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Commentary: The Business

Jeff Unger: A Hand and a Hug Come Appreciated

When things turn bad in your life, you will be floored at who steps up to the plate with support.

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A COUPLE WEEKS BACK I got news no one wants to hear from his doctor. In the word of Arnold Schwarzenegger from the movie Kindergarten Cop, they found a “tuma” — a large mass in my kidney, and it would mean having the kidney removed. I won’t know if I have the “C” word until after they do a biopsy.

But this is not about me. This article is about you.

We all have three families in our lives: The one that we complain about during Thanksgiving dinner — our blood and married-into relatives. Then there are our friends from college, neighborhood and, of course, the golf course. These are the ones who know more about us than anyone, for you see, on a golf course everything is open for discussion. Then there are our business friends. Or as I call them, my mistresses, because no one at home knows who they are.

I see many of them more than I see my own family in a year’s time. We travel together to trade shows from sea to shining sea.

It’s that family of industry and business associates I address here.

When word got out about my upcoming surgery, you came over and lent support to me, but more important to my wife, business partner and lover, Alisa.

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We have been floored at what you’ve done for us. From a simple hug, to offering to sell at our booth because we had to leave a trade show early. I thought about this for a minute and realized that was not a good idea. Just imagine the terms you’d give away on my behalf!

Kidding aside, when things turn bad in your life, you will be floored at who steps up to the plate with support.

My golf gang offered to donate percentages of their kidneys to make a new one for me. A great thought but I know what’s gone into their bodies these past 20 years. I think I’ll pass!

But you, my business friends are different.

Have you ever seen the Looney Tunes cartoon featuring the wolf and the sheepdog? Every morning Ralph and Fred would start the day saying, “Good morning, Fred.” “Good morning, Ralph.” Then proceed to try to kill each other until the whistle blew for lunch and the end of the day.

We all battle each other in the business world. We’re all going through hard times during this financial slowdown, but this supersedes the business. Retailers, vendors and suppliers have all offered a hand and a hug, and I can’t express in words what that means to Alisa and me.

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One of my favorite movies is Pay it Forward, starring Kevin Spacey. I now understand the meaning of that movie and will dedicate my life to others and “pay it forward.”

Jeff Unger was the president and co-owner of B & N Jewelry (d.b.a. Alisa Unger Designs) and a long-time INSTORE contributor. He passed away in February 2019 after a valiant 10-year battle with cancer.

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