Madness is here! Another increase is upon us and the increase looks as solid as a contested Republican convention. The market is pushing forward with an increase; crude oil was edging higher and after the collapse of the OPEC talks in a crucial meeting with the world’s oil producing nations, supply is coming into equilibrium and oil will stabilize. Many petroleum dependent countries are hurting. They are running huge deficits. Something has to give. Taking advantage of this movement, resin producers will drive forward with a second increase and push for a third one nominated for the following month even with oil producers walking out without a supply agreement. The wheels are moving already and the USA has cut their petroleum output which takes more oil from the world market.
All’s quiet on the western front. No news of increases or decreases. The market has been like a home for horses; stable.
I recently sat down with a young new vendor representative. I smiled as I listened to him. He proceeded to tear down his competitors, some of my friends and current vendor partners to Alliance Plastics. In the small window of our appointment, he exposed his need to prove to me his overwhelming knowledge and need for acceptance. He regurgitated what he thought were facts and spent three hours of my life – it was one hour but the pain multiplier effect made it feel like three. I thought the movie, Godfather 3 was the worst three hours I have ever spent, but I think this young man took the title away from Mario Puzo. This young man actually used the words, “anyone who doesn’t take advantage of my company’s products is an idiot.” I suppose I am now an official idiot, in addition to some of the other titles I hold.
He proceeded to ask me a question and then not allow me to answer it by answering it himself with these words, “Let me guess!” I asked him questions and he responded with an economics lesson and a history of the product lines. I even asked him questions and told him that the only right answers are yes and no, but he continued to keep talking. I hope it’s just youthful exuberance. I suppose I have learned more patience over the years, however, I had to call time out on this kid because I couldn’t allow him to suck up any more of my day and he was speaking poorly about my friends. He didn’t even notice the cracks in my smile as he would proclaim how he’s kicking all of their buts in the market. He left as loudly as he entered and I know he left believing he made a great impact on my life. He probably jumped in his car believing he stunned me with his one month of training in product knowledge. In his short time with me, he thoroughly dismantled his competition with disdain and acrimony and turned me off of the conversation. My smile continued to hide my true emotions.
I actually sent him a handwritten note telling him he’s too good to break down the competition with ad hominem attacks and I offered a suggestion from my days when I was younger and too full of arrogance. I told the young man about the story of Ernest Hemingway when he was at a table with a group of writers. He drunkenly boasted he could write a six word story with an introduction, a plot and a conclusion. Everyone at the table laughed at Ernest, so he took out his pen and wrote his famous six words on a napkin, folded it and handed it to the writers at the table. One by one, they opened up the napkin, reached into their pockets and threw the cash in the middle of the table. What was it that was written?
For Sale, Baby Shoes, Never Worn.
For this young man, the moral of the story is, maybe less is more and better. I wish him good luck and hope that the hands of time will wash away the arrogance and the methodology of his sales training. As Hemingway showed, a whole novel can be written in just six words. Sometimes, less is truly more.