Episode 11 - #SustainableGiftGiving – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – with Tracey Alexandria Lynch


Episode 11 - #SustainableGiftGiving – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – with Tracey Alexandria Lynch


This Tuesday on Commonalities join Tracey Alexandria Lynch an Entrepreneur, Author, and Coach to talk about Sustainable Gift Giving!

Tracey is an experienced Sr. Executive with a background in healthcare, operations, finance, post-secondary education, nonprofits/social services, and telecom. She is a proven influential leader who has mastered business mentoring, coaching, strategy, funnel development, fundraising strategies, forecasting, and business model design. She is a critical thinker, natural entrepreneur, creative innovator with an expanded and global mindset.

A gifted problem solver, she is focused, goal-oriented, and a competitive business organizer who is versatile, resilient, sensitive, and industrious toward corporate, client and team needs.

One of her life themes is “Life's most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?” (MLK) The other is “Time isn't the important thing. It is the only thing.” (Miles Davis)

She believes human resources are our world's most precious resource. and collecting those resources and directing them where needed to serve others, is the building block of her life's work.

Tracey loves learning, literature, writing, teaching, family, the great outdoors, travel, health topics, meditation, and puppies. She loves seeing things grow! An avid gardener, she is passionate about life design, personal development and transformation, ideas, invention, innovation, service, and contribution. She shares her magical life with her husband Darrell, and their two pups Sunshine and Ali. She is the mother to two adult children and grandmother of two.

As always, Commonalities can be heard on WMBS Radio 590AM 101.1FM every Tuesday and Thursday following the 11:00 AM local, district, and statewide news; or downloaded at www.Commonalities.online and found anyplace you download your favorite podcasts.

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Episode Transcript
Starting now. Commonalities where guests find common ground through uncommon conversations, politics, religion, finances, all the topics your grandmother told you not to discuss with friends. And now your host, Matthew Dowling, and today's guests on commonalities. Thanks for joining us on Commonalities Today. I'm your host, Matt Dowling, alongside a wonderful guest we have today, Tracy Alexandria Lynch. She's an entrepreneur, an author, and a coach. Um, she has a lot of experience in a wide range of fields. Everything from healthcare, operations, finance, post-secondary education, nonprofits and social services and telecom. She's a proven influential leader who has mastered business mentoring, coaching strategy, funnel development, fundraising strategies, forecasting and business model design. And she's a critical thinker, natural entrepreneur, creative innovator with an expanding and global mindset. Tracy, thank you so much for being with us today. Thank you for having me, Matt. Appreciate. It. I want wanted to give you the opportunity here at the start of the show to do a little bit of a self introduction. I know I hit some of the bullet points from your biography, but why don't you tell us and my listeners a little bit about yourself, Tracy? Well, I am originally from Illinois, from Aurora, Illinois. Um, I was born and raised there, and, um, grew up in a, a modest home, um, that taught me a lot about gardening. And, uh, I think my father was an original ecos and, um, recycler even before we knew what that was. Um, I loved education from the very, very beginning. I taught myself to read when I was three or four years old. Um, so I've always loved the written word. I love teaching, sharing, ideas, innovation, invention, and I'm just getting to the point of my life after I've, you know, I have, uh, I went to college for, uh, communications and I took a, an MBA as well. Um, and I've, like you said, I've worked in a variety of fields, but I've always been on a path where I kind of just did the next logical thing. And it's just now that I'm getting around to my passions and living this life the way I really want to do it. And that includes accomplishing what I was actually set here to do, not just the next thing. So I'm excited to have been the recipient of this information, and I'm so happy to be passionate about it because I think it's really a timely message. So today, I know we're going to be talking about, uh, a new book that you have out, and that is Dono, uh, creating a sustainable experience. And for those that aren't well versed in Latin, like myself, Dono is Latin for, uh, for gift. So we're talking about, uh, gift giving, gift giving, and creating a sustainable experience through that. Um, why don't you tell me why you decided to write this book and why you're so passionate about, uh, about this issue? Well, um, my husband and I, we share a, a green mindset, and my son, who's a co-writer on the book also as well, and he was raised that way. Um, I'm not exactly sure how I stumbled into this exact concept, but I'm wired to solve