I have always been thankful for my mom and dad, but after being in charge of six young boys for seven days while at camp, I am even more appreciative for my parents.

I knew that parenting wasn’t easy but I don’t think I ever realized how tough it is until now. Having spent just one week responsible for a few 7-9 year olds, I now have a true awareness of the difficulty of being in charge of another person’s life.

Kids are crazy.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved camp and had a blast with my kids, but those little guys were crazy. They were constantly screaming, spilling, and starting fights. If they weren’t running around wildly, they were falling down and scraping their legs.

It was physically and mentally exhausting to try and keep track of them and make sure they were safe. If I turned my back for one second, I was afraid they would race off into the forest never to be found again.

That might seem like an exaggeration, but I was actually afraid that they would run away and get eaten by wolves and I would have to explain to their parents what happened. “Mrs. Smith, I am very sorry. Jimmy was right there, then I had to sneeze and next thing I knew, the wolves got him.”

Even though they were out of control, they were also amazing. I got to tuck them in at night, assist the tooth fairy when one lost a tooth, and give about 100 piggyback rides.

I came to learn that those are the things that make dealing with the crazy worth it.

Seeing the look on their face when they caught a fish was well worth the hour I spent being afraid that they would drown in the lake.

Like I said earlier, this experience has made me even more thankful for my own parents.

I like to think that I was an angel and not nearly the handful that my six campers were, but I’ll admit that there was maybe a time or two that my parents wanted to write a blog post about how crazy I was (actually blogs weren’t around back then, so my parents probably wanted to Ask Jeeves how to make your kid less crazy).  Somehow my parents dealt with all that and helped me turn out pretty good.

So today I would like to say thank you to my parents. Thank you for dealing with my crazy and making sure I did not run off into the woods and get eaten by wolves.

Rhymeless

A couple of weeks ago, I had a bad case of writer’s block and I couldn’t think of anything to write. Instead of forcing words on the page, I decided to come up with a silly rhyme.

I had a lot of fun making that rhyme and I hope to feature more rhymes on this blog in the future.

As I worked on my rhyme I got to thinking about how some words are easy to rhyme. Take the word rhyme for instance: dime, chime & time are all words that quickly come to mind when thinking of rhyme rhymes.

That made me wonder…are there any words without a rhyme?

As I tried to think of words without a rhyme, my mind drew a blank. Every word I came up with had a rhyme. Crazy – lazy. Arm – charm. That was until nothing came to mind. Literally, the word nothing. I guess you could say bluffing or tuffing, but do those really count?

Here’s what I found:

Much to my surprise, there are actually many words that do not have a rhyme. They are called refractory rhymes.

Wikipedia has a whole list of them.

They include words like: bulb, wolf, iron & scarce. And guess what? Nothing is on the list too. How about that?

After seeing this list of refractory rhymes, all I can think about is trying to find rhymes for words like penguin, polka and luggage.

Visualizing Goals

I was recently listening to a speech by award winning author Jack Canfield. Canfield is a New York Times best seller who created the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. He had many great things to say, but one thing in particular stood out.

When he was just starting out as an author, Canfield said that he and his co-author Mark Victor Hansen used to take a copy of the New York Times best seller list and white out the name of the book that held the top ranking. They would then type out Chicken Soup for the Soul in a font that matched the New York Times list and print it out. Next they would paste the printed font on the top of the best seller list, creating a new list with their book as the #1 best seller.

Canfield used this as just one way to describe how they would spend a few minutes every day visualizing their goals.

I’ve read that great athletes can visualize and play the game in their mind before stepping onto the field.

Canfield and Hansen took this approach to a whole new level. They visualized their goals by actually creating something tangible.

What a great strategy! It should come as no surprise that their book eventually did top the New York Times best seller list.

Many of us dream of becoming a great author, actress or businessman. How many of us actually take the time to make evidence of this goal?

I recommend we all follow Canfield and Hansen’s example and spend time every day visualizing our goals.

Dead Air

C.S. Lewis once said, “The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.”

