I think we're at our best by the flicker by the light of the TV set.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Day in the Life of a Salesman

A salesman just brought me cookies. Chocolate chip cookies! What could make my afternoon better than warm, moist, chocolaty cookies? NOTHING. Except maybe a new job. That paid more. And came with benefits. Like health insurance. But since that is most likely NOT happening anytime soon, I'll stick with surprising deliveries of chocolate chip cookies.

I feel bad for salesmen. I really do. It has to be one of the most annoying, humiliating, degrading jobs around. I understand our economy sucks and you've got to take what you can get, but I would rather flip burgers at McDonald's then run around asking people to buy dumb stuff that you know they don't want and if they do buy whatever it is you're selling, it's only because they feel bad for you. I've witnessed it first hand. I'll share with you my journey as I eat my cookies.

Back when I first moved home, I desperately searched for work in Connecticut. I found a posting online for an entry-level marketing job. It looked promising, so I applied. A day later the company called to schedule an interview. The interview went well and the woman I met with invited me to come back a few days later so I could shadow one of the employees. Great! I was thrilled.

My excitement didn't last long. Instead, it turned into a deep, ugly rage. I guess I didn't ask enough questions about the company and the position I was applying for. I assumed (Never assume. It makes an ass of u and me.) I would be learning about the company, following someone around in an office all day. NOT THE CASE. Turns out it was a salesman position and I was being tricked into becoming one! Some guy, whose name I cannot remember (probably because I've been trying to block this day from my brain), was in charge of teaching me the ropes. He and I drove to some uppity town in Massachusetts. He parked his car in a CVS parking lot and we walked around the center of the town trying to get business owners to purchase a discount spa package. It was maybe 15 degrees that day and since no one told me I'd be walking around outside for six hours, I was certainly not dressed appropriately.

The worst part about the day was the salesman I was stuck with. Every time we entered a new business he would say, "Hi! How are you?!" And the employees would say (totally unenthusiastically), "Fine, thanks. How are you?" My salesman would respond with a big smile and this clever phrase: "If I was any better, I'd be twins." WHAT THE HECK DOES THAT MEAN?! I heard it at least 20 times that day and not once did I understand it. The employees would usually chuckle, so I figured they got it, but maybe they were just being nice.

Needless to say, I am not a salesman. When I got back to the office that evening I told the woman I interviewed with that this was simply not the job for me. She said she was glad I got to see exactly what the job is, so that I could make that decision. I was not glad. I would have been glad if she had told me in the beginning that this was a salesman job because then I would have told her right away that I was not interested and I wouldn't have had the day from hell with some idiot who was so happy he could have been a twin. WHAT THE HECK DOES THAT MEAN?!

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