Enough

17 June 2010

WARNING: I’ve had a craptacular couple of days and needed to vent about a couple of things.


Enough with you, Albert Haynesworth owner of the largest contract for a defensive player in the history of the NFL.  Having played a mere 12 games, much of which you sat on the sidelines sucking on oxygen because you were comically out of shape, and already pocketed $32 million, you decided to demand a trade?!?!? Are you fucking nuts?  I’ve long ago surrendered the notion that the modern (and highly paid) athlete owes the public at large anything, but when you bail on your teammates after all of this, you have earned a new station in the pantheon of sports pathetics… sure, you may not be in the OJ, Rae Carruth room, but you’re now keeping Tonya Harding company.

Enough with you Michaela Salahi, and your Bravo TV pimps too.  You, Mrs. Salahi give vapid a bad name.  You are a giant sack of [mostly purchased] hair, and your surface cannot be scratched lest it reveal more surface underneath.  Enough with you and your swarm of sycophants.  You are a liar, a fraud, and a common criminal in a designer dress that probably still has the tag tucked somewhere so it can be returned later.

Enough with you Washington Post.  I’m tired of defending you against the displaced NewYawkers who constantly deride you as not being the NY Times.  I’m tired of attempting to uphold your honor as a world class newspaper when you devote dozens of column inches to the aforementioned Salahi.   Have you abandoned the journalist’s purpose – to paraphrase the great Walter Cronkite, the job of a newsman is not to tell people what they want to hear but what they need to hear – in favor of the notion that “every one else is doing it”?  Mrs. Salahi and her ilk are publicity whores of the proletariat, weeds in society’s garden, thus any journalistic water you give them (good or bad) only makes the weed grow stronger.

Enough with you CEOs / Titans of the World and your conservative defenders (do you buy them buy the hour or the event?)  When leaders of the Big Three automakers testified before Congress, I thought I would never hear a more culturally tone deaf group as they staunchly defended their fiefdoms while still extending hands into America’s pockets … and then the bankers came to town and were even more brazen in public masturbation about their rigged casino successes, average citizen be damned… but now there are new claimants to that ignoble throne; Oil Company execs, you’ve lined your pockets with untold riches while feeding your government lap dog and the public lies about the all too real dangers for catastrophic destruction, and somehow, someway sit before the public, shrug your shoulders and claim risk v. reward? If there is a Hell below, you’ve got a very special place reserved for you.


In Which I Maybe Should Have Gotten Punched for Saying the Wrong Thing

19 May 2010


If you get four wine people together and ask them one question, you’re likely to get at least seven different answers.  That’s half the fun of wine discussions – the nuance, the context, the arguments – I love it all.  The gratis wine and food certainly don’t hurt either.  Thus when I get invited to speak on panels or judge competitions, it takes very little to convince me to attend.

That is unless a particular pretend-journalist is also an invitee.  Teddy and I have known each other since we were both low level restaurant managers meeting after shifts to bitch about our tyrannical owners.  I got Teddy into my wine tasting group – his talent was experiential rather than academic but he had a natural facility with descriptions.

Eventually he parlayed that ability into starting his own website. His small but loyal following grew when he got a mention from a mid-major publication.  It was a “for fun project” that Teddy decided to make a for profit escape from restaurant life… he never really loved restaurants.  A few sponsors came and then he made the decision to get in bed with a consortium of wineries.

He began taking monies from questionable sources and giving great press to those sources… and making a living and a name for himself in the process.

It was a souring experience for me, Teddy knew it, and it functionally ended our acquaintanceship.  We would still see each other when he would occasional post at the late night places.  I may not have been the most cordial to him.

A couple of years ago we found ourselves on the same panel discussion about something obscure that might only matter to 0.2 people who read this.  It didn’t take long before the other people on the dais were just kind of watching us ping-pong increasingly personal points of disagreement.  At one point, I might have accused him of “possessing analysis that has all of the depth of a hair-root.”

Teddy may have retorted something along the lines of “At least people know who I am and what I stand for unlike you and your shaky credibility and flighty career moves.”

I am fairly certain that I responded with “Yes, Teddy, we all know exactly what you are; the only debate is about the price.”

Surprisingly, there were no punches thrown.  Not surprisingly, we have never appeared together since.


In Which I Almost Get into a Fight with a 15 Year Old

18 May 2010


One of the best parts of running my own business is that I rarely have to commute during the busiest time periods.  I generally avoid the trains packed with commuters or too loud with teenagers.  A recent Thursday was an exception.

