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  • Mark Lipton

Everything Is Just Peachy!

I had an argument with my fiancée this past weekend. Not really an argument so much as a conversation; where we were not in agreement!


We went to Costco on Saturday. If you ever see me walking into a Costco, you know I already lost one argument that day! I don’t enjoy going into those big stores: Costco is one of the few that I will even walk in to! Walking out, I noticed a COSTCO SIZED box of peaches; in OUR cart!


At this stage in our lives (damn…I sound OLD), other than when we get visitors, we are a house of two; only one of whom even eats peaches. I don't eat any food that shaves more than I do! So, it seemed like an awful lot of peaches to me!


I reminded her that we were not going to be home for the whole day and that it was over 90 degrees outside. Who even knows how much hotter it was going to be in the car all day? The 300-roll package of paper towels and the 1.5-mile long roll of aluminum foil would be fine in the car all day, but I didn’t think the peaches would make it!


A discussion ensued.


When we had discussed things enough that we were able to collaborate on an outcome, I put the peaches in the car! Turns out that Guy has a different understanding of the word collaboration! I’ll have to Google Translate that word into Italian before our next fight.

It was an interesting science experiment.

They actually made it to the kitchen to my surprise (and slight disappointment). By the next morning Karma had saved me and the peaches had to be tossed out. Even if I ate peaches, I would not have eaten THESE peaches! They were just peach mush on a pit. The fuzz was the least of their problems.


One day I’m sure in a fit of Italian rage I’ll hear, “You think you’re SO smart because you were right about the peaches!” That will have to pass for my satisfaction on this issue.

It turns out though you CAN teach an old dog a new trick though and THIS TIME won the battle over my urges to say, “I told you so!”

Speaking of tricks, I like to keep a few tricks up my sleeve to keep my days as an independent retailer interesting.


Being an retailer at 55 can tend to be “same old, same old!” Unless you look to create it yourself, there’s not a lot of variety in our day-to-day business-lives.


But I WANT my days to be interesting and so I need to make that happen myself.

Years ago, I got certified as a NACE Level 3 coatings inspector. At the time, Benjamin Moore was pushing their dealers to sell more industrial products and I felt the NACE training would help me do that. I must have been the only one who got that memo though, because Benjamin Moore dropped the industrial line after a few years. Still though, I’m glad I got the NACE certification.


A few times a year I land an inspection job or a consulting job that requires the level of knowledge that that certification gave me, and in some cases I still need the certification itself. In addition to being an easy way to make a few dollars, it’s a cool way to vary my time! Inspection jobs get me out of the stores and into a new environment. It’s a very different perspective, which I also enjoy. They’re fun!


Generally, these jobs have nothing to do with my stores or my life as a retailer. The paint is there on the job when I get there, and it wasn’t my truck that delivered it. In fact, when working as an inspector, it’s commonfor me to be looking at piles of cans that came from a competitor. Admittedly, that’s a bit strange: in my heart I want to sell every gallon! But it’s an interesting perspective too. Life doesn’t have to be exclusively about selling more paint!

I’ve got lots of other tricks for varying my days or weeks: you’re reading one of them now! I don’t need to share them all though to make the point.


And here is that point: if you want to be able to do this job for 30+ years, you’re going to have to make it interesting. Find whatever it is that you can do to stop your days from becoming routine and integrate those things into your business life. Imagine how nice it would be to have something on your calendar that you’re looking forward to doing?


And if you find yourself at Costco this summer and your significant other says “grab that pallet of peaches” now, you know better!



©2019 by Mark Lipton

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