What’s Going On
84 Charring Cross Road
The Williamsburg Players is a community theatre about an hour from Marie’s and my home. As a former professional actor, when I hear community theatre my first instinct is amateurish.
We have a surrogate granddaughter, Stella, who attends William & Mary. We were looking for a way to engage with her while she’s been away at college.
When I learned a friend of mine was going to be in a play at the Williamsburg Players, we thought what a great excuse to go see Stella. We would take her to the theatre and dinner.
Last weekend Stella and her roommate suggested they take us to the theatre and dinner and as Marie had a conflict they took me to see the Sinfonicron Light Opera Company’s production of HMS Pinafore at W&M.
This past Friday night, Marie and I drove down and saw 84 Charing Cross Road at Williamsburg Players.
It was a wonderful production. The best show we’ve seen there, and we met people in the audience, who we have since befriended on Facebook.
We’re planning on repeating this strategy of subscribing to a theatre in a college town as a way of visiting students away from home next year when our grandson attends Lynchburg University.
In this day and age, it’s difficult to maintain relationships with our familial diaspora.
If you’ve got young people in your life, it takes energy to sustain the relationships. Dinner and show is a fairly effortless way. Even if it does require a road trip.
Saturday evening, Storytellers Channel storyteller, Steve Saltzberg, and his wife, Sheila, hosted us for dinner and then we went to see the Richmond Shakes’ production of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya. We ran into dear friends, Laine Satterfield and Rusty Wilson, in the line to be ‘wanded’ prior to admission. This was my first time being screened for weapons before entering a theater.
I dropped everybody off at the theater, found street parking a short five blocks up Grace Street and then had a brisk stroll back. Richmonders are offended by the idea of paying for parking.
The set was elegant, and the performances were excellent.
My former business partner, Melissa Johnston Price, who I interviewed on my radio show a couple of weeks ago is their production manager.
Chekov isn’t everybody’s cup of tea and frankly I struggled to stay awake during the second act, only because my bedtime is earlier than it used to be. But I am thrilled I got to see the show. It was my fourth play in two weeks and I marvel and the breadth and depth of talent in Central Virginia.
From college students, to amateurs, to professionals the work entertains and enlightens its audiences.
Steve worked for NASA when they were putting the first man on the moon and spent almost his entire career in IT on the cutting edge enlightening folks who didn’t understand what IT could do.
Join us at 2:00pm ET this Friday February 10th on International Business Growth Radio.network.
Being my own producer and engineer is challenging. I’m gradually remembering skills I learned in the late 80s and early 90s. It’s taking less time to prepare, record, and edit the show.
Now, I have to work on consistency of vocal quality, volume level and ambient sound.
I appreciate the patience of my listeners while I work to master this process.
The Poe Project
I started out to record the entire Edgar Allan Poe canon back in 2018. I began experiencing vocal problems shortly thereafter.
After, several years of gastro-intestinal and ENT visits the consensus is I’m using my voice wrong.
I enter speech therapy next week and I hope to return to narrating this astounding body of work in few months.
The future belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind: artists, inventors, storytellers-creative and holistic ‘right-brain’ thinkers.” -Daniel Pink
Four hundred years ago, Francis Bacon wrote, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”
Can you remember moments when your world changed? You saw the world one way and then something happened, and you never saw the world the same way again? I’m reminded of the old V-8 commercials where the heroine laments her snack choice and says, “I could have had a V-8.”
A couple of months ago, I met a fellow named Barry Moore. Big guy. My height, but he could be two of me. Originally from New Jersey, he ran a car dealership here in metro Richmond for years. He now heads up the Better Business Bureau for Central Virginia.
I don’t know about you, but for me, the BBB has always been a benign organization. You’d see the sticker on the door of a business and subliminally it carried a “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” feeling. But I didn’t know what it meant or how you got the sticker. It was just something there in the background.
And then I met Barry, and he explained the role of the Better Business Bureau in a community and what it meant to be an Accredited Business.
I was born and raised in Virginia. We have a reputation for being polite. And so, when Barry was explaining the role of the BBB, I sat and listened. Not because I was particularly interested, but because (A) it was the courteous thing to do and (B) Barry is a force of nature, and he can be captivating. I mentioned he used to be a car salesman.