A couple of stations after I boarded three high school boys entered the train.  They sat in a manner that selfishly occupied more space than they needed, and conversed in a volume that selfishly included everyone in their profanity laced conversation.  F-Bombs and N-Bombs flowed like some of the crap that passes for hip hop these days.

Had I been listening to my mp3 player, I might have just cranked the volume, and swallowed my tongue for the next four stops.  Had they not been wearing gear from my high school alma mater, I might have tried harder to ignore them.

From my position, I only had to rotate a few degrees to face the “Alpha” of the group.

“I know you” I began in a tone that older black men get to use with younger versions of ourselves when they’re “acting-up” and know it.  “Yeah, I know exactly who you are.  You’re fake-tough.  You see, I can tell by the way you speak – pronouncing your G’s a little too carefully, dropping an SAT word here and there – I know you’re not really tough. I know that you sprinkle your expletives from some desire to sound how you think tough kids sound.  It rings especially fake considering your private school uniforms… from a place where I was a student 20 years ago.

“I went to school with guys like you, hell I even tried that fake-tough language once or twice.  But now’s the time you really need to stop, not just because you embarrass yourself and our school with all this phony and foul language around little kids and women.  By the by, it might fool some of the people into thinking you’re not fake-tough, but not me.  Nah, you need to stop now because fake-tough only leads to two things: trouble at home and school, and getting your ass kicked because you tried your fake-tough routine with someone who’s actually tough.

“So let’s just quit this whole farcical charade, shall we.”

I could see the adrenaline and decision making in his eyes – his pride was wounded and he possessed no easy retorts.  I had no regrets about my message or its tone, I do wish I had said all of it in a more private manner, giving him the option of a more graceful surrender before his friends.  To make his decision easier, I finished with “You know I’m right, and you should also know that I have your football coach and principal on my speed dial.”

The trio exited two stops later.  On their way off the train, the “Alpha” made some vaguely insulting comment about my suit being “busted.”

A woman who was standing not too far from me and had witnessed the whole interaction leaned towards me and said “some lessons are hard to learn.”

I laughed a bit before replying “He learned the lesson alright; he might have said my suit was busted, but notice that he didn’t curse when he said it?”


An “Are You F***ing Kidding Me?” Friday Night

13 April 2010

Three stacked redheads at the end of any bar will tend to get noticed and I certainly took note of them as I passed on my way to the wash closet.  We shared outlier positions for different reasons – three redheads are as common an occurrence as me at this particular dive bar that has none of the dive bar charms of my usual haunts.

An hour or so later I stepped out for some air and one of the three followed me to the sidewalk.

“Can I bum a cigarette” Morgan asked with a smile.

“Of course” I replied while pulling a brushed silver cigarette case from the breast pocket of my suit.

“Oh, so fancy, you make me feel under-dressed or something” she mocked.

“Well if we’re gonna kill ourselves we might as well do it with some style.”

“Ha, indeed… you ever stop a bullet with that thing?”

“I never would have thought you old enough to make a Johnny Dangerously reference” I fired back with more than a bit of a laugh.

“Are you kidding me? That was the movie I went to on my first date!” Morgan exclaimed with a big smile.

Just as she was telling me about the teenager who tried to feel her up in the theater, Morgan’s sister came outside.  She too bummed a smoke.  Introductions were made, a couple of laughs shared, and maybe a passing puppy or two got petted.  At some point, they mentioned the sibling debate about a drive back to Richmond because they couldn’t find a hotel room.

“We really want to stay another night, but, we called everywhere; they’re all sold out” Tracy said.

“If you really want a hotel room, I’d be happy to make a few calls for you – I have a couple of connections in that business.

I made four calls before we went back inside because I needed to relieve myself again.  “I haven’t given up; there are still a couple of chits in my pocket.  I’ll come find you when I find you all a room.”

As I was washing my hands, an old friend came through with a room and at the “friends and family” rate too.  Leaving the restroom, I passed Morgan and Tracy on their way into the ladies room.  I gave them the good news and told them that I would scribble down all of the information for them by the time they returned to the bar.

A couple of minutes later I was transcribing the hotel’s address, phone number, and the manager’s name when I felt a tap on my shoulder.

“Are you the guy that just offered those women a hotel room?” a tallish woman queried without introduction.

“Pardon me” I replied even though I had heard her quite clearly.

“Did you just offer those ladies a hotel room?” the tallish woman repeated still without introduction and two degrees more sharply than acceptable in polite society.

