How to pick the perfect watermelon (and other important life lessons).


My biggest disappointment this week was a watermelon. In the Grand Scheme, it could certainly be worse, especially when other purchases from the Farmer's Market lived up to their good looks. The tomatoes, cucumbers, okra and green beans were perfect. Only the watermelon let me down. It looked good on the outside, but turned out to be tasteless, watery and entirely ho-hum. That's a good life lesson. Or, as my family might say, "That'll preach." We're knee-deep in preachers (father, son, brother, sister-in-law, one cousin, three uncles) and life lessons often become sermon illustrations. This was sometimes embarrassing for me and my four younger siblings, but that's a story for another day.

Susan's 9-year old grandson, Trip, has four younger siblings, too. He's a protective big brother, a natural comedian and wise far beyond his years. Yesterday, one of his sisters was admiring a photo of a pageant winner and asked their mom, "Is she really the QUEEN of Beauty???" Trip jumped in right away. "I think that's terrible!" She was surprised, so he went on to explain: "Beauty pageants say, 'You're pretty,' and 'You're not.' It's like when somebody is a different color and people think they're not as good. That's not right." And that'll preach, Trip. That will definitely preach.

Picking the Perfect Watermelon (or CRM)

For the past few days, Susan has been hunkered down at the computer comparing CRM software(Customer Relationship Management). This means looking at features, talking to sales reps, signing up for demos and reading reviews. It's my least favorite kind of project, but she enjoys it and knows what to look for, so I'm grateful. Serving customers well is essential in our line of work and choosing the right CRM is an important decision.

Some of the the signs of a perfect watermelon provide guidance for making other decisions, too, whether it's selecting a CRM, hiring an employee, finding the right school, considering a job, or even choosing a spouse.

Choose carefully. Make a list of the important qualities you're looking for. What are the non-negotiables? If you're not sure how to choose, ask experts for advice. (Next time, I'll ask the farmer to point out the best watermelon.)

Appearance isn't everything. Blemishes are natural; in fact, sometimes they're an indication of quality. But notice big cracks and obvious flaws.

Quality goes deep. You can't always see quality on the surface. But you can almost always hear it if you listen. Use your ears as much as your eyes.

And in other watermelon news...

    When thinking outside the box means thinking inside the box.
    Grocery stores in Japan are smaller than those in the U.S., with limited storage space for full-sized watermelons. Plus, their round shape makes them hard to stack. The solution? Japanese farmers figured out how to grow square watermelons, proving even the most difficult problem might have a creative solution.

    What to do with an $85 watermelon in the Yukon. This story sounds like a tall tale from Canada’s Far North, but it’s completely true. It involves a watermelon, some frustrated locals and one stubborn grocery store. And it reveals a few universal—but all-too-often overlooked—business truths. Read more

    Watermelon seeds: mostly gone, but not forgotten. According to The National Watermelon Promotion Board, 42% of watermelons still had seeds in 2003; this dropped to 16%  by 2010. Today, they don't bother publishing updated numbers because the majority of watermelons are seedless. Nevertheless, next weekend is the 64th World Championship Seed Spitting Contest in Luling, TX. The record of 75 feet, 2 inches was set in 1995—that's almost 1/4 the length of a football field. To challenge the record, practice this technique and look for watermelon festivals near you.