by Adam Zack — November 23, 2022
I’m thankful every single day. For the blessings, the challenges, the successes and the failures. For the my health and that of my family and friends. There’s a gift to be thankful for in every interaction, and something learned from every thing I screw up. Free choice, free speech, free love and free beer. Wait, there’s no free beer. Thanksgiving Day is one to especially reflect on how truly great we have it in America (and Canada, for you Canucks reading along). How lucky we are that we can sit down at our computer or look at our emails on our phone and our biggest worry is that our battery might run out of charge soon or your operating system needs an update. We pretty much have it that good. We have made it through 2-½ years of pandemic, so as I look forward to Thanksgiving Day with family, friends, food, eggnog, wine and football, here are 10 things I am especially Thankful for this year, in reverse order.
- I am not a turkey. (Although I could not say the same thing about an ass.)
- My home address ends in USA and not Ukraine or Afghanis
by Adam Zack — November 16, 2022
Every night when I get home from work – about 6:40 – my wife and I have what we call our Daily Debriefing. It may or may not include a little sip of bourbon, but it is also our dedicated time to catch up on what went on that day for each of us and any other topics of importance. It lasts about 10-15 minutes usually, and we sit out back, overlooking the small airport, riverbed and hills behind our home. Last night she was telling me about this 5-½ hour online personality test, training and workshop that she was required to do for her job. While it sounded mostly very boring and overly broad to me, she did get one nugget out of it that I really liked. It was something like: “Everyday, save some of your best for the ones you love most.” It made me think that especially over the last couple years, and during the holidays in the grocery business, we go home both physically and mentally exhausted, having expended all our best during the busy day and getting home with no gas left in the tank, so to speak. Every day brings some kind of stress, be it financial, operational, supply related or customer service challenges. It’s hard. (I guess that’s why it’s call...read more
by Adam Zack — November 9, 2022
Adam’s on vacation this week, so his life-long friend Scott offered up a guest blog.
Hi, this is Adam’s friend Scott. Haven’t filled in for a while but thought I might help him out as he seems to always be helping others out. I am presently living on a small island in Northwest Washington State and my choices for groceries are limited. I usually shop at a chain store at my other home in Reno, Nevada and they usually have 5 or 6 different choices for each item, so when I show up to a smaller market here, my first thoughts are to drive off the island to head to a chain store. Honestly, I’ve done it before but recently I’ve had a different outlook on my local market. In my spoiled attitude of being able to choose 8 different brands of penne pasta in Supermarketland, I wasn’t noticing that the items I was choosing were of a greater quality, and when I shop at our local market, my choice is usually the highest quality item. My interpretation of this comes down to the fact that someone is actually deciding what brand is better and keeping it stocked for me. We’ve become a selfish community and want many choices at very cheap prices, but my local marke...read more
by Adam Zack — November 2, 2022
“So word on the street is that ur a really good writer, and I was hoping u could take a look at my world literature essay and proofread it? It’s due tmrw, but it’s only two pages long 😅”. I got this text from my ninth grade nephew this past Sunday afternoon. I wondered what street he had been hanging out on to hear “the word”? Nerd street? Dork alley? He’s definitely not the type to be hanging on the streets looking for hookers and blow, so that was out. And I wondered, and asked him, “Does it have a lot of abbreviations like ur txt?!”. He assured me that it didn’t. “Lmao no wayyyyy 😂😂😂”
Of course I was happy to help him. I sincerely care about my nephews and nieces. Family is important to me. The essay I read was a very well written analysis of Alan Paton’s novel Cry the Beloved Country, and was titled ‘Forgiveness…Amen!” It went on to examine the relationship between two main characters in the book and explained how forgiveness, of both others and themselves, made them grow...read more
by Adam Zack — October 26, 2022
DW emailed me an article in Supermarket News this week that brought up how important signage is in the seafood department. You can read it here. SN Seafood Sign Article
“Retailers need to communicate and validate the message of freshness at the seafood case,” Jim Wisner, President of Wisner Marketing, an Illinois based retail marketing company, said. For me, smell is the most important thing in any seafood department. If it stinks like fish, then you’re going to lose customers right away, regardless of of the sign. Customers today, more than ever, want to know how fish is raised, where it’s from, what the texture is like, how to cook it and more. That’s a lot to get on a sign, though. Creative signage will have a gr...read more
by Adam Zack — October 19, 2022
I’ve long maintained that independent grocers have the best opportunity to entrench themselves into their community by telling their stories. Stories like how the store started with $100 in the bank, personal loans were taken out to buy inventory and owners working seven days a week for the first year. Stories of signature products get people interested. Everyone loves a good story. The story I’m about to tell has nothing to do with the grocery business. It has surprise, joy, love, sadness, tragedy and ultimately redemption. Like all stories that you should tell, it’s absolutely true. It’s a little long, so buckle in.