problems, provide simple solutions to big problems. And somehow my concern about this, it just morphed into this book. And I began to study and we began to bounce ideas around, and the problem was so much bigger than we thought. And I think it's bigger than most people think. And when I started talking to people about it, they're like, they had no idea of the magnitude of this issue, um, this. So I think that that's why, um, it's so important. It's so important to me because the, the act of gift giving the way it is today is non-sustainable for the planet. Back in the days of settlers and Little House on the Prairie and Laura Engels Wilder, when Paul got a hat and Laura got a trust, and mom got a handkerchief wrapped in craft paper with a piece of twine. We have come so far from that not providing what people need or even exactly what they want, but we shop with the idea of surprise in mind of, of creating a wow factor. And a lot of times that falls flat. And so the only way to fix the gift giving issue, which causes the planet so much havoc and waste, is to collect our consciousness together and co and do one thing that solves the problem. Um, logistics is designed, go ahead. Oh, no, no, no. I, I didn't mean to cut you off. I was just going to say kind of an example of what you're talking about, um, in sustainable gift giving. Um, you know, I'll give you a good example and a bad example. I have a nine year old and a 10 year old that, uh, both got cell phones and they got their second laptop. They're now on their second laptop. They've got, their first ones about five. So now we have old laptops that have to go someplace. They have to be discarded, and they're really not of any value anymore. Um, you know, so maybe that's an example of non-sustainable gift giving where we're buying these things that, you know, are once, but it's, it's not really good for the environment, um, that we live in afterwards. I, I think maybe a, a good example of sustainable gift giving is, uh, is something my wife has started to do, and I, and I love these gifts. She has a cricket, and so she makes household goods for a lot of our family members that are personalized in some way. Yeah. Um, but it's something that that individual probably would've gone out and purchased on their own or would've used, uh, otherwise. So it's not something that's just grandiose and out here and extravagant. It's an item that, uh, that's personalized, whether it be a cheeseboard or Right. You know, a, a little cup. We did cheese Your bathroom to hold Your, your stuff, things like that. Yeah, we did those for Christmas know, so those are, yeah. So we, we took out the, uh, the hobby of wood burning. Uh, so we cut out the stencil and the cricket and then used the wood burner on the cheese boards. I'm not sure if you did that a similar way, but, um, but so those are some examples of the good and bad, as far as I see it in, in gift giving. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So I didn't mean to cut you off. There. Oh, no worries. And I think you're, you're absolutely right. Um, and we wanted, wanted to be careful in this message, not to step on people's toes and, and tell, and send the message that we don't want you to be consumers. We don't want you to have the things that you want and need. That is not the message. The message is not to stop shopping to not, it is not to, um, to buy the things that your children and your family needs. That is not the message. Our message is gifting is a wonderful experience. It's built on tradition, it's fun, it is enjoyable, and we want to keep that going. We just want to do a better job. 88% of people think that when you buy a gift and someone takes it back to the store, that they are gonna put that on the shelf and resell it to the next consumer. This is false. Most of those returns are going to end up in a landfill. There are so many, there's five, let's see, 5.8 billion tons of returns end up in the landfill every year. So that's, that's almost 6 billion tons of returns. There's 16 million metric tons of CO2 that are used to produce those gifts that end up in the landfill. And there's another 16 million metric tons of CO2 used just to move them to the landfill. That's incredible. These gifts are made out of glass, metal, plastics, natural goods, plant materials, animal materials, and they're going straight into the landfill. There's some gifts that can never be resold, but the problem with this is, and then I'll tell you what, what I think sustainable gifting is, the problem with this is, is logistics was designed to move from one, from the manufacturer to the consumer. It was not designed to move from the consumer back to the manufacturer, not even back to the seller. Once you do that, imagine everyone driving to work on the highway, and except we're all driving backwards. Imagine the energy, the fear, the concern, how slow that would happen, the accident, and would we get the end result that we're looking for, which is to arrive at the destination safely that we intended at the time we intended to, is almost impossible. So we know that it costs a ma, uh, seller, 66% of the sale price of that item to go through the return process. So it many times is cheaper for the seller to