Hard Sell

By Brandon Patrick

6a0133f30ae399970b01a51188eb4a970cIt’s 12:45 on a random Tuesday, and I’m taking one of my extended lunch breaks. My boss doesn’t have a clue what I’m doing. My job is entirely dependent on my own effort, and right now, I’m putting none in. I’m currently in the parking lot of a shopping mall getting a mediocre blow job; I’m technically being paid for this. According to my title, I’m a Junior Account Executive, but if you followed me around for a day, you’d see that I’m a salesman (and a shitty one at that). I sell cell phones door to door at businesses for the 4th largest cell phone provider in North America. I’m very bad at my job. 

I’ve lived in Evanston, IL for a few weeks, and I promised the dude I’m crashing with that I’d find work. I got this job via Craigslist. This place seemed totally down to interview me despite my clear lack of any real job experience. I remember the interview. It was with an extremely cute lady who didn’t mind that I had no clue how to interview, no qualifications, and was 10 minutes late (that should’ve been a red flag for me, but I was desperate). I remember being told that I was exactly what the company was looking for for its management training program, which in retrospect was insane, but at the time made perfect sense: I was surrounded by salesmen, and I was being sold.

I was told I “killed it” on my first interview. I left with a feeling of satisfaction, and they scheduled a second interview for the next day (another red flag). The next interview was 8 hours long. Yep, 8 hours. I shadowed a salesman as he went door to door pitching a dubious cell phone plan. Surely no one would buy a cell phone the day of from a fly by night salesman…? Then I saw the system in action. The guy “interviewing” me sold 3 cell phones to an elderly man who didn’t really seem to understand what was going on, but whatever. After the sale, I was told that it had netted my future mentor $300. One free lunch later, I was sold. I was convinced I could make similar sales and dominate in the field. After all, if this guy had just made $300 on a Monday, I could probably pull that off after a few weeks at least. I was prepared to be a very rich man…that isn’t quite what happened.

The job wasn’t so much a scam as it was a very difficult way to make not a lot of money. Every day at 6, we’d report back to the office and celebrate (loudly) our fellow coworkers’ conquests in “the field.” On my first day, I remember 5 people getting up and talking about sales they’d made. They talked about the system, how great it was, and how they were on track for promotions. I didn’t realize that on my first day, in a room full of people, only 5 had made any money. There was an office policy (enforced by firing) that failure was not discussed. This seemed like a psychological thing – keep the negative out, focus on the positive! In reality, most of the job was failure, and if it were publicly discussed, there would be no employees…but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Back to the blow job in progress! I’m wearing a wrinkled suit, unpolished shoes, and a stained dress shirt. It is my 3rd day wearing this outfit, but the young lady below me doesn’t mind. She thinks I’ve given her an incredible deal on a cell phone. She was under the impression I was waving my commission because I believed in her. In her reality, she was paying a debt. In my reality, I was enjoying the perks of an incredible job. In actuality, I was wasting time, but I had no way to perceive a blow job as failure. I’d succeeded, so I took the rest of the day off and walked around the mall. After all…if there were more days like this, I’d be able to afford everything in the mall, so I should window shop now!

I can sell ice to Eskimos, I have a way with words, and I’m quite intelligent. I am also highly unmotivated. I didn’t want to sell cell phones. After a few days of “training,” I was on my own, free to do whatever I wanted until 5:00. What I wanted to do was ejaculate in the mouth of a stranger. She was my first sale, and I’d just “hooked her up.” (This customer would later cancel the plan I sold her and refuse to answer future phone calls.) I spent the rest of the week celebrating my triumph by napping in my car and getting kicked out of businesses. It didn’t matter to me though. I’d already proven myself, making a sale on my first day! Who cared that it was 4 days later, and my net profit before taxes was $100?

The next Monday, I strolled into the office confident that I’d make another “huge” sale. I made no money – same thing Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. By Friday, I was told that I needed to step my game up, or I could actually be fired! What?! No!!! Not me. I get blow jobs in parking lots. I don’t get fired on my second week! I went out that Friday and finally tricked an old man into canceling his plan and going with us. Sure, it was financially prohibitive to him, but fuck him, I needed the job. I walked back into the office Friday night with proof of my conquest, and my job was secured for another week. I was lying to customers and selling them a product they didn’t need and most likely had, but I had to make money somehow, right?

The following Monday, I was told that if I could make a sale that week, I’d qualify for the “business trip,” which would take us into a fresh territory full of potential customers. I’d been told that on these trips, people tripled and even quadrupled their profits. I was pumped! I was determined to qualify, and I did, by selling phones to a man who spoke so little English, we had to have our conversation via Google Translate. I’d feel bad about it, but he was saving $10 a month thanks to me.

I’d qualified for the business trip and was headed to the lovely city of…Des Moines, IA, where literally everyone I came across was perfectly fine with their cell phone service, except for a couple of guys at a car dealership. They were super interested, until they called the headquarters of the mobile phone company I was supposedly representing, which had no record of my employment. It was at that moment that I realized, I was probably NOT going to make a ton of money. I made a net -$200 on the trip and was told that I had one more week to prove I was a decent employee, or I’d be fired.

I remember the next week distinctly. I was fueled by that first week’s blow job. I was going to make sales and prove my worth to that shady company…except I didn’t. The few sales I made, I lucked into. I actually had no idea what I was doing, and even if I did, I wasn’t aggressive enough to do it well. I went back to the office that Friday with 0 sales for the week, expecting to get fired. My boss was disappointed but told me I could work from home for another week to prove myself. Let’s not even pretend I was going to work unsupervised and make my own schedule. I was fired. Of course I was fired; I was a terrible employee. I should’ve learned my lesson from my previous job at the record store…but let’s save that for another time.

Brandon Patrick is the greatest comedian ever. He tours clubs, colleges, dive bars, and comic book stores. You can be his friend – facebook/twitter/instagram/snapchat: BrandonComedy. Website: BrandonComedy.com

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2 thoughts on “Hard Sell

  1. Hmm it seems like your site ate my first comment (it was
    extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say,
    I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to everything.

    Do you have any tips and hints for inexperienced blog writers?
    I’d genuinely appreciate it.

    • Thanks for reading Julianne! One of the most challenging and also wonderful things about writing a blog is the opportunity to craft your unique voice, sometimes even as part of your own brand. Ask yourself: what do I love writing about and what is original about my perspective on the topic? Answering these questions first can help guide you in creating a blog that is marketable for two reasons: it comes authentically from you, and it speaks to a specific audience. There’s a lot to learn about blog writing, so I would say the best way to quickly move from novice to expert is to read sites on blogging and teach yourself anything and everything you’re curious about on the subject. There are some amazing resources out there, and most of them are free! Good luck, and thanks again for writing to us!

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