For my 200th blog posting (!!) -I was prompted to write this after someone pointed out a mistake I made but did so without being nasty. This occurred early in my career when I worked in Rochester with my old college rommate Kevin and his father Paul at their company. Both trained me in the business, and I owe my career to them.
Paul was the broker and owner of the company (he still is) and operated out of a converted house in a commercial zone on a busy street on the border of a residential neighborhood. The house needed painting, and Paul decided on a beautiful shade of burgundy. It was a similar shade to brick. However, the entire building had to be primed and, Rochester being the place that it is, it rained for 4 consecutive days after the priming.
Oh, and the primer was a Pepto-Bismal shade of pink.
Because of the weather and a weekend, we had a pink mess for 7 days or so. One morning we retrieved a very nasty anonymous voicemail. The caller was spitting venom but didn’t have the guts to leave a name. The guy must have assumed that the primer was the building’s permanent color, because he was complaining about how the house didn’t fit in with the neighborhood, and called the building a “pink flamingo.”
My broker was bemused by the message, and replayed it for me a number of times with that one eyebrow up like he was Spock. “Come on Phil, we’re going out shopping.”
So we hopped into his car and went to every department store in town. We cleaned the entire stock of plastic pink flamingos on the west side of Rochester completely out. Then, this crazy guy and his loyal page spent the bulk of the afternoon placing plastic pink flamingos in the front yard of the office. We put them in lines, made families of several little ones following a big one, one “speaking” in front of 4 others, you name it. There were probably 40 plastic flamingos in the front yard.
And they stayed there for weeks while we all giggled about the aneurysm the anonymous curmudgeon must have been having over the look of the place now. “That’ll send him straight over the edge,” smiled Paul. He’d adjust the little buggers every morning when he arrived too.
Instead of a week of pink at most, our anonymous complainer got about a solid month of a large pink monstrosity with a flock of 40 plastic flamingos nesting every time he drove by.
If anything, business improved. It got people talking, and those that knew Paul knew he was up to something. The next time I’m in Rochester visiting I think I’ll bring a few plastic birds back with me. You never know when you’ll need some.
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