While this is technically true, why is it that sometimes sixty minutes feels like ten hours and sometimes it feels like ten minutes? Think about it, what feels longer, one hour of reading a great book or ten minutes in a doctor’s waiting room? Ten minutes waiting for a doctor, of course.

As I sat waiting for a doctor, that question floated around in my mind. Earlier in that day, I was nearly late for my doctor’s appointment because I was reading a fascinating book and I lost track of time. I thought that I had been reading for about 15-20 minutes, but really I had been reading for close to an hour. Time just flew by.

Later, as I sat in the waiting room, time seemed to stand still. I would frequently look at the clock and expect 30 minutes to have passed by, when really it had only been three minutes.

Why does some time race by and other time seem to crawl?

Years ago I had a job at a radio station. I often worked overnights and it was my responsibility to make sure from, 1:00-6:00am, that the national radio program played on our local station.

It may sound glamorous, but it really was just me all by myself, pressing a few buttons in a small room while trying not to fall asleep.

The job was all about timing. I had to know when the national show was going to commercial so I could turn down their volume and turn up the volume of the local commercials.

Sometime I would start the local commercials one or two seconds too soon. This wasn’t a huge problem except for the fact that once the local commercials ended, there would be one or two seconds of silence, or dead air, before the national program started back up again.

In radio, silence is the last thing you want. In fact, it is just the exact opposite of what your listeners want. People don’t tune into a station with the hopes of hearing nothing.

While I was all by myself at the radio station, those one or two seconds of dead air seemed to last a lifetime. Time appeared to stand still as I bit my nails, waiting for the national show to return. In all reality, a radio listener may not even know that I made a mistake. To them, the one second felt like one second. But to me, sitting in a cramped control booth, alone at 3:00am, that one second couldn’t have been longer.

I can’t explain why some things in life seem to take forever, while other things fly by.

But it is important to remember that we can only control what we can control. I wasn’t able to control the doctor. He had other patients he had to get to before me, and I was just going to have to wait. Along the same lines, I couldn’t control the national radio show. Regardless of how much I stressed, the show was going to come back on the air on its own time and I couldn’t force it back just because I needed it two seconds earlier.

Like C.S. Lewis said, each hour is going to come sixty minutes at a time, no matter who we are or what we do. We shouldn’t sweat the small stuff that we have no power over.

I’m guessing Mr. Lewis never had to wait in a doctor’s office or work for a radio station.

Senior Olympics

My new life goal is to win a gold medal at the Senior Olympics.

For those of you who have never heard of the Senior Olympics before, you are not alone. I had never heard of it either until a friend told me about it recently. She called and said that she just heard of an Olympics for people in their 70s and 80s and that it made her think of me.

I’m not sure why a senior citizen sporting event would remind her of me, but maybe it has something to do with my love for hard candies or the fact that I am always calling people whippersnappers.

Whatever the reason, I became hooked as soon as I learned about this event.

To give you some background, the Senior Olympics, or National Senior Games, is a biennial competition for men and women ages 50+, featuring 19 different sports. The sports range from shuffleboard and swimming to pickleball and picking up your grandkids after school (okay, so I made that last one up, but the other three are real).

I’ve read that in the real Olympics, organizers pass out over 100,000 condoms in the Olympic Village. What do you think they hand out at the Senior Olympic village? My guess is Viagra, arthritis medication and Bing Crosby cassette tapes.

On a serious note, I do think the Senior Games are a great thing. I am all for anything that encourages people to stay healthy and active late into their lives.

I read an article about the women’s basketball 75-to-79 age division and those ladies are awesome. They are fighting shingles and Parkinson’s to participate in the event. They are an inspiration to people of any age. Plus, they have fantastic team names like San Diego Class Act and She-Ca-Go.

When I was younger I always wanted to win a gold medal. Once I came to the realization that I was short, slow and awkward I thought my goal was history. But maybe I shouldn’t give up just yet. Only 23 more years until I am eligible for the Senior Olympics. I better get to work!