Monthly Archives: September 2012

You Can Have Your Cake, Just Don’t Eat It!

It was a slow day at work so luckily we had the occasion of an office birthday party to disperse some of the dreaded monotony.  Everyone knows that an office birthday party is not complete without the adornment of the office birthday cake!

So, one of my colleagues eagerly purchased one at a local bakery quite popular for its treats and sweets.  We were quite considerate to make sure it was a flavor and style the birthday boy would appreciate.  All involved did the usual drooling with “Ooohs” and “Aaahs”  over it when it arrived in all its indulgent, rich chocolate, decadent temptation.

After the birthday song and office fanfare, strangely enough the cake went untouched.  Not one person claimed a piece of it, or even wanted to take a wedge home.  People practically ran from the room when offered some, as if they’d be dealt some evil curse or succumb to a heinous spell.

Nowadays, it’s allowed to oogle over a decadent delight all you want.  You can buy it, bake it, decorate it, display it, fawn over it, surround it with balloons and presents.  Look, but don’t touch.  Touch, but don’t taste…Taste, but don’t swallow.  Whatever you do, JUST DON’T EAT IT!

One little piggy has a gluten allergy,

One little piggy is too fat and on a diet.

One little piggy ate a big lunch and has a stomach ache,

One little piggy breaks out from too much sugar.

One little piggy cried “guilt trip” to the remaining little piggies all the way through the party, then went home.

Luckily, the birthday boy did take his cake at the end of the day, seemingly unphased.  I’m hopeful he actually did enjoy some of it, without any compromise.

Next time there’s an office birthday party, let’s just skip the cake.  What’s the point?  Getting older is painful enough.

© 2012 by Lisa Carbone, The Seasoned Secretary and


The Logic of Planet Fitness?

As a member of Planet Fitness, that especially entitles me to comment on a very strange practice of their health club franchise.

My goal when joining, as is most others, is to workout, stay fit, lose weight, yada, yada.  With budget-conscious pricing and modern, clean facilities accompanied by friendly staff, it’s a no-brainer to choose Planet Fitness over much local competition.  Truly, I enjoy my workouts there.  There’s a varied selection of equipment, ample enough for everyone, the decor is energizing and it’s a fun place to do physical activity.  Kudos!

What I can’t quite wraparound are the “perks”.  Do me a favor?  Don’t do me any favors.

  • Perk? No. 1:  Tootsie Rolls?  Handfuls of purple tootsie rolls are displayed temptingly in jars all across the Planet Fitness front desk areas.  Tootsie Rolls are not harmless.  Don’t be fooled by their miniature demeanor.  Red ants, bedbugs, MRSA bacteria, lots of evil things are small.  Planet Fitness even advertises them as “little treats – you deserve it!”  My friend gobbles a tootsie roll at various workout intervals throughout his routine.  My guess is he’s consuming about an easy 100 extra calories on those days.  I hope he’s doing extra sets while he chews.
  • Perk? No. 2:  Free Pizza on the First Monday of each month.  We’re not talking Plain Jane pizza either.  It could be anything from Buffalo Chicken to Pepperoni and Sausage.  Talk about ruining that diet you’ve been struggling with.   Want extra cheese and love handles to go with that workout you’re having?
  • Perk?  No. 3:  Free Bagels on the First Tuesday of every month.  Okay, this is almost as bad as the pizza.  Do they include complimentary butter and cream cheese?  They advertise it as the Breakfast of Champions.   When did Wheaties give up that title?
  • Perk?  No. 4:  Tanning.  With all the skin cancer concerns and warnings about tanning beds, to think a health club would incorporate such an amenity seems preposterous.  At least I’ll look good when I eat my pizza.
  • Perk? No. 5:  Pat on the Back Cupcakes.  Apparently you log onto a specified website to elicit a “POTB” as they call it.  Once they achieve a designated number of POTBs, you get free cupcakes.  I wonder if I can get extra buttercream frosting on mine.  I can spread it on my bagel.

So here’s the recipe for disaster: kill your members slowly from the inside by stuffing them with nutrient deficient carbohydrates, then destroy them on the outside with UV rays and melanoma.

