Swing Voters

Today’s guest post comes from Beth-Ann.

In case you missed the blog yesterday, or the local newscasts, Mini-sota Donut Ice Cream was named the winner of the Kemps Hometown Flavor contest in a very close decision.

Folks who sampled the 2 flavors at the Fair voted for the Rah Rah Rhuberry. On-line voters picked donuts so it came down to the celebrity judging. After the announcement I learned that while last year’s contest was a landslide, this year’s was a dead heat and even the online/Facebook voting was close.

It is obvious to me that the swing voters were baboons! How appropriate is that? I am glad that I did not pander to the demographic with a banana flavor or a goat’s milk base to the ice cream.

Seriously, I am very grateful for all the votes, your enthusiasm, and your indulgence while I prattled on. The experience was a little outside my comfort zone but it was made easier by the presence of family and friends. It was so fun to look up and see Linda and BIR representing the trail and smiling with encouragement.

When have you been involved in a very close contest?

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92 thoughts on “Swing Voters”

  1. Congratulations, Beth-Ann! I enjoyed being reminded to vote in all the different ways you chose to word the reminders!

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  2. Morning all. You’d think I won the contest… I was so excited yesterday. Now every at works knows all about it!

    I’ll have to think about a close contest, but I think we should plan an ice cream party! Beth-Ann – how long before we see Mini-sota Donut in the freezer section!

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  3. VS-Last year’s winner is just hitting the shelves now. I don’t think the cows are all that speedy.

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      1. Passing doughnut bits with your milk doesn’t sound like a comfortable process. Do the cows get special meds to help with that?…

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        1. Actually, these mini doughnut cows are going to be the envy of the cow barn at Kemps. The cows producing butter brickle and maple nut have been whining so much the rest of the barn would like to see them converted into steaks.

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        2. my mom tells the story of when she was feeding my infant brother and he was having difficulty getting enough milk. she told this to the doctor who suggested that she take the safety pins and simply use them to enlarge the holes in the nipples enviosioning her bottle washing supplies in the sink side dryer rack, but wont that hurt she grimaced not realizing they weren’t quite on the same page.

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      1. Last year’s winner was Land of 10,000 Licks with ribbons of caramel and sea salt. I haven’t found it in the store yet but a friend bought a container and promises to drop it off soon.

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        1. Beth-Ann, does the contestant just supply the name, or do they also suggest the flavors that would into the ice cream? In the case of Land of 10,000 Licks the flavors wouldn’t be obvious.

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        2. PJ the winner supplies the name. Mine started out as Mini-donut and I was told it was too boring since it just listed the ingredients. Looking at the names of the ice creams (chocolate chip, strawberry, etc I wasn’t sure I was that off the mark but was happy to give it another name.

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  4. congrats ba. i am so happy for you and it is interesting to hear that the rhubarb had a following too. i am glad the online voting got a share of the decision.
    i cant think of any official contests i have participated in but the whole life process feels like a contest to me. you need to keep plugging away or the judges are going to expel you from the island, survivor the life version. not a biggy on the networks but playing outside your door.

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  5. Couple of times I have been one of the top (three/four/five) candidates for a job, and missed out for some reason or other. In a couple cases, that was fine, in others it was less fine (especially when I was out of work and getting to the interview process was a crazy hard). I’m in that spot again for a regular employee gig at work – same team as I’m currently on, but doing slightly different stuff. There are two open spots, so that increases my odds this time ’round, but keep your fingers crossed. If there were online voting, with Baboons at my side, I know I’d be a shoo-in. :)

    Congratulations Beth-Ann! Can’t wait ’til next year to buy your ice cream! (Daughter jumped up and down and said “yeah!” a lot, too, when I told her you won – she really liked her sample at the fair.)

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    1. I wish you the best of luck on getting that job, Anna. I have come close to getting some jobs that I wanted. I think I might have been offered one job I wanted if I had used my head. At the time I applied for the job I almost got I had a very good job.

