The Ugly Side of Cross-Selling

I went to the gym the other day. Yeah, I’m going to just stop the sentence there so you can congratulate me for actually going to the gym to work out, rather than just hanging out at the pool.

Ok, moving on. Now, I go to one of those really nice lifestyle-type of gyms that has a hair salon, indoor & outdoor pools, café with healthy food choices, rock climbing wall, blah blah blah, in addition to the normal gym stuff. There’s tons of flat screened TV’s all over the place (so many that I’ve fantasized about taking one of the wall for “maintenance” and bringing it home for our living room) running TV shows, music videos, and special gym commercials and advertisements.

Well, as I mentioned I actually worked out at the gym when I went. I was feeling pretty darn good about myself for crushing some cardio (yeah, that’s how us gym-rats talk) and was thinking how awesome I was and that I should totally start working out on a regular basis. I mean, I had already done one day of working out, how hard is it to just keep this up and get into super saucy shape. It might take like a couple weeks* or something, but as I mentioned I was feeling pretty awesome.

Anyways, as I was leaving the gym I saw it: an advertisement on one of the jumbo televisions in the hallway that everyone has to walk past on their way out. So, what was the ad? Maybe a new health shake offered in the café or a special price for a mani/pedi appointment?

It was an advertisement to get a free consultation for plastic surgery.

Really?! Are you effing kidding me? So, basically you’re telling me that although you advertise your company as a gym (a fancy-schmancy gym, but a gym nonetheless), you figure you’ll give people an easy out to get the fat sucked out of them instead? Or it is that you want people to be perfect in every way, so you offer the perfect hairstyle, the perfect meal, the machines so you can make the perfect body and now, a plastic surgeon to “fix” whatever else is wrong with you.

Am I the only one who thinks this is insane?

Look, I know going into that gym that I’m not necessarily going to look like the petite 20 year old with a 6 pack who runs 7 days a week (hi Katie) no matter how hard I work out.  I’ve also finally gotten to that point in my life where I’m okay with the way I look. Now, there is definitely some room for improvement, but that’s on my own scale of beauty not anyone else’s.  So, the last thing I need to see when I finally work up the energy to GO to the gym and work out is that whatever I’m doing isn’t going to be good enough.

I get the idea of cross-selling, but this is just going too far! If you want to sell the healthy lifestyle, go for it with all those other offerings. However, hooking up with a plastic surgeon and offering a free consultation for anyone who has low self-esteem after sweating next to a Barbie doll for an hour is not the way to make your members feel mentally healthy, is it?

* Yes, this is a joke. I understand that it takes a long, long time to get in shape. I just don’t care.

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Potter’s Adventure, the Sequel

When I left off, Potter was happy to be home on Sunday, June 12th. I was super relieved that he was doing so well. In fact, in true ‘me’ fashion, I kept jumping on him like a not-so-stealthy ninja to give him snuggles and kisses.

Potter sleeping on top the couch

He was doing well on Sunday and seemed to be okay Monday morning too. When I got home from work that evening to walk him, he was back to being sick. I tried to stay optimistic, thinking that maybe he just needed to get this out of his system.

On Tuesday morning he started vomiting again during his morning walk. I confined him to the kitchen while I was getting ready for work, and he was sick in there too. I called the animal hospital and they said I needed to bring him back in. Once I got him there, they checked Potter out and decided that he needed to stay there for the day so that they could force fluids and keep an eye on him. After they checked in with me that evening, we decided to leave him at the hospital overnight so that they could keep watching him to see if he got worse again.

He did great at the hospital, so I went to pick him up on Wednesday morning and brought him back home. I had to go into work, so I gave him a kiss and put him in the crate for the day. Since I had an event to attend directly after work, my husband walked and fed Potter when he got home. Unfortunately, he was back to vomiting. I raced home from my event, and Potter was just lying around with his sad face on. He seemed okay though, so we decided to wait and see how he was feeling in the morning.

He seemed okay, so I went to work and asked my husband to stop by and check on him when he could. After only two hours, my husband came home to find that Potter had gotten much worse and was sick inside his crate. When I got his call, I raced back home to pick up Potter and rushed back to the animal hospital.

This time when I spoke to the vet, she was getting really concerned that he still wasn’t improving. She suggested that we do an x-ray immediately, which showed that there was *something* in his stomach. She wasn’t sure what it was and it could have just been some undigested food or fluid. She suggested not feeding him anything solid and doing another x-ray later that evening. She also recommended that we do additional blood tests to check for various things. An ultrasound might also be necessary, depending on what they find on the second x-ray.

Of course, I immediately start crying because my first thought is that my dog has a tumor or cancer, or some sort of bleeding ulcer. She had already taken Potter into the back area after the x-ray to get him ready to go back on the IV, but she allowed me to see him before I left. I walked back to where he was caged, trying to hold my tears back so I didn’t freak him out any more. He was so drained and weak that when I reached my hand through the bars, he just looked sadly at me and scooted away. I had a meltdown in the car, afraid that I had just pet him for the last time.

Throughout the day, I got calls from the animal hospital letting me know that all the tests were normal. They did another x-ray and whatever it was that they saw seemed smaller, so that decided it was just something being digested. The blood test for his pancreas was a bit high, but that could be due to him being sick for the last few days. Just in case, they started Potter on a deworming treatment that should help if he has any parasites. They took him off the IV late that evening and kept an eye on him overnight to see if he would improve or get worse again.

He finally started improving. They don’t know whether it was due to the deworming medication, the IV’s or just that it’s taken this long for whatever it was to get out of his system, but he starts doing better for more than 12 hours. Just in case, they decide to keep him at the hospital until Saturday to make sure that he actually is better this time.

