Search the blog:

Archive for August, 2012

You Can’t Sleep. Now What?

Friday, August 31st, 2012

I remember a specific day in Philadelphia way back in 1995 when my friend and colleague I.B. gave me some medicine because I wasn’t feeling well. About an hour later I couldn’t keep my head up and when I inquired exactly what she gave me it turned about to be Nyquil instead of Dayquil! After a ‘OMG’ look on her face and a few more tired moments on my end, I was in a cab on my way home to go to sleep for a few hours.

Lots of friends of mine have trouble sleeping. Thankfully, I am not one of them, but I am always curious what they take to help them sleep. Lots of folks take Ambien and other medicine but I haven’t heard of anyone specifically taking Nyquil to help them sleep unless they aren’t feeling well.

Recently I was at the movies with A.S. and saw an ad for Vicks ZZZquil which is a Sleep – Aid Liquidcap.

Both of us think this will be a huge success!  For lots of reasons – the name for sure – lots of people describe sleeping as catching some Zzzzzz’s. Well this product has Zzz’s in the name. Also, the brand awareness of Nyquill will definitely help.

Here is a little more information on ZZZquil:

  • A non-habit forming nighttime sleep aid for when you just need a good night’s sleep
  • Reduces time to fall asleep if you have difficulty falling asleep
  • Sleep soundly so you wake refreshed
  • Not for colds, not for pain–just for sleep
  • From the makers of Vicks-Nyquil
  • Liquidcaps

So, I ask you. When you cannot sleep, what do you do?

  • Have you ever taken Nyquill to help you sleep?
  • Is Ambien your best friend?
  • Have you tried ZZZquil?
    • If so – how does it work?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Want To Have Your Kids Learn Math? Watch Shark Tank!

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

A few weeks ago I was watching Shark Tank with my oldest son and did something a little different during the episode. Both of us love the show and the ‘sharks’ as well as the business ideas and negotiations that go on during the one hour show. We started talking about company valuations – what it means and the calculations behind the numbers – which led to a math quiz!

I couldn’t believe it but by accident I starting quizzing my son on valuations. If they are asking for a 20% stake in their company for $400,000, how much is the company worth? That led to the next company valuation question. If they want $50,000 for a 25% stake, what is the company valuation?

This must have gone on for 45 minutes. We not only had a blast but he learned a valuable business lesson at a very early age while he was practicing math!

  • What do you think?
  • Have you tried this with your kids?
  • Do you have any other fun ways that you teach your kids?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Thanks Nordstrom Rack! I Did Feel Like A Shopping Genius!

Monday, August 27th, 2012

A few weeks ago I wanted to buy a new pair of jeans and of course I went to one of my favorite stores, Nordstrom Rack. As I walked into the store nothing else mattered to me except the table, or actually tables, with hundreds of pairs of jeans. As I was looking through the piles and piles of jeans, I came across True Republic, Joes, Citizens of Humanity, Lucky and many others.

As I went into the fitting room with my FIRST batch of jeans (8 pairs), I was greeted by a service representative named Robert who couldn’t have been nicer. After every pair I would ask him and his colleague, a girl named Rebecca, how the jeans fit on me and I stressed, “Please be brutally honest.” After doing this for 20 different pairs of jeans (I guess Groundhog Day) I identified 4 pairs that I thought, or actually we thought, looked good on me.

As I was getting ready to go to stand in the LONG cashier line Robert asked, “Would you like me to ring you up?”

“Yes.” And much to my surprise he pulls out a small electronic device that rang up my $145 order (no Tax weekend in Texas) in less than 1 minute. What a great experience!

In addition to all that they put my new bought jeans in a bag that said ‘shopping genius’!

Amazing! 4 pairs of new jeans for $145 and on the bottom of the receipt it said I saved over $200… and it came in a bag that called me a shopping genius!  What a great shopping experience. Thanks Nordstrom Rack  – Life is good!

  • When was the last time you felt like a shopping genius?
  • Have you had a similar experience at Nordstrom Rack or another store?
  • What is your favorite store to buy clothes and why?

I look forward to reading your comments.

PS. When I asked Robert if the electronic scanner was new, he said, “Yes.” They were testing it out and he also added that customers loved it!

Mistake Or Strategy? You Tell Me…

Friday, August 24th, 2012

I truly love the Ranger’s Ballpark in Arlington, Texas. It is one of my favorite 10 baseball ballparks in Major League baseball and recently they have done a great job with renovations and improvements, especially with food choices.

A few weeks ago I was there and noticed that the vendors walking around in the stands were selling water for $4.00. I am sure you are saying, “Well that’s great Merrill, but who cares and no big deal.” You are right on that point, but what if I told you I could go to one of the stands behind my section and buy the water for $4.25. And get this, behind the stands in right field they are selling water for $3.50.

I thought it was very interesting that there were 3 different prices for the same item within 150 feet of each other.

I can understand that vendors selling items in the stands could be more expensive but concession stands selling the same exact item 100 feet from each other for different amounts?

