Empire Mines Wedding

Destination Wedding Photographer | Recent Published Work

Holy wedding season Batman!

The fall is wrapping up and I have to admit: I’ve been swamped.  September and October were my busiest months.  Thank you SO MUCH to my amazing patient clients who have all been waiting on their images.  What an incredible year I’ve had so far!  I’ve photographed 36 weddings so far this year and 14 of those were in the last two months.  In the meatime, somethings have fallen to the wayside, like my normally proflific daily blogging and sharing of published work.  Here’s a few things I’ve missed in the last two months while I’ve been so slammed!


Mo and Adam and their kick ass Celio Ranch wedding in South Lake Tahoe was snapped up by the amazing Lydia over at Ever Ours.  I’m so sad that the end of the year will also mark the end of Ever Ours, a wonderful wedding blog that celebrates photography and moments over details.  If you know about another wedding blog as awesome as hers that can fill those (very large) shoes, please let me know!

Tahoe Ranch Wedding published at Ever Ours

Borrowed & Blue San Antonio

Borrowed & Blue has been one of my favorite wedding blogs for quite some time.  They never complain that there’s not enough details for one, but they also seperate their blog into US cities.  When they opened up a San Antonio version of their well known site, I was quick to send over Jimmy and Karlie’s 2014 destination wedding to them.  It went up a few weeks back and it’s so fun to relive their awesome day.  Jimmy and Karlie just welcomed all 8lbs 2oz of Natalie, the newest addition to their family last week.

San Antonio Wedding published at Borrowed & Blue

The Daily Dog Tag

The Daily Dog Tag is an awesome little blog that I recently discovered that focuses on professional photography that involves dogs, adoptable pets around the country, and artful and unique products.  They published the first in a series of sessions with Schnoll Family and are excited to post follow-ups with the newest member of their family, Jack.  I just recently photographed Jack’s 6 month session, so you can imagine how long ago this one was!  Regardless, big thanks to the Daily Dog Tag for the family photography internet love.

Published work from Lauren Lindley at the Daily Dog Tag

Love and Lavender

I’ve wanted to get a feature on Love and Lavender for ages, but I’ve never had anything quite romantic or whimsical enough for this wonderful wedding blog that focuses on inspiring, magical and rustic outdoor weddings.  I knew that David and Emily’s Empire Mine State Park wedding was the perfect fit for them and it was published last week on their site.

Lauren Lindley Photography published at Love and Lavender


I’ve had so many wonderful experiences with clients I’ve discovered on Thumbtack.  Not only did Thumbtack take me to visit the White House in Washington DC last January (something I’ve yet to blog about also), but I managed to grow my business and turn it into a full time position for me in very few years thanks to them.  I used to mentor photographers new to the Thumbtack platform, but gave it up when they changed the program and I was no longer helping just other photogs.  Helping other photographers is incredibly rewarding: frankly I wouldn’t be where I am today without a lot of help from a lot of other people.  Thumbtack asked to interview me a few weeks ago after catching site of a blog I wrote about how to be successful on Thumbtack for photographers and I readily agreed.  You can see the full post via this link.

Lauren Lindley Thumbtack tips for pros

Rancharrah wedding photographer

Being Successful with Thumbtack for Photographers

This post could also be titled: how I launched my business using Thumbtack.

There is a lot of negative attention on internet forums and Facebook threads dedicated to people angry with Thumbtack.

To this I say: if you aren’t successful on Thumbtack it’s not Thumbtack’s fault.  It’s yours.

Failure is never someone else’s fault.  Failure is an opportunity to figure out what you can do better.  Does your portfolio need to be better?  Does your approach need to be more personal or inviting?  Whatever the reason, if you aren’t finding the customers you want using Thumbtack, you need to examine your process.

Winters CA Wedding Photographer

I was successfully connected to 29 new clients in the past three years via Thumbtack and it has amounted to 33% of my revenue in the last year alone.  One of the biggest complains about Thumbtack is that it’s “expensive.”  If you are successful on there, it’s one of the least expensive advertising campaigns I use and one of the most certifiable.  I have spent less than 6% of my combined revenue in the last three years to be connected with qualified leads.  As long as this number stays under 15%, I am a happy camper.