Saturday & Sunday

Finally at home on Saturday!

When I picked him up on Saturday, he was very happy to jump in the car and come home with me. He was a bit tired all day, but ate all of his food and wasn’t sick at all.

Giving him his dose of the deworming treatment was ridiculous, I wrestled him to the ground and shoved the syringe of liquid into his mouth.

Of course, the second I started squeezing it, he moved. I ended up with the medicine everywhere EXCEPT his mouth. The floor. His arm. My arm. His dog tag. My toe. Everywhere.

I was afraid to leave him alone, so I basically just stalked him around the house all day and stared at him as he slept. You should have seen how deliriously happy I was when he went for a walk and everything was finally normal. I’ve never been so excited about poo in my entire life.

On Sunday, he finally started acting like himself again. I had given him a toy the day before that he just nudged around a bit (not normal behavior for my crazy dog). He didn’t even put up a fight when I put the toy on his back to ride him around like a little furry horse. By Sunday night he had returned back to normal and completely destroyed the toy by ripping it open and pulling the stuffing out. This morning when I fed him, he was back to having his tap dancing ‘happy feet’ while waiting for the food bowl to be placed on the floor. His only sign that he’s not totally recovered is that he doesn’t have the energy to jump up onto our bed. I’m super hopeful that my little guy will get there soon!

Potter with his friend, Mr. Octopus... before he destroyed him.

I’m finally feeling a little bit of relief that this is past us, even though I’m still paranoid that he’s going to get sick again. I have been on an emotional rollercoaster for the past week and my body feels like I lost a fight with someone fierce.

I have to take a moment to recommend the staff at the Anne Arundel Veterinary Emergency Clinic. They truly made this experience much better then it could have been. I probably saw five different veterinarians in the week that we were in and out of the hospital. Every single one of them, as well as the ladies at the front desk, was professional and compassionate. They were great at providing me with updates twice a day (or even more) and recommending what was actually best for my dog, rather than what would bring them in the most money.  I really feel like they cared about my dog and were happy for him when he finally gave a doggie ‘smile’ and went home. They also get major bonus points for putting up with me when I broke down in sobs on multiple occasions.

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Trade Show Tips with a Side of “Oh No They Didn’t”

I don’t go to a ton of tradeshows, but when I do I am amazed at the things that I see going on. You would think that if a company paid the money to participate in a tradeshow that they would put some time and effort into the way their company is represented once they get there. Well, you would be wrong.

Here are a few tips that I scribbled down so that you can learn from other people’s mistakes:

Put some time and money into your booth display

You could totally spend $10,000 and get the “mack daddy” of all trade show booth’s, but most people just don’t have that kind of money to sink into something that they only pull out a few times each year. Unfortunately, some people think that the only other option is to purchase a cardboard tri-fold from Staples and glue on some papers and brochures. Oh. My. God. Really? I made better displays when I was in middle school! I’m not even exaggerating; I saw multiple booths with homemade displays that looked like they let their kids put them together. Did I mention that the audience for this trade show was lawyers and judges? That doesn’t exactly sound like the kind of visual branding that is going to appeal to them, does it?

There are certainly a lot of really great booth options in the $1,000 – $2,000 range, but if you want to do something cheaper you can purchase an ‘economy grade’ banner stand and have it professionally designed and printed for a few hundred dollars. Another option is to pay a graphic designer for a couple hours of their time and have a poster designed and printed on foam backing at your local copy center. Once you purchase an easel to sit it on, you’re good to go with a professional looking design that is so much better then something you can make with glitter and a glue stick (true example!).

Brochures and handouts should be easy to grab

So, what goes on the 6 foot table that typically comes with every booth? Well, for one you should have your brochures readily available. Depending on the type of trade show you’re attending, it could just be your overview brochure or if you want to get really fancy about it, have your industry-specific brochures and newsletters. If you haven’t read it, you might want to check out Does my Company Really Need a Brochure.

Giveaway Items

Face it, many people at trade shows don’t really want to sit down and have an in depth conversation about your business and how you can meet their needs. However, if you have something really cool that you’re giving away, you have a better chance at having them approach your booth. When deciding what to give away, make sure that the item is appropriate to your audience. Ideally, it should be something imprinted with your company name and website (or phone number) so that when they see it again, they think of you. Added tip: raffle items and games to play are great conversation starters too.

Pick your people wisely

When deciding who is going to work at your trade show booth, be sure to choose the right person for the job. If the trade show is for a specific industry, make sure that the person representing your company is knowledgeable in the services that they would need. Also, make sure your booth workers are dressed appropriate to the event. If everyone attending the event is in a suit, you should be too. If the event is more casual, like at a beach hotel, company logoed polos work great.

As an added bonus, here are the most inappropriate things I saw that made me snicker:

  • I saw not one, but TWO men with their zippers down. I would typically tell someone that their zipper is down by quietly approaching them and saying it so that nobody else could hear. However, one of the guys sprinted away too quickly after grabbing our giveaway for me to say anything to him. The other stared at my chest for so long that I decided he deserved to walk around with his hoo-ha out.


  • One man was walking around with his event booklet shoved down the front of his pants, “Al Bundy” style. And not just placed in there, he had shoved his Buddha-belly aside so that it was really IN there, fully touching his man bits. Ewwww is an understatement.


  • Please for the love of all that is holy, do not come into a tradeshow directly from the beach wearing nothing but your bikini and flip flops. It’s just as inappropriate for someone in their early 20’s with perky bits as it is for someone older when stuff is… well, not so perky. I don’t care how comfortable you are with your body. Unless you’re a stripper, if everyone else in the room is wearing clothes you should be too!
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