If a health club serves pizza, bagels and candy, does that makes it sane and rational?  Does it make it okay to consume them?  It’s a conflict of the “reward” theory.  Exercise hard so you can treat yourself later.  You’re burning calories so what harm can an extra little tootsie roll do?   There’s a reason dentists used to give out lollipops to children.  You do the math.  I had a friend who admitted that the only reason she worked out was to be able to indulge in donuts afterwards.  (As long as the only one you’re fooling is yourself.)

Perhaps the logic is that they need you to keep needing them?  If you keep gaining weight, you need to keep working out.  “Free” stuff is addictive.   So are large amounts of sugar and simple carbs.  It’s a vicious cycle.  Eve was tempted with an apple, not a bran flake (and it worked!)

Hey, Planet Fitness – I hope those T-shirts you sell come in Extra Large sizes.

Planet Fitness – please revisit your perks.  Stop sabotaging our progress!  I’m all for perks, but they should be true to your mission statement.  Here are my nutritional suggestions: how about baskets of fresh fruits and nuts once a month instead of bagels?  Forget the tootsie rolls, we don’t need them before, during or after our workouts.  Replace the pizza with health-conscious noshes such as fresh veggies, hummus and pita chips or fresh sandwich selections.  Leave tanning beds to tanning salons that specialize in skin disease.

Until then, I figure I’m safer by the weights and cardio equipment.  Unless of course, I set off the LunkHead alarm!

© 2012 by Lisa Carbone, The Seasoned Secretary and

Smile…The World is Watching!

Working any length of time in customer service, it’s disarming to note how people tend to pounce on the negative.  A balmy, Southern sun gracing its way along a palm tree-lined beach is not enough to distract the most hardened individual.  The holiday season is far worse!  The old adage rings true:  if in one hand all the complaints and the other hand all the spoken niceties,  which one fills up first? How depressing that we all know the answer to that question. 

Why is it that consumers; people in general, achieve more satisfaction from the complaint vs. the compliment? Where does the dire need to “vent” originate?  Reasoning could suggest it stems from not enough motherly love, too little coffee, bad weather, “time of the month”, family issues, lack of sex,  ill-fitting underwear and so on, though it doesn’t justify such undignified behavior.
Should we blame society’s addiction to depressants and stimulants, where even children are prescribed  drugs to be “normal”.  What is the current definition of normal? Are we so inundated with the impersonality of technology that we have to “Google” smile just to remember what one is?
Why is it so painful for a compliment to roll off our tongues?  Are we afraid to choke on the word should it escape our lips?  Has it become a forgotten art of communication?  Although frowning uses more muscles in the human face, it seems to be quite effortless for most individuals to wear one; yet such a struggle to embrace that opposite, elusive expression.
There will always be a percentage of the population consistently miserable with their lives and so, the urge to exert such negativity on an innocent someone as soon as the opportunity presents itself is a pleasant release.  It’s a rush for some: the louder the bark, the more crass the insult – wrap it up in BIG BOLD LETTERS and deliver it with threats to call a lawyer!  All this exhibition to obtain some wretched, fleeting satisfaction.
It’s the undeserved that reap the havoc!  Minimum wage, front desk, retail customer service, fast food restaurant cashiers, waiters, coffee baristas, all those who work quite hard and lengthy hours for little pay.  Like pawns on a chess board.  Dealing with ingrates all day or night and having to smile through it all and just brace themselves against a verbal onslaught.
Now occasionally the planets do align and things will actually tend to run smoothly.  You will know this is happening because you will  hear…nothing.  No compliments, no courtesy.  Just the sound of  a pin drop. Happiness is not interesting enough to comment on.  It actually conjures the opposite effect.  See someone spirited and bubbly and you’re curious what drug they’re experimenting with.  It’s not “normal”.  It’s weird and strangely annoying to have someone always smiling at you.   Or, is it because we are so accustomed to the negative that any shadow of the positive is no longer recognizable?
Make it a habit!  Smile at least once a day for someone, “just because”.  Even if you don’t feel like it, don’t care, don’t want to, don’t mean it…do it anyway.  Practice it.  Try it.  It may hurt at first, but don’t be scared.  This pure, simple gesture will make someone feel good.  It will make you feel good, I promise.  It will spread like wildfire.  More compliments, more smiles.
But beware…someone might actually smile back!
© 2012 by Lisa Carbone, The Seasoned Secretary and