Mastering the Art of Selling a Glass of Water to a Hipster


Happy New Year, Smiley Faces, Tongues Hanging Out, Hearts For Eyes, and you all other round faced emoticons, especially you, Eyes Closed Cheeks Blushing ❤ (call me)

I know! Already over half January down the pipe so the new year is already yesterday’s news but I still feel like I’ve been frozen in time since I threw out my Christmas tree last weekend. That was a sad day because Freddy and his fish friend, Frankie, went back to school on the Greyhound that day. I hate it when he leaves because then I go into an existential funk. Also I have a very bad lingering cold so I haven’t been on Tinder either (my nasal passages are blocked!) so new stories to report but I have been on the job prowl (new year, new me, hahahahaha, same fucking shit, same old boring ass me) and I think you’ll groove to this interview I went on last week.

I found this job posting for a “start-up” company  which is in sales, I want to hone my pitchman skills. I think being able to sell is a great trait in all aspects of life no matter what kind of job you have, including dating and relationships, we’ll talk about that in the future.  Anyway this job is selling space to realtors on a website  that allows them to farm their chosen neighbourhood with free local business ads and sale promotions. The internet is chock full of website clickety click clackery and fuck knows what is smart and clever from what is funded by somebody’s dad and the cocaine dreams that only a millennial with a weed pop in his mouth could come up with when “adulting.”

And I put “start up” in italics because that was how they advertised themselves. “Start-up” always sounds genius and sexy no matter what. Exposed brick loft offices with a beer fridge and bean bag nap chairs and a low maintenance dog that mostly sleeps and wanders around occasionally for petting purposes. Team building parties where you get to throw axes. Loosey goosey time clocks. Sweat pants. Swearing. Probably even farting at some point.

I applied to the job and had phone interview with one of the two owners. She seemed nice and we role played me selling her something, anything, the first thing that comes to mind. I just parked the car so I ended up selling her the Green Parking phone app because now there’s no excuse for getting parking tickets. You just pay for street parking on your phone by punching in the meter’s code number.You want to stop for ramen after shopping and need an extra hour?  Easy peasy, you add more time on the phone app wherever you are, and when the parking gremlin punches in your license plate, it shows you’re golden even without having to put a ticket on your dashboard. Somehow we’ll be paying for the lost revenue in taxes or road tolls (!) but it really does feel good to renew your license and there’s no forgotten tickets on your annual fee. Sold! She said.

She invited me to the next step, a “mixer” which is like a group interview with food and booze. “To see if you fit in with the family.” As long as there’s booze I’ll fit in anywhere, pretty much. The family could be the Carleones or the Mansons and I would be cool with a cocktail. So I think.

The Glassdoor-dot-com employee reviews of this company are a mixed bag though. Raves: “Best place I’ve ever worked!””The only complaint I have is there’s no office dog!” Some of them are scathing: “Run, don’t walk!” “Slave drivers!” “They don’t pay you!” “Those good reviews are fake reviews!”

These are the red flags I ignore for you people, my readers, because I love you so. One day I’ll tell you about the massive red flag role playing Tinder date I had but I’m still recovering emotionally from it. Anyway, red flags =  blog fodder. I’m in. Also the pay is great, if they actually pay.

The job ad describes the website as being a cross between Yelp and Groupon which, when I peruse it, makes no sense at all. For one thing, it looks like a template of some website from the mid aughts, kind of corporate and confusing to navigate.  Basically the concept is to get realtors to purchase annually for $5000 his/her business card on the page of the neighbourhood you choose to click on. Only one realtor per neighbourhood. It is up to that realtor to go out and drum up local businesses to advertise (for free). Amazing right? The realtors pay a hunk of money for cyberspace but they also have to do all the goddamn grunt work. You know they can do this perfectly well on their own websites and farm all the neighbourhoods they want and prolly get a better optimization of search engines, even organically. Talk about modern day snake oil.

So for research, I looked up my neighbourhood on Google to see where the website would come up (page 6! Much scrolling after Yelp and dozens of other actual realtor sites) so when I clicked on it, lo and behold, there was a picture of some hapless realtor on one side of the page and the other, a coffee shop was having a free refill for every muffin purchase. One fucking coffee shop. Whoa. A cross between Yelp and Groupon? More accurately like if Yelp and Groupon smoked crack all day and passed out on a park bench. The only thing to do here is to just scroll on by, you have no reason to look at that shit.

Anyway, a mixer! What fun. I’m sure to be the oldest bat there based on their youtube video their CEO made about work culture. So fucking fun! He F-bombs on camera as he passes all the employees sprawled out on the bean bag chairs I accurately imagined.

