April 15, 2009

The Death of a Saleswoman

After a month and a half I got a job. As I lay in bed the night before my first day (which started at 8:30am), dreading the morning, I wondered what I had accepted. My job would entail standing outside various grocery stores, Kmarts and Walmarts attracting people with candy to sell them spa, golf, vacation and restaurant packages. The company supports the local food bank, Breast Cancer Foundation, and the Humane Society, has some legitimately awesome deals, and seriously wants salesmen to move up as fast as possible. 

The catch: 

You work 11 hour days and are paid for 8 hours. You're paid a percentage of each package you sell, so your 8-hour day begins once you get to the selling location and set up. You are not compensated for meeting time, prep time, "practice" time, travel time, travel expenses, or the candy you use to lure little children (and their mothers and fathers' pocketbooks) to the table.

You are technically self employed. You are an independent contractor and are not employed by the company. You do not get taxed. You must pay your own taxes at the end of the year.

You get sent to places like Chula Vista. You can't speak to half of the people you see, therefore drastically, and unfairly, reducing your success with the Law of Averages. You approach potential customers with the spa and golf packages and they look at you as if you're crazy and contemplate reminding you what city you're in.

You show up to the office in professional dress. You then remove your jacket and tie to appear more approachable. You cannot wear jeans, sneakers or anything that actually makes you more approachable. Your feet hurt from standing and doing essentially nothing all day.

You learn about the packages you're selling on Day 2. You do not know much about the packages you're selling on Day 1, making any real sales on Day 1 more fantasy than reality. Especially when no one can understand the words that are coming out of your mouth.

Needless to say, I quit my job before the first day was over. Back to unemployment for me.

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