“Art Imitating Life Imitating Art Imitating . . “
“You can’t turn a ‘No’ into a ‘Yes’ without a ‘Maybe’ in between.
–President Frank Underwood; “House of Cards”
You can be excused for mistaking the fake “Pussy Riot” headline (above) with the real thing.
After all, that was the real Pussy Riot sitting amongst (fictional) Congressional leaders at a White House ballroom dinner for Soviet Premier (and Putin proxy) Victor Petrov.
Pussy Riot said and did exactly what you’d expect Pussy Riot to say and do: spit out a denunciation of Russian despotism and intolerance, smash their wine glasses on the floor, then dramatically depart.
Negotiation “Master Class”
In fact, the Pussy Riot interlude was merely an appetizer for the main course (so far) of House of Cards’ just-released third season: the squaring off of evenly matched, equally cunning rivals Petrov and Frank Underwood (masterfully played by Lars Mikkelson and Kevin Spacey, respectively).
The exchanges between those two may be fictional, but the insights into negotiation tactics and strategy are real.
As for headlines, it’s hard to go back to the The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal when the fictional Washington portrayed in House of Cards is so much more compelling (not to say fast-paced).
See also, “Frank Underwood’s Negotiating Secrets.”
Porsches, Picasso’s, and Stradivariuses
A Steinway piano is a hand-made marvel, full of intricate detail and workmanship, sought by collectors and valued accordingly.
A true “piece of work,” one might even say.
Ditto such treasures as a Stradivarius violin, a Picasso painting, a Porsche sports car, and a Rolex watch.
So . . . how come calling a person “a piece of work” is almost universally regarded as an insult, not a compliment??
Just asking . . .
“Isn’t That . . . Precious?”
Interestingly, while five of the seven recognized definitions of the word “precious” are flattering (“financially valuable,” “greatly loved,” etc.), two are decidedly not:
One. Affectedly or excessively delicate, refined, or nice (see, “precious manners”); and
Two. Flagrant; gross (as in, “a precious fool”).
See also, “Which ‘Done” Did They Mean?“; “The Many Guises of ‘Hot Dog’“; and “Re-Duded Home.”
Contending With Old Lockboxes, Unlabeled Keys, and Security Systems
It’s just good, common sense, but you’d be surprised how many listing agents (representing Sellers) violate the following “Do’s” and “Don’ts” for making their clients’ homes easy to access.
“Do”: use a new(er), easy-to-open lockbox that’s in good repair, and — if not on the front door — easy to find.
“Do“: if there are multiple keys, clearly label each one. The ones at left are labelled “main door,” “unit,” and “garage” (they’re for a condo).
“Don’t“: leave an alarm on prior to showings, and expect Buyers’ agents to disarm it once they’re in the house (and re-arm it afterwards). Instead, homeowners should leave the alarm off during the day.
If that’s too risky (because of the home’s contents), valuables should be removed beforehand.
Which is actually a good idea regardless of whether the “For Sale” home has a security alarm.
Lockbox Exchange February 23-26
Like a couple thousand other Twin Cities Realtors this week, I spent about half an hour in line at a suburban hotel ballroom exchanging my old electronic lockboxes for new ones.
Make that, two lines: one to turn in old lockboxes, and a second line to collect an equal number of new ones (the people filling all those new lockbox orders are pictured, above).
The trick to getting through quickly? (or at least, line #1).
Avoiding the line(s) with agents wheeling multiple, oversized suitcases full of old lockboxes.
New & Improved? Maybe
I feel the same way about new lockboxes that I do about software updates.
Namely, “new and improved” is often worse — and more complicated.
In this case, the new lockboxes sport two enhancements: 1) they’re bluetooth-enabled; and 2) they’re taller, with a bigger key chamber (the old ones would occasionally jam).
P.S.: I’m aware of at least one VERY successful local Realtor who — at least in their capacity as a listing agent — dispenses with electronic lockboxes altogether, and instead uses the old, highly reliable (and simple!) mechanical kind.