Barry Bonds was indicted today — probably yesterday by the time you read this. The superstar slugger was charged with perjury, because he told a federal grand jury that he didn’t knowingly take steroids — and there’s evidence to the contrary, like doping calendars setting out a regime of drug use.
Now, he might be innocent. It’s still America, and he hasn’t been proven guilty.
But it looks bad.
And in a world where you want people to believe that you don’t use drugs, you might not want to have schedules for taking those drugs lying around.
Similarly, the 1 million-plus National Association of Realtors might not have had anything to do with the nation’s current subprime crisis and the busted housing bubble. The NAR (of which I am a proud member) might be an association of sober-minded individuals, who enjoy the service job of matching customers with homes.
But honestly, guys, choosing to have the national convention in Vegas was probably not the best choice.
I know the town is family-friendly now and all. The Rat Packers (with the exception of Angie Dickinson and Shirley MacLaine, who were only honoraries because they were girls) are all dead, and nobody says “Sin City” any more. There’s even a Guggenheim and everything.
But still, it looks bad.
We spend so much time marketing — both properties and ourselves — that I think we don’t step aside for those moments of quiet reflection to see how the marketing is perceived. There are a million ways to do this, from asking a dear friend what he thinks to hiring a customer service survey firm, and we don’t do any of them.
Of course I assume you, dear readers, are the cream of the crop. I assume that you are good Realtors who provide professional service and always strive to be better.
But I think it’s worth even you stopping for a minute and saying to yourself, “What am I doing that makes me look like an idiot?”
Me, I work constantly to tame my desk, because I figure that showing up in front of a client and juggling files doesn’t look professional at all.
I know that’s not everything. I know that there are things that I can’t see. I’m going to quiz my young niece later, because if there’s anyone who can spot hypocrisies and inconsistencies, it’s a 21-year-old.
But at least I read the paper. And if I were a sports star and had oh, just about every newspaper columnist in America on my tail, I might try to be a little more circumspect about what I said and did.
And if I were an industry where mortgage defaults were rising and markets were flattening — an industry where the chief economist, Lawrence Yun, had predicted that the average resale price would drop for the first time since the Great Depression — I might try to hold my convention in a town not known for the rise and fall of fortunes.
Image is not everything, but it is something.
Alison Rogers is a licensed salesperson and author of “Diary of a Real Estate Rookie.”