The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

Who Knew Promotional Magnets Could Be So Controversial?

As much as I wish my time as a real estate agent was only (or even primarily) spent selling houses or closing transactions, if we’re going to be friends (and if you’re not my friend, you’re my enemy, or possibly my frenemy, you’ll never know) I should be honest; I spend at least 50 percent of my real estate life selling myself. (EW! Not in a dirty way, jeez!) It’s a super lame part of the biz for most agents (although there are probably some mentally unstable people out there who truly love door-knocking 50 houses on a hot summer Sunday and getting the door slammed in his or her face 7 times out of 10), but almost totally unavoidable. Jonathon Dalton wrote a post about this fact just the other day over at the AAR blog. And as I commented on it: True. But depressing.

Yesterday I dealt with some of this ‘prospecting’ end of life as a real estate agent (yes, Dear Clients, we compare you to ore we are mining for. Or sometimes we call it ‘farming’, and in that case, you would be the produce we’re looking to produce. Either way it’s totally objectifying and not at all personal. Isn’t that warm and fuzzy?). Every year around Christmas time I send out a holiday mailer to my ‘farm’ neighborhood (corn is statuesque and a lovely golden color, so it’s a compliment really, I think of you as my ‘pretty, potentially delicious with salt and butter crops that might someday earn me a commission’ is that better?) and to my friends and family. I’ve done calendars of some sort in addition to a holiday card every year I’ve been in real estate.

This year, though, Lizzie (my collaborative real estate partner in crime) and I were discussing the calendar situation, our limited funds due to the horror show that is the economy and the possibility of doing a fridge magnet with more staying power than just a year. We had mailed out a magnet with kitchen conversions years ago and she said she thought people kept those longer (because really, who can ever remember how many pints are in a quart, if any? I certainly can’t. Is it quarts in a pint? No, it’s totally feet in a gallon, right?). Plus, Lizzie’s kind of a half-hearted hippie (when she heard how you have to actually scrape the poop off the cloth diapers into the toilet yourself and then wash them in the same washing machine you do your cloth napkins in, she decided disposable diapers weren’t THAT bad for the environment) and she found a really cute fridge magnet with ‘Tips for Living Green’.

Thus, we decided to switch over to the super cute, but non-calendar magnet format for this Christmas’s mailer. I was actually in the process of uploading my picture and inserting my cell phone number and web address for these magnets when I got the following text message from a number I didn’t recognize “Pls send a new calendar magnet. 1234 S AddressinmyfarmthatI’veomittedtoprotecttheinnocent, Chandler, AZ…tkx”.

The text message was confusing for 3.5 seconds, until I remembered the calendars we sent out last year (which are of the monthly rip off sheet variety) have a sheet between September and October, I think, that helpfully reminds the user to contact the person who gave it to them and ask for another one for next year. It would have been so exciting and awesome to get that random feedback that obviously one of the people I sent it to was not only using the calendar, but loved it enough to use a precious text message to ask me to send them another one (sshhhh… I know everyone has unlimited texting now, but I’m pretending it’s 2003 when texts were like 25 cents each to feel more important) if only we hadn’t decided a nanosecond before that to NOT send calendars this year.

So I ask you, Internets, what would you have done? Would you have politely and professionally texted back, “You ungrateful ear of corn! I was going to send you an awesome magnet that would allow you to save the environment single-handedly, but since that’s clearly not good enough for you, you get nothing! No magnet for you! You probably hate the earth and are one of those corns that goes into the high fructose syrup anyway. Good riddance.” and stuck with the Green Tips? Or would you have folded the whole plan of action like a house of cards and gone back to last year’s calendars because if that one person loves it, well then at least there’s one person! Who knows if anyone would like the hippie magnet?

Yeah, we went with option C: we are going to send out the calendars at Christmas, and the Green Tips next summer. Because we’re suckers for both positive feedback AND saving trees and stuff. Plus, the only way the hideous economy is going to get better is if we start spending lots of money, right? That’s totally what I heard when I was watching CSPAN (that’s not a sports channel, right? I totally just put it in there hoping of the TV networks I don’t pay any attention to this is the one about money and stuff and not the one about baseball or history).

And the point of all of this is: if you want a calendar magnet AND/OR a magnet with tips about not using more than 3 squares of toilet paper when you only went number one (that’s not on there, I swear), and you think you’re not already on my list (if you got one last year, you’re probably already on the list, Dad), totally hit the Contact Me button over there and send me your name and address. I’ll only send you that and not show up at 9am on Easter demanding a chocolate bunny, I swear (unless you have extras and live in North East Mesa, and then maybe).

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