Last week my wife had a surprise 80th birthday party for her mom. It involved months and months of planning, coordination with all of her brothers and sisters (there are six!), family flying in from other states, special commemorative birthday shirts for everyone, a mobile pizza caterer, custom balloons and much more. In other words, it was a BIG DEAL. I asked my nephew, who is an excellent photographer, to come for the start to memorialize this epic event digitally, offering to pay him and his lovely fiancé in p...read more
by Adam Zack — October 12, 2022
All of us in our lives have seen hard times. There’s been times when we just want to give up. Raise the white flag. Surrender and retreat to happiness and safety. Rainbows, bon bons, puppies and lollipops. We want the smiley face and the star on our homework. The pat on the back and the “well done, old boy!”. I recently read a quote: “Hard lessons are not welcomed, but suffered.” I think hard times, adversity, stress, mistakes, sorrow and most everything that scares us and that would be classified as negative is not necessarily a failure, but a lesson. It’s a lesson that life brings us that eventually (or maybe sooner) makes us stronger and better. Suffering the hard lessons takes courage and persistence, and when a similar hard lesson presents itself, we are ready for it, and quickly get back to those rainbows and bon bons.read more
by Adam Zack — October 5, 2022
I came across the quote last week “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Now I don’t know who said it, but at first I thought “What a crock of $#*!” Loving (or at least strongly liking) what you do is probably the most important thing in your work life. You need to like who you work with (but not all of them) and feel appreciated and have a sense of satisfaction with your work output. You need to look forward to coming to work, but sometimes you dread it. And that’s just fine. It’s normal. That’s why we have vacations and days off. But loving what you do so much that you “never work a day in your life”? I don’t know. Maybe if you were a professional billionaire. Or a rock star. But even rock stars have to really work to become what they are, and there are dozens of days of frustration and times when the “work” becomes too much. Not that I have personal experience being a rock star, but I’ve read plenty of books and articles about the lifestyle, and I know that they all don’t love it every single day. What I think is a more appropriate and realistic quote is: “Love what you do, and you’ll...read more
by Adam Zack — September 28, 2022
Have you ever given someone a compliment, expressed love, verbalized appreciation or made another very positive comment to someone and they respond by looking at you funny, almost like you are speaking a foreign language, and they say something like “What? Are you drunk?” I was thinking about that the other day – not while drunk – and realized that when someone expresses disbelief or shock after you say something positive to them that it really means that you are not expressing enough how much you appreciate and love them. They may respond similarly with “OK, what do you want?”, viewing the compliment as a prelude to you asking for a favor. It’s the same thing, some people really only do say something nice when they want a favor. I put them squarely in the same camp as those people who never say anything positive. Their words are self-centered and the only “good” they see is what they have done. Sometimes it takes something jarring – like leaving your employment or breaking up with you – for you to say something complimentary. But then it’s too little, too late. Go out today and tell someone you love how much you love and appreciate them and why. It will make y...read more
by Adam Zack — September 21, 2022
I think a lot of people lose their focus on what their mission in life and in business is. I see plenty of homeless or just plain crazy people who are talking – or shouting – to themselves (or to some unseen entity who only they see) who have obviously lost any idea of what their mission in life once was, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Can you remember what your vision was when you started your business? Did you have a vision statement? How about your mission statement? Most likely it’s something that was intentional and thought out. It was developed and nuanced by a group of people that truly cared about creating a vision and mission for their business and did a great job of truly living by it. But time goes by fast, employees change jobs, retire and before you know it, the only one that knows the Mission statement is the dusty frame that displays it in some office or hallway or alcove. I know that’s been the case with me, so I’ve rededicated the efforts to revisit my vision, update it, share it and live it. Remember why we got in the business, when we were young and had the enthusiasm to conquer the world.