‘Great Suit Feeling’ in retail continues, Queens Cup races a social grace, Panthers get stud left tackle Ekwonu

My personal micro-economy gets #1 for attention, but the steeplechases are a premier Must-Do live in NC sunshine event, one I’ve enjoyed five times. Our American football? vs. futbol team has drafted help in a VERY big way. Hellllloooo Ikem Ekwonu!

Tony did a great job on an old pinstripe

Customers respond to someone who walks the talk with style, redone pinstripe was a worthy micro-economy investment.

An analogy between what the Carolina Panthers have recently said regarding QB Sam Darnold and my new-look classic blue suit is righteous. You appreciate the bones-skills, but it doesn’t look quite right.

Who didn’t know the Panthers have been wringing their hands, about how to upgrade the position AND fix an underlying problem with offensive protection, specifically at left tackle in the draft? Darnold hadn’t overly-impressed anyone in ten starts in 2021, picking up his 5th year option early was seen as a misstep.

Then, in days before yesterdays draft, there were headlines about ‘Mr. Tepper likes QB Panthers have,’ and ‘Steve Smith says Carolina hasn’t seen how good Sam Darnold can really be’ (duh), and similar stories.

Did someone in the brain trust decide running down Darnold for $18MM due in another season and negatives of stats https://www.pff.com/nfl/players/sam-darnold/29048 was less effective than putting a “We could win with Sam!” face on things? (Still, I doubt anybody would want to be in Baker Mayfield’s cleats right now…)

Relative to my suit – I can’t really remember how old it is, certainly from the previous centuryit owed me nothing. ‘Just a suit,’ like Darnold coming from Jets, just a QB.

It didn’t cost anywhere near $18 million to make important changes though.

Panther fans won’t be as unanimous about how Ekwonu (salvation by local boy!) and Darnold (still here, huh?) present themselves when things get real this fall, but everyone has been positive about my suit’s transformation. Tightening things up with Darnold’s game would be a similar deal.

While wearing an older-‘experienced’ pinstripe suit and ties was already classier than most coworkers wear at Nordstrom’s, I believe customers relate to a professional image. ‘I have the suit, what can I do with it?’ didn’t take Scott Fitterer-level smarts to invest $145 in upgrading this regularly used asset. (Thanks Tony!)

  • Legs not billowy, tapered now.
  • No cuffs, almost showing ankle, Shortest I’ve worn in forever.
  • I still have pleats! Waist and behind taken in
  • The top button, at bottom of lapel, is repositioned.
  • Jacket difference is huge,*definitely* feels closer, sleeker. Wallet goes to back pocket, it changes the line on right side.
  • We didn’t mess with lapels – its always a classic pinstripe.
  • Over 1.5″ off bottom an immediate, noticeable change. ($52)

Yes, I picked up the option on doing another suit – then negotiated with the shoe shine guy for polishing and a tight left boot situation. Spirit of the season on ‘additional considerations’?

Queens Cup Steeplechases

The aura of Good Will that permeates the QCS is legendary. Congrats on Silver Anniversary!

Whatever they’d told me a ticket cost at Harris Teeter, I’d have gladly paid it. The event history is a specific charity – Alzheimer’s Association in this, the events Silver Anniversary running – gets a significant jolt from proceeds. For $60, after three years away, vowing NOT to miss this All Kinds of Good social event to WORK! was easy Using the “Never is heard a discouraging word” is Truth – once you’ve been, you’ll know.

There are ‘good horsies’ in a central area, where children and sorority sisters can be led around on or have pictures taken astride. If the Raptor Center can be allowed out again safely, previous owls and hawks were excellent for kids, wildlife up close. Newbies are the greatest to show around, its impossible not to strike up conversations with total strangers over cornhole, haberdashery, or tailgating.

The bright yellow Garcia tie with blue-blue Bugachi, topped with ‘antique’ 1979 Ferrari hat, from final Watkins Glen (NY) Formula I race.

It’ll be seersucker or Nantucket Red pants, and because I’m saving #1 Tommy Bahama shirt for a costume change, a bright yellow Garcia autograph tie with good-fitting blue-blue Bugachi (long sleeve, $160) to show some Ukrainian support. Ahhh! and an ‘antique’ Ferrari hat, purchased with poker winnings at Watkins Glen Formula races waaaay back, never fails to get comment.

I haven’t experienced the major sponsor tents – in tiers along the finish line, after a loooong final straightway – but the Top Tailgate award winner (entrants around infield of the 1.5 mi. turf) is often an excellent place to get an additional beverage or snacks.

Operationally, its a slow drive through Waxhaw to get to the GA (general admission) gates, so allow some time for that (Note: Took 1:15 to go last mile, coming from south on 75, only missed one race). The walk in from the far out fields is a decent trek, if you don’t catch one of the small tour buses. Being even a little early on the 1:30ish first race, you’ve got a shot at closer parking.

