SUN Sailor Editions Excelsior/Shorewood - Page 4

Opinions Sun Sailor Newspapers encourages the free and open expression of ideas and opinions. To that end, we welcome letters to the editor and guest columns from members of the community on issues of local importance. Commentaries can be sent to EXCELSIOR / SHOREWOOD Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018 • Page 4 Refl ections from the ‘Schmooze Bowl’ in Minneapolis D id you go to Super Bowl LII? No? Neither did I, but I did go to a number of schmooz- ing events which is really why Su- per Bowls exist in the fi rst place. C’mon, who besides the people of South Lobster, Massachusetts, and Philly Cheese Steaklandia cared about the game? The pur- pose is for corporations to treat their clients to a fun weekend of wining, dining and, in the end, a game. Oh yeah, neat ads get shown off on TV. The Super Bowl has become a national rite of pas- sage like the Fourth of July. Schmoozing is a Yiddish word, which according to Webster’s, means “to chat in a friendly and persuasive manner, especially so as to gain favor, business or con- nection.” Few cities have a visual of how schmoozing fi ts in. We all drive by General Mills headquar- ters in Golden Valley. Then you have stores like Lunds & Byerly’s, where Cheeri- os, Wheaties and a bevy of other products are sold. So, how do the products get from Golden Valley into ever supermarket in the U.S.? At one of the hotels chock full of people for the Super Bowl I met a General Mills manager “respon- sible for driving growth for retail grocery.” OK, you need good products at competitive prices, but you have to do something be- sides hand out a price list to po- tential buyers. My late wife did this for Bristol Myers Squibb marketing chemo- therapy drugs. At a PGA tourna- ment, they would buy a tent on the 18th green for $65,000. In the morning, they would give lectures by noted oncologists, and in the afternoon, they would watch golf. General Mills turned down an John Freivalds Guest columnist John Freivalds lives in Wayzata and is a writer, commodities broker, consultant and opinion columnist. offer of $10 million to be a spon- sor of the Super Bowl and instead brought in 36 representatives of grocery stores from around the country to be guests for three days of schmoozing. Game tickets were going for $5,000 each, plus the cost of hosting them. Each of the 36 representatives got a gift bag full of goodies and a recep- tion room with a fully stocked bar and rides to and from the game. I live 14 miles from downtown M i n n e a p o l i s, but where I live, Lake Minneton- ka has lot of neat restaurants, one new four-star hotel and tons of ice fi shing hous- es to look at. All our favorite restaurants were booked solid; some 46,000 area hotel rooms were sold out with even Days Inn charging $900 a night for a three-day stay. Gasoline prices went up 20 cents a gallon, and airports as far away as Rochester were jammed packed with the 1,200 private jets that fl ew in. A favorite game of us locals was to see how unprepared the visitors were. 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