I hope everyone has had a happy and memorable Leap Day 2008.
It was kind of a mixed bag for me. Three more inches of snow overnight, making the glaciers in my alley oh, six miles deep. I got stuck and unstuck and stuck again, and bottomed out the car moving from one ice pack to another. It'll be a miracle if the cars don't need alignments and shocks by spring.
At work my day was hampered by the misery that is a Friday in Lent (please let my birthday not fall on such a day this year!), and the lousy meatless lunches that come with it.
I also engaged in a long and fruitless argument with a customer who refused to see facts that were as plain as day.
Believe me, few things are as enjoyable as explaining, time and again, in a myriad of different ways, that $65 times three purchases is $195 EACH AND EVERY TIME. There is no 'trickery' involved, and no amount of math, new, old, verdic, algebraic, whatever, is going to change that fact.
On the other side of the scale we closed out the month significantly ahead of Feb of '07 (not even including today's totals) and ahead of Feb of '06 as well.. A hearty thank-you to all involved in making that happen.
I also had the pleasure of enjoying an evening at home minuse the wife and kids, although I've done nothing more exciting than complete my federal taxes.
* * *
I had a bit of a smile today too, albeit a heartless evil one.
Midway through the day I took a call from a salesman who was pushing . .what was it? Oh yes, a new brand of drain cleaner. Obviously he wasn't the best man for the job or I'd remember the product without a four minute pause, but it was how truly AWFUL he was that made it special.
"Mr. S I'd like to thank you for returning the comment card showing interest in our product," he began.
Never heard of the company, certainly never wasted my time filling out postcards about Drano.
"and as a special thank-you I'd like to offer you a XY brand 4 inch pocket knife as my gift," he said.
Not sure how a pocketknife would inspire a purchase from someone in my industry, but, uh, sure.
Now you have to picture this next bit as if it was ripped clean out of a failed sitcom. You know the scene because you've seen it a hundred times: someone's kooky uncle or the Ashton Kutcher of the class gets a job as a telmarketer. Hilarity ensues. Cue laugh track.
"And I bet there's plenty of dark nights and back alleys in, uh . .in Milwaukee where that blade is going to come in pret-tee handy, ha ha ha".
You should have seen my smile. I could hear the guy turning the pages of the script. I could hear him whispering to himself in panic when he forgot what city he'd called. And best of all, oh, best of all dear reader, the 'ha ha ha' was just that: a mechanical, forced, actual 'ha ha ha', devoid of even a child's efforts to imitate a real laugh.
I immediately decided to devote a few minutes to the guy. There'd be no curt 'no thanks' from me today, nosirree.
[And again, I'm in a suit and tie industry. What is his company trying to say, that I go slumming in the Bowery on my off hours? And thanks for ridiculing my hometown. Did anyone think out this marketing angle, or did they come up with it over a bong one night?]
He went on with his pitch, and the turning of his notecards, and after awhile I began to discern a womans voice in the background. It was faint but oh, it was there, and I began to notice that it spoke the man's words just a moment before they rolled out of his mouth.
Dear Liza, the poor woman was training this man! How miserable was her Leap Day?
So he tries to get me to buy his stuff. "Send me a sample and I'll make a decision," I said, for no other reason than to let him off the hook without a real 'no'. Ah, but his trainer was having no part of it and I knew the spin before I heard it. I parried it quickly and she came back with yet another flanking attack (the woman was obviously a veteran salesperson)
Here is where pity began to overcome my amusement. The longer he and I - well, she and I - went 'round and round, the more he fell a step behind. Eventually I would hear her voice first, and only after she was finished speaking would he try and stumble through and remember what she said, his voice full of misery.
Enough was enough, and I disconnected after a polite 'no thank you'.
Now I'll probably never get that pocketknife.
Tags: Leap Year