I stood up – an instinctual response to a power move so I could meet her gaze at eye level – before responding “You’re just a bit misinformed, I offered to make some phone calls to try to find them a room; but more importantly how does this concern you?”

“I’m the manager here and this whole thing feels kinda skeevy.”

A quiet smile is the surest sign that I am really angry.  Through that slight smile, I just excused myself and walked right by the tallish woman towards Morgan, Tracy, and their oldest sister who I didn’t meet.  I gave them all of the information for their hotel.  I took one more deep breath before turning my attention back to the manager who curiously was still standing by my empty bar seat.

“Ya know, I’ve done your job, and your boss’s job too; and now I get paid a lot of money to tell people in your position how to do your job.  So I appreciate the fact that you take the safety of your guests seriously.  And I know you work in this popped-collar Georgetown bar where hordes of frat boys descend every weekend night with roofies in the pocket and bad ideas on the brain.  But I am not one of ‘em, I don’t look like one of ‘em and even if I did you don’t talk to your guests like that.  I don’t appreciate your attitude, your condescension, or any part of the way you approached me.  Now, you’re going to bring me my tab, and while you do that I want you to think about whether you owe me an apology.  The short answer is yes, because I’m industry and know how badly you just screwed the pooch, but more importantly you should think about whether you owe me an apology just because I am some random guy who walked into your bar looking for a burger and a beer, and you treated me like shit for no good reason.”


Riding That Train… Germaphobe Jones Better Watch Her Speed

31 March 2010

February was a long, travel filled, slightly angst ridden month for me.  One particular late winter day had been longer than most – a wake before dawn to catch a flight back to DC, work all day and finally take a breath round 8pm kinda long day.  Boarding the Metro train early evening, I was disappointed in not getting a seat for my four stop ride.  At least the train wasn’t sardine crowded, I thought.   My hand was one of the three deliberately anonymous hands wrapped around a pole for stability.

At the second station a bespectacled brunette boarded at the same end of the train.  As we moved from stop to speed, this woman widened her stance in an effort to balance against the sometimes herky-jerky train movements.  The woman to my left shifted slightly to make even more room for the new woman to enter our little circle and reach the pole.  She gave a friendly smile as she did.  The solo stander held firm in her outsider position even if she was wobbly on her feet.

As we left the third station, the woman to my right leaned forward and said “You don’t have to Metro Surf; there’s room here for you.”

“Excuse me” the train surfer said… as she wobbled a bit more.

“You don’t need to stand on your own, there’s plenty of space here.”

The train surfer suddenly uncapped a rant about disease, and how she’d rather risk falling than “touch that germy thing especially this year with all of the different strains of influenza.”  The mini diatribe lasted about a minute.

Maybe it was the patently ridiculous notion that we are somehow more fragile than our forbearers, or the general hilarity of someone so insanely germaphobic that she seems like an SNL character, or maybe it was the selfishness in her willingness to risk the safety of the other people on the train as she was far more likely to fall into someone else than she was to catch anything that hand washing couldn’t prevent, but for whatever reason this inflamed my sensibilities.

I went against my usual find-away-to-confront-discomfort tendencies but my response wasn’t calculated… just the instinctual reaction of a fatigue addled brain.  As the train stopped, I gave her a good look, removed my hand from the pole and made a big showy lick of my palm.

As I exited the train, I glanced at my pole mates. They could barely contain their laughter…

…and then I went to buy some Listerine for a quick gargle*.

* no need to tell me that the mouthwash wasn’t going to do much, and no, I didn’t get sick.

By the by, I received an email update from Afraid of Unrequited.  She took some of my advice, some of LiLu’s advice, and stepped in a couple of the traps about which we both warned her.  Full details coming soon.


How to Lose a Client in 10 Sentences or Less

12 March 2010

The Players in the Room:

Steve – Big shot attorney who is also an investor in a couple of restaurants, the man who writes the big checks to make things happen, insisted on my participation in the deal as a consultant before he wrote one of those really big checks, doesn’t mind people who lose money doing the right things, but detests wasting it.

Damian – professional dilettante turned interior design consultant, happens to be the nephew of Steve’s wife, and has been largely tasked with identifying the space, thinks that he is capable of doing my job, and is technically my client too.

Chef – the relatively young, relatively bright culinary mind who knows enough to know that he is ready for his own place, but also knows enough to listen to people who know more than he in their areas of expertise.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Restaurant Refugee – professional restaurant consultant who’s spent more time in Chicago than DC the past several weeks, is also getting a little impatient with the process at the moment.

