There once was a young man in our town of Aberdeen, Washington named Richard. Richard was a logger, just like his father and his grandfather and all of his uncles and cousins. But Richard really didn’t like being a logger. He didn’t like working in the woods, and he wanted to get a job where he could wear nice clothes, not be wet and covered in mud every working day of his life, or running the very real risk of being maimed or even killed.
I had a job opening for an advertising sales representative, and Richard came to my office to apply. Having hired a couple of loggers, who never lasted more than a few days, I told him it was a commission job, and I couldn’t pay him the kind of money he was making in the woods and blew him off. Two weeks later, he was back at my office asking for a job again, and I told him thanks, but no thanks. Every two weeks for a couple of months, Richard came to my office asking for a job. Finally, he said, “You keep telling me that if you hired me, I would go back to the woods in a couple of weeks anyway, so why bother, and I keep telling you that’s not going to happen. If you would have hired me the first time I asked for the job, by now either you would have proved me wrong, or I would have proved you wrong. So just give me a chance, okay?” So I gave Richard a chance.
At the time, there was an area of the county that had not been very successful for us, and I told Richard to go see what he could do. And guess what? He turned out to be one of the best salespeople I ever had. He was personable, he was smart, and he wouldn’t take no for an answer. If you didn’t buy an ad from him this week or next week, he was going to be back the week after that, and the week after that until he wore you down. But never in a pushy way. Richard wasn’t a pushy guy at all.
After working for me for a few months, I moved Richard up to a much more productive area. He was making good money and sure enjoyed not having to get up at 0-dark-30 to go into the woods every morning.
This was back in the early 1980s, and one of the national newspaper associations I belonged to held an annual convention in Las Vegas. They were a great opportunity to meet other small town newspaper publishers like myself, take part in seminars that taught us how to streamline our operations and increase our profits, and to learn about new technology. I made it a point to go every year. Almost a year after I hired Richard, it was time for the annual newspaper convention. I knew the focus that year was going to be on sales, so I took him with me.
Now Aberdeen, in Grays Harbor County, was a not a metropolis by any means, and Richard was definitely a small town boy. I don’t think he had ever been much farther away than Olympia, 50 miles to the east. To say that he was in culture shock from the bright lights and big city of Las Vegas would be an understatement.
Back then, things were pretty wild in Vegas, and you could rent just about any kind of companionship you wanted. And you didn’t even have to go looking, it would come to you. On our first evening there, after a meet and greet get together, myself and two other publishers I knew and Richard set off down the street to go to a steakhouse a block or so from the Aladdin Casino Hotel where we were staying.
There were four of us walking down the sidewalk, and here comes a woman from the other direction in a skirt so short she was pretty much displaying everything she had. She stopped in front of Richard and said, “Hi, baby. Would you like a date?” Richard thanked her and said he was a married man, and he was with his boss and some friends. As I recall, she offered to round up some of her friends for the rest of us, but I told her no, thanks, and we walked on down the street. Richard looked at me wide-eyed and asked, “Was that for real? I’ve never had a woman ask me for a date before!”
Half a block down the street, another young woman, wearing hot pants and something on top that wasn’t much more than two Band-Aids and a string was standing on the corner, so I maneuvered myself so that Richard would be closest to her when we approached. Sure enough, she looked at him and said, “Hi, handsome. Been in town long?” Richard told her that he just gotten in that day, and she asked, “How would you like a date?” He declined, and as we walked away, he said, “This town is amazing. Women just stop you on the street and ask you if you want a date!” By the third time he was propositioned, that small town boy’s head was so swollen that I thought I might have to hold his hand just to keep him from floating away. All through dinner, he kept saying he didn’t know what it was that had all these women asking him for dates, but he definitely liked Las Vegas!
I didn’t have the heart to burst his bubble, but one of the other gentlemen with us explained to Richard that there were lots of women in town that he could have a date with, and back then, the going rate was about $50. Did you ever see anybody let the air out of a balloon? That’s what poor Richard’s ego looked like as it deflated.
Of course, it didn’t help that I had called the office before we ever got back home, and every woman who worked there, as well as several female customers who were friends of mine, and policewoman who was my neighbor, made it a point of asking Richard if he would like a date over the next week or two. Yeah, I was that kind of boss.
Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Free Ride, the thirteenth book in my pal Ben Rehder’s popular Blanco County mystery series. To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.
Thought For The Day – I wasn’t planning on going for a run today, but those cops came out of nowhere.