|Posted on March 20, 2010 at 1:33 PM|
Yesterday, our showroom was visited by two radically different clients, both of which left me feeling slightly out of sorts.
The first guy, I’ll call Rancid Crabtree (in homage to the terrific Patrick McManus character.) He comes into the store and Andrew, our salesman, goes out to greet him. Andy is out with him for a while and then he slips back into the office and whispers, “Dude, this guy *really* smells bad. Like I think I’m going to vomit.” I laugh, thinking Andy is just exaggerating. So, he goes back out and they talk for a bit more and then Rancid leaves. Andy comes back and tells me that it smells so bad, he is going to go drive to the store to buy some air freshener. This sounds utterly ridiculous so I walk out into the showroom where I am assaulted by a shock-and-awe of odor. The kind of BO that immediately produces aflinching, fight-or-flight reaction and *literally* made me gag. It left me a bit confused...How? Why? A person made that smell?
After recoiling from the initial donkey punch to my nose, I slowly stepped back into the breach. It was just this horrifying, monstrous wall of BO, no less brutal than a daylight mugging. It was without question the worst BO I’ve ever encountered in the States. Even homeless people would be like, “Bro, you need to hit the Y.” This BO would stand out in a European subway, silently screaming, “Yes, we do *everything* better in America. Even BO.”
I had an appointment due in about an hour, so we opened the doors and turned on some construction fans to blow the odor out, but it was totally resistant. You could just feel it seeping into the fibers of your clothes and skin, so I sent Andy to buy some spray. Something industrial.
My next guy, whom I’ll call Baldini, comes in promptly at 2 and from the get go, the guy is just totally confrontational. Everything is a challenge, and I feel like I am being graded on every word I say. He had received other quotes, and was referred to us by Lutron for automated lighting controls. He clearly hadn’t read any of the ways to flip my Ass switch, because this guy was hitting on all cylinders: interrupting after asking a question, repeating the same things over and over, a total “expert” in everything, etc. But, he is building a large home, and I managed to keep the ass to a minimum. (And, frankly, I was still a bit spentfrom the earlier BO encounter.)
About an hour into our conversation, who comes back? Rancid. I could *feel* his smell coming in through the door. It was like this sour, creamy, pussy yellow with chunks of rotten meat and cancerous lung mixed in. He wanted to buy a $30 part. I could see Baldini subconsciously recoiling from the smell, slowly backing away into a different part of the store. So Itell Rancid that I can’t find his part, Andy’s gone, sorry, but come back later. I felt like I needed to acknowledge the obvious with Baldini, so I apologizedfor the smell.
Another hour of chatting, and Baldini just refuses to give me any kind of budget or guidance on exactly what he is looking to accomplish. Then he finally ends with, “Why don’t you just make me a quote. I want to see an apples to apples comparison.” (Again, large home, potentially big project, trying *hard* not to be the jerk I OH so want to be.) But here’s the thing: this quote is going to take me hours to work up, and I know who he is getting quotes from so our quotes won’t be ANYTHING like an apples to apples comparison.
My apples will be organically farmed, hand-picked at the height of freshness and polished to a gleaming shine, then lovingly cradled in an individual package and sold at Harry & Davids. His apples will have fallen off the tree into a nut-filled pile of elephant diarrhea and then been gnawed on by a monkey riddled with Ebola. (Apparently his apple tree is in Africa—sorry, Baldini. But how you like dem apples?!)