simply say, keep it discarded, or they'll take the return as far as the warehouse, and then they'll discard it, and then they will simply ship a new one, because it takes manpower at every step of that rever reversal to make it happen. Does that make sense? It, yeah. In, in my, my, uh, listeners that shop on Amazon on a regular basis, like I tend to do, um, they are probably have received a return message at some point in time when you try to return something because it comes in incorrect or it's not exactly what you were looking for, where the seller is saying, Hey, you know, that's great, we'll refund you, but just keep the item's. And it's because of the issue that we're discussing right now. Uh, and really we're getting to the topic of reverse logistics, but we have to get to our first break. So when we come back, we'll be talking more about reverse logistics and sustainable gift giving. Stick with us. You're listening to commonalities where guests find common ground through uncommon conversations. We'll be back after this brief break to recognize our sponsors. Is your business using analog strategies in a digital marketing world? If so, then contact Matthew or Rebecca Dowling at Coordinated 360 for a professional consultation where we bring in-depth knowledge and functional expertise with a holistic perspective. Coordinated 360 provides digital marketing, paid ad and media buying services, web design, social media management, video production, and more for businesses, organizations, and political campaigns with decades of experience. Matt and Becky at Coordinated 360 can help you craft your unique message and share it with the world. For a no risk media evaluation and recommendations, call 7 2 4 3 2 0 22 12, or visit us online at www.coordinatedthreesixty.com. Find us also on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, or email info coordinated three sixty.com. Founded in 1991, bright Stripe has succeeded on the premises of quality work done right at an affordable cost. At Bright Stripe personal service has always been a must. We Stripe to be the premier asphalt ceiling and striping company in the region. Matt George, the owner of Brights Stripe llc, brings experience from his construction and maintenance company, mountain Creek Construction and Maintenance. Matt has provided excellent customer service to many happy businesses and homeowners. Bright Stripe is the premier provider of seal coating or pavement ceiling. The process of applying a protective coating to asphalt based pavements to provide a layer of protection from the elements, water, oils, and UV damage. They also specialize in driveway and parking lot. Crack ceiling. Crack ceiling is the process of applying a protective coating to asphalt based pavements. Bright stripe also abides by all safety laws and standards in line striping and layout. For a no obligation estimate, contact Bright Stripe at 7 2 4 4 3 7 6 0 9 0. When it comes to buying a home, what you see isn't exactly what you get. That's why home buyers should call Dave Dowling At Grandview Inspections at 7 2 4 2 0 8 4 1 0 8. You'll see colorful flowers, freshly painted walls, granite countertops, blaming hardwood floors and other touches. What you can't see is the cracks, ancient plumbing, dangerous wiring, or broken appliances that might be revealed when you hire a home inspector. And when it comes to home inspectors, knowing yours has the qualifications and experience needed, should be your number one concern. Dave Dowling with Grandview Inspections is an architectural engineer with over 30 years of commercial construction experience and hundreds of inspections under his belt. A home inspection is an opportunity for you to hire an expert to walk through the home and prepare a report outlining the home's major components. What needs immediate attention and what will require maintenance after you move in your home is one of your biggest investments. So make sure your investment is everything you hoped it to be. Call Dave Dowling at Grandview Inspections at 7 2 4 2 0 8 4 1 0 8. Are you enjoying the program? You're listening to support commonalities and help keep us on the air by making a donation of five, 10 or $25, or any amount you feel comfortable sharing [email protected] Again, that is donate.commonalities.online on the worldwide web. Buy our host a cup of coffee or help pay for airtime at donate dot commonalities. Online. You're listening to commonalities on five 90 w MBS 1 0 1 0.1 fm, and any place you download your favorite podcast, I'm your host, Matt Dowling. My guest today is Tracy Alexandria Lynch. She's an entrepreneur, author, and coach, and she is a recent book out Donna, creating a Sustainable Experience. And we're talking about sustainable gift giving. And this is, uh, this is kind of a, an appropriate time to talk about this because we just went through the holiday seasons, whether you celebrate Christmas or, uh, or if you're Jewish and celebrate Hanukkah or even, uh, those that celebrate, uh, Kwanza, et cetera. There's a lot of gift giving that happens in the month of December. So January becomes the time when a lot of returns are taking place. But, and, and I know we're gonna get to this in a moment, uh, January is not the only