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Archive for October, 2011

Employee Recognition Programs – Which One is Right for Your Organization?

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Motivated employees who feel appreciated are one of the most important assets any business can have. They have higher attendance rates, are more efficient, and are more likely to always act in the best interests of the business. The best gifts depend a great deal on the individual employee and gifts do not have to be lavish to light a fire under an employee and encourage their best efforts at all times.

If you have a business that employs viral marketing through a social media site such as Facebook; you are in an ideal position to recognize hard workers and overachievers. This is also the ideal option if you have younger employees who spend a lot of time engaging in social networking. Establish a peer-to-peer recognition group among your employees and they can nominate an employee of the week or month and display their picture on the company Facebook page. This is also a great way to expand the company profile as all of their Facebook friends will want to have a look at your site.

Another excellent way to motivate a younger staff is by on-the-spot awards programs by management. Gift cards, award certificates, and cards of appreciation are all great ways to keep your staff on their toes and working hard since an award can be given out at any time.

One of the most standard ways many large companies reward employees is through service awards. When an employee reaches a milestone such as 5 or 10 years in service, gifts such as gold cuff links, watches, and other valuable gifts are effective motivators for many people. It is important for a company to remember this important milestone and award the dedication of those employees.

Tailor your employee rewards program to the individual to promote a stable and happy work force.

Gift Giving in Other Cultures – Muslims and the Middle East

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Doing business in today’s global economy means you’ll run into all kinds of people from faraway places and differing ethnic groups. If you frequently do business overseas there are a number of customs involving gift giving that you need to aware of. Not being aware of regional and national traditions and customs can kill a business deal quickly, as it is seen as being the height of disrespect and rudeness.

If you are meeting with people from the Middle East or a client you know to be a devout Muslim, there are several things you need to know. The Muslim religion forbids the use of alcohol, so never give a Muslim any gift or food item that contains alcohol. It’s important to remember that some perfumes and cologne contain alcohol so these are also items to be avoided. It’s also very important to know that Muslims shun any products that are made from animals that are scavengers, and this includes shellfish, birds, and pork. Thus giving someone a leather wallet or money clip made from a pig or an ostrich is a big no-no!

When doing business with Muslims that may involve exchanging gifts it’s also noteworthy that personal clothing items are to be avoided. In this culture, that is considered far too personal a gift for anyone to be giving and is considered an invasion of their space.

The most thoughtful gift that you can give a devout Muslim is the simple gift of a compass. Devout Muslims pray five times a day and must face toward the city of Mecca no matter where they are in the world. With the gift of a compass, they can easily determine which way they need to face when it is time for prayers.

Observe these rules when doing business in the Middle East and/or with devout Muslims, and avoid potentially embarrassing situations.

Even Ghosts Love Pocket Watches

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

I stumbled upon this article in the Westminster Chronicle. It deals with a Pimlico Charity Shop named Red Cross Shop in England. They seem to be haunted by a mischievous ghost who is thought to be Alfred Cross, who was a butler when the building was a family house during the Edwardian period. So what you ask?

Well, Alfred had particular interest in a pocket watch, which interests us! One day, Tim Briggs, the manager of the shop, was researching the value of an old pocket watch. He left it on a table overnight and in the morning, it had vanished. It reappeared in a bag of new donations in between a pair of old cashmere jumpers. The takeaway from this story? The old ghost has good taste!

Bell & Ross Vintage Pocket Watch. Cost? $3000.00!

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

I love pocket watches. I think they’re retro cool, particularly in the age of cell phones (when pocket watches and wrist watches are no longer necessary for functional reasons). Of course, you could argue that I have reason to love them as Executive Gift Shoppe sells them. True, I can’t argue that. However, as with everything we sell, we started selling them because we do love them!

Anyway, we found a very cool, and very expensive pocket watch by Bell & Ross being reviewd on Uncrate. It doesn’t have a huge assortment of bells and whistles, its just a clean, elegant and beautiful pocket watch. So, if you have 3 grand burning a hole in your pocket, how about replacing it with this one of a kind pocket watch!

The Definitive Guide to Zippo Lighters

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Founded in 1932 by George G. Blaisdell in Bradford, Pennsylvania, the Zippo is one of the most iconic brand names in the world and their lighters are known all over the world for reliability and high quality. Over their seven decades of existence, the company has turned out thousands of designs and even manufactured lighters for the United States Armed Forces.