The mixer started at 5:30 in the twee neighbourhood of Liberty Village. For those who live in Toronto, you know what I’m talking about “twee” but if you don’t, the is  chunk of no man’s land west of the downtown core if Disney designed Hipsterland. Old warehouse buildings and brew pubs and cobblestone roads and the usual Stone Henge formation of condo high rises looming over, spoiling the view. It just tries too hard. Luckily I found parking at a Green P! So I used my app at the exact 2 hour mark that the mixer promised to last. If it went longer, I could add more money….see isn’t that clever?

I find the fucking place, I say that with annoyance because there were multiple entrances to the building and some of them led nowhere and even when I got to the right place I was sweaty and dry mouthed, this is my bronchitis witching hour. I’m pretty sure there’s not enough saliva in my mouth to form a hello.

So yeah, as I predicted, I was the oldest person there. And I’m using the word “person” loosely because this is precisely the kind of social anxiety riddled situation where I go out-of-body and become some kind of robotized version of a human lady. I walked in the office and everyone was already mixing, with beers in hand and name tags on. It was loud and people were already yelling. Most of the employees were there, 15 or so. Someone hands me a warm bottle of Stella for which I am grateful because my mouth just made glue. Glurgh.

We mingle for a few minutes. It’s a bro club, there are only 2 women, one of them is the owner, a haughty blond babe, the one I spoke to on the phone, and the other is an Asian girl. She stands out. More on her later. Everyone else is a white dude under 30. There are 8 of us, the potential recruits, 3 women including my old ass, and 5 bro-lings, 4 of them you could easily set free in that fish tank and they would fit in swimmingly. One of those dudes, not so much. He is awkward and talks a lot. He’s telling us about how lucky he was to have a pair of corduroys in his car for the interview because he lives 2 hours away. Oy, can you imagine having to commute 2 hours a day to get to work for 8 and leave at 7? Oh yes, those are the hours, it’s an 11 hour day. You might as well sleep on the park bench outside the building.

One of the women candidates is a tiny, pretty Indian woman, maybe mid-thirties. She’s talking the most and the loudest. She was a dancer and she let us all know it. “I’M A DANCER!” she said swirling around the room randomly. I’m not kidding, it actually happened.

So the CEO dude finally wrangled this mess into order and told us all we would be “speed dating” with the employees and himself. So each of us 8 folk would go from station to station and have 4 minutes to talk about whatever we wanted and then switch. You might think this is weird but I think it’s brilliant and I like one-on-one, not those circle jerks where one person hogs the floor, talking in tangents, and you know that Tiny Dancer had the attention whore qualities for type of shenanigan. There’s more employees than candidates so some of us will be doubled up, the CEO explains, and Tiny Dancer yells out: “I LOVE  THREESOMES!” Oy.

I breeze through the first 3 dudes and do most of the asking of questions because that’s how I’m wired. One guy is British! He’s on Tinder! But he has no time to actually date because he is always at work! Another dude loves working there and even goes in on the weekend! One guy is very good-looking and asks me the first three things I do when I wake up. I’m like whoa. Do you really want to know? We laugh and talk about my tattoo instead. I would totally date him.

The fourth speed date is the CEO, the F-bombing dude from the youtube video. I’m in total date mode by this time and he’s the kind of guy who thinks he’s cooler than he is in an ironic way, somehow, it’s tricky to explain, it’s almost like a snake eating its own tail. Prolly on his Tinder profile, he describes himself as a “geek” because some girl he wanted to smash lied to him in second year uni when he tried to lose his virginity and told him geeks are sexy but she has boyfriend (not really) so they didn’t actually do it because geeks aren’t that sexy (depends on the geek tho). Don’t cry for him, he got’er done finally in third year with her roommate. He really thinks of himself as a cocksmith. But he’s really a garden variety nerd/ hipster hybrid. You know that kind of dude? Not. My. Type.

He’s in his office, not a cubicle, and we say hi and then he says to me: “Sell me this glass of water and you have one minute.” First of all, what fucking glass of water? Oops, he pulls  it out from behind him and sets it on the table in front of me. Jesus Christ, is he really asking this? It’s sooooooooo cliche.

There’s a partially finished puzzle on the table. My Rain Man instincts are taking over and I just want to hunker down and put the pieces together. But first I want to set this hipster Glen Garry Glen Ross operation on fire and see how many glasses of water I can sell this Geek.

But I comply. I ask him how much water he drinks in a day? 2 litres (liar). Does he like filtered water? Yes, from a filtered system. OH! Snap! How much do you think you pay per glass? 2 cents. How about if my filter system can save you up to $200 a year? How so? Then I made up some math statistic that my water would come to .04  a glass. I blathered on as my outer-body self hovered over my human lady self and watched me do this and oh, how outer-body laughed. I  downed the last of my warm beer. My minute was up. Ugh.