      The person heading the interviewing team for the job took me aside and asked me if I really wanted to leave the job I had. She was suggesting that I might not take the job that was being offered if I was picked. I should have said that I did really want job and I didn’t because I did like the job that I held at the time. However, the job that was being offered was a good job and a secure job while the one I had was not so secure and ended a year or so after I did the interview for the job I almost landed.

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    2. cmon baboons … lets everyone call best buy home office and tell them we want anna, we want anna. you may have to tell them her last name but im sure this will help her chances in the long run. huh anna?

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  6. Congratulations, Beth-Ann. I hope they market it in ND. My grandfather ran for a county commissioner seat in Rock County in the early 1960′s, an the vote ended up a tie. The election was decided with a coin toss, and grandpa won.

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  7. The fraction of a point I scored in a track meet caused our team to finish ahead of another team in a high school conference track meet. I was barely good enough to get into the meet at my event which was the high jump. It had been raining and the footing was not good for high jumping. Some how I managed to get my feet under me well enough to clear the bar at a level that would normally not have scored any points if the conditions were better. I didn’t know the significance of the fraction of a point I scored until well after the meet was over because I wasn’t close friends with most of the guys who participated in sports.

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  8. Like other baboons, I’m so excited that Beth-Ann won this contest. Congratulations!

    When I was interviewing for the position as legal administrator for the the law firm, I was told that the position had been open, and they had been interviewing, for three months. I had been recruited by a consultant who was a former colleague of mine, so I felt reasonably sure that he thought my qualifications for the position were in line with what the firm was looking for. I made the mistake of assuming that I got the position because the lawyers thought me better qualified than the 35 candidates they had interviewed but not hired. In retrospect I think they hired me because they had become weary of the interviewing process, and simply needed to fill the position. Once I started working for the firm, I came to realize that the five senior partners who made up the Management Committee rarely agreed on anything, and, in hindsight, I’m pretty sure at least one of them didn’t think I was the best candidate.

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  9. The only contests I’ve been in which were exceptionally close are all too personal to discuss. Let’s just say there have been times when I could have used friends like tim or VS who could be counted on to vote for me several times a day. The close contest I worry about is the coming Romney/Ryan v. Obama/Biden one, and it is disappointing that smart, well-intentioned folks like us will only get to vote once apiece.

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    1. Yes, I’d be willing to stay home from work on election and vote all day long if we could figure out to do it on Facebook repeatedly!

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      1. I am afraid we would resemble those rats in Skinner boxes, bar pressing as rapidly as we could to enter votes.

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        1. That rat is pretty slow-it reminds me of PJ’s suantering job applicants. i’ve seen rats bar press at rates of a couple times a second.

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        2. Hmm. Steady responder, calm, focussed, and hungry. Which of us does that describe? I wonder how a tim-like rat would respond?

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        3. with ramblin aimless response until he was done in kind of a willy nilly fashion of abstract bar pressing. not at all like that north dakota work ethic rat where the lever pushing goes from sun up til sundown with a tin of copenhagen in his back pocket.

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  10. I remember interviewing for my job at Birchbark Books – they had already hired the manager, and they needed someone to be “assistant manager” – liaison with the accountant, ETC. (The “etc.” part was sort of unclear at the time.) I’d had experience with bookselling and light bookkeeping, and office management, but apparently so had several of the other applicants. What put me over the top was that I said I loved making order out of chaos.

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    1. It’s interesting to get such feedback, tells you how you distinguished yourself from the rest.

      The first thing I ALWAYS paid attention to when I interviewed candidates for various positions was how fast the candidate walked. I figured someone sauntering leisurely behind me on the way back to my office was bound to have a more laid-back attitude than I was going to be comfortable with in a work environment. Everything else being equal, it is often small personal traits that make the difference.