time of the year when returns from gifts are a problem. So I'll let you get to that in just a moment. Uh, before we went to the break, we started talking about the buzzword reverse logistics, and that's really all operations that are related to the upstream movement of products and materials. So, uh, Tracy, tell me a little bit more about your vision, uh, your book, and the idea of, uh, of sustainable gift giving. Okay, awesome. So we were, we briefly touched on, uh, sustainable gifting and what components go into that. And I, one, when we wrote this book, we wanted to keep it short, punchy to the, to the facts, and we didn't wanna have a lot of fluff in it so people would, it would be easier for people to download and adapt. And even with a sustainable gifting experience, we want that to be easy as well. We don't want one more thing that people have to do to make this happen. Um, people spend about 15 hours shopping for Christmas gifts. Um, if they follow the principles in the book, they can save about 75% of that time. There's all types of psychology that goes around gift giving. I don't know what to get. I don't know if they're gonna be happy with it. I don't know how much I should spend. I'm buying because they bought me something. There's so much that goes into it. But the bottom line of sustainable gift giving is this, know your audience. Know what the person you're buying for wants. And, uh, we, we, um, talk about this in the book by using the folklore Santa, right. And we know that Santa is folklore, but Santa had it going on a little bit because he did two very important things. He asked you exactly what you wanted, right? And then. So you made your list, and he had it. And he had it. He knew the brand, he knew the size. There was no getting this wrong. He doesn't like Polkadots, she doesn't like stripes. That's not what she asked me for, even if it's on sale. So he ch he asked what you want, and then he checked his list, and then what did he do? He checked it twice. Okay, period. But then, but then you run into the problem as, as an adult, when Santa is taken out of the equation, and now I have adult siblings, two sisters that I need to buy for, and I wanna get them something that they want, that they need, that they'll appreciate mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, you know, but my mind works different than theirs. So, you know, how do you, how do you suppose we have a crystal ball. I know you're saying know your audience, but do you have any tips on telling us how to know what gifts are good gifts to give for people? Oh, absolutely. So it's, it's very, very simple. We ask them, Santa doesn't surprise when those kids get that they're not surprised. They're what? They're delighted. They're delighted that Santa listened and they're excited to receive the gift. That's delight, surprise is trying to give somebody something that they would not expect you to get them. That's where we are missing the ball. Anytime you hold up something on your way out of TJ Max and you say, I wonder what they like this, you have already put it down, sweetheart. You have already <laugh> gone too far. Do not take that to the register with you because there's a maybe in it. So we have worksheets in the book that help you to get to know your person. And so in your, we're building a app that'll have the same platform in it. Um, and it'll be your circle that's around you. So you just keep your, your worksheet. It'll tell you their colors. Fragrances, this is great for husbands who can't remember their wife's sizes. They can't remember that wonderful flower that she loves, that she has to ask her sister and her friend. Well, is it a, is it a a rose or is it a, you know, uh, hydrangea, no. He, he will already know what fragrance. That just got, that just got me in trouble because I said to my wife, do you know so-and-so's favorite flower is, uh, a daffodil? And it is. And, and I know because this person always buys on daffodil days, um, you know, an absurd amount of daffodils for the cancer society. But my wife then said to me, well, we've been married for over 12 years, what's my favorite flower? And, and I didn't know that's, there you go. You know, so there you go. So this would help me. And then, then what's her, what's her favorite fragrance? You know, is someone allergic to some things? Um, if you have nieces, nephews, children keeping their sizes, so grandma's not calling your, your sister saying, Hey, what, what, um, size do you think? Well, I think he might wear, there we go, because we can't continue to use Amazon. And online is our, is our testing site for gifts. We can't continue to use Amazon as our dressing room, our virtual fitting room. Because when we, there's people that will buy three different sizes. Grandma will be like, here, I'm gonna buy three sizes, whichever ones you don't need, send 'em back them back. The planet cannot sustain that, that that activity. What we can sustain is creating demand for what we actually want and will actually use. Because as we talked about before, most of those gifts, those returns are going into the landfill. So there's more birthdays on the planet than there are that, that, um, we purchase for than we do at Christmas. Christmas