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Why it's easier to remember meat than names


Lipstick and cosmetics were two of the items franchisees of the HealthStore Foundation in rural Africa wanted to add to their health clinics, according to Consultant Michael Seid, who was attending their Franchisee Advisory Council meeting last November. “You women are all the same,” he admonished me in his email.

Hey, I just wanted an update on his work with the social-sector franchise, not criticism for something I’m clearly not involved in. I rarely think about lipstick. I’m too busy trying to find a nail salon. Publisher Mary Jo Larson is responsible for turning me onto gel nail polish, which doesn’t chip—even when you wash dishes, she pointed out. I don’t know why that would matter. She, of all people, should know I don’t have a job in a restaurant. Where else would I be washing dishes?

As all women know, however, there’s a downside to anything so perfect as chipless nail polish: You have to have your nails redone every two weeks because they grow. This can get expensive and time consuming, since you have to soak your nails in strong chemicals for what seems like hours and then stick the painted versions under UV lights. (Notice I didn’t mention this was a downside.)

I used to only have to time my hair appointments around my franchise-event schedule. Now I have to add in nail appointments as well. Fortunately, I no longer have small children at home. I used to feel guilty when I was the last mom to arrive after soccer practice because something came up at work. Imagine how bad I would feel now, making them wait in the dark while I got my nails done.

The only reason I didn’t make nail salons No. 21 on our 20 to Watch list this month is that I was tired of typing. Plus, I couldn’t bear to look down at my fingers on the keyboard knowing I would have to wait until after work to hunt down a salon with an open appointment.

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Ever since I wrote about The Bar Method classes last year for the health-and-fitness focus, I’ve wanted to attend a class. I finally got my chance when I was in Chicago taking an art lesson at Bottle & Bottega (see the story on page 63).

If you like the sound of your own name, I recommend you attend a Bar Method class. I am horrid at remembering people’s names, so I was impressed the instructor could remember the name of everyone in the class in order to correct them when they were doing the small Bar movements wrong. Memory experts always suggest associating something  in the appearance or manner of a person you’ve just met with their name, such as Mike, loud voice, or Pam, nothing sticks to her. I know how the instructor remembered my name: repetition.

I’m not saying I wasn’t an exemplary student, just that I was someone the instructor couldn’t help noticing—over and over again. Even my daughter, Becca, who flew in from Cleveland to spend the day with me, slowly distanced herself on the bar from me. I noticed when we were shopping on Michigan Avenue, she didn’t mind being associated with me. I’ll have to ask her why, the next time I see her in the new outfit I bought her.

The instructor, whose name I can’t remember, is proof the franchise system works. She is in the process of securing her own location for a studio in a suburb of Chicago. I just wish she was opening a studio in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area where I live. It’s not often you can get a great workout at a bar where everybody knows your name.

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Executive Editor
Nancy can be reached at 612-767-3200 or at nancyw@franchisetimes.com

Before heading out on our trade mission to Vietnam in early December, I only memorized two Vietnamese words: thit cho—which means dog meat.

I normally wouldn’t worry about eating man’s best friend, except I read a story in The Wall Street Journal on an Asian animal rights group freeing dogs bound for Vietnamese restaurants, where roasted or stewed dog meal is haute cuisine. (I like hot dogs, not haute dogs.)

It reminded me of a story Assisting Hands’ CEO Lane Kofoed told me when I visited his family at their ranch for November’s cover story. The family was sitting down to a steak dinner, when 3-year-old Jacob asked, sadly, “Dad, is this Whitey?” Lane replied that yes, it was their cow, Whitey, who had been butchered. Jacob let out a long sigh, and then started eating.

I admire Jacob’s maturity. I’m much older and I still like to pretend a live version of the steaks I eat never existed. I used to not mind eating chickens—because I’ve met some mean ones over the years—until our photographer Zac Dodge told me at one of our Restaurant Finance & Development Conferences he has a chicken that runs up to him when he comes home to his hobby farm, wanting to wrestle. I don’t like to think of my dinner  as having a better personality than I do. Which is why I stuck to vegetarian options in Vietnam and Indonesia. I’ve never met a carrot or cucumber yet that could one-up me.

(Watch for our February issue for coverage of the Vietnam/Indonesia trade mission.)

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