Flashback to 1970s Real Estate and Sincerity
In retrospect, it seems like selling real estate in the 1970s was a lot more carefree than it is today, but that’s probably just twisted perception. Part of that feeling could stem from I was in my 20’s then and just didn’t know any better, even though I thought I knew everything. It takes a while for people to mature to the point where one realizes she will never know everything and there is a ton of stuff she will never in a million years know, even if she turned into a vampire and was granted eternal life.
In my younger days when I worked in 1970s real estate, I recall making training videos for other real estate agents in Orange County with Tucker T. Watkins and Scott C. Strohbehn. They were such a blast. It was odd to make a video of anything back then because nobody had video cameras. We had to hire a production company. It was my idea to incorporate a glass-framed poster of the Monopoly Game to use as an illustration for our topic about investment real estate, or at least that’s how I recall the episode. Somehow the glass broke when we started to film.
My motto has always been to make do with what’s presented. I say if it rains on your parade, then parade in the rain — because the alternatives don’t always solve the issue at hand. It’s easier to change perception than to move a roadblock or change nature. Everybody was crushed because we couldn’t use the poster in the broken glass frame. So I suggested to Scott that he use a pointer and poke it at the poster, saying something like, “The Monopoly Game is not exactly what it’s cracked up to be.”
That simply set us into fits of uncontrollable laughter and we could not film the sequence. We rolled off the sofa with tears streaming down our faces, clutching our guts. And it wasn’t just the drugs from the 1970s real estate lifestyle. When out touring homes for sale, it was common for an agent to do a U-turn in the middle of Pacific Coast Highway and explain it away by saying, “It’s OK, officer, I am a real estate agent.” Because being a real estate agent somehow gave us permission to do things that other people could not do. That’s how screwed up we were, because we believed that. At least we were sincere.
I’m still sincere today, mostly because it’s easier than being insincere. I’ll share an example. I went to Nordstrom in Arden Fair this weekend to exchange a top that didn’t quite fit right. Imagine my delight when I zipped into the parking lot to discover a parking place right along Arden. I didn’t mind walking that distance to the store. When I came back to my car, I heard some dude screaming. I was certain it wasn’t directed at me.
I began to back up my car and almost ran over this screaming guy. He approached my driver’s side window and knocked on it with his knuckles. Yes, what can I do for you? He was very angry and still yelling about a fat yellow line, and didn’t I notice all the other cars parked in backwards, and if I do it again it will be a $5 fine. I said I was very sorry that I did not notice this was valet parking. Yeah, I was on my cellphone talking about real estate when I pulled into the parking spot, so I was a bit oblivious to my surroundings.
I get that way when I’m focused on a conversation. Hey, I’m a Sacramento real estate agent. I honestly did not notice that I parked in valet parking, Sir, I’m sorry. I was about to reach into my bag and hand him a $20, relieved that he didn’t want to fine me five bucks — $5? Seriously? But then he said he didn’t believe me. How could I have NOT noticed? Well, obviously, he’s not in Sacramento real estate. Attacking my integrity and sincerity? He’s also not getting any money, and I drove away. I’ll gladly give him five bucks the next time I park in valet parking, though, at least I know where it is.