After a few years of experience, here are my personal tips on being successful with Thumbtack for photographers.

  1. Pay VERY close attention to what they want as a product.  If you only offer digital files and they want an album, do not bid.  If they literally choose EVERY SINGLE THING that you could possibly check as final product, they have no idea what they are looking for, don’t value photography, and aren’t worth bidding on.  This is one in particular is an non-negotiable rule to follow.
  1. I’ve found that Thumbtack is best used to fill in dates you wouldn’t normally fill with small, relaxed weddings and clients that turn into great referrals. Most of the weddings I’ve booked on there are elopements and intimate, informal events. I’ve booked about 3 backyard DIY “rustic” weddings as well with about 100 guests in attendance. I booked a not-wedding on there that turned into one of the best weekends of my life. The point of this is that if you find the right clients, awesome things can happen on there. Read through the lines to seek people out who seem to have interesting stories or plans and they are the ones to bid on.

Wedding Prayer

  1. I take my regular hourly rate for photography and I bid on those events with it.  If there’s a super tiny wedding on a Friday morning with 10 people and they only want a photographer for two hours, I am personally okay with offering a discounted hourly rate if their budget meets my minimum hourly specifications. I will take on elopements and small DIY events on weekdays at a lower hourly rate than normal:  it’s not a giant wedding, there are not details to capture, there’s no decor, there’s no DJ, there’s no cake cutting.  It’s you and 25 people and an hour or two.  The post processing is faster than other weddings, and you generate sales and income on a Tuesday morning.
  1. If it’s more than a year out, I never bid.  I bid on things that are a month to 6 to months out only unless I have a really good feeling about the client.  I bid on things that are on days I wouldn’t normally get hired.  I bit on things that fall within what would be considered “slow” or “off” season.

Berkeley Botanical Gardens Wedding Photographer

  1. Build up your SEO in destinations.  Thumbtack is most useful to me for building SEO for new destinations that I want to market to.  By creating Thumbtack profiles in destinations that I want to focus on, I’m not only reaching my target audience with qualified leads, but also creating targeted blog posts after each wedding is completed.
  1. Keep very good track of what you spend and what you net from it.  You should be doing this will every cent you spend anyways, but it’s especially important to do so on here or it can get out of hand.  Devise a specific plan of what types of work you will bid on, bid only on those and keep yourself to it.

Tahoe Wedding Photographer

  1. Make sure you have a full website before you start bidding.  A facebook business page won’t hack it.  No one is going to hire you over the internet without it because you haven’t established trust.  If you are a new or beginning photographer, there are tons of amazing and inexpensive templates from a variety of places that can accommodate your website needs.
  1. Make sure your portfolio reflects the work you are looking to get hired for.  You may still be in the portfolio building stage and Thumbtack is a GREAT place to build your portfolio.  That being said, you need at least ONE wedding under your belt so that you have examples of relevant work to show if you are trying to book a wedding. If you haven’t shot a wedding yet, DO NOT bid on weddings.   Stage a wedding, offer to shoot a friends wedding, create a styled shoot: how you get the work in the portfolio is up to you, but it needs to be there before you try to win weddings. This goes with photography of all kinds – do not bid on portraits if you do not have relevant examples in your portfolio. Do not bid on head shots if you have none to show. After you have the work to show, your hourly rate may be a significantly lower amount than what I charge. That’s okay, we all start somewhere. Bump up those rates after every five successful shoots of that type if you fall into this category.

Tahoe Engagement Photographer

  1. The bid MUST include all the relevant information and in particular, a total number of hours if it’s for a wedding.  If this information is not included, do not bid!
  1. Make sure you have reviews.  Your reviews can come from past clients that aren’t associated with Thumbtack. Having 5 reviews improves your chances of hearing back by 400%.  Every time I create a new Thumbtack profile for another city, I have previous clients review me before bidding on any jobs.