Angela – Commercial Real Estate Agent with a permanently painted smile, a mix of “I-want-this-deal” happiness and some flinty Chicago toughness which is betraying a bit of that happiness with the frustration of showing so many places to the same client group.

The Room: yet another empty commercial space that doesn’t really work as a restaurant for reasons that people who know the restaurant business from the inside can understand.

This is our third building of the day.  I didn’t quite judge it from the cover, but as we approached I was silently hoping that this wasn’t it.  After 30 dusty seconds inside, Damian exclaimed “I love the lines in this place; Refugee, doesn’t it have great bones?”

It was a deep-breath-before-responding moment and I took one.  “It does have lovely lines,” I began; “for a ground floor condo space or high-end retail shop, but pros can tell you that there are unmanageable choke-points there, there, there, and there.”  I knew that my tone was about half a degree sharper than I consciously intended – can’t speak for my subconscious.

Damian turned his attention from the windows to me and asked “are you inferring that I’m somehow not a professional?”

I wasn’t sure if this was a line in the sand moment, but I thought it best that we have the conversation internally.  “Angela, would you mind giving us the room so we can walk around and talk about it freely,” I mostly declared.  She and I have had a few off-line conversations about this so she knew the situation.

“Damian, I am just suggesting that there are problems with the space that people who’ve spent a lot of time in restaurants can see but you might be missing.”

“You know, Refugee, I think that’s the second time you inferred that I don’t know what I am doing… and I’m a little tired of you being so fucking smug, you do know that you work for me right?!?!”

Steve may have wanted to enter this fray to mediate, but I had reached my limit and spoke a little too quickly.  The look on Chef’s face indicated that he wanted no part of this.

“Damian, I am not inferring, I am implying; and since it seems that the implication is too opaque, let me be fully clear – your suggestions and ideas indicate that you are thoroughly, completely, and unquestionably out of your depth.  You look at this room and see all of these lovely angles and attractive lines.  I look at it and see all of these load bearing columns which mean that you couldn’t possibly construct a kitchen large enough to accommodate a dining room of this size.  I see impossible corners and walls that can’t be moved.  Damian, you’re tired of me being smug, huh? I find that pretty damn laughable because for the last few weeks, I’ve been going out of my way to include you in conversations, to twist my mind into pretzel-like contortions to find something, anything, nice to say about your ideas and opinions.  All of that was made even more difficult because I generally think your contributions have been about as valuable as a warm bucket of spit.”

There was a stunned silence in the room as I took a breath and… well, I guess I reloaded.

“Other than some sort of random genetic good fortune, I have no idea why you’re here, because you looked at this room and thought it could be a restaurant.  I looked at this room, just like any pro would look at this room, and thought it a waste of time… and I look at you and see a feckless automatron who’s wasted enough of my time and other people’s money.”

More stunned silence, but this was a moment when reloading would have been cruel, so I just left.  Half a block away, I lit a cigar for the calming effect.  That and I was pretty sure that unleashing a verbal barrage on my largest client’s nephew qualifies as a “smoke a cigar moment.”  I walked around the city for a bit, finishing my cigar, contemplating the shithole I had just dug, wondering if I wanted a rope.

When I got back to my hotel room (one more cigar, and a couple of cocktails later) there was a bucket of champagne on the credenza.  The note read:

Refugee, if you could say all of that to a client, I suppose I can have a difficult conversation with my wife.  That was a lot of fun to watch.  See ya next week.

-Steve

p.s. the feckless automatron won’t be joining us.


A Couple of Endorsements and a Few Not So Much

27 January 2010

Not Exactly an Endorsement – It was barely four years ago that Mel Gibson revealed himself to be an Anti-Semitic jackhole.  His lunatic rants were all over the entertainment news wires.  TMZ published his arrest report, Gibson went on the typical apology tour, about which I am calling bullshit (Booze will lower inhibitions and allow one to say things that are already in his/her heart, but it won’t plant the most vile of thoughts there.)

Now about 40 months later (less than half the amount of time it took for the Holocaust… you know just to add some perspective) this filth spewing, ignorant racist (I know: redundant,) Holocaust Denier has a big budget movie from a major studio.  The trailers are all over the television and the net and I can’t look at his repugnant mug without wanting to change the channel.

An Endorsement – The Wet Martini, also known by its proper name, Martini, is a beautiful drink when well made.  Sadly, we got sold on the notion that a dry martini has virtue as opposed to being what it is: a big glass of cold gin.  Go to a good bar and ask the bartender for a real martini (you’ll know it’s a good bar if the bartender smiles with delight at the prospect) with Hendricks, or Bluecoat American Dry and a dash of Fee Brothers’ Bitters.