is just the biggest time of the year, but there's 8 billion people on the planet, right? So if you have a percentage of them and your people are buying gifts for them, then that really is the biggest holiday is our collective birthday. So you have birthdays, you have Mother's Day, father's Day, right? That. We need to, so that's why this isn't just a problem once a year. This is a bigger problem than people even can take into scope at this point in time, because you're constantly buying a gift for, you know, I'm thinking baptisms, communion, um, you know, those are just some of the things we've been to recently. Yeah. Weddings, wedding gifts, um, engagement parties. You know, there's, there's a lot of times when you want to, when you want to give a gift. Um, but that's very difficult. And, and as we keep having this conversation about sustainability, I go back to, you know, my childhood in the na 1980s and mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, at that point in time, before recycling was where it is today, we would talk about, you know, the three Rs, reduce, reuse, and recycle mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so how can we be sustainable, uh, within that scope with the gifts that we're giving to other individuals? Well, for one, um. And, and I think that's the problem that you're trying to address. Absolutely. Absolutely. And I even say in the book, one great way to contribute to sustainability is to buy things that will last. My family still has my father's tools from when we were children. They still work. They didn't, the handle didn't come off the hammer. Nothing happened to those tools cuz they were made to last. I think that we live in a more, get me a temporary fix for right now. I'll get the $2 hammer that the head's gonna fall off. And then when that happens, I'll just get another one. I like to tell people, once you've purchased something, you've created a, you've created a demand for it. And that demand is your responsibility. And once you buy that item, you own it forever, no matter where it goes. I don't care if it's a plastic bag, something you got at the dollar store, aluminum foil, a gift, an electronic, whatever it is, you're responsible for that. And so we can buy more sustainably, meaning things that are, are sourced, uh, through recycling or natural goods. We could do that. Everybody doesn't have to do it. That's not everybody's jam. But what you can do is you can be a responsible gifter by asking what people want, what they truly desire. And on the flip side of that, you have to be a gracious gift receiver. How many of us are just not gracious? Hey, what do you want for Christmas? Oh my gosh, you don't have to get me anything. You know, they're gonna go do it, but yet you resist. Why don't you just say, Hey, these are some things I've been looking at over the past year in a wide range of prices so that they feel comfortable. But also these are some everyday things I use, like I use natural, um, cleaning products. I could always use a basket of natural cleaning products. I use the same moisturizer day in and day out. Hey, why don't you get me some glow recipe? You know what I mean? It's wonderful to say, to be, you know, falsely modest and say, oh, you don't have to get anything. You don't have to spend any money on me. But when you know your father, your mother, your sister, your brother, your child, your friend wants to serve you in love and service through a gift, then be gracious to tell them what you want versus letting them guess about it. And then you're like, man, has she ever seen me in a purple sweater? I've never worn a purple sweater. Why did she get me a purple sweater? Because she got it. Because you wouldn't tell her what she really wanted. And so that's an aspect that gr that graciousness is the aspect of being able to reciprocal give in a sustainable way as well. So we've talked about being a gracious individual, accepting a gift, and we talked about being a, uh, responsible, uh, gift buyer in thinking about the sustainability of the gifts that were gifting to other people. Um, we've briefly touched on and, and we've kind of rode the wagon around it a couple, uh, times. That's the problem of reverse logistics. And, uh, as I was reading a little bit before the show on reverse logistics, I found that, uh, that there are five Rs and I just talked about the three Rs of sustainability, but there's five Rs to reverse logistics that people talk about, and that's return, resale, repair, replace, and recycle. Um, let's talk before we go to the break, we only have about a minute, but let's talk about the problem of re reverse logistics. Why doesn't it really work for the retailers like Amazon or Walmart that are out there? It's too expensive. That's the bottom line. It's too expensive. Like we said, it takes, um, the average, um, return process process costs about 66% of the cost of that item. So in many instances it is not, um, advantageous for a seller to do that. And also. Um, so it's, it's, it's just good business that they're not doing. Absolutely. It's good business. And, um, sadly this is going to create further problems by passing those costs onto us, right? Because if we continue with these practices, those