The Polish Experience by Nicholas Westerby - HTML preview
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I have a problem and you can help me solve it.
My name is James Williamson, I was the seventh best salesperson out of two hundred and fifty or so such workers at a company called Minkins & Minkins. I had been working there for less than a year but was suitably impressed with myself. The fuckers above me had been at the company much longer and thus had better contacts to milk.
I was new, I was fresh, I was closing over 300 sales a month!
Some of the top sixers only closed 20 or 30 sales, admittedly huge sales that dwarfed mine but if I could land a big deal I’d be number one in no time. I just needed that one milky tit to suckle off while I kept bringing in three digit sales, then they’d love me, then they’d respect me.
Sales is a strange mixture of being everyone’s best friend and surviving as a lone wolf in a harsh, stab your best friend in the back, environment. That is why I never mixed business and pleasure. I worked then I partied.
I lived with Royce and Ranieer. I dated a Polish chick and bragged about her when I was in the office. Royce and Ranieer didn’t think much of her but what the fuck did I care? While she was riding me reverse cowgirl, I could squint and imagine it was Jenny Frost from Atomic Kitten. That really was the Frosting on the cake.
I had just dropped of my August results and picked up my massive bonus for the last 3 months. I got paid a basic of £1,200 and my bonus this time levelled out at £3k a month. A lot of money for a kid just out of university with no real burdens upon my wallet, how I wish I’d saved that money. Glad I didn’t invest it though.
I was happy. I worked. I drank. I bought shit I didn’t need.
I wanted more and pushed my boss Steve to give me a promotion. I thought it must have been going to happen until complications with his wife’s pregnancy took him away from work for a few weeks and the promotion that was mine was given to a fat moo from accounting who was going to be right-sized. Well until the cocks in HR thought she’d make a useful sales manager.
What the furry animal toys on your desk were you think bobble head?
Accountants are useful people but you need to keep them in their cages, in confinement. Sales’ is the purview of the charismatic, the face to facers not the face to calculators.
I went over Steve’s head and visited Mr. Minkins. I told him that I had worked hard and should be rewarded.
I thought I was going to get fired.
Well I’d walk into another job on better basic, I thought.
As I stood there trying not to be disappointed at the lavender walls and flower bands, Minkins invited me and my Polish girlfriend to his wife’s parent’s anniversary out in the sticks the following weekend. The varnished browny orange desk impressed me more than the wallpaper and as I stood there and tried to gather my thoughts he reclined in his leather chair bobbing back and forth.
A weekend away he said.
There is a great B&B nearby he said.
Great, I said, sounds like a winner. Which it did.
We arranged the details and that was that, fuck the afternoon sales meets I was moving up in the World.
Celebrations were required.
I met Royce at the Bee Keepers Inn. It was a funny bar. A mixture of musty old timers watching Channel 4 racing, peering into the communal copy of The Racing Post while sipping on their bottles of Skol special. Most of them would choke on their flavoured cigars once or twice an hour.
Then the second group were achingly cool hipsters. They thought so at least.
Royce hated the posers but loved the old guys. I liked the cheap beer and an occasional flutter so I didn’t mind watching the nags.
Even when I felt minted I didn’t like to pay over the odds for beer or worse still fruity cocktails that were served in shot glasses. If I wanted to spend £20 on one shot, I’d do it in the back alley not the bar.
It wasn’t an unbreakable rule though. Some birds needed you to flash the cash, some like to take it down and dirty. The dive bars or rustic establishments, if we are feeling kind, were easier for me. I felt more at home there. I would remember my Granddad asking me to help him pick his horses for the day, surrounded by the smoke from his pipe and I was always allowed one sip of his bitter. Only one sip mind.
The upscale joints were more serious, people were serious about having fun.
That never played well with me. They were too focused when dancing. They tried too hard to impress you when all you really needed was a little small talk.
It was possibly because they all wanted to prove their worth, to win your love or they were simply narcissistic and wanted to show you how much they loved themselves.
