Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Network Everywhere

The day after Christmas I decided to brave the local shopping mall. My wife and I had gone to lunch, and I mentioned that I needed some new clothes for work (I start my new job this week), and I thought that the Nordstrom's Men's Sale might have some good deals. She dropped me off at the mall, so that I would not have to hunt for parking, and launched me into "shopping hell", promising to return three hours later.

I had never been to the mall the day after Christmas, and had no idea what a nightmare this can become. I decided to grab a cup of coffee to perk me up before my sale rack adventure, but the line at the coffee bar was about twenty people deep. My patience was already short, and if I had a car, I would have left immediately (I suspect my wife knows me too well and this is why she abandoned me with no transportation).

Since I could not flee the place, I ventured into battle.

First of all, I immediately learned that if you are a somewhat average size, you cannot show up at a big sale at 2:00 PM. To find deals, you must be there when the doors open. If I was short and fat, there were lots of great pants to choose from, but the 34/34's were nowhere to be found. In addition, the great dress shirts that Nordstrom had on sale did not exist in my size. After about 45 minutes, I ended up with five new shirts, but only two were on sale. So much for my plan to take advantage of the sale.

However, during my shopping spree I did run into five people I knew from the local business community. I was able to have some quick conversations, catch up and alert these folks to my new job which I will start in the new year. I even set up lunch with one important person, whom I had lost touch with. You never know when you can do a little business networking.

I then decided to venture out into the open waters of the mall. Again I glanced at the coffee bar.....more in need of caffeine than I had been an hour earlier, and yes, the line was longer.

The mall was crazy. There were more people than at a rock concert, and it did not take a genius to realize that by December 26th people's Christmas Spirit was already running on empty. I was able to buy some pants and a nice blazer, but the next two hours were peppered with running into more friends and business contacts, who also had decided to brave the After-Christmas sale day. And everyone was glad to see a friendly face. Even some people I hardly knew were stopping me to chat. I think the chance to take a fast break from the madness of the shopping experience to talk with an acquaintance made their day, too.

Always remember, you can network anywhere and everywhere.

Have A Great Day.

Thom Singer

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