Next. More bros. We talk about our favourite shows. I don’t have time to watch, one of them says, I’m always here working. But I really like it here, he assures me, why be at home when I can be at work. His nostrils twitch. Huh.

My last speed date is the Asian girl who is doubled up with a bro who is scrolling on his phone. This is extremely rude. So when she asks me a question, I answer her but look at him. He’s completely ignoring me, wearing a ball cap pulled down. I’d like to slap it off his head, go finish the puzzle, THEN burn the place down. The Asian girl is probably the dumbest person on the planet but she’s wearing glasses so she looks smart. This is how our conversation goes:

AG: If a month went by and you weren’t making any sales. What would you do?

Me: Well I understand that you can have off-days or a week now and again but I probably wouldn’t let it get to an entire month. I would want to ask for feedback and further training.

AG: But what would you do?

Me: I understand that you have sales training available her so I would look into it.

AG: (genuinely puzzled by my answer) But what would you do?

Omg. I answered the question did I not? Does she want me to pet her head? This was the point I realized they might not have an office dog but they have an office Asian girl who probably eats less than the average Labradoodle.

After speed dating, we had a group circle time. I almost slunk out but! Someone handed me another beer. These sorts of group discussions are my kryptonite. I am going to shut my pie hole and speak only when spoken to. The only thing I wish is that I Snap Chatted the whole thing because some of it was pure comedy gold, mostly thanks to Tiny Dancer. She’s a snowflake, that one.

CEO: What is your spirit animal?

We go around the room. Amazing that most people are woodland beasts: Bear, wolf, snake, coyote, even I picked an owl, wise and carnivorous. Good answers, good answers. We get to Tiny Dancer. She talks in caps at all times, so it goes like this:  GUYS, GUYS, I’M SORRY BUT I’M NOT JUST ONE ANIMAL. FUCK NO. I’M THREE! FIRST, I’M A BUNNY. (pause). I’M A HORSE (another pause) AAAAAAND I’M A WHITE TIGER! HOO HA! (I swear she said ‘hoo ha” like Al Pacino in “A Scent of a Woman.”)

Okay, at this point I’m looking around the room to find someone who’s eyes I catch so we can roll them together and maybe meet up afterward and have a real drink but no. The dude beside me, the twitchy-nosed employee who spends all his waking hours there, has a note pad, and I’m think he’s going to jot down what a fucking nut bar but no, he starts drawing a bunny, horse, tiger cartoon thing. LIKE HOW CAN YOU BE A WOODLAND, BARNYARD, AND JUNGLE BEAST ALL IN ONE? DOES NOT FUCKING COMPUTE. I can’t hate her for trying and everyone is all enthralled with the explanation of her answer as bunnies are cute, horses are strong, and white tigers are basically unicorns so why not just be cute and say a unicorn which is basically a horse with a horn?

More inane questions, like what would make you work through lunch? What? Mr. Corduroy Pants shut that down quick with his: “I’m on an eating schedule because I’m diabetic.” Good fucking answer, we all nod, then all of us claim to have blood sugar issues as well. But! Tiny Dancer pipes up that she is a foodie! She eats everything! Believe or not! She twirls around and reminds us she is a dancer in case we forgot. But! She will work through lunch so she can afford 3 lobsters instead of 1. Again, I look around the room for a comrade in eye roll and once again, nothing. I’m now dead inside.

The mixer wraps when CEO asks if we have questions. Mr. Corduroy asks what the future of the company is and CEO says expansion! More cities in North America, more countries, and Europe! Also! They are going to target dog walkers. I snort involuntarily. Nobody feels bad about bilking realtors because that commission cash tho….but why dog walkers? He says they are friendly and like to network in their community. Ha! Dog walkers hate people and proof of that is their willingness to pick up dog shit rather than work in a damn office like this one.

Tiny Dancer asks: WHICH ONE OF US ARE YOU GOING TO HIRE? Finally CEO gives her the look I was after, like what an incredulous crazy bitch, and  he hesitates and umms, but she’s persistent: COME ON, WE’RE ALL GROWN UPS, WHICH ONE? You had to love her lack of filter. And who knows, she may have actually been a contender but when she rephrased her question to what 3 qualities were important in a candidate, he said something like trainability, confidence, and drive but seriously folks, look around the room and the answer is under 30, white, and male. Why mess with a winning formula? Right, boys?

Finally, a twentysomething ginger boy asked the most important and pivotal question of the evening: Where is the bathroom? And that’s when I made my Irish exit. Slink right out the door and into the elevator and back in body, old as fuck but happy in my own skin.  So! If you’re looking for a dog walker, call me!













2 responses »

  1. Pingback: Mastering the Art of Not Getting Sunday Anxiety Syndrome Because Your Job Sucks Balls | art of modern living

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