When Life in Reverse Seems Like a Good Idea
Years ago, I penned an article called, “Oh, to Live on Mackinac”. The article was about the visionaries who legislated a ban on motorized vehicles for use on Mackinac Island, Michigan. This was completely backwards thinking during a time when all the focus was on the motorized vehicle and the increase in economy it would bring. These leaders knew better. In my article, I made two strong statements:
• The more we have, the more our life is stolen from us.
• To have Vision is to have Riches.
Absolutely no question, these hard times today are having an impact in measures of extremes across all cultures and geography. Some people have not been touched or have barely suffered from the pandemic at all, while across the street, others may have suffered so much that they have taken their lives or lost loved ones. Life couldn’t be less fair in the way that it is playing out today.
Not to take away from sincere suffering or play down the horrible impact of Covid, we have all lost things, even mundane things, that months ago, we thought we could never live without. Have we really suffered by not going on a summer vacation? Many of us have learned to be better cooks, better game players (we love Qwirkle), better readers, taken walks, and simplified our lives.
Our business has decided to embrace the situation in a positive way by hiring three new associates during Covid. Yes, like our competitors and our business partners, projects have been taken right off the table with no promise of a return date, not even the courtesy that a library book receives. When you believe in the overall process of what you are doing, in the value proposition, your position in the marketplace, and the market in general, it may be backwards thinking, but maybe it’s indicative of the right time to invest in the future, instead of complaining about the present.
Simon Property Group announced that they were in negotiations with Amazon to use abandoned space in Simon malls left vacant by JC Penny, Sears, and other bankrupt retailers, for new Amazon distribution centers. Now, that is as shocking as it can be. A Brick and Mortar Real Estate Investment Trust embracing the arch enemy of Brick and Mortar, an online retailer and one of the largest retailers in the world. Simon never ceases to surprise the industry and that is why they have always been a good source of investment income for so many. Simon has Vision and Simon has Riches.
Essential businesses like Dairy Queen (tongue in cheek), within walking distance for my family, can be a source of respite from the day to day. Even before Covid and the expanse of drive-thrus, I always hated going through them. I rather choose to park and go inside. I just feel like I’m being lazy to go through a drive-thru and I don’t like the aggravation of ordering through what sounds like “Two Tin Cans Connected by a Piece of String.”
The other day, my family convinced me to hit the DQ near our house as we drove by. Again, I hate drive-thrus, but we don’t have much choice in today’s new normal. Except, there was a choice. Instantaneously, I decided to back through the drive-thru so Ruth could place the order from the passenger seat instead of me.
Backing through a drive-thru with cameras on a car is simple, but it still is weird. As the next customer approached the drive-thru entry to order, he saw our headlights and assumed he was about to enter the exit so he drove completely around the store looking for the entrance, resulting in two cars jumping his space.
The face to face eye contact with the next customer was worth the effort. He laughed the whole time I negotiated the turn and arrived passenger side to the open service window. The young man at the window stuck his head out in disbelief and couldn’t stop laughing. He called all his co-workers to the window to see the anomaly. He said that it was the first time anyone had ever done that, and that he was glad to have something to laugh about. My boys thought it was hilarious and couldn’t believe that I did it.
Sometimes, in life and in business, give backwards a chance. Maybe the opposite of what makes sense is the solution that will yield the best results.