For the record, OMG2 means Oh my goodness gracious.

And that is exactly what we thought we when either read, heard or witnessed the five business mistakes you are about to read about. So here’s our countdown:

  1. Service with a smile?

We understand everyone has a bad day. A really terrible awful want to hide under the covers day. The reality is we all also have responsibilities. Like going to work and doing our job to the best of our ability. There’s never a good excuse for treating a customer horribly just because you feel horrible. Or to be rude or snippety.

Lesson: My high school basketball coach taught us when you step on the court you leave all your baggage behind you. For the time you are on the court, he said, your focus should just be on playing basketball. The same theory is true for work. When you walk in the office, drop the other stuff and pick it up when you leave. Tough to do but with some practice it because easier. And always treat people the way you would want to be treated.

  1. Do you mind if I take this call?

Yes, as a matter of fact I do. Unless a relative is critically ill, you are expecting a child or there is some other medical emergency – that phone call can wait. You can wait to make dinner plans, discuss arrangements for your wedding, talk to another client at another time. It is rude – yes, rude to take a phone call when you are meeting with someone else. We all need to learn to focus on one thing at a time. One of my favorite books about simplifying life is by Sue Bender, called Plain and Simple: A Woman’s Journey to the Amish. The author learns how to enjoy what she is doing at the time she is doing it and not to get caught up in go, go, go….

Lesson: Focus on one thing at a time. When you are having coffee with a client, focus on that client. The only phone calls that really need to be answered ASAP are one’s that are an emergency.

  1. Talking trash

It was a lovely Fourth of July day in my hometown, strolling from store-to-store, enjoying the laughter and community spirit. That was until I heard two women talking trash about their employer. Like two cackling hens, they went back and forth about this and that and why their boss was a witch. (Yes, they used the other word.) Here’s the really frustrating part of this – they were standing near something I would have liked to purchase but was afraid to go any closer to them because they made me feel uncomfortable.

Lesson: Eavesdropping is one of the top hobbies of people. We all love to hear juicy little details and tidbits of other people’s lives. (Just think of how much reality TV there is.) We respect people’s right to freedom of speech. There is just a time and a place. Gossiping and talking trash at work isn’t one of them. Be aware of what you are saying because you never know who is listening. And if it will cost you a sale and eventually a customer.

2. Food recalls.

Anyone who has spent any time in the kitchen clearly knows mistakes can happen. Using baking soda instead of baking powder. And when a cook makes a mistake, she tosses the food. She would never serve it to her family or friends. Which has us wondering why food companies don’t go public as soon as they realize they have an item on the store shelf that is mislabeled or dangerous. Any time we see stories on food recalls, it makes us a little worried.

Lesson: Mistakes happen. Be honest about them and let the public know ASAP. Don’t try to hide it because that only leads to the consumer deciding to take his business elsewhere.

And the Number One Mistake –

  1. Don’t know much about history.

Horrified. Speechless. Mortified. Outraged. OMG2. Those are just a few of the thoughts racing through my mind when I saw and read the blunder by clothing store, American Apparel. In case you missed the news – and it was on the news big time – American Apparel posted a photo of the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger on its Tumblr blog. I remember sitting in front of the television at my college home on Jan. 28, 1986 and watching with excitement as the Challenger lifted off for its 10th launch. The shuttle exploded 73 seconds after liftoff, killing the seven crewmembers, including teacher Christa McAuliffe who was the first teacher to go to space. Seeing the white plumes of smoke – let’s just say it’s a memory I will never forget and always think of on Jan. 28.

So back to American Apparel. It apologized on Twitter and said it removed the image from its blog. What really irked me about the company was how it apologized. It said the photo of the explosion had been re-blogged by “an international social media employee who was born after the 1986 disaster and not aware of it. The employee thought it was an image of fireworks, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“We sincerely regret the insensitivity of that selection and the post has been deleted,” the company said.

Most photographs come with captions. For the person to reuse that photo, he or she should have done some homework. No excuses. And what really made me mad was the blame was placed on the social media employee. Whoever is the social media employee’s boss, should take responsibility for the mistake.

Lesson: Always, always, always have someone double check your work. It’s easy for typos to happen, mistakes to be made… If you can’t check your work, do your homework. As Ben Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

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