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      1. Sometimes the way a person walks can fool you. My husband walks with at a very leisurely pace, but his saunter is due to flat feet, a slough foot, and one leg that is an inch or two shorter than the other. His walk is distinctive, and friends can identify him at great distances just by watching his gait. People initially think he is laid back because of the way he walks, but he is not laid back at all, and is detail oriented and quite perfectionistic.

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        1. Renee, I think I can tell when a different gait is due to some physical impediment, and I also don’t think the method is foolproof. The best statistical typist I have ever known (and hired, twice) was a woman with very little personal flair and a slow and deliberate gait. As a rule of thumb, though, it served me well. You’d be surprised how many people give you clues at the interview that they may not be a good choice for the position you have. As an employer you want the skill-set, and the temperament, of the candidate to match the challenges you have. I’ve hired people for what I considered boring and dead-end jobs, and if I didn’t want to be interviewing again in short order, it behooved me to find a candidate who I thought would do well in that particular situation. I hope this doesn’t sound condescending; I think it’s a reality. Some people have the ability to bloom where they are planted, others require more fertile soil and different growing conditions. That said, I’ve always tried to nurture growth and encouraged development in the employees who have worked for me. As anyone who has ever interviewed for a job can attest to, the whole process is fraught with pitfalls. I wish Anna and Edith the best of luck, and I especially hope that the jobs they’re applying for will be challenging and rewarding. I think we all do better when we feel we’re doing something worthwhile.

          I think I may have mentioned sometime before that I hired, and subsequently had to fire, Lizz Winstead, one of my more glaring hiring mistakes. I thought she’d make a wonderful receptionist (at a CPA firm! What was I thinking?), but it became painfully obvious within a very short period of time, that Lizz couldn’t or wouldn’t curb her gift of satire. I think we’re both better offer for having recognized the mistake and moved on.

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        2. I am thankful i have never had to be in the position to make the final decision to hire people, as I think I would second guess myself and be plagued with self doubt. We have had to participate in interviews at our agency for psychologist applicants, and I have just hated the process. Until recently, no one has really wanted to move to ND, and the applicants we interviewed were pretty pitiful specimens of folks who were impaired in one way or another and who could have never made it in our system (or any other system, I am afraid).

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        3. Renee, I think that’s a very accurate assessment of hiring practices. You really have to departmentalize yourself. You can recognize that you have a very likable individual, yet one not particularly suited for the job at hand, and you just have to act accordingly. You can also recognize that you have a person with enormous potential, and that that potential will never be realized in the job you have to offer. A very, very tough gig if you try to do it responsibly.

          I recall with particular pain, while at the alternative school, serving as a “mock interviewer.” The student I was interviewing said she wanted to be doing “personnel work” because she liked the idea of giving people raises. I cried when she left my office. She had absolutely no clue that most work in the area of “personnel” involves discipline and other unpleasant tasks. So glad to be out of it.

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  11. I hardly ever enter any contests. My brother seems to like to compete. He was better than I was in school finishing with an all A record. When we were young he wanted to engage me in a foot race. I wouldn’t race him although I’m sure I would have won. He was not good at running and at sports when he was young. Now he would beat me at running. He wins marathons in his age group and was able to qualify to run in the Boston Marathon twice.

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  12. I forgot about board games, such as a scrabble. I do take some pride in winning at scrabble and some times it is possible to pull ahead at the end of a scrabble game where you are losing if you can find a place to put a high scoring word. Of course, it is not so much fun when some one beats me by pulling ahead with a big play at the end of the game.

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  13. Congratulations, Beth-Ann. I enjoyed the creative ways you had, tied in with Dale’s blog post of the day, to remind us to vote. I’m sure your prize was well-deserved.

    I am in a contest right now…however, I don’t know if it’s a close contest or not. I had a job interview on Monday and I’m crossing my fingers, hoping I’ll get the job, yet I’m trying to not think about it too much so I won’t be too cruelly disappointed if I don’t get it.