He asked me, “Have you ever had a bad experience with someone you’ve done business with?”
It was as if he’d touched a nerve. I launched into the story of the contractor who had built the addition on our house.
Years ago, a tree fell on our house. It crushed my wife’s car, damaged our roof and the siding on the front of the house. My brother-in-law, who I trust implicitly, recommended a company that had done some work on his business. The guy came, gave me a quote within what the insurance company was willing to pay, and he knocked out the job fairly quickly. The work was satisfactory.
So, when we needed to build a mother-in-law suite on the house so my mom could come live with us, I asked the guy for a quote. It was within our budget, and we chose him to do the work.
The project was a disaster.
Barry asked me, “Did you check him out on the BBB website?” I said, “No.”
He encouraged me to grab my phone and do so, just out of idle curiosity. I did and it showed the business was a BBB Accredited Business with an A+ rating.
I started to put my phone away and he said, “Look down the page.”
Then I saw he had 1 star out of five stars. I read the one review, which was horrible.
I asked, “How come he has an A+ rating?”
Barry explained that the rating system indicates whether or not companies respond to complaints. He said, “The BBB follows up on every complaint registered with them.”
The BBB doesn’t guarantee the business will settle the complaint to the customer’s satisfaction, only that the complaint will be investigated to confirm it’s a legitimate claim and that the business responds.
The BBB runs a thorough check on a business when it applies to be an Accredited Business. Application and acceptance indicate the intention to be a trustworthy business.
The company’s profile tells the whole story.
Considering the company had been recommended by someone I trusted, I may have hired them anyway regardless of their review on the BBB site, but I do know I would have asked my brother-in-law a few more questions had I read the review.
Since my conversation with Barry, I see the world differently.
When I see a BBB decal in the window of a business or the logo on their website or in their advertising I see them as pillars of the community. Leaders committed to protecting the community. Businesses willing to be held accountable. Even the contractor I was so unhappy with is willing to be held accountable. Hence, his Accredited Business status.
But the system doesn’t work unless we as a community participate. Had I checked out the business beforehand, I believe I would have asked more questions.
If others, had registered their complaints, I would have had more information. It’s too late for me to register a complaint now. But since my conversation with Barry, I decided to enroll The Storytellers Channel, Inc as an Accredited Business. We were accepted.
I’m proudly displaying the logo on our website and amending our marketing communications to display the logo, as well.
I’m checking to see if businesses I’m currently doing business with or considering doing business with are BBB Accredited Businesses. And if not, I’m asking, “Why not?”
And I’m telling this story to anyone who will listen. I hate the expression, Caveat Emptor, “Buyer Beware.” I don’t want to do business with people I can’t trust.
Being a Better Business Bureau Accredited Business is one way I’m doing something. It’s my way of joining with the other 3,300 Accredited Businesses of the 55,000 business in Central Virginia who are standing together to hold each other accountable. To protect the people who live in the 42 counties served by the Central Virginia BBB.
Mr. Jefferson wrote, “A well-informed electorate is a prerequisite to democracy.” This is also true of a well-functioning marketplace.
By becoming a BBB Accredited Business, The Storytellers Channel is standing up and saying we are willing to be held accountable. We wish to be worthy of our community’s trust.
And as a consumer in my community, I am now visiting the Central Virginia Better Business Bureau’s website before I do business with people now. I don’t just check whether they’re an Accredited Business. I don’t stop at their rating. I read the reviews and then I ask questions giving the business the opportunity to tell me their side beyond what’s written on the site. And then I make my decision.
I want to be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem.
My conversation with Barry was a transformational moment in my life. I will never see the world the same again.
I trust, that now that you have read this story, you will reduce the chances of unsatisfactory business relationships in your future. Because you now know, you have a place to check so you can make well-informed decisions in the marketplace.
Together, we can eliminate fraud and force disreputable businesspeople to either mend their ways or suffer the consequences.
I’d Love to Hear from You
Tune into Stories Matter! Helping Leaders Transform Lives this Friday and hear Steve share his impactful stories. Steve’s work has transformed lives..
Til next time,