  • So I ask you, is that a mistake or a strategy?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Are You Ready For Some Football? Time To Join Our Weekly Football Pool! Yes! It Is Free… And There Are Prizes!

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

For two years now we have had a football pool and I am excited to say we are going to continue it for another year. Last year’s overall  and cumulative winner was Andrew Dixon who  followed Sarah Baird who won in 2010.

It is VERY easy to participate. Here are the rules:

  • We keep track of everyone’s cumulative score and will be awarding a spot in the final week to the top two people who pick the most correct games right for the first 16 weeks. If those people win a week they will be awarded another spot in the finale.
  • Every Friday (except for the week of Thanksgiving which we will post on a Wednesday) we will post a link to the weekly pool.
  • All you need to do is click on who you think the winner will be.
  • We are just picking winners. The point spread means NOTHING in this pool.
  • Every week we will have a winner. The winner will be the person who has the most correct games.
  • If there is a tie, the tiebreaker will be the total points of the Monday night game.
  • If there is still a tie the people tied will split the weekly prize.
  • All picks need to be in by Thursday at 5:00 CST except for Week 1 and the week of Thanksgiving. Picks will need to be in by 5:00 CST on Wednesday during those two weeks.

The weekly prize will be a $50 American Express gift certificate. In addition, the person with the highest CUMULATIVE SCORE for the year will be awarded a $200.00 American Express gift certificate and the person who has the second highest cumulative score will be awarded a $100 American Express gift certificate. The tie-breaker (if needed) for the cumulative winners will be the total points for the Monday night game on week 16.

There is a bonus as well!

The pool will go on like this for 16 weeks. For week 17 only the winners of the prior 16 weeks and the 2 cumulative winners can participate for the grand prize which has NOW BEEN INCREASED TO A $500 American Express gift certificate. If a person wins multiple weeks during the first 16 weeks they can have multiple entries in week 17.

I will be playing as well but CANNOT win the pool. I hope everyone will enjoy the football pool and I can’t wait to see who wins the first prize and has bragging rights until next year!

Good luck to all and CLICK HERE to let the games begin!

Brand Loyal? Yes or No?

Monday, August 20th, 2012

A few weeks ago I was having dinner with A.S. and we were discussing brand loyalty. The conversation was very interesting regarding what companies or products we are brand loyal to.

The discussion was very spirited and we debated the differences between being brand loyal and loyalty programs. For both of us there was a huge difference. We might be part of the loyalty program of Kroger, Market Street, Albertsons and Tom Thumb but not brand loyal.  For those grocery stores it was more of convenience & price than loyalty, but we’re still connected to their loyalty programs for discounts, etc.

Today, I would love to know what companies or brands you are loyal to.

I took a minute and here is what my list looks like:





Ok your turn.

  • Please take 1 minute and let me know all the brands and companies you are brand loyal to.
  • What loyalty programs are you part of that you don’t consider to have brand loyalty?

I look forward to reading your comments.

Ok, These Are Great Ideas – Which One Are You Using First?

Friday, August 17th, 2012

From time to time all of us are trying to find an easy way to solve a problem.

Perhaps some come up with a solution that we haven’t thought of before.

Well, thanks to an email from my Uncle J, here are 7 solutions to some common problems!


  • Which one is your favorite?
  • Which one do you think you will try first?
  • Have you heard of any of these tips before?

I look forward to reading your comments.


Congratulations! You Are On Vacation, But You Are Still Connected… The Question Is, How Much?

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Yes, the summer is almost over and most, if not all of the readers of the blog have taken a vacation or two in the past few months. The question isn’t where you went or what you did or even how much you enjoyed the trip. I promise that I won’t ask you how awesome your tan is or what gifts you brought back for your kids.

What I want to know is this: Did you relax?

Yes, you were connected! And yes, your iPhone was always two inches from you and probably went off every 30 seconds with a new email/text or phone call.

  • Did you have a chance to relax?
  • How often did you respond to texts/emails?
  • Did you constantly say “give me a minute” to your significant other/kids while you were doing something work related?
  • Can you share a best practice of how you like to work while you are on vacation?

I look forward to reading your comments.

What Is On Your Mind? Yes I Want To Know!

Monday, August 13th, 2012

A few weeks ago I was reading an article in USA Today entitled, “What’s on Americans’ Minds?” I thought it was kind of interesting especially since it wasn’t using phrases to describe things, but rather one or two words.

 So as usual, I paused for a minute and started to build a list of “What’s on My Mind.”  Here are the first seven things that came into my mind:

  • Dad
  • Health
  • Family
  • 3rd quarter
  • Friends
  • Cape Cod
  • Red Sox

Now it’s your turn.

  • Please take 30 seconds and let me know, “What is on Your Mind?”

I look forward to reading your comments.

Time To Cast Your Vote For The Greatest Football Team Of All Time!

Friday, August 10th, 2012

As I write this post the start of another NFL season is only a few weeks away. To kick off the season and get everyone into the football mode I thought I would write about what NFL team is the GREATEST of all time.

Time to take a minute, cast your vote and add a comment or two.

CLICK HERE to vote!