Friday, August 22, 2008

Who Turned in An Expense Report for a Taser?


It's a slow, slow Friday here at the office. Not only is the CEO out, but also his assistant. I'm learning that August is the slowest month of the year.

It's 10:45 and Lori is hanging out at my desk. She and I are talking about how we're not going to eat pizza when it comes.

There are no guests on the calendar. There are no copy machines in need of fixing, no soda or office supply orders on the way. Just the vague promise of carbs heading our way an hour from now.

The elevator dings. Uh, oh.

Out step two men, dressed in matching tan shirts, a bad sign. I turn to Lori and mumble, "Who the fuck are they?" I check the calendars to see if there is anything new.

Nothing.

They approach the desk and ask for the office manager. Fuck. Solicitors.

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This is why we have building security - not for burglars or serial killers - but for asshole vendors farming the building without appointments.

I am trapped now, with no pre-rehearsed "get-the-fuck-out-before-I-call-building security" speech.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see Lori walk away. She has abandoned me. She will pay.

The younger man grunts, "We don't have an appointment, but can you tell me who is in charge of your facilities?"

"What do you mean?" You're not selling us toilet paper, are you?

"Um, do you have a business card for the person in charge of the office facilities? Who is the office manager?"

He looks at my desk, as if I might have a business card he can swipe. Thankfully, I don't have any of my own.

This guy (and his silent partner) have all the charm of a rusty paper clip. When you start your sales pitch by asking for contact information, you have failed the sales pitch.

I lie. "Well, we don't really have an office manager, but I can just pass along the information to...someone." (I suck at lying on the spot, but I'm smart enough to not admit that I am effectively the office manager.)

I email Lori, since they can't see my computer screen.

"Oh my God. Kill me now."
She writes back, "That is just wrong!! Are they gone? What are they selling?? They can't do that just because they had access to another office!!"

My phone rings. It's Lori.
"Are they still there?"
"Yes."
"Do you need me to come up there?"
"No. It's okay. Do you know when the pizza is coming?" (I don't know where this comes from, maybe I'm trying to look busy so that they will take the hint and leave)

I hang up and the phone rings. I am so desperate for a distraction that I deliberately answer someone else's line.

"Do you guys use bottled water?"

"No, we already have a water filtration system."

I'm hoping this one sentence will shut him up, but it only adds fuel to the fire.

"Okay, well, this is a water purification system," he says. I have awoken the sales pitch beast. Out comes a flurry of stuttering, sputtering sales crap about how our water filter system is inadequate and this will oxygenate the water.

Oxygenated water. What's next, antimicrobial water?

The two of them fumble with their folders to try to find some sales material for me because by now, I'm just looking at them blankly as they babble.

These two should be selling M&Ms in the subway.

You know what? Unless you live in Mexico, tap water will not kill you. These kinds of "systems" things cater to paranoid hypochondriacs. When is the last time someone got sick from drinking tap water?

A full page flyer comes out of the folder. The massive tagline reads, "Pure Elegance," and is written in a tacky script pulled from a 1986 Cadillac ad.

There is a picture of the ugly black machine and I think, That totally clashes with our kitchen's decor.

As he goes into detail about this over-engineered, complicated beast I think, Here's something that probably needs once-a-week maintenance, if it doesn't break completely.

He even tries to use enviro-guilt on me. "If you wanna go green..."

Because I refuse to give them any of my contact information, they wise up and give me theirs.

"Darren" writes his name on the generic card, (just his first name) as well as his office phone number and cell phone number, as if I'm going to call him in the middle of the night. "Help us, Darren, please! We need your water filter purification system right away!"

When they finally leave, I do two things:

1. I call security on them because they are probably farming the rest of the building.

2. I go to their website, which, though printed on their business cards, doesn't exist. Now that is tacky.Sky Water Systems.

After I post this, I'll be requesting a baseball bat or trap door at my desk.

1 comment:

Hamamama said...

why did you want to know when the pizza was coming? were you going to invite them to have a slice? maybe they could've given you a pack of m&m's for dessert....mmmmm, dessert.