If your market is glitzy and glamorous giant hotel weddings, Thumbtack is not the avenue for you to pursue clients. If your client is rustic, backyard, vintage, DIY, and relaxed, then Thumbtack is a great place for you to be.

I’m so in love with every client I met on Thumbtack.  They are the coolest people around.  I have so much to thank them for.  Frankly, if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be as successful as I am.


Vince + CourtneyAmanda + JasonAmanda + BruceHeather + GerradBrittany + ChrisSummer + PeterJeana + Tom Paige + DanielRyan + RebecaSarah + SumanJeff + Eva | Heather + RaymondSawyer + JoshAshley + MatthewLisetta + SamAdam + TraceySunny + ChrisEddie + Lori | Stephanie + Garrett



Tahoe Wedding Photographer | Tahoe Daily Tribune | Best of Tahoe 2014

Best of Tahoe 2014


There are so many ways I could start off this post.

This is a story about how this one time I won and award and I had NO idea.


When Joe Suave told me congratulations on my photography business and that I must be really busy since I won ‘Best of Tahoe'” when I stopped into The Keys Cafe yesterday to pick up lunch, I incredulously simply replied, “What are you talking about?” and then upon his insistence, I also insisted, “There is no way.”


How is it possible that I live in a town so small that you can’t have your picture printed in the Mountain News without 20 people texting you about it, but I managed to win “Best of Tahoe 2014” and NO ONE TOLD ME?



I’m completely and totally humbled upon finding out (months later) that I apparently won BEST OF TAHOE 2014 for Best Photographer.  This is humbling for a number of reasons, the least of which is that this is an award voted on by email ballots by members of the community of which I never requested votes from.  Which means there are a lot of people who took the time to write my name down without any pressure from me.

This is the best compliment anyone could have ever given me.

That being said, this is also humbling because I am mortified that 1) I had no idea and 2) I don’t know who to thank and 3) what if the world thinks I’m ungrateful because this came out months ago and I didn’t say anything?  If I knew the names and addresses of every single person who voted for me, I assure you, I would send you a thank you note with a Harry Potter Stamp of course because those are my favorite, because my mother taught me to send thank you notes and also because I’m obsessed with mail and I find that retrieving my mail and hoping there is something that is not a Victoria’s Secret catalog is one of the most thrilling parts of my day.

So, in all honesty Tahoe South:

Thanks a fucking bunch

(because nothing says extreme gratitude like the F-bomb).

This is pretty rad.

But I’m still confused why none of you mentioned it.

If you would like to see the full list of winners, you may do so via this link.


Tahoe Ski Photographer | Homewood Mountain

I have to give Homewood Mountain Ski Resort a rousing round of applause for accommodating my models and I for a last minute Tahoe Ski Photography session last week.

  Neither myself nor any of my friends had skied Homewood before and I must say, this is seriously negligent on my part!  In addition to having some of the best views of Lake Tahoe of any of the ski resorts in the Tahoe Basin, Homewood has a welcoming and charming staff, a legitimate and impressive park, and a family friendly vibe.  You can relax between runs with an exceptional view of Lake Tahoe at the Big Blue Bar all the while saving some dollars: a 3 pack of tickets to Homewood will only set you back $59/day.

For unrivaled views of the lake, superb service and some quality steeps and tree skiing, come visit Tahoe and check out Homewood Mountain Ski Resort.   While you’re there, don’t forget to eat breakfast at my favorite breakfast joint on the lake: The Fire Sign Cafe.


Tahoe Ski Photographer | Published at Sierra at Tahoe

I had some really fabulous and gorgeous ski and snowboard models two weeks ago for a Ski Lake Tahoe photo shoot out at Sierra at Tahoe, which is a wonderful local resort in Tahoe South with a small-town vibe and a flirty fun personality.    They have great tree runs, fun pillow lines, and pride themselves on their parks.  It’s also a great place for families and kids love taking ski lessons at their Burton Star Wars Experience Center.

