Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Glengarry Glen Lexmark

The printer supply concern where I work is having a sales drive today. They tell me that in a few months we are going to expand into the building next door; at that point the sales people will be moved into their own little area and administrative people like myself will be able to match invoices in peace.

But that's not today.

Today I'm surrounded on all sides by ebullient, high-powered toner salesmen. "We don't just supply toner - can I send you a catalog?" The chatter level is about 5 times higher than usual. Plus I'm putting up with the following gimmicks - there is a sales bell. Any time someone ropes in a new cold-call, they ring a bell. BING! Also there are dozens of helium balloons, each with a one, five, ten or twenty dollar bill rolled up inside. POP! Getting from one end of the office to the other is like hacking through a festive Amazon rain forest, because of the ribbons hanging down from the ceiling to waist-level.

There is a new girl at the desk behind me. She just started today and as far as I can discern, she's mopping the floor with the rest of 'em. The guy to my right, older and wilier, may be doing pretty well too, but he refuses to ring the bell or collect his balloon money. I think he's trying to psych out the competition. At the end of the day, I bet he's ahead. The guy has a great phone voice too. It's like buying ink jet cartridges from Barry White, dealing with him. "I'm so in to selling you OEM, baby."

I don't have the temperament for sales. I never have. I can't deal with dry spells. Then again, the last two jobs I've had led to layoffs due to dry spells, so maybe I have to deal with them anyway. Still, constantly having to charm money out of people, it's hard work. That's why I am not pursuing a career in showbiz, which is really the ultimate sales job.

Sales, in fact, is one of those metaphorically rich professions like gambling and prostitution. Once you boil them down, you realize that in any life situation you use those skills, like it or not. Acting, for example, pretty heavily analogizes to all three.

One more behind-the-scenes peek - I've heard the sales people argue the merits of GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS versus BOILER ROOM at least half a dozen times. There is no clear consensus. I've yet to hear anyone bring up DEATH OF A SALESMAN. I guess by the time your a fan of that, you are already out of business.


wamk said...

Check out this clip:


Falls along the same lines of sales motivators. Gotta love YouTube!

Anonymous said...

Hey man,
Why don't you get some training in computer programming (perhaps even a degree in that field) and improve your lot(assuming you do not have a rich uncle) . I am not saying programmers do not get laid off but not as frequently as others. And you also make a lot more money to weather a layoff. Give your brain some strenuous exercise. Maybe you are not from that background; but this is America baby you can change what your fate. Loose the loser friends and girlfriends, get that little head in control and be all you can be! In essence be a monk in pursuit of knowledge and other things will pursue you. Best of luck

Daniel K. said...

I don't recall ever mentioning my loser girlfriend in this blog.... you either know me, anonymous, or you know a lot of people like me. (There are people like me?!) In either event, write to me directly cause I'm interested in what you have to say.

I've tried programming and I don't think I have the temperament for it. Plus, all the programmers I know say the business isn't what it used to be, back in the eighties when nobody understood computers and they were treated as gods. I fear that ship has sailed.

What I should be doing, what I'm really good at, is writing something for money. That's my resolution there - lose weight, be more carbon-footprint conscious, and get a weekly column.