The After-Party (Hotwalkers Ball) is a buffet and always jumping band, which continues about 1 1/2 hours after last (of usually six) races.

Micro-economy still a Great Suit Feeling

While pleased with my own haberdashery after suit upgrade, setting up one dude with something that spoke of ‘uptown casual’ tone of invitation was fun for all.

We were on a Millar sportscoat (silver-gray-black with almost Panther-blue window pane, $700) early, but the final choices were a blue Hugo Boss unlined hyperlight ($390), Millar sueded-medium gray pants (a must have, $158), Bugachi short sleeve ($150) white with smaller, three-color swirls, and cognac Magainin weave belt ($150). I told him most of his outfit was free, if you put it against the original sportcoat $$.

Cranked it ($4,700) on Monday, capping a hustling last two hours with a $2,000 Canali suit as they counted down the last 15 minutes to 8:00. That made me #2 in the store, on Tuesday I sold handled another suit past 8:00. For someone who STILL hasn’t gotten a Sunday in six weeks, my numbers are strong.

I’ve interviewed for another sales situation (with a much higher upside to a good day) that’s appeared, so my micro-economy is like millions of others – ready to do more than listen, I’m ready to make moves.

Absolutely nailed a Hugo Boss black suit, 44 Regular, first shot out of barrel Friday. Gentleman was impressed with long-sleeve Bugachi black shirt (ooooCotton! $160), killer textured off-black belt ($1300 total), scoring a last minute-kick save! on classic black funeral outfit. The hem on pants (+$60 alterations) was ready in morning.

Losing another suit to politics, was an unfortunate situation, but I’ll be over it well before I’m done with my second Lazy Bird Brown Ale tomorrow.

My micro-economy is like millions of others in USA – ready to do more than listen, I’m ready to make moves.

We’ll see how my picking of horseflesh – there’s no real betting, just sayin’ “I think the gray one” – results stacks up with whenever/whomever the Panthers get to pick again.

Extra note about draft: Panthers GM Scott Fitterer is the bomb-diggity, trading up to third round to get Matt Corral, the necessary QB upgrade that was Item 1-A in draft. https://www.nfl.com/news/panthers-trade-up-to-select-ole-miss-qb-matt-corral-in-third-round-of-2022-nfl-d

Income stream vs. Inflation – Umpiring passion affirms micro-economy decision making

As #gshorkonsharonroadseam begins a sixth month of housing stability, a $320 payoff for umpiring seven Little League games during a weekend of Carolina sunshine was a no-sweat affirmation on all levels of my micro-economy.

As a side-hustle, umpiring ($40-50/game) means doing something this Boomer considers meaningful for $20+ an hour. The MVMT watch is an inexpensive ($100) reminder of the self-motivation over last six months.

When selling an $1,800 Canali suit Monday was just a cherry on top of four days of positive results, its easy to admit things worked pretty close to optimal in my micro-economy. By all means, have some gratitude when that happens, and its very okay to tell ‘your people’ when good opportunities and events happen along a sometimes rugged way, not just the dammit! stuff.

I admit to being half-stunned when Don Mason – the head of one organization I get assignments from – asked while I filled out some tax paperwork, “So, did you finally find a place to live?” Until this past week, when he texted to ask if I wanted to do any Sunday gigs, I hadn’t been in communication with him since October.

While I was tip-toeing with homelessness, Don fixed some concerns by cutting me two replacement checks, cash that filled real holes, and I was glad to let him know my current situation. https://cdtalententerprises.com/2021/12/11/vaxxed-check-with-a-comma-threat-of-homeless-handled-well-a-good-suit-feel-to-end-of-2021/ Few pull themselves out of troubled times without help from others. My family helped for sure, Don was supportive as well, a difference maker.

Once I got past the 5-moves-in-5-months hairiness he’d heard about and baseball ended, I was so very glad to be at #gshorkonsharonroadseam with lovely homes everywhere I walk, I concentrated on a Nordstrom’s ‘target rich environment’ at Christmas and commission checks.

I admit to wearing a scruffy pair of gray pants to umpire Sunday, and several other umps offered gear like plate shoes (foot protection) and alternative color shirts. I appreciated Don’s concern, and with my bank balance considerably up, moving to a good apartment #gshorkonsharonroadseam across the street from Myers Park Country Club’s tennis courts, finishing a second book, (https://www.wattpad.com/story/218725526-with-platinum-fury-focus) and resurfacing my writing-editing business #cdtalententerprises, yes, people should hear from you when things are going a heckuva lot better.

If you enjoy your side gigs AND make a couple extra bucks, that’s a great combination of passion and productivity. Micro-economy fact: $320 umpiring, 14 hrs. game time vs. $12.80 draw = 24. 5 retail hours. Much better work conditions.

I’m willing to add that income stream again, potentially $4000-5000. Coach-pitch is a minor hoot to watch-umpire, with the coaches and grandparents in attendance soooo sincere and supportive. The five run rule keeps two hour games moving reasonably. I get $40/game, I don’t even gear up, just the blue shirt and hat, and everyone is glad to chat.

