Where Have I Been…?

I have been rethinking it all. Not so much “Where have I been?” but more “What the hell am I doing?”       

Rarely have sales been such a disappointment…and that’s saying something. These are the dog days of sales. Flat, discouraging, ugly. Intelligence runs thin this time of the year. People drive me nuts and my attitude isn’t the best.

Let’s face it, the typical sales career hasn’t evolved much, especially if you’re stuck running door to door, and for a stretch that’s exactly what I am doing. Good people are out there, but I ain’t finding them. Instead I am meeting the nitwits and the dimwits. It’s discouraging.      

So let’s talk about my dinner tonight instead.     

 It is dinner and a movie tonight. (Who gives a flip about sales? Screw it.) Tonight it is Kubrick’s The Killing, a surprisingly engaging late noir film starring Sterling Hayden…or is it Hayden Sterling? No matter. Gritty noir classics, especially under-appreciated ones, deserve period cuisine and I did my best. I sliced up some old summer sausage I’ve been hoping would dry a bit in the fridge. And I sliced some cheese…pricey gouda and Swiss…and paired it all up with a short stack of stale water crackers I have had in the cupboard. This might not sound like much of a dinner, but in fact it is a bit of a luxury tonight. I am trying to eat better, but while watching a film like this I thought a somewhat “manly” snack was better than having a highball. My blog needs more photos so I’ll get a good clip from the movie to share.

So let’s watch the film! Perhaps I can rethink my career through the great old film.

Let’s start here. In this scene Hayden or Sterling … Johnny in the film … is renting a shack at a motel, but you can easily see a sales call in this shot. Imagine driving 50 miles to meet a client who’s set on buying a nice advertising plan and when you pull into his potholed driveway he tells you he has changed his mind. It happened…this week. And THAT’S about as good as it has been recently, the most civilized disrespect I’ve endured in this profession that has been neither civil nor respectful.        

So look again at the picture below…I have driven 50 miles after spending an hour prepping all the required paperwork to complete the order. Everything is set to go. (Note the nice, suit, too. All top notch.) And the little client is saying: “Well, I talked it over with the wife and she doesn’t think I should do it.”       



The wife?? Really, the wife?  Don’t you want to flick his ears and poke him in the eye?  I do, but you get used to this kind of abuse.  It happens more often than the outsider might expect. We call it getting “spoused.”  















If you’re going to get spoused, you might as well get soused. So let’s stop for a drink. Here we are at a bar. Bars appear frequently in old films, especially film noir. Loads of boozing. Here, however, we have a rare bottle of beer making an appearance. Note man and woman in foreground. Likely man and wife. In sales we don’t like wives…She’s almost certainly whispering in her husband’s ear: “Don’t buy advertising, dear. We can spend that money better on booze.” (Seriously. Really.) But let’s move on because I don’t have anything working here.




Glug, glug…


After a drink I always like to work the maternity accounts…




Did they buy? Not likely. So what can a salesman do when things are really slow? Where does he find new accounts?

Sometimes he needs to peek into the Employee Locker Room


Oh, but here…this is my favorite. Dress up like a clown, ignore No Admittance signs (a good idea anyway…the clown get up), and load up your shot gun…


Then ask politely for a little cooperation…


And voila! They line up to buy advertising…works better than driving 50 miles for a no sale!


But if that fails, don’t sweat it. It looks like you can just buy money at a shop like this!


All right…it is harder than hell to watch a movie when snipping and pasting scenes into a blog entry. I lost track of the movie – kind of like my career recently – and then got sucked back in when the film did this crazy … god, I don’t know what you would call it … this crazy kind of a dual perspective on the penultimate scene shown in two parts. The heist begins and ends – A to B – then it repeats A to B but from the insider perspective. The two perspectives are not shown concurrently but first one and then the other. Golly. That really confused me for a moment because I was busy pasting scenes here then when I figured everything out I lost track of the blog – kind of like my career recently – and got to the end lickety split:


So hell…I don’t know what happened, but I wouldn’t mind having these guys on my side for the rest of the summer. (That would be me standing there behind the closed doors.)

Time to go to bed and dream about clowns.       


One thought on “Where Have I Been…?

  1. u no hoo

    this is great literature, and a salesman’s life is the most interesting of all professions to deconstruct. I recommend doing the same for Double Indeminty, and you need to watch the Maysle’s brothers documentary Salesman. It’s not for juniors.


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