Jack TenneyExtra Point

by Jack Tenney, Publisher

July 2008

The Full Vermoonty

Don’t you hate it when you let a fantastic opportunity slip through your fingers?

At the recent Business & Industry Expo put on by the state Chamber, I muffed such an opportunity. Here’s how it happened.

As an exhibitor, our ID badges were waiting at the entrance to the show. Of course, to get to the front entrance, I park out back, come up the back stairs, freshen up in the men’s room, walk to our booth, say “Hi!” to the troops — Rebecca, Larry, Art, and Paul — and then go down the front stairs to get my tag, smiling a hello to the security folks on the way. 

A word about the parking spot. I arrived a little late for the start of the show, but, incredibly, the slot absolutely nearest the back door — I’m talking 35 feet — was wide open. Positive thinking wins again!

Anyway, I get to the sign-in place to find it nearly empty because all the pre-registered folks were either already there or were even later than me. I took a moment to bask in the glory of an alphabetic system that put me up front for the first time ever, because you queue up by business name, not last name, and “B” is way closer to the front than “T.” 

I identify myself, and the service rep whips out a laser-printed badge. Not some hand-printed, sticky “Hello” label, but a really nice, bold-typeface, first-and-last-name-on-top, business-name-on-the-bottom badge.

It says, “Jack Tenney

Business People – Vermoont

Being a wise guy, I say, “Am I supposed to wear a kilt? Vermoont?” It’s probably  the way my little old Scottish grandmother would say “Vermont.” She would say, “Ahh, Vermoont! It’s a loovely place, I knoow.”

Quick as a wink the helpful rep grabbed the badge back and reworked it to say in non-bold type:

“Jack Tenney

Business People

Vermont” 

What was I thinking? Vermoont would have been great. It may well be even better than Vermont. Heck, Vermooont even works. Cows mooooo. Moonlight. Adding an “O” or two could well be as inspired as a Woody Jackson eyeless cow.

Too often, people who should know better blow a chance to capitalize on what makes their offering so unique, namely Vermont. Businesses from Vermont — even businesses with Vermont as part of their names — too often do the worst thing anybody can do with “V-E-R-M-O-N-T”: They use the contraction “VT.” 

Don’t believe me? Google “VT.” The number one return? “Virginia Tech.” Do your own research. 

Google “Vermont,” and THEN count the number of responses that refer to Virginia Tech.

I rest my case.

I wish I’d saved that badge.