Speaker Phones are not my friends.

Many moons ago, I got a job selling P.A. and Audio Studio equipment for a local company specialized in exports. It was the dawn of the digital era of recording, (OK, more like 9 am/Coffee Break era) so stuff of all kinds was coming out and dying within the month. It was hard to keep track plus some companies had granted exclusive area rights to some seller which made things interesting since international shoppers do not like to bounce around the US. We had a “parent” company in another region and we were the company that who got the brands we could for our region. That made it easier for clients from places like Argentina or Peru to place the order with one person and have it filled.

One client called one day and asked for a new digital gadget he was interested. Since it was not in our list, I could not give him a price right there, but I promised a fax would be forthcoming soon from one of our companies. I made the necessary internal contacts and about 35 minutes later, I got a call from  the client who asked me if that was the final price and that if so, he wanted ten units ASAP.

Now, I had not seen the fax yet so I told the client I would get back to him, ran downstairs to the fax machine (a copy was to be sent to the original seller) and to my horror, I see the price quoted was wrong by a digit and signed as firm offer by somebody I did not know.  One digit that made the difference from four figures to five: The unit’s price was $10,000 and the imbecile from the other company quoted a firm $1,000.  No wonder the client wanted 10 units! I told the client t was an obvious mistake and he laughed it up and said not to worry about it, but he would still be interested in buying one to which I obviously answered with a big fat Yes!

I called the parent company’s office and asked to call with the “salesman” urgently. I was told by a very impolite secretary that he was busy and to leave a message. I did and just told him that his company was about to suffer a $100,000 loss because of him, but to take his time and call me whenever he felt like it (and yes, my tone of voice was dripping with sarcasm.) I got the call back in about 3 minutes and the “seller” asked me what was wrong. I asked him (again, with infinite sarcasm in my voice) if he remembered what was the quoted price per unit on the order he signed off and that he, dumbshit deluxe,  stated the wrong fucking price. I informed him the client had called back and ordered 10 units very pronto and I did not want to be buttfucked for his mistake.

I found out I was on a conference call when I hear at least 2 extra voices saying “fuck ”  and other expressions in the back ground. Next I hear another voice with some authority asking “seller” if he had quoted a $10K piece of electronics for $1K. “Seller” began to mumble something and Voice of Authority said “We will get back to you” and hung up.  I knew that I was about to get in shit, deep and smelly.

Later I found out that “Seller” was actually the parent company’s VP for sales and brother of Voice of Authority who turned out to be the owner of the company. Now, I was not fired (ahem, let go) for another 7 months and only because the owner of the company retired after having a bad divorce and a heart attack. The excuse was that our company was not making enough money and cutbacks were needed… which was hilarious since I was the only one actually making five figures and up sales.  But guess who ended up in charge of Parent Company? Yup, The Dumb Brother.

Both companies were gone within 18 months. Ours first, of course and then Parent Company after they got nailed on some Federal charges that included tax evasion and exporting sensitive equipment… who knew that the new digital era would bring that much baggage?

I let my ego take over on that one. Now, unless I know the people on the other side real well, I will moderate what I say over the phone. And the people who know me, know better than not warn me I am on speaker phone since I tend to be rather “expansive” in my comments.

OK, I can be offensive as shit. Just don’t use the speaker phone with me.


PS: Damn, I know you are old when the spell checker tells you the word “fax” is wrong.

 

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