While there are a number of amazing shots I took that are reserved for my client, I always end up with a handful of shots that are different and won’t be used to keep in the photo bank for later uses and to share with the host mountain.

My happy smiling shreddy ladies not only made an appearance on their social media pages, but also in their e-newsletter.

I’m also stoked to see my photo on the front of their upcoming Women’s Snowboard Camp Poster.

Taught by X-Games Gold Medalist Joanie Anderson, sister to Olympic Gold Medalist Jamie Anderson, this camp would be a fantastic way to further your abilities as a snowboarder.

Date: 03/22/2014 – 8:00am – 03/23/2014 – 4:00pm
Location: Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort

Women’s Snowboard Camp Presented By Burton and Anon.

Come join our team of fun female pros for the weekend! Whether you want to keep up with (or catch up to!) your family and friends or learn new techniques, we’re here to help increase your confidence on all terrain. We want you to snowboard and explore the mountain with more control, power and finesse.


Sierra-at-Tahoe’s all-female learning environment is designed to improve on-hill skill and confidence for women ages 18 and over of any skiing or snowboarding ability. Camps are taught by ability level; we’ve found this to be the most conducive to learning. Or, you and your friends can form your own group if you are comfortable skiing and snowboarding together.

Our Women’s Performance Snowboard Camp is taught by National Champion and X Games Snowboarder X Gold, Silver & Bronze Medalist, Joanie Anderson. Joanie’s expert instruction and snowboarding know-how will help you step up your snowboarding skills and style.

On Saturday, camp starts with a welcome breakfast. At the end of the day, enjoy Après drinks and snacks on the top of the mountain, overlooking Lake Tahoe.

For more information, head over tSierra at Tahoe.


Clean All the Things!

I’m running  a marathon in 8 days.

There is something wrong with my left calf.

I pulled my old running shoes out of the donation box to One World Running at work.  I think I’m taking them to run the marathon in because I hate my new shoes.   I have 178 miles in them.  I’m not sure if I can take anymore.  The shoe situation is a little nerve racking.

I can’t take both so I’m committing.  Today.  Because at 3 AM I have to fly to Dallas to do a photo booth at a high school reunion.

That’s right, I’m a traveling photo booth now also.

On Sunday we go to New York City where I’m going to take my boyfriend to a musical despite his insistence that they are way too expensive.

Then we’re going to go to DC where I’m going to run a marathon after spending 10 days walking around NYC and DC.

I’m really happy the government took their heads out of their asses for at least a few days so that I can go to the monuments and run a marathon I’m not trained for.

Last year I ran a marathon and only ran 30 miles in the six weeks before.  I’ve managed to run 80 miles in the six weeks before this year, but I don’t feel like I’m any better off.  I am still using it as an excuse to eat bread all day long every day between now and then.

We’re getting kicked out of our house.  The homeowners hate us.  I stood in the kitchen and cried because we had no cinnamon the other night but I was really crying over my house.  I love my house so much.  Word of warning to the next person interested in renting the home at:

2167 Cornelian Dr, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

The homeowners are old, insane, and unwilling to communicate.  I know the kitchen is beautiful but their shit ain’t worth it. 


I leave tomorrow and I’m frankly a little nervous about the next month and a half:

I am out of town 31 of those 43 days.  Oof.  

I have 4 weddings to shoot.  YAY!

I have 1 marathon to run.  Um….

Thanksgiving will happen.  YES.

I will be in my store for 12 hours over Black Friday.  Again.

I will live in two different houses and I will move, knowing full and well that I’m probably going to have to move again in six months and this very thought makes me tired.

This thought also makes me tired: one day I won’t have to work holidays.  Can I just have a holiday?  For once?  In my life?  Please?

I’m trying to buy a house and I just handed over all my financial information to some stranger whose going to analyze it and then try to decide if I am financially responsible enough to be a home owner.  I’m probably not. 

