MORE Things I Never Expected

expect the unexpected

My grandfather was fond of saying “If you live long enough, you get to see it all come around again.”

It wasn’t until much later in life that I came to realize how true that is.

Off-topic, his retirement hobby was going to the hardware store and telling anyone who would listen how much that tool right there cost in 1948. That’s a fate I hope is not in my future. Anyway, no matter how long you’ve been around you can still face novel situations you’ve never experienced before.

One of the regular tasks for my job is doing drop-in product knowledge sessions for our retail partners. Oftentimes, these are impromptu and unscheduled.

They’re not scheduled because these are often locations in shopping malls, and the business tempo can be unpredictable. You can schedule a product knowledge session for 10 a.m. Monday morning as soon as the mall opens. Then you get there and there are customers lined up out the door waiting to be served.

So I roll with that. I’ll have a list of locations, and when I’m driving around whatever city I’m in I’ll get these done in between my scheduled meetings.

But I digress.

It was at one of these product knowledge drop-ins recently where I had a novel interaction with the retail sales associate.

Overall it was a typical exercise: I introduced myself as the brand representative, delivered the feature/benefit/sell message, and quickly quizzed him on retention of the message I imparted. The sales associate passed with flying colors: He was already familiar with the brand and spoke knowledgeably about it, and his retention of the feature/benefit/sell was perfect. What made the experience atypical was that he was clearly high as a kite. Not only that, but he had the red eyes and weed stink to go with it.

I left that alone for three reasons. First, it’s none of my business. Second, his store manager was on duty, although on a conference call, and obviously had to be cool with it. It’s not like they didn’t notice. Third, the sales associate had the little “President’s Club” logo on his name tag which indicates he’s one of the top-selling commission sales associates in the company. So hey, play ball. Keep selling my brand, buddy.

Switching gears entirely, I recently got an email from the owner of one of my dealers. They reached out to inform me that their old inventory manager was moving on, and a new person would be looking after orders and logistics, which is not unusual. People come and go, and I get emails like that all the time. What was unusual was that for whatever reason, the dealer principal cc’d the current inventory manager, who up to that point was unaware that they were about to be let go.

As if that wasn’t cringe-inducing enough, the one-word reply email from the inventory manager was even worse: