Thanksgiving is wonderful. Black Friday I can do without. – SCN Encourager

Have a great Thanksgiving… and please be on guard against those embarrassing “shopping trip” slips.

Where is crisis communications expert Zac Rantz now that I really need him?

I could use some advice on how to avoid getting in trouble on Black Friday.

Cindy always keeps hoping we’ll enjoy a traditional holiday shopping experience together.

IMG_1505But it never seems to turn out all that well.


About a month ago we went on a day trip to Shipshewana, Indiana; a simple yet engaging village, well known for its deep Amish and Mennonite heritage.

Without the option of an Apple store, a Best Buy, or a sports bar to pass the time in, I followed Cindy into a fairly good size Christmas shop.

In sizing the place up with one speedy-kwik glance, I knew we’d be here awhile, so I attempted to morph into a willing browser and companion.

“Hey, Cindy, check out these candles,” I said, waving her over away from some really expensive carved carolers. “These electric flames look crazy real. Let’s get a couple of these.”

“Oh, brother,” she shrugged, heading back over to those really expensive carved carolers, “We bought three of those candles last year, remember? They’ve been on our dining room table for the last two weeks.”


After leaving the Christmas shop, we got in the car to go to the village department store plaza not too far away.

It was crowded in Shipshewana that day (typical) so we had to park behind the building.

When we got out of our car, I saw Cindy looking over at the nearby elementary school.

IMG_1501She looked at the sign.

She then looked back at me to make sure I noticed it, too.

“They must have a communications director with your talents working over there,” she remarked.

Very funny, I thought quietly to myself.

How talented can that school communicator be if he or she has to give it away for free?

I’m glad I didn’t actually say this aloud, though.

I’m pretty sure Cindy would’ve replied, “Hey, don’t you give away your email Encourager for free?”


We’ve been married for too many years for me to fall into that trap.

I don’t think I was ever so happy to finally step inside of a store and get the subject changed.

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 4.29.06 PMSo today, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow and the best of times with your family and friends.

I also extend the hope that if you go to the mall on Friday and see a dumb guy sitting inside of a “BathFitters” display all stressed out from shopping and just content to watch a football game on his iPhone, you’ll go up to him and say “hi.”

That dumb guy would likely be me –

And it would be awfully nice to see you!


carWed 112614






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