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Three true industry tales worth repeating

May 18, 2010
Filed under From the Editors

If retail sales aren’t bouncing back fast enough for you, then a bit of humor certainly couldn’t hurt. Here are memorable tales or quips I’ve been told by three well-known industry veterans that ought to bring a few more smiles to your day.

Snow? What snow?

If you’ve ever lived in a fair climate where “winter” means light sweaters and not three layers of clothing, then you’ll enjoy this story.

Jack Snow, CEO of Sheffield Financial, was raised in North Carolina and only later in life moved to Wisconsin for a short time. Midwesterners will know a hearty Wisconsin snowfall is measured in feet, not in inches.

But Snow one weekday morning found himself answering a call from a boss who wanted to know where he was.

“Hell, it snowed last night,” Snow said. “He said, ‘What snow?’”

The “snowfall” — as Snow’s boss pointed out — turned out to be all of a half inch.

“He said, ‘Well you need to be at work. And I said, ‘Well you need to come get me.’”

The press card

There’s a great story that Emil Gomez, the founder and CEO of EMGO International, tells about one of his first jobs associated with motorcycles. Gomez lived in New York City when he was 16. It was the 1950s and the time of incredible competition between New York City newspapers. Gomez happened to get a job as a messenger rider for the New York Journal American newspaper. The job required him to go to events with Journal photographers. There he might help jot down information for the photo captions and then the photographer would hand his film to Gomez and say, “Get your butt back and make the edition.” To do that, Gomez would take his motorcycle down some pretty crazy paths in order to be on time for the next edition. That scenario led to this incident: “I caught going down the sidewalk once in New York by a cop, and I pulled out my press card,” Gomez said. The press card is thought to be some kind of elite, special pass for the media, but it’s often much less, as Gomez quickly found out. The officer who pulled him over “told me where to put my press card, then he gave me a ticket.”

It’s all in the math

Fred Fox, the founder of LeMans Corp., spoke to a crowd of vendors and media at the company’s showcase event in August 2006 about his company’s 40th anniversary. “The amazing part of that,” Fox quipped, “is I‘m only 42.”

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