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  14. I’ve only worked for someone in the real world a handful of times in my lifetime, but one real-world job was at Cigna Health Insurance company when I was 50. The job interview went unremarkably because I had near-complete laryngitis that day, making me barely audible and quite passive. I no sooner got back home and the phone was ringing off the hook. I answered in a whisper and was told, “You gave the best interview we’ve had in YEARS!!! We want YOU!!” Well, I did take the job, but within days my voice returned, after which it didn’t take too long before they discovered just what kind of nut case they’d really hired! For one thing, I’d never so much as touched a computer and this job required complicated software computer skills in order to unearth and refer callers to appropriate resources. They said, “If you can type, we can train you to use a computer easily”. Boy, were they so, so wrong about this!

    There was a two-day computer training course. My first question to them as I saw the word “login” was, “What does LOW GONE mean??” It all went downhill from there. Seeing that I just wasn’t getting the knack of it, they made me come in two extra days to sit in the training room practicing making up case notes, fake client names and fake scenarios. I can’t describe how frustrated and confused I was, so, to make this torture tolerable, I typed the fake names: FU and FMe in the demographic fields. I then, just for fun, made up a bizarre case history. I was just having fun with it all. What I did not know is that, when I logged out, all that made-up data would still be there for the world (managers) to see!! That was my first sign that I didn’t belong in an organization. I was called into the supervisor’s office and told, “It’s come to our attention that you’re exhibiting unprofessional behavior”. Oh dear.

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    1. “Oh dear” indeed! : ) They could have told you that they would review your work. CB some of us are not meant to be in professional organizations. The only thing that saved me in my one really long-term job was that most of my time was spent with adolescents and even then if it had not been for the hard-headed ones, I don’t think I would have lasted as long as I did.

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  15. My close contest story is an embarrassing one revealing small thinking, a less than stellar vote-counter and poor, poor communication.

    Each year at my camp, a new board member is elected. A sheet of paper is hung in the dining hall with all the eligible campers listed. You have to be at least 13 years old and have attended camp for at least 2 years.
    Those who are not interested in running cross their names off the list. The majority of campers do cross off their names.

    One year, both wasband and I left our names on the list. We had no discussion about it. The election was held and someone else (NXM) won.
    Should not have been a big deal. However, one of the vote counters (BYB) told wasband that he had come close to winning. BYB shared with him her theory that our both being on the list had split the vote and that if I hadn’t run, he would have won. She made the first mistake.

    He made the second mistake when he decided to share this with me.
    He seemed to think that I would be happy that he had almost won or that I would share his disappointment that he hadn’t.

    Instead, I was livid (RARE, RARE, RARE for me) because BYB’s theory put me merely as a spoiler and wasband didn’t get that. He said he would have been happy if I had won; he merely felt that he wanted someone besides NXM. In fact, I had voted for NXM and I actually would have been disappointed if wasband had won because I felt he didn’t exemplify what a good camper should be (lazy, making stupid jokes, not getting along with some others).

    This revealed, years before we split, how I really felt about him but I stuffed it.

    Our communication was lousy before the election and after. Neither of us ever left our names on the candidate list again. We did come to an agreement that it wasn’t wise to have to deal with the fallout again.

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    1. Ugh! I can understand why you would be liviv, and very, very interesting that wasband would tell you what BYB had confided. Speaks volumes, doesn’t it?

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  16. I am copying Lisa, and pushing both an imaginary EDITH button and an imaginary ANNA button.

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    1. Thanks! I appreciate this and all the other good wishes. Will keep all posted (though I know I won’t hear more for at least a week…).

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  17. Ice cream makes me happy. Baboons make me happy. A class of 20 first graders make me happy. The Republican Convention doesn’t make me happy but combined with Summit EPA is a little less disturbing. And the following youtube is a happy song. For you, BA. Cheers, kudos, and all that jazz.

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    1. 20? could they put three classes together an fire one teacher? dont you have tea party school boards over there in south dakota?