If I do buy a house, I’m going to celebrate and buy this to go in it.  Megs, don’t be mad, I’m in love with it too.

I’m also getting some chickens.  I’m gonna be that person.

Why isn’t it snowing yet?

Gonna need a lot of this:

WOR: the experience

In addition to running around the expo for three days straight which was nothing short of exhausting, I was lucky enough to hang out at Snowbird with my friend Bill, spend a few days at the house of some rad friends of Megs and Jules, eat some bomb Indian food at the Himalayan House and lust over gorgeous French pastries at Gourmandise. I also learned to pogo stick with no hands at the SheJumps Happy Hour, saw my friend Laura who I used to work with at REI (and now works for Patagonia), and bought multiple amazing steel beer cups, none of which managed to make it home with me.

I also feel fortunate to have spoken briefly with Jay Beyer, who agreed to do so after I sent him an email that basically said, “I am an aspiring photographer and the photographer I aspire to be is you. Please don’t think that’s weird.”

His path into photography was fairly similar to mine and in short, I sometimes feel like I am putting too much pressure on myself to get better, faster.  I wanted to know 1) a realistic timeline of how he got to the point he is now and 2) where I should be focusing my energy regarding turning photography into a career rather than a hobby.  While I have a very clear idea of what it will take for me to become more proficient at the craft, I wasn’t sure what the best approach was regarding breaking into the outdoor retail industry.

Jay was full of information and provided some clear guidance.  In short: don’t mess around with magazines (they don’t pay and you don’t need tear sheets),  build your portfolio, don’t rely on friends as athletes, get up earlier, find a small company to partner with that you can grow together, don’t give away your photos for free.   Plan of attack: spend the next year working on my portfolio and return to outdoor retailer to talk with the marketing managers at each booth.

I took a ton of product photos at the event, most of which you can check out in my posts for Tahoe South.  Here’s the rest of them.

Want to go to Winter Outdoor Retailer?

Good luck getting in.  You either need to be employed by an Outdoor Retail Manufacturer or an Outdoor Retail Store that’s willing to send you, a member of the press, a brand sponsored pro athlete, or good enough friends with someone important that will provide you with a guest pass to get in.  If you do secure that pass and get to schmooze, drink and drool over the new gear coming out, here are my recommendations:

STAY: Airbmb has a ton of amazing options in Salt Lake, but I’m totally enamored with this historic mother-in-law unit that used to be a tailor shop.


  • GourmandiseSeriously.  Every day.  For lunch also.  And desert.  Anytime, really.
  • Zest was a little hit or miss for us, but I think if you order right you’ll really enjoy it.  The cocktails (beet sangria!) totally stood out as clear winners here as well as the sliced cucumber w/ cashew chive cheese, the spinach salad and the pasta w/tomato sauce, spinach & kalamata olives.
  • Himalayan House is amazing Indian food.  Don’t skip the paneer chili or the momos.


  • Snowbird Ski Resort has become one of my favorite mountains.  It has great steeps, gorgeous bowls and an amazing atmosphere.
  • Brighton and Solitude are great options for a smaller resort.  I loved Brighton’s hike-able in-bounds terrain when I was there.

Winter Outdoor Retailer Wrap-Up

On a whim, I decided to head to Winter Outdoor Retailer with Megs and Juliana earlier this month.  For those of you not in the know, Outdoor Retailer is the worlds largest Outdoor Retail Trade Show.  There is one in the summer and one in the winter each year in Salt Lake City, UT (at least, thru 2016 it is).  Basically, it’s where every vendor in the US decides what to purchase from which retailers.  In short, it’s where REI makes or breaks you.

I applied for a press pass for the event and mistakenly thought it was granted based on some confusing communications from the registration people that said things like “Tell your friends that you’re going to Winter Outdoor Retailer!” and “Now that you’re registered, please take a few minutes to secure your hotel arrangements!” and “We look forward to seeing you in Salt Lake City!”  It turns out that my pass was not actually granted.  When I arrived, there was an awesome person working registration who acknowledged that this, was in fact, highly confusing and she gave me a pass anyways.  Most of the time, my life just works out perfectly.