Not Exactly an Endorsement – Television Commercials for Anti-Depressants are clearly designed by some people who’ve never dealt with clinical depression.  Attempting to make someone who suffers from this disease feel even worse in an effort to sell more of your drugs may not be equivalent to emotional blackmail but it’s not far behind it.

An Endorsement – Buying the Suit/Dress/Whatever and then find the event later.  Maybe you host a cocktail party yourself and invite your friends to drink in all of their semi-formal finery.  Maybe you gather your friends for a night of fancy drinking just cause, or maybe you just attend one of the hundreds of charity galas held in every metropolitan area every year.  Get the threads, the event will come or you can make your own.

Not Exactly an Endorsement – Professional Football Quarterbacks who consistently blame their teammates when things go wrong.  I’m not naming any names, cough, cough, Peyton Manning, but I am pretty sure that every time it happens butterflies lose their wings, puppies get stomach aches, and maybe a large woman gets ready to sing.


And the R-Cubies Go To…

29 December 2009

Shameless Solipsism and a Couple of Wet Kisses have arrived in the form of the first annual (probably never do this again, but whatever) Restaurant Refugee Rewards or R-Cubes for short.  They are a collection of some of the posts of the last twelve months that had particular meaning to me, or got me in trouble, or simply had subjects that lent themselves to making another joke.  There are also a few other people’s work receiving awards today – though not nearly as many people as should get them so there maybe another installment of this tomorrow.

And the R-Cubies go to…

The Carrie Prejean Award for Pretty but Vapid Restaurants goes to Bar Dupont.

The What Would Happen If Dr. Ruth Looked Like Ginger Award for Sexpert Advice in the blogosphere goes to City Girl Blogs.

The Hallmark Award for Best Invention of a Holiday goes to National Crush Day

The Carl Lewis Sings the National Anthem Award for Shoulda Stuck to What you Know goes to All of my Attempts to Write Memes – Except this one which I thought was really good.

The James Lipton Award for Seemingly Simple but Terrifically Textured Questions goes to Megabrooke of Skrinkering Hearts who asked me “How Much is Too Much” in that interview meme that was going around at the beginning of the year.

The Infield Fly Rule Award for things you Should Know but Maybe Didn’t goes to Advice for Black Tie Galas and Capitol Hill Style’s Ball Tips and Tricks for Ladies that inspired it.

The Cowbell Award for Things I Need More of goes to Jimmy & Sophia.

The Urban Dictionary Award for Teaching me my Favorite New Phrase, Skin-Hungry, goes to I’m Gonna Break Your Heart.

The Oscar Wilde Award for Booze as Creative Lubricant goes to My Weekend as Three Rounds of Jeopardy.

The Max Roach Award for Consistently Leaving Comments Better than the Post that Inspired Them goes to my friend Brad.

The Joe Isuzu Award for Forcing Me to Be Creative with Truth goes to the Unnamed Woman Who Inspired This Post.

The Sarah Silverman Award for my Favorite New Funny and Irreverent Blogger goes to –The Fooler Initiative–.

The Don Imus Award for Unintentionally Causing Controversy goes to The Open Letter to a Few Women and the Subsequent Follow-Up.

The Snuggie Award for Ideas that Seemed Fun Conceptually but in Reality Not So Much… goes to Blog Reader Bingo.

The If Dr. Phil Wasn’t Such a Tool Award for Good Advice Given goes to A Guide to Fighting Fairly.

The Jennifer Tilly Award for Fiction Inspired by both Women and Poker goes to Playing Poker with an Old Foe.

The Donald & Ivanka Trump Award for Being Married to Each Other and Not Inflicting Themselves on Anyone Else goes to Sam & Toni.


You Cannot Be Serious

11 December 2009

First things first, I hope that we’ll see you tonight.  Good, now that that’s settled, back to regularly scheduled programming.


Reema reached over and had a gentle hand rubbing just below my shoulder blades.  The gesture wasn’t flirtatious in any way, rather it was a calming, circular motion that communicated a non-verbal “you know I agree with you but don’t start an argument with that guy – you can’t win because intellectual arguments with the unarmed still, somehow, leave everyone bloodied.”

Reema and I are frequent bar mates and almost always in political agreement.  We initially met a couple of years ago when she asked me where I got the “Yes We Can” – in Hebrew – sticker on my computer.  She’s a Hebrew speaking Indian Jew – not as rare as one might think, she keeps insisting.

