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Tales from a small town

Short stories about life in a small town. Non-fiction. Great reading.

Monday, July 17, 2006

I got fired

Yeah, that's right: I got fired. It wasn't just that deal, there was another deal, where a business I sold a truck to, didn't have car insurance - at all. GMAC won't finance a vehicle without car insurance, and this place, just didn't have it, so the truck had to come back.

I went from leading the board, to having the manager circle-jerk all my prospects. Hell, I had a couple who, after spending 4 hours at my desk one day, spent another 4 hours at my desk the next day, waiting on the word about their financing (which we kept getting assured, would only be a "few more minutes") only to find out they'd been declined since the day before!

For the last month or so, the sales manager has been circle-jerking all my prospects. Hell, I didn't know if I was a car salesman, or the guy next in line to take Jay Leno's spot, as much small talk I engaged in, while my people got circle-jerked.

I knew it was coming, too. I sold a truck to a guy who's a big-shot in the town where I'm from (where I work(ed) is a neighboring town.)

My sales manager let this guy basically slit my throat on the price of his truck. Trouble was, the sales manager allowed this to happen, gladly. I thought that was weird. He's never been happy about someone talking the price down, but for this guy, it seemed like an honor. Then, this guy had all kinds of post-sale demands that became my responsibility. For instance, I had to go back to his place of business after he took a trip to a livestock show, and get the rubber bed matt the dealership let him borrow. Then, I had to go back later on, and drive his truck back to the dealership, so we could put a cap and running boards (which he made the dealership include in the price) then I had to take the truck back.

A dealership usually does this sort of thing for customers who don't dicker with the price too much. This guy basically had us give him the truck at cost. My commission on that deal was $75, the deal was so skinny!

On one of my trips to his business, I saw the hand-writing on the wall. This small-town big-shot asks me, (with a very sardonic grin) "How are they treating you over there?" as if he knew. I said, "They treat me fine because I sell - I sold you a truck, didn't I?" He just smiled again, as if he knew better - and he did; but I didn't know it yet.

I sometimes wonder if me being the town radical didn't play a part in this. The guy I just described is firmly entrenched in my town's upper echelon of the inner-elite.

Even though the dealership started circle-jerking my customers, I was still selling, albeit not as much as I was before the circle-jerking happened. I honestly felt like a late-night talk show host, while entertaining people who were wondering (just like me) what the fuck was going on with their deals.

All I needed to do was impatiently tap my pencil on my desk and yell out, "How much time do we have, Hal," just like David Letterman, and that's about how things were for me, while my "guests" couldn't figure out whether to be mad or feel sorry for me.

My grandmother asked my daughter how she felt about me getting fired. My grandmother said, "Are you worried?" and my daughter said, "No. Daddy's talented. He'll figure something out."

That's sweet, and I wish I had as much confidence in myself as she does. Who knows? Maybe she knows something I don't. I sure hope so.