“I got my ham. Praise the Lord.” A man whose name I don’t recall said that on Christmas Eve two or three years ago — after leaving a HoneyBaked Ham Store in Cleveland just before closing time. The moment was recorded for history by a reporter with WEWS-TV.
It seems that the gentleman was given the assignment a few weeks prior. But, alas, as all of us in the communications business know, sometimes we just work better under the pressure of a deadline. So there he was, gripping the holiday ham and fielding questions like a PR pro: “Praise the Lord.”
Indeed. He had the ultimate sound bite: crisp and memorable. And are there any among us who ever came home from the store empty handed — or worse, with the wrong item — that couldn’t share in his glee?
I was thinking about that this morning after I made the short loop from the HoneyBaked Ham store close to where I live to my bank of 39 years, National City. Now defunct. National City now sleeps with the fishes — partly because its management wanted to swim with the sharks in the mortage-lending debacle and partly because PNC, the acquiring financial institution, is using federal bailout tax dollars to fund the acquisition.
This deal stinks. But it’s history. And I hope that when the time comes for the inevitable branch closings and employee layoffs that PNC management has as much media savvy as the gent heading home with the ham for the holidays. They are going to need it. Something tells me The Plain Dealer is going to be watching developments — and continuing some old-fashioned reporting here.
By the way, I was in the National City branch where I bank at about the time shareholders from both organizations approved the merger. I had to fill out a deposit slip — but there was no ink in the pen on the counter. Oh well. Cost cutting has to start somewhere.
On the bright side, I got to HoneyBaked Ham so early this morning that I didn’t even have to wait in the queue.
Praise the Lord.