Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Life Of A Salesman
My third son became a salesman for his company. It was a large pay increase for him and he was excited about it.
My son is very personable. He is one of those people that other people are automatically drawn to and like. There have been several of those in my family so perhaps it is genetic.
He quickly built up a loyal client base. He was to assess needs and suggest products for the client. He also handled problems with products previously purchased. Most of the time he was able to resolve the problem in a timely manner and satisfy the customer.
There was another salesman with the company who was more than happy to have an "assistant". He did not like to extend himself so he tried to have my son do his work as well.
Now I did not raise stupid people so my son did the right thing. He happily shouldered whatever load that man gave him. The clients were happy, the other salesman was smug, and my son learned a great deal. My son was also the one who knew what was going on and was able to answer all the questions about anything to do with sales.
The part of the job that my son did not like was the travel that was occasionally required. Going to another state and spending several days or a week took him away from his family. He is an extremely devoted family man.
Trips overseas were especially hard. They usually lasted about two weeks but some trips were shorter and some were longer. The boss insisted that both salesmen go.
They had credits cards issued to them by the company as well as expense money in cash. Rooms were reserved in advance and paid for by the company.
Germany was a place they went to often. A lot of businesses in the United States have subsidiaries or other relationships with companies in Europe, especially Germany. My son liked Germany but he says it is different in many ways.
His fellow salesman was one of those people who give Americans a bad reputation around the world. He was one of those people who would loudly proclaim that he was an American and then he would expect priority treatment even while he was being rude. My son would just shake his head in embarrassment.
Another thing the other salesman liked to do when he was away from home and his family was to visit those places that have "friendly" women. You know the ones. They accept money for "companionship" for a short time. My son says he never participated and I believe him. He is a very moral person and he would not do anything to hurt his family or have them think less of him.
On one occasion the man visited one of "those" places. My son amused himself by wandering around the area and looking at the sights. He liked to see how people lived.
Suddenly there was a commotion. My son looked up to see the other salesman standing at the street screaming at the top of his lungs. He was accusing the woman he had been with of stealing the envelope containing his expense money.
My son managed to extricate the man from the area. The man did not want to calm down and at the same time he was terrified that his wife would find out that he had lost all that money when he had to call her for more. My son pulled the envelope from his pocket and showed the man. He had given it to my son for safe keeping and forgot what he had done.
The man liked to drink a bit too. He had drunk too much and they would be traveling the Autobahn so my son was driving. My son does not like the speeds people drive on the Autobahn because he distrusts other drivers' abilities to maintain control.
So while my son was driving slower than most of the drivers he was still going at a pretty good clip. The other salesman decided to get out of the car... while it was moving on the Autobahn! My son was able to pull the car over and stop. He reached over and closed the car door and settled the other salesman down. The rest of the journey was uneventful.
As salesman they were expected to look presentable at all times. My son would ask for an iron to press his clothes before he hung them in the hotel. It took a little while at the beginning but then he could enjoy himself.
The other salesman used a trick many of us know. A little steam from the shower will relax wrinkles from a suit on a hanger. So he turned on the hot water in the shower and hung his suit in the bathroom. He and my son went to get something to eat.
My son says that restaurant meals are not rushed. It was more than an hour before they made it back to the hotel rooms. My son was ready for bed.
But there was a frantic knock on his door. The other salesman was beside himself. When he went into his room there was water everywhere. The hot water from his shower had melted plastic in the water lines and water was spraying all over. What should he do?
My son called the front desk and told them that the other room was spraying water everywhere. They immediately sent someone to fix the problem. The other salesman was given a different room.
Before the repairman made it up to the room the wet plaster in the walls collapsed. Bathroom fixtures were on the floor. The room was demolished completely. You will be pleased to know that the other salesman graciously accepted the apologies of management for any inconvenience. (Yes I am being sarcastic.)
The one time my son went to France he was disappointed. He could not understand why the sidewalks were so full of mud. Until he realized it was not mud that covered everything. Apparently no one feels the need to clean up after dogs are walked.
They were asked to leave two eating establishments because they were Americans. He does not know if it was because of some bias against all Americans or if it was because the employees of the restaurants could not speak English.
He visited England several times. He liked it there. He was able to take a lot of pictures. The guards at Buckingham Palace were friendly. They posed for pictures with him and even took a few for him so he could be in the shots. I thought they were supposed to be totally aloof.
My son had a lot of fun in England because he had learned how to ditch his fellow salesman and go off on his own. He even managed a quick day trip into Ireland one day.
My son gave up the job of salesman. He just did not like being away from his family. It was a good choice for him. He now has a job that pays far more money and he is home every night. Now that he has three granddaughters he is even more happy to be there with them.