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      1. Maybe not on the school board but there’s certainly a contingent. The principal made this call. She’s my new best friend. Next year we’ll probably be back to 27.

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  18. This is the perfect place to bring up my 2nd place awards that never get mentioned in conversation. In 1986 and 1987, I was awarded 2nd Second Place for Best Poetry in the American Penal Press Contest for poems published in The “The Prison Mirror” a Minnesota Correctional Facility. It was judged by the School of Journalism at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

    To be honest, I did not know that my poem was being submitted in the first year. While working/volunteering in Stillwater Prison, I passed the newspaper office open door each day. I became friends with the editor. We exchanged some of our prison writings. I agreed to let him publish some of my poems, as long as my name was not public. He used my initials. However, when the award came out, my name was public, embarrassing, but I thought it would have been more embarrassing to make a fuss.

    The Prison Mirror celebrated 100 years of continuous publishing in 1987. Cole Younger, Jesse James’ buddy, started the paper.

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    1. cole youger he started the mirror
      prison paper in that famous year
      after northield was raided
      the james gang was severly deflated
      the youngers wrote rhymes published here

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      1. Yes, got my stuff—from the days of typewriters and xerox. now I really feel old! This year The Prison Mirror is celebrating 125!!!

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    2. One of the topics about which I know too much is outlaws and gun battles of the Old West, and my favorite character from that bunch is Cole Younger. In a time when the average American male weighed about 150 pounds, Cole was 200 pounds of hard muscle. He had a romantic, gloomy side to his nature. He broke out of the gunfight in Northfield and made it to a marsh near Madelia, but there he was shot nearly to pieces and captured. A rickety hay wagon brought the wounded and dead outlaws back to Northfield. With 11 bullet holes in his body, Cole startled the townsfolk by rising to his feet and sweeping his hat to some ladies on the walk. He was no whiner. Cole described his youth in a newspaper interview: “We tried a desperate game and lost. But we are rough men used to rough ways, and we will abide by the consequences.”

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  19. on our kayaking trips up to the brule we used to mix a lemonade vodka based concoction we would drink heartily as we paddled through the hot summer afternoons. evenings around the campfire with a limerick jamboree and raucous joke telling and practical joking provided a memorable weekend year after year. we had on guy who was a great portrait artist drew up and dedicated a traveling trophy for the otie award named in honor of otis campbell on andy of mayberry. it was meant to be an honored heirloom that would be treasured and coveted for years to come. well i was in the runnig a time or two but never won or was in the top two or three for consideration. one guy who had won it two years in a row and looked like a shoe in for a three peat made sure the awards banquet was foiled by throwing the plaque on the campfire after everyone else had gone to bed. he said if he had to bring that thing home and explain it to his wife one more time he was gonna b made to wish he was the one in the fire pit.

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  20. For 4-5 weeks my wife’s lupus-ridden body was in a contest with a bad cold to see if she was going to live. Which she did, finally. I spent our 47th anniversary checking her every hour to see if she was breathing. Now we get to see if we can win the contest to pay the unfunded portion of all the resulting medical bills, which we know we can’t. Two other competitions/incidents hang over our heads. which I cannot explain just yet. Then there’e my competition not to fall back into severe depression. More about that in a day or two.

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    1. Clyde, we’re all thinking of you and your wife as you deal with the unfair amount of difficulties you have been dealt. Take some small comfort in the love that comes your way from the Trail.

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    2. Thank you Clyde for checking in. I am sorry for what sounds like a mountain of sadness and uncertainty. You have many friends here on the trail. Strength to you and your wife.

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    3. sorry about the money clyde. you dont really have any choice but to look after the medical options to keep going whatever the consequences and now for the consequences. hang in there the best you can. depression is a logical response as the walls are closing in. do your best to keep your head above water. are you able to go see a shrink? the trail is good for sympathy but i suspect a bit more would be appreciated right now. let me know if there is anything you need i can help out with.

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