I wrote quite a bit on my adventures within the expo itself for Tahoe South.  Head over there via these links to read my posts on apparel, hard goods, and the experience (posting Friday 2/8).  Instead of rehashing what I wrote over there, I wanted to highlight a few of the other products that I totally fell in love with.

Winter Outdoor Retailer

1.  Shred Ready helmets feature one of the most genius innovations I wish I’d thought of: no pinch magnetic buckles.  Do you have any idea how many times I’ve stood on the top of the mountain screaming in frustration after I’ve taken photos of someone because I can’t seem to get my stupid helmet buckled with frozen fingers?!  GENIUS.

2.  I am such a sucker for things with bikes on it and I think I have found my new favorite t-shirt company: Endurance Conspiracy.  Even more auspicious, it turns out the owner is Tony Deboom whose brother, Tim Deboom, is a Pearl Izumi sponsored athlete AND Tony designed some of our products for the 2012 catalog.  I brought home tees for myself, Briana and Boyfriend but I think I need more.

3.  Pistil Designs.  While I was running around OR with Bill Smaine, we ran into an old friend of his who happens to have started Pistil Designs.  His hats are GORGEOUS.  He was kind enough to give me one of their hats and I haven’t stopped wearing it since.  IN LOVE.

4.  The boys I shred with have always been big fans of Trew gear but they’ve never had a women’s line until now.  Coming winter 2013-14, Trew will feature women’s specific cuts and colors.  I’m enamored with them.  The Stella Jacket offers Trew’s durability but designed, styled and and fit for women.  WANT.

5.  D-Fa Dogs.  You know, as in, “D, for dogs” but said with a Kiwi accent.  This small awesome company out of New Zealand makes wonderful dog apparel.  If my dog wasn’t so adamantly against walking these days, I would have bought a jacket for her.  With names like the “Sub-Woofer” and the “Puff-Doggy,” how can you not fall in love and want to support them?

6.  I loved the sharp design and clean lines of the Hector Press (the featured image).  I mean, I always think coffee is attractive, but this makes it downright sexy.

Tour de Tucson

Every year, I am sent to Tucson, AZ to help work at Tour de Tucson, a massive cycling event with close to 8,000 participants. I’ve now been sent there every year since 2008. In 2009 things got a little out of hand Thursday up and we all awoke not so sparky for our work day. It was also the only year I participated as a rider in the event and I can assure you that I will never participate again. That’s how I feel about that!

Last year I was much better about training for my impending marathon and I actually went out running quite a few times. This year, I’m on the Lauren-Lindley-patented-taper-all-season-training-plan during which your training involves thinking about running but you don’t.

Tucson has always struck me as a city that has so much untapped potential to be amazing. Instead, it’s a mediocre city with pockets of awesome. The food is fantastic, the people are great, but city planning is poor which was all the more evident this year as they have torn up essentially ALL the main streets in order to install a trolley car. It’s as if no one told them that you should do things in batches. File under: things that would never fly in California!

Cafe Milano, Tuscon Az, Illy Coffee

The best part about Tour de Tucson is the calm before the storm each day: our breakfasts at Carlo’s Cafe Milano.

Our favorite restaurant owner, Carlo, from Cafe Milano is still holding shop and his ability to not only remember us year after year, but expect us, always impresses me. We eat breakfast and lunch there every day. Carlo informed us that this is probably his last year at the restaurant. He and his wife intend to sell it, move to Thailand and open a bed and breakfast. We said we’d see him there!

Cafe Milano, Tucson, Arizona,

UOVA E PROSCIUTTO: Two eggs sunny side up topped with provolone cheese and Prosciutto di Parma served on top of toasted ciabatta with a side of herbs potatoes or fresh fruit. This is the good stuff.

A visit to Tucson isn’t complete without a dinner at my most favorite restaurant in the world: Cafe Poca Cosa. A bold statement, I know, but it’s the truth.

