The Great Peanut Fiasco and What it Reveals for Your Business


All I wanted was a friggin’ bag of peanuts!

Last night, at the NHL hockey game between (my beloved) St. Louis Blues and the Pittsburgh Penguins, I had a hankering for some salt and crunch. Peanuts in the shell. Some water to wash ‘em down. 

It was between the first and second periods so the concession stand crowds were long. But I found one of those stand-alone beer carts with a shorter (10-people deep) line. 

Taped to the cart’s awning was a printed sign with menu options. The last two menu items: Peanuts and bottled water. Bingo. 

Six minutes later, I was at the front of the line and ordered: 

“I’ll have a bag of peanuts and a bottle of water, please.” 

The beer cart guy gave me one of those sideway glances that said without saying, “Yo! This is a beer cart, not a water cart!” 

And then he barked it out LOUD: “I don’t have water. And I don’t have peanuts.” 

Charmless, with a dash of misdirected anger. 

That triggered my inner-snark. I smiled and pointed at the sign that said. “Mind if I tear the bottom three inches off your sign so no one else wastes their time?” 

He didn’t smile back. 

My quest continued. Around the bend, I found a concession stand that offered water and peanuts. At least that’s what the menu said. 

This time, I stood in line for four minutes before ordering…

“May I have a bag of peanuts and a bottle of water?” I asked. This time, a question, not “I will have…” I’d learned not to assume these menus tell the truth. 

The concession stand guy locked eyes with me, one of those looks that said, “Ohhhhh, you’re going to be sad, and I’m sad for you.”

Then he said it out loud: “Man, I’m sorry. We don’t have peanuts. But we have plenty of waters.” 

I smiled at him, pointed at the big menu behind him and said, “This place really needs to update its menus.” 

He smiled back, rolled his eyes and said, “Tell me about it.” 

He was feeling my pain, and I was feeling his (there’s a business lesson in that). 

So I asked him if he knew any place else where I could find peanuts. 

“Sorry, man. I don’t,” he said. 

I was frustrated, but I appreciated his courtesy. 

Sorry is a powerful word. Don’t be afraid to say it – when it’s warranted.

By this time, the second period was set to begin. So I returned to my seat, peanutless. 


When the second period ended, I rushed from my seat, eager to beat the lines, ready to hunt for the elusive peanuts…

…but bracing for the worst. 

Maybe the peanut supply chain is broken. Maybe there’s not a single bag of peanuts in the whole building, I thought.  

But when I entered the main concourse and turned left, I saw it: At the concession stand immediately next to the place I sit, Section 115, a giant basket filled with piles of peanuts.

And no line!!!!

Sixt seconds and $5.75 later, I was cracking open my first peanut.

I’d satisfied my craving. But – holy moly – I had to work way too hard for it.

Turns out there were plenty of peanuts in the building. 

But the concession manager didn’t distribute those peanuts around the building. Lots of peanuts in one spot. No peanuts elsewhere. 

And the peanut-cravers were left wanting. Most who wanted peanuts probably gave up (how many peanut sales did the building lose last night?!). 

I really, really, really wanted some peanuts so I kept hunting. But most prospects won’t hunt so hard. 

That’s true in arena concessions. And it’s true in your business. 

The world is full of people who crave what you offer, who want to know what you know. 

They walk past the beer cart that is your social media page. 

They stop by the concession stand that is the front page of your website. 

They would gladly buy your peanuts – er…I mean sign up for your email list – if you made it easier for them. 

But so many business people make it way too hard to join their email list – or they do a lousy job encouraging people to join the list. 

That’s why – a few hours before last night’s hockey game – I hosted a workshop called “5 Ways to Build Your Email List with the Right Prospects.” 

One of the key ideas: 

Make it easier for prospects to find you and get your “peanuts.” 

Those who attended the workshop loved it. They got 5 tips in just 25 minutes and then stuck around for Q&A. 

I didn’t record the workshop, and I wasn’t planning to run it again, but…

…then the peanut fiasco happened, and it reminded me: This is critical, business-building stuff. 

You have valuable things to say, potential prospects to inspire, sales to close. They’re hunting for answers. But…

Prospects won’t hear what you say, be inspired to act, and choose to do business with you unless they’re on your list…

…unless you create more and better opportunities for them to opt-in…

…unless you make it easier for them to find and get your peanuts. 

So I’m thinking of hosting the workshop again…

…but only if I hear from enough people who are interested. 

The smart folks who attended yesterday’s workshop began during the session to get more peanuts on more stands – and they’ll soon reap the benefits. 

If you want to quickly discover how to build your email list with the right prospects, reply to this email and write “I want you to show me the peanuts” in the email message. 

I’ll reply back with details (TBD) regarding the next workshop. I’ll try to set a time that works for you. 

p.s. I help coaches, consultants, and business leaders discover and deliver powerful stories that captivate prospects and inspire them to act. Whenever you're ready, here are several ways I can help you become a storytelling stand-out so you'll land more clients without pitching and prodding:

1) Connect with me on LinkedIn and Facebook and (if not subscribed already) join our email list.

2) Watch the free, 7-minute Micro-Training: “The 3 Most Important Storytelling Keys to Captivate Prospects and Inspire Them to Act -- Without Pitching and Prodding.”

3) Become a Story Power VIP in the Content Transformation Academy: Master how to discover, assemble, and deliver business-building stories. Weekly masterclasses. Members-only content. One-on-one feedback and consulting sessions. And more… If you'd like to learn more about our VIP program, just reply to this email and put "Story Power VIP" in the subject line. I’ll contact you with more details.

4) Work with me one-on-one: If you’re interested in working directly with me -- to discover, assemble, and deliver powerful, business-building stories -- simply reply to this email and change the subject line to "Private Client." Tell me a little about yourself, your business, and what you'd like to accomplish, and I'll reply to discuss options.

5) Invite me to speak at an event: I can tailor a presentation that meets the specific needs of your organization. Informative. Entertaining. Virtual or live. Potential for continuing education credits when applicable for your group. If interested, reply to this email and change the subject line to “Speaking Engagement.” I’ll circle back to discuss the possibilities.

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Tom Ruwitch

Tom Ruwitch is the founder and CEO of Story Power Marketing. For more than 30 years, he has helped businesses grow by delivering powerful stories using a variety of different media.