Thursday, April 24, 2008

my real first post

Okay, so this was actually written prior to my post about boonie dogs...so it is really the beginning of what the world has been waiting for...:)

April 24th, 2008

I need to have some business cards printed. Now, I don’t really have a business yet, per say, but I definitely have the makings of one in my head. I also have a name, TWO email addresses, and a cell phone number that is local to Saipan. When a man has this many mediums of communication, he needs it to be organized on a pocket sized card that he can hand to potential clients, friends, or people whom he wants to impress. Truthfully, I think parents should have to get their children business cards immediately after birth. Then, when admiring adults lean in and say silly things like, “Adrian, is that a boy or a girl’s name?”, and “How old are you little one” and “What’s that funny smell emanating from your diaper?”, the child will have been trained to whip out a card that answers all these questions and more. Because let’s face it, who’s got to answer these questions? That’s right, I for one am tired of having to answer questions directed at my children that a business card could answer with much more visually delightful designs.

This all reminds that I actually have had business cards printed for myself before. And then, as instructed by my employer, I handed them out. I think this is a strangely widespread practice among the corporate world. I say strange, because it creates a lot of confusion. The usual result of my business card handing out (everybody in line at McDonald’s always got one from me), is that people call the number on the card, which in my case was an office number for an office that I was never at. So then another employee has to get involved and introduce themselves to this person, and take a message to pass on to me. I would receive the message, examine it, confirm that someone had called me, but that I did not recognize the name or number, and set it on my desk, where it would gradually add to the immovable mountain of papers that I referred to as my paperwork. I kept trying to explain to my boss that the business cards just weren’t working.

So we added my cell phone number to the card. Now, these same unrecognizable people who fished my cards out of the local weekly lunch drawing jar could call directly to me. And they would begin their conversations without any proper introduction.

Me: “Hello.”

Unknown Person: “Hey there Rio. This is Bill Jackson Heffferin. You were out at my house on December 16th, 2005 at 3:12 pm, but you didn’t meet me you met my great-uncle Jeffery and my mistress Cherry.

Me: “Uhh, Okay Bill. Tell me a little more because I’m having a small amount of trouble remembering that particular instance over two and a half years ago.

Bill: “You were out at my house to look at my roof, remember?”

Since I worked for a roofing company, and most of my daily appointments involved looking at roofs, I would hang up the telephone after this startling revelation. I did not need to be reminded of any past work I had done. Leave it be, and let bygones be bygones, that’s what I say. But seriously, what’s the benefit of this customer calling me about a situation that requires me to be in the office looking at his paperwork anyhow? He hasn’t sped up the process any by talking directly to me. And I am much more likely to just come off as the rude salesperson who can’t remember his particular situation when I have to take a call in the middle of standing on top of a roof pretending to listen to my newest client and his situation!

The construction industry did teach me a lot about business cards, though. Just think, you have a bunch of guys, education levels aside, who either want to play with bulldozers, or tell others how to play with the bulldozers. Give them all a box of a thousand business cards, I’m surprised we don’t hand them out to the waitresses when they come to talk our lunch order. I’d give mine to this guy, he’d go to his truck and give me his bosses card. I’d call his boss and he’d babble like an idiot and tell me to call the office. Call the office and they say they’re not allowed to give out JoeJoe’s cell number, would I like to leave a message?

Now the truth is, business cards are really only useful when you need to write down something you really care about. You flip the business card over and use the back. You may write something like ‘use a code name like Helga so my wife won’t suspect anything’ or the measurements of a roof you’re up on without your clipboard. Great! That’s what they’re really for, right?

WRONG! The printing industry got word that we were writing things ourselves, without paying them to write it for us, and they had to come up with a solution. What to do, what to do…eureka! They started printing stuff on the back too! And not just a few words, noooo. They print full-color emblems with texture so that if you try to write on it the pen dries up and will never write again. By the end of my roofing career I had a bunch of business cards that had no useful information on the back of them!

So I plan to apply all of my business card expertise as I choose my new cards. Namely, I am paying for them myself, so I’ll be using the free ones you get off the internet on the cheap paper stock. I will put someone else’s name on the cards with my phone number, so that when people call and ask for him I can say “how do you know him?” and then ascertain whether they’re legitimate clients, or just people who I met in the betting lines at the cock fighting tournament. And of course, the all important question will be, “what’s written on the back of the card?”, because once they tell me that, our conversation will be over!

5 comments:

ryran said...

Brilliant. My brother, I didn't know you had this in you. Seriously. I laughed and grinned too much.

sonya said...

I agree with the brother and the mother. Maybe I've just never seen your written word skills in action before, but I bet that in a year this blog could be published and sold in the humor section of Barnes and Nobles everywhere. You definitely have a flare with the written word, Rio.

Extra-riordan-ary said...

thank you for the encouragement!
Liz has agreed to be my editor...
we shall see how long i actually stick with it
it's still a novelty right now!

ksawhill said...

Dave Barry, move over!

Paryssa said...

HA!!!! I'm definitely getting rid of all the business cards I have....digital I say, beam it to me!