costs have to go somewhere and they're gonna get, uh, passed on to, to us. Um, there's even the, the kit that they're gonna take from something I call cyber shoplifting, which means there's certain businesses that will tell you, go ahead and donate that item. Go ahead and keep that item. When people start to ingest that information, there's gonna be a remnant. And right now we're at about 6% of people returning gifts. There's nothing wrong with it. They're just saying there's something wrong with it that's cyber shoplifting because they know they're gonna tell them to keep it. So I won't advertise those companies, um, at all because I don't, I don't like mentioning them at all. But they're, they're great companies and they're trying to do the right thing. Sure. But we as the consumer end up paying the, the final price because they have to mark up the goods and services that we do pay for to be able to take care of that. Hey, Tracy, we have to get in our first break, uh, or our next break will be back after these messages and we'll continue the topic of sustainable gift giving here on commonalities. You are listening to commonalities where guests find common ground through uncommon conversations. We'll be back after this brief break to recognize our sponsors. Is your business using analog strategies in a digital marketing world? If so, then contact Matthew or Rebecca Dowling at Coordinated 360 for a professional consultation where we bring in-depth knowledge and functional expertise with a holistic perspective. Coordinated 360 provides digital marketing, paid ad and media buying services, web design, social media management, video production, and more for businesses, organizations, and political campaigns with decades of experience. Matt and Becky at Coordinated 360 can help you craft your unique message and share it with the world. For a no risk media evaluation and recommendations, call 7 2 4 3 2 0 22 12 or visit us online at www.coordinatedthreesixty.com. Find us also on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, or email info coordinated three sixty.com. Founded in 1991, bright Stripe has succeeded on the premises of quality work done right at an affordable cost. At Brights Stripe personal service has always been a must. We strive to be the premier asphalt ceiling and striping company in the region. Matt George, the owner of Bright Brighttree llc, brings experience from his construction and maintenance company, mountain Creek Construction and Maintenance. Matt has provided excellent customer service to many happy businesses and homeowners. Brighttree is the premier provider of seal coating or pavement ceiling. The process of applying a protective coating to asphalt based pavements to provide a layer of protection from the elements, water, oils, and UV damage. They also specialize in driveway and parking lot. Crack ceiling. Crack ceiling is the process of applying a protective coating to asphalt based pavements. Bright stripe also abides by all safety laws and standards in line striping and layout. For a no obligation estimate, contact Bright Stripe at 7 2 4 4 3 7 6 0 9 0. When it comes to buying a home, what you see isn't exactly what you get. That's why home buyers should call Dave Dowling At Grandview Inspections at 7 2 4 2 0 8 4 1 0 8. You'll see colorful flowers, freshly painted walls, granite countertops, blaming hardwood floors and other touches. What you can't see is the cracks, ancient plumbing, dangerous wiring, or broken appliances that might be revealed when you hire a home inspector. And when it comes to home inspectors, knowing yours has the qualifications and experience needed should be your number one concern. Dave Dowling with Grand View Inspections is an architectural engineer with over 30 years of commercial construction experience and hundreds of inspections under his belt. A home inspection is an opportunity for you to hire an expert to walk through the home and prepare a report outlining the home's major components. What needs immediate attention and what will require maintenance after you move in your home is one of your biggest investments. So make sure your investment is everything you hoped it to be. Call Dave Dowling at Grandview Inspections at 7 2 4 2 0 8 4 1 0 8. Are you enjoying the program? You're listening to support commonalities and help keep us on the air by making a donation of five, 10 or $25, or any amount you feel comfortable sharing [email protected] Again, that is donate.commonalities.online on the worldwide web, buy our host a cup of coffee or help pay for airtime at donate dot commonalities. Online. You're listening to commonalities on W MBS five 90 am 1 0 1 0.1 fm, and any place you download your favorite podcast. I'm your host Matt Dowling, alongside an entrepreneur, author, and coach. Uh, really an expert in her field that has written a recent book about sustainable gift giving. Her name is Tracy Lynch. And Tracy. Uh, before the break we were talking about reverse logistics and how it just doesn't make any sense for big retailers sometimes to accept the returns. Um, and we started to talk a little bit about the solution, uh, making the decision. Is it just one more thing that will take up people's time or is this