Saturday I got home and created an excellent chicken stir fry lunch in time for the first semi-final (sorry Nova), then got my NCAA groove on, right to end of Duke-NC. That’s a pretty relaxing schedule, only took two foul tips in the mask Sunday, too.

At first I’d objected to a Nordstrom schedule with three Sundays in a row off (plus Easter), weekends usually having better shopper traffic. Set against actual commission I might get working a retail Sunday ($59 total last pay period), my micro-economy will continue rolling with alternative cash flow.

“Don’t quit your day job” (until…)

My opinion as an umpire is the one that counts, being in control an affirming factor and part of the job description. Getting others to clear rooms or fold shirts at Nordstrom’s won’t happen because I wear Blue.

— Me, a sad fact about that day job.

There hasn’t been a day recently – and Friday was April Fool’s – when aaaab-so-LOOTELY every necessary element of that day’s business worked out in A-1 fashion for me, launching four productive days and culminating in that Canali suit on Monday.

Three specific suits I’d done the phone work to order for clients all arrived in the tah-dah! nick of time, one was a clutch overnight delivery.

  • Client #1 (Mark) and his wife were super pleased with his perfect shade of lean blue Baker suit, which required only hemming the pants (one hour) to make it ready. Turns out, he’s a dentist, and after three years of pandemic neglect, I asked if he was accepting new clients, so I picked up an extra major goodness besides selling a suit.
  • Mr. Greenberg’s charcoal suit and he arrived at almost the same time – he’d been tracking it on FedEx, was ready to roll.
  • Sondra’s 42L in black (Ted Baker) indeed arrived as expected, I learned Thursday we weren’t as time crunched as she’d previously explained.

Before I knew all those suits would work out so successfully, Nik and his Mom (Nicole) came in. While everyone was quickly pleased with his glowing-good Baker suit, the Bugachi shirts (great feel, wash and hang dry – no ironing!) were a revelation to his Mom, and I couldn’t help smiling at her “No argument, you ARE getting that!” after he tried on a great tan check (Peter Millar), in an overall $2,100 sale.

I congratulated him regularly for his willingness to keep trying things on, it makes a difference,

My best practices explanation to wives-significant others is, suits are different. “Out there” non-shopper guys don’t know how many times they’ll have to put on-take stuff off. If he puts on-takes off 5x with suits, he’s probably seen two designers and two sizes, and he knows the reward – a new suit – is close.

Me, often, and its been magic when guys recognize that truth. (I’ve sold 20 suits/jackets/tuxedos in last 21 workdays)

That doesn’t mean it works for suits, it actually pushes regular trying on! Doing the looking doesn’t have to be miserable, its my job to put items in front of potential customers for yay/nay consideration. The younger guy needing a tie to match his prom dates dress wasn’t thinking a paisley blue and silver tie, but when she showed me the dress picture, and school colors are light blue, that’s exactly where things went.

Income stream – inflation

The elf I painted for one of my brothers, who worked at Home Depot to keep his house years ago.

So, most economic discussions the last couple years revolved around the effects of COVID, including moving the work environment to the home office or kitchen table. Whether WFH employees in higher or lower cost of living areas should get different paychecks was asked on LinkedIn and other sites many times, as was willingness to accept lower pay for the option. https://www.businessinsider.com/remote-working-from-home-thirdemployees-would-take-pay-cut-2021-11

Looking at the inadequate supply of suits in my store – having to order a 42 Regular in a popular Baker style speaks loudly – there’s an ongoing supply-demand problem. Suits have moved up $75-$100 in last couple months, those weddings and proms will keep coming, and the $750 sports coats (Millar) are going well at the other end of Sharon Road from my place.

While the US economy is rocking, its still going to take a while to even things out. Relative to the Ukrainian situation, I believe we’re getting it right much more than US – or specifically Biden in the polls – is sometimes given credit for. Having plenty of ammo in my micro-economy is a fact.

I could easily bike to work if gas prices get too crazy – its only about three miles. My rent and Social Security check are close to a balance, my Blue Cross-ACA is reasonable, but I’d suspend my entry to those benefits if another long-term gig utilizing my writing-editing background works out. I constitute a resource https://www.linkedin.com/in/glennshorkey/ and honestly expect to keep wordsmithing all the way to the end (10 years?).

Seems like Boomer talents are back in vogue, pushing, or maybe allowing semi-retired to put their shoulders into a collective effort to move things along better. Enlightened self-interest still works as an incentive to collaboration. Umpiring isn’t just balls, strikes, outs, its doing something necessary for the greater good, AND I make more than gas money for the effort.

Having tried multi-level marketing in the past, handling my micro-economy with three income streams is still a best practices route. There’s no real need to panic buy ‘before it goes up’ either – the used washer/dryer I’m putting on my back porch ($250) are in very good shape, a purchase that wouldn’t have happened three months ago. Just sayin’…