Follow Your Training
The guy was named after a cut of meat. We’ll call him Ribeye, and he owned a business, and his wife wanted to see the cookware because her friend had bought some. I couldn’t wait to get there and do the presentation. When I arrived, I thought I must have gotten the address wrong, because I was looking at a grubby little mobile home, not even a double-wide. I knocked and a woman answered, hesitantly, perhaps not happy to see me. Another time, I might have taken in the scene and tried to postpone the dinner, but we were having a contest, cooking 10 dinners in 10 days, and this was the tenth day and my tenth dinner, so I went in, just like I was trained to do.
I began setting up, asking the pre-dinner questions I was trained to ask. When she said that Ribeye was working in the garage and wouldn’t be coming in, I explained that company policy prevented me cooking for just one spouse, just as I was trained to do. When Ribeye finally joined us, he was none too happy, but one look from his wife made him sit at the table with the kids and I began. I tried all my tricks to get Ribeye involved, but they didn’t work. He suddenly rose and left the room without speaking. I glanced at the wife, but she just shrugged. Moments later, Ribeye came back carrying a power drill with a small bit. He plugged it in, then returned to his seat, placing the drill next to him. He glared at me. I continued, smiling, just as I was trained to do.
Just before putting the food on the table, I looked at Ribeye, who said, “man, this thumb is killing me.” Sure enough, his thumb was swollen black and purple. We all watched as he stood, picked up the drill, placed his thumb on the table, and set the drill bit on his thumbnail. Before the thought, “surely he’s not going to…” made it through my mind, the drill started. Ribeye hesitated only a moment then punched the spinning bit through the nail. Blood and puss swirled in the bit and splattered on everything within a six-foot circle: table, dishes, walls, kids, wife, me. He removed the drill and started slinging his thumb up and down, forcing out the fluids.
Remembering my training, that I’m in charge, not him, that this is my show no matter what happens, I said, “You need a bandage there, Ribeye? If not, we’ll move on” while the wife and kids cleaned off the table. A bandaged Ribeye was relatively subdued the rest of the time, and seemed to enjoy the food.
At the end, when I sent the couple out to make the buying decision, I didn’t expect much. In fact, I had everything cleaned up and my stuff out in the car by the time they returned. Ribeye walked back in like a whipped dog. His wife walked behind him, made eye contact with me, made a mean face, and made a fist at Ribeye’s back, making it clear what had transpired in the back room. Ribeye gave me a big wad of bills for our largest set, I made a huge commission, and I won the contest.
That’s why you follow your training.