Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Adventures In Direct Sales, Pt. 2: "Your Christians are so unlike your Christ" and Other Annoyances

So, I wish I had something positive to say about work today, but I just don't. First problem: the office is being stupid and letting me take the heat for it. To make a long story short, when someone books a presentation, they receive a free gift. They have a choice between two items. Right now, however, we are out of one of the items and won't likely have more for two weeks. So when the office calls the customer to confirm the appointment, it might be nice of them to say something like, "by the way, I see you wanted item B, but we're currently out of it. Is item A okay, or would you like to reschedule for when the shipment arrives?" But NOOOOO. They just carry on like nothing is out of the ordinary, and when I get to the house and hand them item A, I'm the one that takes shit for it. I'm tired of it. Then when people don't want to see the presentation until we have the gift they actually chose, I get in trouble from the boss. Because you know, it's totally my fault.

Also, the system I'm selling is expensive. I get that. I totally believe in what I'm selling, but I admit that it's a big investment. Now, between the economy being in the shitter and the fact that in Saskatchewan, people don't finance things (that being a big part of the reason we've been hit less by the recession to begin with) any sales I do make tend to be cash or credit card sales. That in itself is good. The "problem" is, people who are otherwise interested but don't have the money right now are not buying on payment plans. According to my boss, this must also somehow be my fault, at least judging by the tone in his voice when I tell him that a customer just doesn't want to finance and therefore won't be buying today. See, he comes from a city where people practically finance cups of coffee, and he "doesn't understand why [I'm] not making sales."

Now for the story referenced by the quote in the title of this post. (Disclaimer: I know not all Christians are douchebags. Love you guys. :D) I had an appointment yesterday in a Christian senior's condo complex. To get my equipment to and from my car takes two trips. So, after I was done with the presentation, I took the first load down, moved my car into the loading zone for the building so I wouldn't have as far to carry the second load, and buzzed the lady's suite to get back up there and get the other stuff. Now, she had mentioned that she was having some trouble with her buzzer, so it might take a couple of minutes for her to let me in, just in case she had to actually come downstairs to open the door.

As I was getting out of my car and walking to the door, a guy walked up and introduced himself as the building manager, then asked who I was looking for. I told him I was here to see "Anna" (name changed) in suite 300. He very gruffly informed me that "there is no Anna in 300" and tried to hustle me along. Of course, since I have a terribly overactive imagination, my first thought was not "wow, this guy is a douchebag" but instead, "holy crap I was just having tea with a ghost." Yes, you can all laugh at me now.

Anyway, I smiled and politely said that I had been upstairs with Anna in 300 not five minutes before, and she had mentioned some trouble with the buzzer, so I'd just ring her and wait for her to let me in. The jerkface building manager informed me that "this is a Christian building, and we don't want just anybody (said while leering at the negligible bit of cleavage shown by my blouse, which can't be helped because I have big boobs, and I'm very sorry that my FUCKING GENETIC MATERIAL is so offensive to your religious beliefs) loitering around and causing trouble." Furthermore, he informed me, "if you don't move your car right now you're looking at a $500 ticket." I pointed out that all the clearly visible signage said that the spot I was in was a fifteen minute loading zone, and I had been there for less than two minutes-in fact, he had seen me pull up. I then pressed the buzzer for Anna's suite and stood there waiting. All the while, this charming fellow kept sputtering about how parking and visitors are up to the manager's discretion. Yeah, the condo manager can TOTALLY tell the condo owners when they can have visitors. Uh-huh.

After a few minutes, Anna from 300 (who the manager had said didn't exist) came down, let me in, and told Mr. Assface that he had better get someone to work on her buzzer, because it was getting to be a pain for her to have to come all the way down and let her visitors in. Yay, nice old lady.

I'm just getting really frustrated with taking crap and getting yelled at by strangers for something that I can't control, which could be avoided if the office would just be honest with people. Ugh.

