Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Playing chicken

posted Tue, 27 Jul 2004

There are so many perks in my job, not the least being that every month, I get FREE copies of three magazines: “Meat Marketing and Technology,” “Poultry,” and “CarneTec,” which keeps me on the vanguard of meat technology, or so their tagline claims.

These magazines have nothing to do with my current job. They are leftovers from when I was in marketing, one floor up, in the office that looked west toward downtown and the river instead of east, to a bunch of parking lots.

I have considered canceling the subscriptions, although I suspect the publisher (all three from the same one) wouldn’t want to accept it. They need me in the audited circulation figures so they can charge more for advertising. (“Number of middle managers – really high!”)

I also have an interest in getting the magazines. My division is a supplier to the meat industry, another part of my company is a supplier to the magazine industry. So I have an overall interest in seeing as many magazines produced in the US as possible. Selfish, I know, but I am thinking only of my option strike price and my 401k.

These magazines were my introduction to the world of advertising and advertising salesmen. The guy who used to sell the “Poultry” et al ads would come to M’town about once a month. We’ll call him “Boris.” Boris would always call me and I would always tell him the same thing: we don’t advertise. He persisted and I finally let him set an appointment with me.

He was 45 minutes late.

He didn’t call to tell me he would be late.

I hate it when people are late.

He sent me chocolate to make up for being late. It wasn’t Godiva – it was a cheap local brand.

So when he made a second appointment with me by going through my boss (“Talk to this guy, would you?”), I gritted my teeth. I am not paid to waste time with ad sales reps, I told my boss. He glared at me and told me oh yes I was.

So I suffered through yet another meeting and boring boring presentation. “Go to our website for current meat news!” “See our editorial schedule? A whole issue devoted to hot dog processing! And what about the story ‘Will irradiated poultry ever take off?’ How about ‘Avian influenza’s worst-case scenario?’”

I took the many folders Boris gave me, pointed him toward the elevator, returned to my office, and threw everything in the trash. Ad rate info is useless if you are never going to advertise.

The last straw came when Boris called me and asked if I wanted to go to dinner. Umm. No. No, I would not. I can hardly bear to spend time around you at my job where I am required to do so. Why on earth would I spend any of my free time with you?

I didn’t say those words exactly, but I think he got the picture. He finally left me alone.

And that’s when my boss said we were going to run a print ad campaign and I needed to coordinate with Boris.

No comments:

Post a Comment