Starting At the Beginning

On the ground floor looking up.
On the ground floor looking up.

The wonderful news is that I have enrolled a new customer. Customers, actually. Troy and his wife Deborah are now enthusiastic purchasers of my company’s products and services.

At first, I confess, it was a story too good to be true. Troy used to work with me until around four months ago. In his last week at the coalface, we got to talking about money and such. I told him I’d decided to turn into a salesman, and that with the quality products I had to sell even a dunce like me had a better than even chance.

He asked me how that worked, and once I started he immediately said:

Oh, I know that company. They have great products. I was a customer twenty years ago.

Twenty years ago? Wow. We’re only approaching thirty years old!

It turns out that Troy had quit his membership for one reason or another, but that he’d always loved the products.

The next day, his last working for my current employer, I gave him a tube of his favorite toothpaste and a catalog. It was a good-bye gift, but I put in the back of my mind that he might be interested in resuming his membership. When, in August, my company offered one dollar memberships (instead of the usual twenty-nine dollars) I called, and he said Yes!

Count that up as a sales success without a presentation. Who’d have thought it could be that easy?

Troy’s busy with grad school and working and his family, but he’s not too busy to recognize a value and quality proposition for his monthly household essentials. I’m stoked that another household will be living better, more healthily, and more aware of what they put into their big and small environments.

And Troy gets his favorite toothpaste back.




Presentations Given: 3

Customers Signed: 2

Sampling Toothpaste

Because we know the brand.
Because we know the brand.

A visit to the dentist ends (mostly) with relief and a goody bag. The goody bag will contain the stuff that all dentists and hygienists think should be #1 priority in your life. In order:

– floss

– a toothbrush

– toothpaste

Of course, these are the first things I think of every day. Okay, that was just for Dr Kaman, my very excellent dentist on Bee Ridge Road here in Sarasota. Props, Doc!

Now, I don’t know if this is valid, but I’m going to do it anyway. This is my testimonial about my company’s toothpaste versus the sample of Colgate in my last goody bag.

The Colgate (pictured) tastes awful and leaves an unpleasant aftertaste.

My company’s toothpaste, in this case the Cool Mint Fluoride Tooth Polish, tastes and feels about as good as you’d hope.

There. That’s my testimonial.


Chairs on tables makes it easier to sweep.
Chairs on tables makes it easier to sweep.

Self-help books sell on the basis that they have a magic key to your future. They might: there’s no telling where you’ll find the one idea that unlocks everything you ever wished for.

One vital insight I took from my days reading these things is not what you might expect, and yet is disquietingly true:


[warning]The most dangerous person you’ll ever meet looks back at you from the mirror when you shave every morning. [/warning]


That’s a clumsy summary, but  you get the point. When there’s trouble in life, blaming others is the easy way out. I have a work colleague at the moment who is toughing out a divorce, loss of all his money, loss of all his assets and a work-related neck injury for good measure. When I first met this guy, I lined up behind his tales of woe. The connivance of others and plain bad luck colluded to wreck everything, he intimated. He was the archetypal victim.

But things started not to add up. I saw evidence of why his wife left. His money dribbled away because his priorities were all screwed up – beer and cigarettes over savings, for example. He didn’t keep a tab on his bills and who had authority over his obligations. Okay, the injury was completely not his fault.

The conclusion is clear to us, the outside observers. He is in charge of his ongoing chaotic life, and the major cause of it. The sooner he takes responsibility for everything, good and bad, that happens in his life, the sooner he’ll turn the corner.

Now that’s simple to expound here, but way harder to figure in real life. I can’t tell him flat out; it’s none of my business. If I could, I would encourage him to put all his mental furniture on the tables so as to have a clear shot at sweeping up the debris of his life. First tidy, then clean. And organize yourself so as to spill a whole lot less in the future.

To reiterate (to myself): I am my biggest obstacle; I am my biggest asset. Be aware of one, and understand the other, and choose the right thing. There’s a recipe for success.


Coffee. No Muffin.

And what are you eatin' with it?
And what are you eatin’ with it?

Dunkin’ Donuts coffee is one of my weaknesses. Not that it’s the best quality, nor even the tastiest, but there’s something irresistible about walking into a Dunkin’ store smelling of hot caffeinated goodness. You cannot say “no”.

Ah, yes, those stores. There’s the the coffee and there is the aroma of all the other goodies; donuts, sandwiches and my favorite, the muffin. Yes, I admit to being a muffin-aholic, powerless in their presence. For a few cents over three bucks, I can get me a morning coffee and a muffin and be in bliss for thirty minutes.

The problem is that it is only thirty minutes. That’s the upside. The downside is the calories and almost total lack of nutrition. After a couple of hours, my body starts up:

So, that’s how you plan to feed me?

Really? I mean, seriously, dude?

How about a banana? An apple? Anyone? Hello?

There’s probably some fancy psychological term, but it’s regret, that’s all. Regret at knowingly doing a dopey thing. Which is not to say we should never indulge ourselves. Treats and celebrations are normal, but if you’re like me, making them not about food is smart. Best not to eat our anger, our disappointment, our sadness or our loneliness.

That’s why I still like my Dunkin’ – but just the coffee. No muffin.