Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Flawed Legacy - 12

With no specific goal in mind, I headed for Nashville and the Grand Ole Opry.  Enjoyed it, but not the motel I chose.  Onward, heading for St. Louis.  Had an idea I might see old friends from the days at Scott AFB, but had to wait for a week.  Meanwhile, needing to make some money, I stopped by the Kirby (vacuum cleaners) office and was hired immediately.  No training, just "get out there and hustle."

It was easy.  People were not buying the vacuum cleaner, they were buying the thought they could earn money by referring others to view a demonstration.  Never did see the results of this, but then I sold a vacuum to a couple with no floors in their house.  That wasn't difficult.  They had linoleum covering the ground of which the house stood and every time it cracked - and there were several, the dust went all over the sofa and stuffed chairs, but worse, the beds.  They had a teen aged daughter and her job would be to vacuum - everything, every day.  Oh yes, they paid cash, no discounts, full price.  Imagine that.

The boss heard about this and made me the "trainer" for his territory covering most of Missouri.  The pay wasn't bad, gas certificates, free motels and an over ride on the trainee sales.  Problem was, they would hire anybody and trying to train people who had no idea of how to manipulate people into buying was next to impossible.  At the end of the month, I headed West.

Surprised my Sister in California and it was good to be with her - at long last.  We had never, ever, lived together and getting to know her husband and children was really a good move for me.  Of course, there was the "bad" news I had to share with my soon-to-be former wife and Mother that was not easy and I am not proud of the explanations I had to offer.  But the die was cast.  I had made a bad mistake and it didn't seem to bother me that there was no turning back.  Of courses, over the years, I would pay a terrible price for disappointing my Mother.

I had to find a job and there wasn't much to offer in the area where my Sister lived so I moved on to Los Angeles proper, where I met a guy with a great offer.  He had a warehouse loaded with "hand knit" ladies sweaters and offered me a deal to sell them to department stores, out of State.  I was rather naive thinking that was a good deal and I had no problem making lots of sales, mainly because of the price and the obvious quality of the sweaters.  I paid my own way - on credit cards, and within thirty days, I had sold all that we had to offer.  I returned to Los Angeles to get paid for my efforts, but there were problems.  To make a much longer and sadder story shorter, the sweaters were not ours to sell. My new boss had a long record of selling knitting machines to gullible women who would also buy the yarn, but only a few would ever get paid.  The LA Police department would fill in the details,  It was a classic "Ponzi" scheme and they were still trying to locate my employer.  Welcome to California, Sherwood. Turns out the "office" he used was his girl friend's home and the last I would ever hear of them, they could not be found.

There was a brighter aspect to that experience.  I had met them at a Charles Simmons' sales seminar and he appeared to be very good at it.  I actually learned a lot about selling and during some of the meetings - aka sales rallies, I would meet people looking for sales people.  My favorite one was selling fine china to young employed girls and I had a lot of fun demonstrating the inherent value of buying expensive items that would last a lifetime.  It really did not matter if they did not buy on the first call, the names of other potential buyers were enough to earn really good money for me.  I only worked in the evenings and on weekends, so I had lots of "free" time.  Too much.  I really got lazy and worse, would head for a bar after every successful sale, knowing I could sleep it off the next day.  I began to develop really bad habits.

On one of my better days, I stopped into an employment agency looking for sales people I could add to the "team" I could create on my way to becoming a millionaire.  At least, that was my dream 

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