The last week has been a crazy blend of hard work, long hours and very little sleep.

First all, I had an interview with another radio group.. which really turned out to be more of a “scouting expedition” than a job interview. Nice guy, direct and to the point. I liked this one.. no BS.. but genuine. Right up front he told me he just wanted to meet me and put a face with the name. We sat in a Starbucks and chatted for about an hour. Our conversation swirled around radio past, present and future mainly. Intertwined with personal stuff, like flying.. skiing of course and market rumors. The interview/”get-to-know-ya” meeting was left with, “you never know, nothing in the works right now, but I like to have a corral of future possibilities..”, I knew that was the intent, but liked the guy and would work for him and his huge multi-national media behemoth any day. We shall see…

It seems everyday now I read about another radio associate being let go somewhere in the country. I learned of two this week. Both 20+ veterans of the radio wars.. and well-known. When I see these postings of “pros on the loss”.. I don’t feel so alone.. just more competitive. This also means that more highly qualified broadcasters are out there knocking on the same doors potentially that I am. Supply and demand.. this will ultimately affect salaries and the lengthen the interview process for everyone.. great news for the GM’s.. not great news for the rest of us.

“Sniagrab”

That’s Bargains spelled backward.. a huge ski sales every year. Started by Gart Brothers in Denver and expanded to Utah. This is my new temporary job that’s kicking my butt..

We basically built a completely different store in a parking lot, next to the existing one. The building was constructed with a covered roof complete with lights and swamp coolers just for this yearly event. It’s a pretty big deal.. I’ve always stopped by to see the new gear and pick up a few ‘have-to-have’ items like socks, gloves or maybe a new poles, ski or helmet.

I was hired to help with the last part of the store construction and build out. I sorted thousands of jackets by size and make the first couple of days. Replacing plastic hangars with metal hangars, writing sale signs for hundreds of skis, boots and bindings. Attended clinics from the factory reps, listened to pep talks from the upper management team (they take this very serious), and asked a lot of questions. The hours were long… but not as long as the actual sale hours that started Labor Day weekend. Apparently, Labor Day weekend starts on Thursday.. not Saturday. I worked all weekend (starting Thursday) with today being my first day off. We would typically work from 7 or 8 am straight through to 11p everyday!!! This part they forgot to mention in the job posting or interview process.

Saturday before Labor Day was INSANE!! People were camped out in front of the store. I got there at 6a and had to walk through the line of campers roughing it in front of the store with their tents, sleeping bags, TV’s, big screen video games and stereos… a couple of them had been playing football and baseball all night in the parking lot.

When we opened that day, it reminded me of Disneyland. One of the things most people never get to see at “the happiest place on earth” is the exact time the park opens (I guess Sniagrab is a bit like an amusement/fantasy park too). They stretch a rope across the road in Disneyland and people actually line up to be the first one on a ride everyday.. crazy right? When the rope is dropped, they ‘haul-ass’.. calm moms pushing strollers become race car drivers, polite seemingly balanced “normal” people become a competitive group of crazy ‘balls-out’ X games looking competitors racing for their lives.. come to think of it it looked like the news stories I’ve seen from “the Running of the Bulls”… That’s what it looked like. People were running to get their hands on skis and snowboards.. literally! We didn’t stop selling gear until we were tapped on the shoulder to go take a break.. for me it ended up being around 2 or 3p everyday… a very needed break. In the last 3 days, I bet I’ve sold 30 of skis (in pairs of course), 10 snowboards, tons of boots, goggles, helmets, socks, bindings, wax, poles.. dreams of powder…. Hmmmm.. if only I was getting paid a commission for all that gear… yes, if only, but no. By last night I was pretty done with it. Exhausted and sore from the pace..

During the process I made a bunch of new friends. Mainly the customers.. in fact I met a long-lost relative (of whom I have never met before). Nice people looking for the latest or last years gear.. and even a few that just simply didn’t want to be bothered. Probably because they had already been asked 100 times “can I help you find something?” Some of these younger salesman were pretty aggressive and obnoxious.

Several times during the event, I would have people ask me where I was from, or mention that my voice sounded familiar. Several of them did put it together and then had that puzzled look on their face, like “wow, what happened??” Radio star to Sniagrab salesman.. reality huh? I stopped one lady and her husband walking through the store/parking lot and asked her if she was from Texas. She stopped and looked at me with a look that was a combination of delight and fear. She said that all depends why? I said, “you just seem a little different from the others….. and you’re wearing a Texas hat”. She laughed and we talked about where we were from in the great state of Texas.. more importantly why we were here in Utah now. They lived in San Antonio several years ago and left because of a job and cooler temps. Now skiers, both husband and wife love the mountains and never want to leave the West. As we spoke, it slipped out that i was in radio in Houston.. turns out that the wife works for Clear Channel here and the husband is a director at one of the TV stations. Of course we now redirected to conversation to common friends and the industry.

Funny what a small world this is.. not just radio, but our life experience in general. I met old ski instructors from my past, from my present, friends from my old state, distant relative and made a few new friends. All in all the experience was a cool experience.. outside of the brutal hours.. and i got to “play in the toy store”.

The sale continues for a few more weeks, but it gets ramped down a ton because of the smaller crowds. I now go to an 11-7 schedule until it’s over later this month. I have already been asked if I want to be transferred to a store after the sale to take a full-time position. Still debating this one.. but for now.. things are good.

On the Home front

I have seen Lelani a total of about 6 hours total in the last 5 days.. it’s been weird. Even less time with Emi.. ummmm… Emi who? (the hormonal 16-year-old) Speaking of Emi.. I came home to a couple of rocks in the living room last night. One says “no” and the small one says “yes”.. she was asked to the Homecoming dance.. and so it begins. Gotta get a gun..

Anyway, I need to take a run just to get my head back in balance, so I’ll end this.

Quick shout out:

Leslie Blank — congrats on becoming the new ski school director at Brighton!

Edel — aren’t you a mom yet?? (due any day)

Terry — Get your new skis so you can show me how to ride the powder this year.

Paul B. — Virga, Verga.. smerga.. thanks for being a great friend.

Nick S. — thx for the support, sorry to hear about your brother..

Bob — You’re my brutha.. hey, when’s the Greek Fest??

And special thanks to all the unspoken, uncommenting masses who read this crap and keep coming back for more every week.

Today I am Rich…. but not in $$$.. If I were rich in cash I’d have some new skis and sweet gear. Not this year.. only dreams and last years toys for now.

buh-bye fer now y’all.

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