a, a good gift that we should, we should gift to those we love? So why don't we pick up the conversation there. Well, this is not something that's going to take up more time. We were very careful with that. This is something that's gonna save time. It's also going to be something that allows you to understand those that you care about more, what makes them tick, who they really are. A lot of times we think we know people, but we really don't know really their style or anything about how they live their lives. But as we get into the needs and wants of people and use those to sustainably gift, we are gonna get to know people and their brands. And we're traveling our journey with these people that are close to us. We're traveling this journey with our families and our close friends. So why not get to know them better and not go for surprise, but go for that gift that's really going to mean something. It's going to add to their life. And more than anything, it's going to be used Just because you give someone a gift and they say they like it, doesn't mean it's going to be used. If they tell you they need it and they want it, then that is when you know it will be used and cherished. So, like I said, it's one simple idea. Find out what people, find out what people want before you spend money. Um, it's the best stewardship of your dollar. It's the best stewardship for, um, the, um, recipient, and it's the best stewardship toward the planet. So that's, that's a gift for everyone. Um. So if, you know, doing this really doesn't take up, uh, a whole lot of extra time. It's not extremely onerous or burdensome, um, to put in place and to do it does take a little more time, um, or brain power to think about the individual, to talk to the individual and ask them what they want. But you know, whatever trade off you have for having to do that kind of brain work mm-hmm. <affirmative> or that mental math as to, uh, what the person wants, it's going to be a more appreciated gift. Yes. And, uh, and so ultimately I think that makes it great not to mention the fact that it makes you a good steward to the environment and, uh, you know, to the world that we live in because we're not just filling, uh, landfills with additional trash. And and if you think of it that way, you know, do we want to give trash to those we love? Or do we want to give them a gift that is really sustainable and wanted and needed and going to be used? That's exactly right. You could have written a book because that's really <laugh>. That's, that's really what it's about. Um, I'll say it again. The way we are currently giving gifts is not sustainable for this planet. Not when over half of all gift recipients are returning one to two gifts a piece. That's unreal. That's unreal. That is now, now when we get to the end of the day, uh, you know, we have to talk about practicality in all things. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, can we really correct this problem? Is this something that we can fix? I mean, it, it's gonna take just you and, you know, not just you and me can go out and, and fix our individual problems and this whole problem go away. It's gonna take, uh, discussions and education and, uh, a large number of people being involved. But can we at the end of the day, accomplish the goal of being more sustainable gift givers? I love this question. I think it's my favorite question, um, because I have all the hope in the world that this can happen, um, with 8 billion people on the planet believe that there are enough people that care enough to do at least one thing. And we're asking you to do one simple thing, know what your recipient wants before you buy it, period. With the goal of 100% satisfaction, um, every time, the only time a gift really should be returned nowadays, um, once we decide to accept this concept is when it malfunctions that hair dryer you got, it just was a dud. It didn't work. The screen was cracked, it arrived damaged. Those are ju justifiable reasons to return a gift. Not you didn't know the size and you guessed at it, not you were filling in gifts with fluff. And most of them, they're not gonna use. Um, I have, like I said, all the faith in the world, um, I borrow from Malcolm Gladwell in the tipping point that as we begin to infiltrate our consciousness with these ideas and we connect it to the sickness that our planet is enduring right now, once we it comes, once we are able to settle with that information, I believe there are enough people that are willing to do one simple thing to change this. And I believe that that will, um, spread throughout, throughout America. I think that we're some of the biggest, I don't think we are some of the biggest, um, gift givers in the world, and I know it can be done. Um, I had someone contact me and he said Christmas was a success. We had zero gift returns. I didn't, what he would do is he would fill in the gifts with fluff because he wasn't sure if his wife was gonna like him. So just in case he got her these other things he said, he brought, he bought no fluff and he was really excited. And if that's all it takes is one person to tell another person, um, even if they just tell them, this is what I want and this is what I don't want, you know, it's