Royce said that he knew of an award dinner we could get into. It was the main benefit of Royce being a journalist, the free dinners and parties. Royce claimed to have been a descendant of some Viking King and his family moved to Ireland in fear of their life and to populate it with warriors. I didn’t care, I didn’t know what to believe but Ranieer was a Finnish documentary maker who had crashed at our flat after a party and never left. In the last two months he had organized a small festival and given a speech at Leeds University. How he wrangled that I’ll never know.
He was a bearded God though. If only he had more drive he’d make a killer salesman. I think his charm emanated from his lackadaisical nature and to motivate him would be equivalent to killing his charm.
We all piled into a new glass structure. There were water features that I couldn’t describe even with the aid of a gardening magazine, Chinese looking girls thrashing away furiously at violins and dolled up models dressed as air stewardesses (the porn fantasy version not the Ryanair lot) handing out drinks.
“Hat’s off to you again Royce.” I said taking a glass of free whatever.
“Yeah, sweet bro.” Ranieer chipped in.
“Sometimes it’s good to be me.” He said smiling widely.
“Let’s run the circuit.” I suggested.
Running the circuit was simple. We each set off in different directions looking for the essentials and making mental notes of where they were so when we were busy schmoozing we didn’t look stupid as we needed another bite, the toilet or more likely another round of whatever free booze was knocking about. We also took the opportunity to scope out all the women in the room.
Rule one: Availability.
If they are unavailable they could be the roughest dog or the hottest model you had ever seen but you were just wasting your time. It was a complex art though.
Married didn’t mean unavailable and vice-versa. Many a bored wife would shimmy off to the toilets while their husbands were lauding it up with their colleagues.
There were really no more rules than that. Obviously you’d aim high but at the end of the day you have to think about your batting average before you think about the trophy cabinet.
“How’d you do?” Royce asked when we finally all met back at the water features.
“Golden.” I replied. “Spotted two bars, the toilets, the meat station and at least three bored wives.”
“Did you see the personal ass-istants table?” Royce asked cheekily referring to the table of extremely well groomed tall and thin twenty something women huddled around a table sharing an olive while checking their blackberry’s.
“I did but give them up for dead. They are either fucking their bosses, they want to be or would do for a promotion.”
“You ain’t Kilimanjaro.” Ranieer added.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Royce asked perplexed.
“They are climbers bro and you ain’t a mountain.” Classic Ranieer.
Cathy was coming by tomorrow but I could catch me some strange tonight then McDonald’s her tomorrow on my way to meet Cathy at the station. Cathy wasn’t her real name it was Kasia, like Cash- ah but she preferred to be called Cathy. It annoyed me but not enough to actually raise the issue in anything but a polite, ‘hey you have a name, you don’t need to make one up’ kind of way.
After a little bollocks about how amazing the architecture was I finally hooked me a fine catch for the night and once the boys had theirs we moved onto our private party.
“Wanna go to an exclusive club?” I’d ask.
“Sure. What’s it called?” They’d always ask.
“It doesn’t have a name.” That sounded cool.
“How did you hear about it?” They’d ask.
“I know the bouncer.” I’d reply.
“Oh.” They’d swoon. “No waiting in line then.”
“Nah.” I’d reply putting my arm around her. “I know the DJ too so I can get him to play your favourite song.”
You’re so impressive.
Ok. That would be me thinking that most of the time but when we arrived back at the flat and I opened up youtube some of them laughed, others left. That was disappointing. The ones who didn’t leave got a free breakfast at the McDonalds around the corner from the super club.
Not so much a gentlemanly move but more of a get you the fuck out of my flat thing. Sometimes after a double shift I’d be hungry and quite frankly I thought the egg and sausage McMuffin to be the greatest sandwich ever invented.
Everyone was a winner. Well by everyone I mean me.
It worked well though and you shouldn’t change a winning formula.