Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game

After about three months of unemployment, this week I finally got a job as a marketing associate for a promotions company. I was ecstatic–I’d finally get some money in my pocket, the job was full time, and in addition I would be working with one of my friends! However, upon “hitting the field”, I soon realized that the job wasn’t quite what I imagined…

Have you ever gone to the grocery store, for example, and seen a table decorated with products with a few (pushy) salespeople behind it, insisting, “You’re gonna love this!”? That was essentially my job. I would have a partner and we’d go to different locations in my regional area to set up tables and sell…car wax. I was taught to give demos without asking if it’s all right to touch someone’s car and to “assume the deal”. I was taught techniques to trick people into buying the product, like inserting “key” words and phrases into my pitch to pique interest, such as “free” and “everybody’s getting it”. The things I was told to tell customers was a lie, claiming, “One can retails for $45 in the States, but today we’re doing 2 for $35 plus a free gift.” Truthfully each can was only $15 and the free gift $5.

I had been thrust into a culture of dishonesty where the prime goal was not truly to market this new product but to make more money and sell, sell, sell. (In defence of the product, it actually worked really well.)

Though I despised the job on the field, the people I met were fantastic. Everyone was kind, outgoing, and, most admirably, driven. They would set goals for themselves everyday and do everything they possibly could to reach them. I felt very welcomed into the workplace from the first day and everyone was intent on helping me to be better and feel comfortable.

After this, I wish more people would sympathize for those “pesky salespeople”. I don’t think I would be writing this if it weren’t for the extremely rude way I was treated by the public in the past four days. I understand that perhaps what’s being offered isn’t for you, but when I ask how your day is, you can actually respond instead of ignoring me, putting your hand in front of my face, or simply and vehemently telling me, “No.” I never asked you to buy anything! In this week I was treated like I was scum by a majority of the people I talked to. I worked 12-hour days in boiling heat and rain, coming home with barely anything to show for it, except for an irritable attitude and overall depression.

My point is, it’s a hard job. Everyone’s trying to make enough money to get by. The unfortunate part of this kind of job is that it is commission-based, so for those 12-hour work days I barely scraped $40 for myself a day. I know salespeople can be a nuisance, but more often than not this line of work is all that’s available for that person at the time. More often than not, that person is dreaming of bigger and better things. From talking to people in the office, I’ve realized that the majority of them want to go on to have their build their own businesses and have their own offices–this is just a stepping-stone for them.

Anyways, I now have to write up a letter to resign. Yes, it’s only been 4 days, but there’s only so much I can take. I salute the people that can stay in this line of work, because it’s just not something I can personally handle. It would be nice to have some money in my pocket, but at what cost?

– K

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