The World War II Era

The road to world-wide success for Zippo really began in the 1940’s when the lighters gained popularity with U.S. military members. In fact, during World War II Zippo ceased manufacturing of consumer lighters to concentrate on their military market, even though they never had a formal contract with them. Lighters made during this period were first manufactured from brass but as war shortages dragged on lighters came to be made from steel. Most of the lighters carried authorized badges, unit crests, and the division insignia for specific units within the military and they were considered a status symbol at the time. Today those lighters are a treasured collector’s item and it can cost up to $100 or more to acquire one.

Coming into Their Own

Starting in the 1960’s, the Zippo brand of lighters began a campaign to be more appealing to a larger segment of the population and it was a rousing success. And though the lighters on the outside have gone through considerable changes in the seven decades Zippo has been in business, the inner workings of the lighter have remained for the most part unchanged. Many of the lighters made during this period in the 1960’s were actually hand painted works of art that are also treasured by collectors all over the world. As technology changes, so did the way Zippo designed the covers of their lighters and today there are literally thousands of designs to choose from.

The Zippo Museum

For people who love all things Zippo, the place to be is the Zippo Museum located in Bradford, Pennsylvania, and it is ideally located at 1932 Zippo Drive. This 15,000 square foot attraction is home to the world-famous Zippo Case Store and the Zippo Repair Clinic. On the drive up to the museum be sure to take note of the fourteen custom made Zippo lighters that line the drive. At the entrance of the museum is a 40-foot tall Zippo lighter that has a pulsating flame coming out of the top. It’s open seven days a week for self-guided tours and the museum features a number of lighters from every era in company history. In 1992, Zippo created a 60th Anniversary Zippo lighter, and has made one every year since to commemorate the founding of the company. Each anniversary lighter can be seen here at the Zippo Museum.

Even More Ways to Use Your Zippo

Zippo are famous for lighting even when the winds are howling, but they can also light in some of the most extreme weather conditions on the planet. They are highly popular with campers and backpackers who need a reliable source to start a camp fire with. Many mountain climbers and cold weather backpackers also prefer Zippo because they are more reliable than butane lighters in the coldest of weather.

How Much Do They Cost?

A better question might be, how much do you want spend? A no-frills basic Zippo lighter costs as little as $13. But, if only the best will do for you and yours, you can buy an 18 karat gold custom Zippo lighter that goes for over $12,000. And then there is the antique Zippo market. In 2003, a vintage 1933 model Zippo lighter sold for over $18,000 at a swaps meet in Tokyo and in 2002 the Zippo company also bought a vintage 1933 model to display in their museum and payed a similar price. During a big 75th Anniversary celebration in 2007, Zippo sold an almost mint condition 1933 model for over $37,000. Whether you pay $12, or $12,000, your Zippo comes with a lifetime warranty which is another reason the lighter has proven so popular over the years. And no matter what you paid, you’ll always hear that distinctive Zippo click with each and every light thanks to the flint wheel ignition system.

Zippo Today

Zippo lighters are still the main cash cow for the company, but they have diversified into manufacturing a number of other products as well. In addition to their full lines of windproof lighters, butane lighter, and candle lighters, they also produce a number of accessories that every Zippo owner should have. A number of cool leather lighter pouches and holders are available that you can get to keep your Zippo where it needs to be at all times. Zippo now also has a line of fine writing instruments available. They now feature a wide assortment of solid brass pens, in both roller ball and ball point styles. They come in a number of different decorative stripes and accents, and they all have the world-famous Zippo logo.

Recently, Zippo unveiled the Zippo Fashion Italia line of ladies’ handbags, briefcases for busy professionals, and accessories for men and women made of high quality leather, textile, and other synthetic materials. They have proven to be very popular with the fashion-conscious European market and they are quickly making headway in the lucrative American market as well. Zippo now also has a line of high quality wrist watches for men. They feature distinctive features such as an embossed logo crown and a mirrored case back, and all of the watches in this line are waterproof up to five feet.

Expect to see more innovative products from Zippo in the future. With the Zippo brand on a product, people from all over the world know to expect long-lasting quality.

5 Tips To Safe Tailgating

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Tailgating is an activity that is All-American in origin and takes placeevery Saturday and Sunday during football season, and some people even tailgate before high school games on Friday nights.  But anytime fire and grills are involved as they often are in tailgating, there is some degree of danger involved.  Read on find out how to have a great time tailgating while avoiding the possible dangers that could ruin your game day and more.

You have to keep in mind that tailgating takes place in a parking lot, meaning there will be moving vehicles of all shapes and sizes coming and going the entire time.  If you start a football game, try and keep it in a grassy area away from the parking lot so no one gets run over and injured.  Be extra careful when you first arrive as cars fill in around you.

