V-Day is back and ready to make you look like either a glowing stud, or an insensitive little jerk. Here's how to avoid the jerkness, and up the studness. WARNING: If your girlfriend / boyfriend, whatever, is super traditional... then you should probably stick with candy, flowers, and a sit down, boring dinner. HOWEVER, if your significant other is cool with new experiences and switching things up a bit... continue reading.
Last year, a very good friend of mine named Brian Shelley (an unbelievable part-time CFO, if you're looking for someone to help you with your financials) told me about this little secret, and I took his advice. He said: "Ryan. If you don't have plans yet with the lady for tomorrow night, and you are looking to do something different and fun, take my advice: Skip the Valentine's Day dinner, and bar hop instead. You'll thank me later." And guess what. Last year was the best Valentine's Day I've ever had. I got to skip the frustration of reservations, lines, price gouging, parking, etc. Instead, I had an awesome night. Here's my recommendation to you.
WHAT TO DO
1. Have a light meal at home around 6 PM. Perhaps a grilled cheese sandwich, or something. Then, at 7 PM, take the T or cab into Back Bay / Copley / the Pru.
2. Pick out 2-3 bars you and your lady have always wanted to try out, and maybe 1-2 classics you guys frequent often.
3. Bar hop from one to the next.
Here is my Back Bay rotation this year, as recommended by Brian Shelley yet again. All of these are within a short radius to one another:
Oak Bar – One of the coolest rooms in Boston. Remodeled just this past year. It's a definite.
City Bar – Cool small/dark spot located in the Lennox Hotel.
Lolita – Neat vibe, especially for V-Day. Lot of red.
Recommendation: If you want to make sure you don't pick crappy bars, do some research before hand. Tell your g/f or b/f why you picked each bar. Wrap a little story into the night. Then, have one drink at each place, and make it a rule that each drink has to be different. Or force each other to pick out drinks for the other person. Whatever you do, just have fun with it. Bar hop! Do it at your own pace. Have a romantic night together. I promise you you'll have a spontaneous night that's fun, interesting, different, and completely not what you expected out of a traditional Valentine's Day.
It's a twister! It's a twister! I mean... a blizzard.
Which can only mean one thing: it's time to stock up on supplies! Batten down the hatches. Hide yo kids. Hide yo wife. And hide yo husband. Cus this blizzard is messing up everyone around hur.
And when people need supplies. You know where they go. Two words. Market Basket. The greatest supermarket in New England.
And because I know that people's convictions for their supermarket rank third in line after a person's religion and political party, I know my comment must be sturring people up like crazzzzyyy if you're a Stop N Shop, Whole Foods, Wegmans, Trader Joes, Shaws, Big Y, Hannafords, Pricechopper, Star Market, etc devotee.
Here's why I like Market Basket:
1. Lowest prices around: Market Basket has the cheapest prices. Want milk? Cheaper at Market Basket. Eggs? Cheaper at Market Basket. Bread? Cheaper at Market Basket. Hot Pockets? Cheaper at Market Basket. Brocolli? Cheaper. Burgers? Cheaper. Popcorn? Cheaper. Chips? Cheaper. Olive oil? Cheaper. Candy bars? CHEAPER. The company's slogan is "MORE FOR YOUR DOLLAR" at Market Basket. And it is 100% true. You are likely spending $20-$50 more money per shopping trip going to Stop N Shop, Shaws, Wegmans, etc for the same exact items you could be buying at Market Basket. Over the course of an entire year, we're talking hundreds to thousands of dollars worth of savings. Over the cost of a lifetime, we're talking tens of thousands of dollars.
2. Dress code: At Market Basket, the staff wears shirts and ties to work. Everyone. Baggers? Shirt and tie. Product? Shirt and tie. Stockers? Shirt and tie. Managers? Shirt and tie. They've done it since the start of the business. They run a tight ship and their staff is dressed to impress. They also color code different pieces of the business, so you as a consumer can determine who does what job within the store.
3. Customer service: When Mr. Demoulas started "Demoulas" (which then rebranded to "Market Basket"), he made sure that high quality customer service was a pillar to his business. It is ingrained in the company and all of its employees. Market Basket has impeccible customer service. Even the 36 register Chelsea store, with as busy as the store gets (they do millions in top line revenue each week) still delivers impecible customer service.
Clean up your act and get your butt to Market Basket. More for Your Dollar. RIDE TIL WE DIE.
p.s. If you want to see one of the funnier posts my mom has posted on Facebook, look at the picture below that my wonderful girlfriend, Celeste, took. The best part: after I called my mom laughing at her comment, she had no idea that what she had written was seen as funny. She was dead serious. Poor Denise. She's a good friend. Who got totally owned.
Here's a suggestion. Start every weekly team meeting with a "Theme of the Week."
When I run team meetings, I like to do this. I think it's a great way to kick off the meeting and unify my team around specifics things I want people to get amped about.
Think about it like this. Remember growing up seeing TV shows that would display a theme of the show on it. You know, shows like OPRAH. Or, why don't we get a little bit weird... Maury! Or, a little bit weirder... Jerry Springer! OPRAH, Maury, Jerry Springer, Ellen, Dr. Phil, all do one thing really, really well... they let the viewer know EXACTLY what the episode is about without you even having to watch the show because they quite literally spell it out with text displayed on the program. Here are some examples you may remember from your childhood: "Unforgettable Love" (Oprah) or ""Mother and Son Unite" (Maury), or "Pregnant Teens Seek Revenge" (Jerry Springer). All of these shows had a theme to the hour of madness that debuted.
That is how I like to think of team meetings I lead. I want people in the meeting understanding what the theme is. And I want people thinking about that theme throughout the week. Sometimes the theme is real serious: "Sales Optimization." Other times, the theme of the week should be about moving the ball forward, but also having fun.
Have fun with it. Provide your team with a Theme of the Week to rally around. And (ideally) bring it to a close either at the end of the week (with some sort of surprise or fun reward if everyone crushed the theme) or do it at the next team meeting. Give it a try. It's fun, and I believe it injects team meetings with some color and flavor.
What ever you do. Don't use the theme in this image that I just found online. You might just get that Springer fight you've always wanted to be a part of.
My name is Ryan Durkin. I write so that I will never forget where I came from and what I stand for. I hope that this will motivate young people to realize their potential and become more productive than they ever imagined. That would make me truly happy.