Friday, November 9, 2007

"When was the last time you closed something huh? You couldn't close a fuckin' window you moron! " -Richie (Boiler Room)

Just picked my dad up from JFK. He flew in from Miami after being on tour for the past month hitting all major US cities. On the way back he told me stories, and it made me realize how far my family has come in the 15 years we have been in this country. He told me about riding around California in a Lincoln Navigator Stretch Limo with Avraam Russo, a Russian pop singer. My dad, in Cali, in a limo, living my dream? They always say that the American Dream is about going a step further then your parents. So what happens when your parents are living your dream? My father is touring. As am I, but with slightly lower profile "celebrities". My mother is on vacation every 2 months. Hell, even my grandparents live in much nicer apartments then we had when we came here. So where does that leave me? Simple answer: to dream bigger.


Last week I was at my grandmother's house running some errands when she got a call from one of those Russian salesmen. You know the type. The ones that would come to your house to try to sell you a Rainbow vacuum or a Bauer pillow. The ones that would make their way into your home by promising a gift and then would scare your family shitless about some household problem you don't actually have only to offer a magical solution that is sure to revolutionize your life for 10 small monthly payments of either an arm or a leg. The ones you wished would get that vacuum hose stuck up their ass and dangle by it out the window of your dear old grandmothers 7th floor apartment. You know the type. Not being able to withstand his charm she allowed him to come over, "just so he can get the signature he needs to get paid and leave; he's not going to try to sell anything." Thats where your wrong grandma, they ALWAYS try to sell something.
"And there is no such thing as a no sale call. A sale is made on every call you make. Either you sell the client some stock or he sells you a reason he can't. Either way a sale is made, the only question is who is gonna close?" - Boiler Room
So this guy, lets call him Alex, closed on one of the most important parts of his pitch, getting into the house. What he didn't know is that I'm a rather amusing mix of a caring grandson and a shear asshole; I intended to wait for him to get there and make sure my grandmother wasn't pressured into buying a thing, all the while ripping him to shreds as only a cocky 18 year-old business student could. Alex came in wearing a surprisingly nice and unwrinkled suit but towing behind him a giant device draped in an "AquaLife" case. This was going to be fun. I had a cynical smile on my face which my grandmother noticed and chuckled about. He gave them the gift he promised and immediately went in to his pitch, despite several interruptions from my grandmother telling him he only had 15 minutes of her time to not sell her anything and my grandfather asking how to use the free gift and why it didn't come with free batteries. I love my Jewish family. I sat patiantly on the couch only interupting a few times to make it absolutly clear that he was wasting his breath. He seemed to be aggrivated with me, but then again, who wouldnt be, I was destroying the mood he was trying to set. He took his attention off my grandparents for a moment and tried to convince me that he wasn't trying to sell anything, I cut him off midsentence and told him to save his breath, I knew what a sales pitch looked like. He smiled awkwardly and turned back to my grandparents. Thirty minutes into this 15 minute time limit he had my grandparents clearly terrified about the horrible air in their home and convinced that they need to do something about it. They even asked how much his magical device cost, but like any good salesman he simply said "a lot". Good answer sir, good answer. Apparently their salesmen just pitch, the managers close over the phone. Seems like a smart enough four step plan:
Step 1: Offer a gift to entice a meeting.
Step 2: Scare the vulnerable old people shitless. (as if they didn't have enough bowel problems)
Step 3: Give them time to think over how remarkable their lives could be.
Step 4: Call and close the deal if they don't call you first shivering with fear.
Makes sense. I threw in a few witty remarks every now and then which he eventually just started to ignore. I made my grandmother laugh though. After the pitch I jumped up for damage control. I asked him if his company had exlusive rights to this product. He said yes. I asked why they are pitching this miralicolous invention to old Russian people instead of making thier millions on the American market. I asked why he feels my grandmother should pay $2500 (a figure I finally got out of him) for this machine when she could get the tested and proven Ionic Breeze from Sharper Image which does the same thing for $300. That is when poor Alex's pitch broke down. The once composed and articulate middle-aged man in the expensive suit began to stutter and sweat, no doubt wrinkling his well-ironed white shirt. With my grandparents listening intently he began to tell me stories about how their technology is patented and about how he has an article about the Ionic Breeze being sued for a reason he can't recall. I'm not sure if he expected me to take his word for it, but I obviously asked to see the article. The next 5 minutes were spent shuffling through papers looking for an article which he conveniently "must have left in the office". But hey, who can blame him, after all, I'm sure its been a while since one of his senior citizen Russian clients asked him to defend his product against a leading American competitor with a product 1/8th the price. He managed to find another product that looked similar to the Ionic Breeze and proceeded to show me all of its downfalls. Again I rudely interrupted mid-sentence and asked him if there are other products on the market that physically look like his. He said yes, clearly understanding where I was going with this. He already began to close his book, but just for kicks I laid out the fact that just because a product looks similar does not mean it is the same product. Within 30 seconds after this conversation he was packed and out the door. I even held it open for him as he walked out. I'm just that nice of a guy.

So what was the point of telling you all that, and not to mention doing it at all? Why would I want to berate a middle aged salesman just trying to make a living to feed his wife and kids? Because he's feeding his wife and kids by instilling fear in old people and having them throw their money out in spite of millions of alternatives which they simply know nothing about. I'm sure he's a great guy and he seemed to have a great work ethic. The problem was his ethics in work. Oh, and of course it was a completely exhilarating blast to be the asshole kid who ruins the day of someone 3 times my age. I never cease to get a kick out of it, though I do get to boss around people just as old on a daily basis at work.

Welcome to America kids.


I've gotten some feedback about this blog already, all of it surprisingly positive. I appreciate it and ask that you continue to comment and let me know what's missing or what to improve. Also, just let me know if your reading. Drop a comment and just tell me who you are.

Sweet dreams kids.


Anonymous said...

I've heard some of these comments that you would go so far as to call "witty".

Jumping the gun just a bit arent ya fellar?

And as for what your blog could do, it would be dandy if it provided hot cups of my favorite columbian roast and whispered sweet nothings in my ear.

Great. Work on it.

M1KE N. said...

You learn that the great thing about having your own blog and not giving a fuck about who reads it is that I'm aloud to jump the gun, because I'm the one shooting it. Besides, if it makes a grown man sweat and my grandmother chuckle, its good. My grandmother > you. In fact, my grandmother could beat up your grandmother.

As for the poignant suggestion, I have one for you too: kill yourself.

The only thing Columbian I can give you is cocaine, and nothing is exactly what I will be whispering in your ear, can't guarantee it will be sweet, but the coke is. I hope you overdose.

Sweet dreams.