Whether or not you are an experienced grill master, and especially if you are not, you should have a meat thermometer with you to aid you in cooking any meat or chicken.  Meat thermometers are readily available in portable versions perfect for tailgating and they ensure that you do not eat undercooked meats that can cause you serious illness.  Another item you should always have with you when tailgating is a fire extinguisher.  A fire can happen fast, and with a fire extinguisher on hand you’ll be ready for anything that could happen.

After you’ve consumed all of the ribs, burgers, hot dogs, and steaks you can eat and are ready to walk into the stadium for the big game, make sure you have properly extinguished all fires used to cook your food.  Spread the coals out and they will cool faster, and before you throw them in a trash can, make sure to soak them for a minute or two in some water.  If you have been tailgating long enough there should be some melted water in your cooler that will do the job.

Another potentially serious issue that can cause you health problems is perishable food items.  According to the experts these types of food should not be left out in the open for more than two hours.  Any perishable food that you do not eat while tailgating should be discarded or put back in the cooler if you have enough ice left.  Never leave them out and eat them or you could be subject to food poisoning.

In review, always watch your surroundings when playing a game of touch football or catch, other cars are moving in the parking lot and things can go south quickly if you are not paying attention.  Carry a fire extinguisher with you for all tailgating parties.  Get a portable meat thermometer and use it on all meats and chicken you are cooking to make sure they are properly cooked.  Extinguish all fires properly, and be careful with all perishable foods.  Follow these tips and you’re sure to have a tailgating party for the ages.

Keeping Your Employees Happy When Money’s Tight

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

When the economy is in the toilet as it has been for the past few years,keeping employees happy when there might not be sufficient capital on hand to give them a raise can be a tricky proposition.  But there are a few tried and true methods for building and maintaining team spirit that do not cost a bundle of cash.

Many of the strategies you have available to you depend largely on the size of the organization you are part of.  Smaller companies have the advantage of providing more cross-training opportunities for their employees, making them feel a more integral part of operations.  Employees in smaller companies also feel a larger sense of ownership of the company and feel their contributions makes more of a difference than their counter-parts in larger companies.  Employees who feel their work is key to daily operations of a business are always much more likely to always act in the best interests of the business as a whole.  But there are strategies that work no matter the size of a business.

Communication is Key

You never know what a person is thinking or how they feel about their jobs without asking.  Effective communication is the key to keeping employees happy no matter the state of the economy.     Employees need feedback on how well they are doing their jobs but they often need more than this basic information.  Employees need to feel that they can return feedback as well to have a truly effective communication process.  This can be accomplished with management having an open door policy, weekly or monthly meetings, or regular social events where business can be discussed in a casual and relaxed atmosphere.  Another method that is used is to have a suggestions box where people can leave feedback anonymously.

Foster Employee Growth and Development

No one wants to work in a dead-end job.  No matter the size of the business, management must find ways to cross-train employees to better understand and grow the business.  When seminars are available that could foster growth both personally and professionally, employees should be encouraged to attend.

Tokens of Appreciation with a Personal Touch

Award your star performers to let them know their work is more than appreciated.  The right gifts do not have to be lavish and expensive, but if you can tailor them to the likes and needs of the people they will be cherished forever.  Engraved ball point pens or desk clocks are not only useful at work, they’re a constant reminder that their work has been recognized and is appreciated. It’s often said it’s the thought that counts, and indeed it does go a long way in the minds of employees.

It doesn’t cost a lot to make the day of one of your employees, a modest gift that shows their efforts are not going unnoticed might be just the thing you need to keep your key employees on board during  good and tough economic times.

A Caveman’s Swiss Army Knife

Monday, October 10th, 2011

I came across this product post on Gizmodo about the Caveman’s Swiss Army Knife . I’m not sure if its real or fake but I love it. The author says it best, its great to imagine that a caveman carried his Swiss Army Knife with him where ever he went too. It also reminds me that, since the beginning of man, we’ve probably been searching for the perfect gadget to carry with us!

The Definitive Guide to Money Clips

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

A money clip is a device, most often made from metal, that is used to store cash and/or credit cards in lieu of a wallet, or in addition to one. It’s favored by men who do not want to carry around a bulky wallet and prefer the compact style. They have been around for hundreds of years, for as long as there has been paper currency, man has been inventing different ways to help keep track of it.

A money clip is generally made of one piece of metal, stainless steel in many cases, that is folded back over in half so that bills and cards are held wedged in the middle between the pieces of metal. There are other metals that are used to make money clips such as gold, silver, platinum, titanium, and in some rare cases carbon fiber is used. These are all considered luxury items and are often given as gifts for groomsmen for appreciation for their participation in the wedding ceremony. They are also excellent additions to any man’s formal wardrobe and look right at home in a business setting.