not a tremendous amount of time. If I give you the worksheet, you could fill it out for me. I don't have to fill 'em all out. Like, Hey, can you fill this out for me? I wanna get you a gift Who's not gonna fill the sheet out? Like, yes. I love, um, hikeys and I love Vanilla Candles. I mean, telling, telling someone what we want is a gift to the planet. Being vocal, being truthful. In, in taking care of the planet is, uh, something that we do for others. And as we are approaching Martin Luther King Day here, I I know that one of your favorite, uh, quotes or life themes is, uh, life's most persistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others? And by being more sustainable gift givers, we are doing something for others. We're taking care of our planet. And, and I think that's the crux of the message that, uh, that we want to get a acrossed in today's episode. You know, and, uh, on a re recent episode, I had the, uh, young ladies from the Fayette Chamber of Commerce, and we were talking about local retailers and where you could go get last minute gifts. This was on an episode that was, was just before, uh, Christmas. But you know, if, if you put that thought into it, um, this doesn't disenfranchise any of those retailers. It doesn't mean that we're necessarily spending any less money. The, uh, the country's gross domestic product will still be the same. That's correct. We are just being smarter in what we are purchasing. And, you know, I I I think about things that, uh, that don't go into the landfill that we could purchase through some of our local retailers and, uh, and to support small business and the economy. Yes. Uh, there are ways, there are ways to do this. We're down to just about three minutes left in today's program. And before we go, I wanted to, uh, let my listeners know where they can purchase your book. If, if this conversation has kind of wet your appetite and you're salivating you wanna know more, um, as well as I believe your book includes some of those example worksheets. Am I correct? That's correct in saying that, you know, yes. So if they wanna purchase your book, where can they find it? They can go straight to amazon.com. It's don, it's like donut except with the m uh, creating a sustainable gifting experience. And the funding from this book goes to create the Don app, which will have all of the worksheet and the questionnaires at your fingertips with it housed in there forever. It's like your own personal, um, gift registry that never dies and people can, will be able to purchase from you for you straight from that app. So we're working on the app now. And then everything from, uh, that we work on, a portion of that goes into local communities and charities that serve children with learning disabilities. So, um, we, our vision is to solve, um, local problems by solving big problems and just keep it going. Just be going right around in a circle. So let's serve others by serving the planet. Let's serve the planet by serving others. I think we, we can do it. Absolutely. And you stole my final transition from me. I was going to say, now tell me more about this app. So we've already started talking about the app. What's the anticipated, um, deadline that you have out there for having the app ready? And when it's ready, will it be available, uh, in the app store on, on mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, Google, and uh, also on your iPhones? Yes, it'll be available on both. We're looking to have a beta test ready by, uh, March. Um, and if that goes well, we'll proceed from there. Um, the, all the pages have been built out all of the selections and choices. It's kind of like Facebook met, Pinterest met the Amazon wishlist, and it's a beautiful app where all your choices will be in there, the people in your close circle. This will only be for your close circle. So you won't be, you won't have 500 users. You may have 30 or 40 colleagues, friends, family, so forth. And, um, the initial app to keep your registry will be free. And then there'll be a charge for the app if you want to include your tribe, which I think that that's what it's all about. So, um, we're looking forward to that. And this is a great way, this is a great way to b build funding for something like that. I'm excited. That is, it is, uh, a very exciting, uh, prospect to look into. And honestly, before you brought this to my attention before you were a guest on my show, um, you know, sustainable gift giving wasn't something that was on my radar, but, uh, I think our conversation today has pointed out how important it really is. Tracy, I want to thank you for being on my program today here on commonalities and, uh, I wish you the best of luck and success with your new app. And, uh, for those of you looking for Tracy's book again on amazon.com, you can uh, search for Dom creating a sustainable experience. Thank you. This has been commonalities, a show where guests find common ground through uncommon conversations. Copyright 2022 coordinated 360, all public rebroadcast should be done with prior written approval from Matthew Dowling. All requests should be sent to [email protected] Thank you for listening to commonalities.

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