What We’re Reading: Free Haircuts; Lessons From The Great Depression; And More


+ Barber gives free haircuts to children if they read aloud to him. All together now: awwww.

+ Lessons From The Great Depression, by Brooke Allen:

Grandmother Anne realized that they couldn’t afford their current rent, so she found a bank that would rent to them the mansion of a bankrupt stockbroker for less money. To help care for the children, she found a lovely couple at the unemployment office. The wife was a nurse and her husband was a handyman. They exchanged room and board for childcare and yard work.

Then Anne took a job as a receptionist with a developer who was building houses on the farm next to their rented home in White Plains. Soon she was managing four salesmen. She received 25 percent of the salesmen’s commission on every home sold.

Grandmother convinced the developer to build at cost a home for them in exchange for using it as a show model. She became a stellar saleswoman in her own right. Before long, her commissions had completely covered the construction costs, and the home was theirs outright.

Granddad wrote to a friend that the Great Depression had been unbelievably good to them. Before the Crash they had had high hopes, but owning a house ‘free and clear’ in just a few years was inconceivable. Where could they have found a trained nurse and groundskeeper simply by letting them live in a spare bedroom and join them for meals? Freed of the burden of paying bills, the young couple soon saved enough money working odd-jobs to buy a gas station and start their own business. Because most of his coworkers had either been laid off (or quit rather than take a pay cut), Granddad had no competition as senior positions became available.

“Grandmother Anne” sold real estate to Dale Carnegie. That’s pretty cool.

You might remember Allen from an interesting piece he wrote in Quartz a couple of years ago about how to hire good people rather than nice ones.

Anyone can hire the way I do–it’s easy. Care, and people cannot help but care back. Be authentic and people cannot help but be authentic back. Be honest and people cannot help but be honest back. Don’t treat others the way they expect to be treated; treat them the best way you can imagine treating them. Strive to be a better person than you are, and you’ll figure out the rest.

+ Our Litigious Society: Customer chooses to eat at restaurant famous for throwing rolls at customers; gets hit by a thrown roll; sues for $25,000. My favorite part of this story is that legal precedent already exists. It’s referred to as the “baseball rule.”

Johnny Fugitt of the River Front Times points out in a blog entry that Tucker may not have much of a case, considering that back in June, Slugger and the Kansas City Royals were deemed to have not been at fault after a thrown hot dog hit a man in the face and tore his retina. Fugitt said in that case the “baseball rule” was referenced, and that by voluntarily entering a baseball stadium the victim assumed some responsibility for personal awareness.

He points out that “Home of Throwed Rolls” is posted all over, which could mean Lambert’s diners assume they are putting themselves at risk of being hit by a flying roll, upon entering the establishment.



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