Adventures in Direct Sales

So, this blog has been a long time coming. Some of you have various levels of knowledge about my mysterious "new job." I'm doing direct sales. I sell an air purifier and a home cleaning system. It's not a door-to-door thing, though I *can* do that if I want to, which I don't. People make appointments with our marketing department, and I go try to sell them stuff. I've been doing it full time for a month now, which is why I've been so unavailable and spacey. The way the job works is that I'm basically "on call" from around 11 AM to 8PM, six days a week. Sometimes I'll randomly have a full day free, but I never know when a call is coming. That's why I can't commit to any other activities during those hours, unless it's something that I can just bail out of midway through if a call comes in. It's stressful and busy, but also a lot of fun. The money is good, and I get to meet some really awesome people and drive all over the southern half of the province, which I usually love.

Of course, along with the awesome comes the terrible. Like when I get a call from the boss at 7PM saying "I need you to go to North Battleford right away." For those of you not in the know, North Battleford is about an hour and a half out of Saskatoon. So, leaving at 7 PM, getting there around 8:30, doing a two-hour sales meeting, and then driving home in the dark on a stretch of highway very densely populated by deer and coyotes, which increases the driving time because I have to actually do the speed makes for a long night. Not a problem if I know it's coming and can plan for it, but on no notice whatsoever, it's a bit of a hassle.

Or when I go to a presentation at a home where the owner (a single man) gives me a creepy vibe right out of the gate. For example, I went to the home of one guy who spooked me a bit and had framed pictures of his Pomeranian all around the house. Not that there's anything wrong with being devoted to one's pets, but the combination of the creepy level of puppy love and the bad feeling I got the second the guy opened the door meant that I would not have been shocked at all to find out that this guy had a pit in his basement into which he lowered lotion in a basket. I was prepared to just bail out, but I noticed that there were a bunch of other people there. It turned out that this guy lived on the main floor of his house, and had converted the basement and second floor into rental suites for students. The other people were about four of his tenants. I figured that I'd be safe with a bunch of witnesses, so I got started. Halfway through my presentation, the renters all went out for supper, leaving me alone with the creepy dude and the dog. The guy sat right next to me on the couch, uncomfortably close, and said in what I assume he thought was a seductive tone, "so, they let a pretty little thing like you go to strangers' houses all alone?"

Yeah, I bailed as fast as I could.

Better yet is when I get sent to a bad neighborhood. First of all, no one who lives in Pleasant Hill (the "hood" around here) is going to buy a $3000 system like ours. It's just not going to happen. My boss, however, is new to Saskatoon and doesn't quite get this. Then you factor in that most apartments in this city don't have visitor parking. So when I go to an apartment in the bad neighborhood and have to park three or four blocks away, then walk that distance lugging twenty pounds of equipment, I'm not very safe. That being the reason I'm in a bit of pain these days-I'm pretty sure I actually sprained my ankle the other day when, in the exact scenario described above, I was attacked by three girls who figured I was "looking at them". I didn't get as bad a beating as I was expecting, just a twisted ankle, banged up knee and a few scrapes on my hands and elbows from falling over while trying to get away.

Then there was the lady who chased me out of her house. Seriously, a 70-75 year old woman yelled and swore at me and was grabbing a frying pan to chase me with.

So, the last month has been crazy. I just figured it was time to fill y'all in.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine Flu?

Okay, I have a theory about this. Using information obtained by following the work of Al Gore, I've figured out the problem.

See, Manbearpig drowned, right? But what happened was the Republican party, acting on orders from Karl Rove and the Emperor, took samples of Manbearpig's DNA and used it in research to develop a virus that would affect both humans and pigs. (It will also affect bears, but at this point that's neither here nor there.) Now, we all know that the Republicans hate anyone who isn't white, so they decided to test this virus in Mexico. They infected a bunch of pigs, intending for the virus to be spread to the Mexican people via direct contact with the animals.

Unfortunately, because forethought isn't their strong suit, the Republicans didn't realize that the virus would actually become airborne and spread that way. Their little experiment got out of hand. By the time they caught on and were prepared to employ their emergency shutdown plan (Dick Cheney was going to go to Mexico and shoot all infected people and animals in the face), the infection had spread too far. Changing air currents caused by global warming had facilitated mass spread of this virus.

You guys, I'm super serial here. The Republican party, using Manbearpig's DNA, gave us all swine flu.