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Averting a Crisis

Posted By Ester Venouziou, Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Arlene Segovia of MadHouse Advertising, our co-organizer for Shopapalooza 2011, called me with great news: Telemundo had called and wanted to interview us about the importance of shopping locally.

Arlene — photogenic, well-spoken and fluent in Spanish — was the perfect choice to go on air. Except that she had a bad case of the flu. And they wanted to interview us the next day. Clearly, not enough time for me to learn Spanish beyond "hola," "vamonos" and "si!"

We called friends and friends of friends and even friends of friends of friends. Apparently Fear of Public Speaking is abundant in the Tampa Bay area. Finally a friend of a friend agreed to do it. He, too, was photogenic, well-spoken and fluent in Spanish.

But things came up, as they often do, and two hours before we were to go on air, our photogenic, well-spoken, fluent in Spanish friend-of-friend could not be there. Arlene was home, sicker than the night before.

-- Can you just splash some water on your face, suck it up?
-- (Voice cracked. Not sure what she was trying to say.)
-- What are we going to do???? 
-- (Voice cracked. Not sure what she was trying to say.)

Conversation switched over to texting. It was clear Arlene couldn't be there.
By then I was already at the Telemundo studios in Tampa, and had gotten so desperate that I was trying to talk random people in the building into doing the interview for us.

-- Please!! You'll get to be on TV!
-- But ...
-- We need you!
-- But ...
-- Just go on and tell them why it's so important to shop locally! Tell them of every dollar spent locally, more than 70 cents stays in your community! Tell them local businesses create the most jobs! Tell them if we supported local businesses, we wouldn't be in this economic mess, we wouldn't be having all these layoffs!

They all looked at me like I was a lunatic.
A text came through, saving me: "My sister is going to do it," Arlene wrote. "She just got on Veterans and should be there in 20 minutes."

And things worked out. They always, somehow, do.

Are you starting over after a layoff? We want to hear your story! Please email us at, and include your story and contact info. We will try to include as many stories as possible in future blogs.

Ester Venouziou, founder of and co-founder of Gulfport! Magazine, is available for freelance projects: writing, editing, design or social media. She can be reached at or 727.637.5586.


Tags:  arlene segovia  layoffs  shop locally  shopapalooza  telemundo 

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