Using a money clip adds a touch of class to your look, but there are a few drawbacks to using them. Since they are in general rather small in size, there is a limited amount of cash you can carry with them. Because they are held in a pants pocket or coat pocket, they are subject to being lost and in the process, you’ll lose all of your cash as well. Depending upon the design of the money clip, it may also be difficult to push money inside the clip itself. The manufacturers of money clips have responded to these issues with new and innovative products.

For those looking for a money clip that can hold more cash, carbon fiber money clips are now available. Manufacturers of carbon fiber money clips use an advanced molding technique to make them strong and highly durable. The strength of the carbon fiber allows them to be opened beyond parallel without harming the integrity of the money clip, allowing them to hold more bills and credit cards than a tradition model made from metal. Carbon fiber money clips also hold several other advantages that are making them more popular. They can be kept in your pocket while you pass through scanners at either the airport or at a sporting event, sparing you having to empty your pockets before passing through them.

Another type of money clip that has become popular in the last couple of decades is the magnetic clip. A magnetic money clip features a pair of round or rectangular magnets that are encased in leather. Between the two magnets is a small piece of leather that separates them and allows them to swivel between an open and closed position. There are also hybrid magnetic money clips on the market that features three magnets and two pieces of leather. These also have a larger carrying capacity then the conventional metal money clips but they do have one strong drawback. Magnetic money clips cannot be used to carry credit cards since the magnets may distort or even completely erase the magnetic strip of the credit or debit card, rendering them useless.

Yet another type of money clip that has evolved to meet the changing needs of the public is a money clip wallet. They are designed to hold credit cards safely as well as cash and often feature a small wallet with the money clip attached on one side.

As far as design, money clips have as many as the imagination can behold. You can get them in silver, gold, platinum, titanium, and most designs with these fine metals tend to be conservative in nature. If you want something just a little bit different you’ll find money clips with watches, money clips which can be personalized with your initials, and money clips with diamonds inserted. As far as shapes, you can find the unusual represented with money clips that are shaped as key rings, and they actually work too. If you’re in need of some extra luck, you’ll even find money clips in the shape of a horseshoe.

Money clips are a great way to show off your individual style and taste. Get one today and dazzle your lady friends when it’s time to pay the dinner tab.

How To Tailgate The Right Way. Hint: Come Prepared!

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

If you want to tailgate like a pro, take a tip from the pros to enhance your game day experience. The most famous tailgaters in the country have to be those hardy folks up north who ignore the worst weather Mother Nature has to offer to tailgate and back their favorite team, the Green Bay Packers. Here are some of the things a Packer Backer friend of mine advises for the ultimate tailgating experience.

  • Come prepared

    Have all of your meat for grilling thawed and iced down to keep it from spoiling. Have plenty of chips and dip and for sure have a cooler full of ice and a wide variety of beer. Have all of the utensils you’ll need such as forks and spoons and make sure not to forget charcoal!

  • Get to the parking lot as soon as the gates swing open

    In order to get the full game day tailgating experience, you have to have enough time so show up as early as the gates open and stake out a prime spot for parking and people watching. Now you can grill your food without having to rush and play a game of catch with your friends as well as harass fans of the opposing team.

  • Find the perfect parking spot

    If you are there when the gates open, you’ll have the choice of all of the prime spots. If possible, try and find a spot next to a grassy area so you can have more room for your party. If it’s early in the season and it’s still hot, look for a spot under a tree so you can stay cool while you cook and drink. If there are no trees on the lot, plan ahead by bringing your own canopy to stay cool on the hottest of days.

  • Be sure to know the rules

    Keep in mind the stadium and parking lot have rules that you need to be aware of and abide by. Make sure you clean up your mess and your tailgating supplies after you are done or you could be subject to fines or worse. Make sure you never leave a grill unattended and be aware of any policies concerning alcoholic beverages, especially if you are tailgating on a college campus.

  • Pack it up and take it away

    You should assume tailgating has the same rules as a camp site, you should take away everything you bring in and properly dispose of all trash. Most stadiums where officials know that people will be tailgating provide garbage cans. Find out where they are and use them. Charcoals from your grill can stay hot for hours and hours after you use them so have a strategy to dispose of them properly. If you use aluminum foil for serving plates and pans, they can be used to wrap up charcoals and water from your cooler is perfect for dousing any hot coals.

    Follow these tips from the tailgating pros and you’re sure to have fun no matter what team wins the game.