Tucson, Az

The menu at Cafe Poca Cosa.

At Cafe Poca Cosa, the menu changes twice a day based on local ingredients. There is always a few chicken dishes, a few beef dishes, sometimes a pork entree, one fish option and one or two vegetarian options. The highlight of the experience, other than the margaritas of course, is the “plato poca cosa” which is the chef’s choice: you get no say or no input and the chef chooses three options for your plate. They may be on the menu, they may not be. It comes with family stile rice, beans and tortiallas and a massive salad that I never even touch. If everyone at the table chooses the plato poca cosa, no two plates will be similar. It’s an experience full of fun and in all my years of eating there, I have literally never been anything less than totally overwhelmed and amazed by the deliciousness of the food I was presented.

Cafe Poca Cosa, Vegan Cupcake, Tucson AZ

A dark chocolate and orange Cafe Poca Cosa Vegan Cupcake.

We have a ridiculous tradition of posing in front of a particular storefront every year. I need to round up all five years of photos and put them together. Every year I wonder if we are going to show up and the red roomed mannequins will be gone.

Tour de Tucson, Tucson AZ

This year we discovered a new little haunt to hit up late night for dinner. Food is always a problem post-expo as we usually don’t get done with work Friday night until close to 10 pm. I found La Cocina, a gem of ecclectic under an open sky and a Christmas light filled patio that dishes up $3 tiny tacos until the wee hours of the morning after their normal kitchen closes. The regular dinner menu looks unbelievable but I was fine with the chicken and steak tacos and the option to order a tasty Malbec by the glass, sometimes a rarity at bars.

Tucson, AZ

The inviting entrance to La Cocina.

You can see all the photos from our work week in Tucson here.

I think Tucson is worthy of a visit, if not just for the amazing food and quirky nightlife. If you wait a year maybe the trolley car will be installed.




  • The Hotel Congress will always be our go-to spot for late night: disregard the hipster vibe and step into history. The bartenders pour inventive cocktails if you ask them too and there is sometimes awesome national acts on stage here.
Aaron Kutzer

Like a boss in Tucson, AZ.


A man came in my store a few weekends ago and at the beginning, all I could think about was how badly I wanted to ask him to leave because I found his choices of words towards both myself and his son to be verbally abusive, though I didn’t exactly recognize it as verbal abuse right at the beginning. I just knew that I didn’t like it.

He came in asking to see our sock selection. As I led him to our socks, he started talking about how “stupid” our socks had been in recent years and how we hadn’t had a good sock in five years. All the recent ones were terrible and he said, “Those idiots don’t know what they’re doing.” He admitted that our current socks were “better” but said he wanted to shop out of the clearance sock bin only. I have no clearance sock bin right now. He then told me that I was “stupid” and our company was “full of stupid jerks” for not having a discount sock bin and that by not having a clearance sock bin we were “running our business into the ground.” He’s a business owner, he explained. He knows how companies run their businesses into the ground. When I replied that I thought we might run our business into the ground much more quickly by selling all of our socks at a highly discounted rate rather than their retail price, he scoffed at me and told me that I would see. “Running your business into the ground you are. You won’t be here much longer. Stupid idiots. I only wear [my company’s] socks. These are dying. I need new socks. What am I supposed to do?” “Sir,” I replied with the all the patience I could summon, “there are sixteen choices of colorful socks right here for your consideration.”

I wanted to add, “Stupid.”

I bit my tongue when I listened to him do the same thing to his son. It was then that I realized what sort of person he was. “What gloves do you like?” he asked the boy. The boy grabbed a pair off the wall. The father said, “No. Those are stupid and ugly.” He then went on to point out that the only “appealing” color of gloves on the wall were the walnut brown ones because they were “earth tones.” “See my shoes,” he said, pointing at the Merrills on his feet. “Earth tones. This is the only color those idiots got right. Appealing, see how appealing this color is? I’m going to write some nice little emails about this. All the others: ugly.” He said it three times. The kid looked completely and totally deflated. My heart sank. He had chosen black.