Early on this random Tuesday evening I sat between Reema and an unfamiliar gentleman to my left.  At one point, Reema or I – my memory fails – asked for the channel on one of the televisions to be changed from FOX News (I had to type that three times before I could force my fingers to form FOX versus FIX) to a game.

As the channel changed, my accidental bar mate to my left said “oh, I was watching that.”

The bartender and I said, in almost unison, “Sorry about that, would you like to change it back?”

“No, no, I’m good” he replied.

In what was, at the time, a question of genuine curiosity, but in retrospect a very large mistake, I asked this gentleman “Do you watch FOX for entertainment, news or both?”

“Absolutely, both… I mean they’re the only ones putting the real news out there.  Come on, Glenn Beck is like a modern day Thomas Payne.”

Many of you may not believe me, but I really don’t seek conflict, and I tried to back away from this one by saying “Oh, I understand” and turning back towards comfortable conversation with Reema.

It took about five seconds for me to learn that starting another conversation would not end the previous one.  “I mean, FOX is the only major media outlet that talked about Obama’s birth certificate, the death panels the democrats are proposing as a health care solution, the fallacy of global warming, and all kinds of things that the left wing media ignores.”

This was the first moment I felt the calming influence of Reema’s hand on my back.  Her hand was the reason my tone was moderated, and my response a restrained “Yeah, well we disagree on this issue, and agreeing to disagree is never a bad thing.”

“You must be one of those typical lefties that think disagreeing with a conservative position is the height of intellectualism, but when conservatives disagree with liberals, you just shut down the conversation because you don’t respect our opinions.”

Reema’s hand urged me to take a moment and a deep breath before responding “It’s not that I don’t respect your opinions, Sir, it’s that I think that they require a dramatic rewriting of history to reach… the notion that Thomas Payne, a vociferous advocate of the equitable distribution of wealth, shares more than a passing resemblance to Glenn Beck is a laughable notion.”  My powder was still mostly dry, and my voice well within acceptable tones, when I continued “That you really consider FOX the bell ringer of unbiased information is as laughable as the people who consider Keith Olberman to be that as well; it’s not that I don’t respect your opinions, rather, it’s that I think that they are so diametrically opposed to mine that there is no middle ground on which either of us could change the other’s mind, and therefore, it’s best that we leave things with a gentleman’s agreement to agree to disagree.”

This conservative gent to my left capitulated to my neutral-corners offer for about five minutes before he offered “So I guess you hate Sarah Palin too?”

Reema was in the restroom so the calming influence of her hand on my back was absent when I finally snapped back “You’re about two sentences from convincing me that you’re a real ass – not because of your political view, but because you seem insistent on arguing about it with someone who has made it clear that they do not wish to discuss such things with you.”  I took another deep breath before concluding with “I don’t know why you insist on trying to snatch conflict from the jaws of peaceable drinking, but…”

My voice trailed off as my mind caught the place my mouth was about to go.

“…Listen, when my friend gets back, I’m going to talk to her; but I do wish you a really happy holiday season, sir.”

He finally got the hint – and his check.


I Wonder if This is How Bernie Did It

10 December 2009

I met Tracy walking down the street Sunday night.  We both stepped into the street to jaywalk and laughed when we both retreated in the face of a car rounding the corner way too quickly.  We bonded over our shared roots as native Washingtonians as we traversed the two blocks to the grocery store.

We talked about her children, and my business.  As we parted, she said “I think we should talk, we might be able to do some business together.  That’s a throw-away line in DC as common as empty pizza wrappers on an Adams Morgan Saturday night.  So I was surprised when she called me to ask for a meeting on Wednesday.

Our intended location, a neighborhood coffeeshop, was too crowded so we headed to her living room a block or so away.  We talked politics and economics for twenty minutes or so before she launched into the sales pitch.  It was boiler plate sales slogans.

  • Are you making your paycheck work for you?
  • Is your income stream diversified?
  • Shouldn’t your money work when you aren’t?
  • Aren’t you tired of someone else controlling your destiny?

Being annoyed by platitudes and rhetoric, I finally asked “So how can this help my business?”

Tracy finally got specific.  She outlined how I could purchase the things I already buy through an online mall, and my clients could buy through it as well.  She talked for several more minutes before I finally said “So how is this different from some sort of Amway pyramid operation?”

“Oh, so you’re already familiar with Amway?”


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 230 other followers