Mr. Saigon and my day as a speaker salesman

Despite two “No Soliciting” signs posted at the front of our office building, we always have someone that comes into our office trying to sell something. Even Airborne Express comes in once a month to try to get us to use their service. I usually have to stop Mr. Door-to-Door sales rep guy and say “Pipe down, moron. We already use Airborne Express for all of our shipments”.

Recently a young man came into our office while I was working alone. He told me that he had a truck downstairs with a whole bunch of Omaha steaks that he would sell to me for a super low price. If not, his boss would just wind up giving them away. Ordinarily I would have just said “No thanks” but this time I actually stood up and paced after the guy who was standing in our office doorway. I pointed to the door and said “We have two signs outside that say “No Soliciting””. He didn’t rebuttal, he just left. In hindsight, I should have been more compassionate.

I once had a job like this young steak salesman. It was in my early years of college. I needed some extra spending money and needed a job that 1) didn’t require an extensive resume and 2) required little or no brainpower. I had neither due to 1) genetics and 2) numerous weekends as a freshman where keg stands were mandatory.

After many, many painstaking and arduous minutes of scouting the classifieds, I found an ad that sounded appealing: SELL REALLY COOL SPEAKER EQUIPMENT. RELAXED, CASUAL ENVIRONMENT. GREAT PAY. MAKE YOUR OWN HOURS.

I called and was to have my interview the very next morning. My interview consisted of me handing over my driver’s license to be photocopied and filling out a measly employment application. The next thing I knew, I was in a new Dodge Durango with some long-haired dude. I will from here-on-out refer to long-haired dude as Mr. Saigon.

Mr. Saigon told me that we were going to drive to College Station. So we did. Along the way I kept inquiring about the job responsibilities. Mr. Saigon told me that I would have to wait and see. Boy, was I excited. Action, adventure, suspense and really cool speaker equipment that I haven’t even seen yet!

Mr. Saigon and I made casual small talk. He and I had similar interests in music. He told me about how he was once supposed to be the new singer for Saigon Kick (pretty clever of me, eh? You know, with the whole name thing! Mr. Saigon… man, I’m good). “Wow!” thought I. I was in the presence of a could-have-been rock star! And look at him now – he’s driving a Dodge Durango out of southeast Austin with the back full of boxes!

We finally made it to College Station. It was there that I learned the secret rock star art of selling really cool speaker equipment. We drove around motor banks trying to lure young men who stop at the ATM to get cash to purchase our wares. Mr. Saigon would say “Hey dude! You wanna buy some awesome speakers for cheap? We’re just getting back from a job and we’ve got five sets of speakers left. If I don’t get rid of ’em, my boss is just going to chuck ’em”.

Mr. Saigon’s first prey politely said no. While driving to the second motor bank I asked about the speakers. I was told that they were cheap pieces of junk and we are to sell them at no less than $200 per set. We drove to every damn bank in College Station that afternoon. We got a nibble by one guy. He even had us follow him to his apartment so he could ask his girlfriend if he could buy the speakers. She could smell our sharkiness. No bite.

Mr. Saigon and I went to Chili’s for a late lunch. He paid for us both. That didn’t entice me to come back the next day.

So what’s the moral of the story? I’m not sure. Although I can tell you to be weary of people who approach you at ATMs and try to sell you something. In the same breath, be in awe because you might be in the presence of someone who could have been Neil Diamond.

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