For 20 minutes after that, I listened to him walk around the store and talk about all the “stupid” things he was going to send “nice emails” about. He spent the entire time making degrading comments about our products, what kind of “idiots” and “jerks” work at headquarters, and our color choices to his son; he wants to “find out who [my company] is in bed with.” He would pepper his negative comments with comments about how he “only wears [clothes from my company].” His language seemed limited to the words stupid, idiotic, and jerks and all the while he verbally cut down our products, he at the same time assured the boy that these were the only ones you should wear. I was at a loss for words.

When they finally left, I felt horrible and morally defeated for not coming to the boy’s assistance. The man’s presence and language in the store made me feel empty like no one else ever had: as if I had been drained of all my sense of individual. For those of you who know me well, you know that my sense of identity is far stronger than others’. For me to feel like I had completely lost all of my self-worth in a matter of minutes was extremely disconcerting. I had never felt that way ever before. You know how the Death Eaters suck out people’s souls in Harry Potter and that long wisp of their identity comes trailing out of their mouths in the movie? That’s how I felt: like a Death Eater had stolen my soul. Even 24 hours later, I still felt a pit in my stomach when I reflected on how devoid of confidence that man’s words and presence made me feel. In addition, I felt like I should have stood up for his son. But at the time, I was so flabbergasted by the situation and honestly, I didn’t think it was my place as an employee. I had guilt. Shouldn’t I have said something to make it stop? The entire incident left me with intense self doubt.

His son came back into the store by himself because he had forgotten his glasses. As he was going to leave I said, “Wait.” He stopped and looked at me. “I like black,“ I said. He replied, “I do too.” “Don’t ever let anyone tell you what you should or shouldn’t like.” “Okay.”

To my chagrin, the man walked back in and asks me when a few other stores in the complex had moved out. I tell him they left in December and he shakes his head and says, “The stupid planning agency is ruining this town.”

“The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency? Sir, the TRPA had absolutely nothing to do with the stores leaving this mall.”

“Yes, they do, they have EVERYTHING to do with it,” he says. I gently but firmly disagree with him again. People in my town like to blame all of their problems on the TRPA and it’s just not accurate or fair. “Sir, I assure you that it has everything to do with the property owners and the business and nothing to do with the TRPA.” He begins to yell from the door about how he’s been a local for however many years and he can explain why it’s their fault and I cut him off and say, “You know what, I don’t want to have this conversation.” So he leaves and then returns, AGAIN and asks for my name, presumably so that he can write some nice little emails about me.

And I cried: shaken by the experience, unnerved by how I felt, and sad for that boy. I actually could not STOP crying and seriously, I never cry. In hysterics, I called both my bosses but couldn’t get either. Thankfully another manager friend finally answered.

I’ve been yelled at an awful lot in my 16 years working in retail but I’ve never been experienced calculated verbal abuse like that before. Sometimes people are upset about a product, or a situation or an experience they had but even if they are screaming at you, they aren’t trying to control you and although it’s never fun to be on the receiving end of an upset customer, one is still able to put yourself in their shoes and empathize with their behavior. They’re simply just MAD about something and aren’t expressing themselves so well. This was something entirely different. I have never felt so intensely awful before after an encounter with someone else. I imagine what his son’s life is like and I feel tremendous pain and horror for him. I hope he grows up to be a better man than his father is. I hope that he does not feel, on a daily basis, the loss of self confidence and sadness that his father left me with. I hope that no one ever makes my staff feel like that.

On the plus side, earlier that week I had already called Tahoe Youth and Family Services, a local non profit dedicated to providing a safety net of services to families through counseling, mentoring, and emergency youth shelters, among other things. They are hosting their annual fundraiser, a Great Gatsby Gala, in August and I volunteered to donate my time and photo booth services to the event. My angst over the incident in my store has been slightly tempered by my ability to give back to an organization that deals with exactly that sort of thing.