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Vocational Nonsense

Vocational Nonsense

As part of my desk job (entering bills, doing billing, answering phones, social media, strange errands, occasional emergency gardening services), I sell heavy plastic mats (the size, shape, and weight of plywood), that are meant to be put under various types of heavy equipment.  

It's not something I think about much, because I dread doing this work. INFJs make terrible salespeople, unless we genuinely believe in the product. Even then, it's rough. I also don't make a commission, so there isn't much incentive to sell.

Fortunately, these mats are much sought-after, and they really do almost sell themselves. 

What really makes it difficult is the guys that want to buy these things.

Let me back up. I work at a tree-care company. The people who want these mats are also in tree-care, landscaping, excavating. The vehicles range from a few thousand (scissor lifts) to 70,000 pounds (cranes). The most interesting use I ever heard was from a shore-line cemetery. The woman who called said, look - it never freezes here, the ground is like soup, and we have to put the mats down to scoop dirt onto and for the mourners to walk on. She never called back, but I learned something. The second most interesting use was someone who wanted to make a pathway for their horses to walk on so they wouldn't get muddy. 

You have to have a certain size mat to put under the kind of vehicle you have. Bigger mats, more money. This is math. Yet there is a constant battle with the buyers to get them to tell you the machinery's weight, so that you don't inadvertently sell them something inadequate, which would in turn leave you liable. They lie, I have to determine whether they're trying to save money, it wears you down. Eventually you reach some kind of compromise, which usually involves them threatening to take their business elsewhere because you won't give them what they want, or because you said they had to wait until a certain time. An hour later, having discovered they cannot get these anywhere else locally, they call back with a meeker attitude, and you make an appointment. Then it gets fun. 

Some of them are mean. Most of them are creepy. They all ask too many questions.

There were the foul-mouthed brothers with the excavating business. Here's what talking to them was like: "**** *** mats, man, holy ****. I've never ****** with **** *** before. How much *********** money did you ***** say?" They were actually nice.

I won't forget the guy who showed up and walked PAST the porta-potty to pee behind a small trailer, he also brought his dog, and was letting it run around, without asking.

Then there was the one who showed up with a gigantic freaking hole in his pants. I don't mean fray marks. They were essentially chaps at that point. Boxers looked a little frayed, too. It's more information than I want about someone I'm doing business with.

We had a fellow who was too cheap to buy the steel connectors that hook the mats together, and the mats shot out from under his excavator on a muddy slope. After we heard about that, we started giving links away for free.

You learn a certain body language in order to deal effectively with these dudes. Shoulders square, head up, murder eyes, crushing hand-shakes, firm, loud boot-steps. And you need to put off an unmistakable "don't even think about it" vibe. Yes, I will help you load your truck. No, you cannot make that comment I see you thinking. Ah! You made it anyway. How fun and professional of you. No, you don't need to impress me with talk of your credit limit. Just hand me your card. If you could do that without making demeaning remarks about "the girls" in your "office", that'd be great. Oh. Okay. Thanks! Come back any time. But please call ahead.

For Want of Wonder (Part 1)

For Want of Wonder (Part 1)

PSA: Facebook church? I'm not impressed

PSA: Facebook church? I'm not impressed