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Episode 30 BOFH 2004

Sometimes the offer of a junket from a vendor simply MUST be avoided. Particularly when you just know that the torture you're going to endure is not going to be outweighed by the benefits. Take, for instance, the slimy reptile who's been chasing me for a couple of days to meet him and listen to him talk about how his company has the best whatever-it-is that ever was, and how I would be completely remiss in my duties as an IT professional to not subscribe to, purchase, lease, or at least want to steal whatever it is that he's panhandling today.

"He can't be that bad," the PFY says, hanging up after failing to take yet another 'please call me back message' from the salesman in question.

"He is," I say. "He probably left the used car sales force because they weren't hard-sell enough for him."

"I..."

"Before that, he would've left Real Estate because they'd run out of ex-nuclear waste storage sites to whack low cost homes onto."

"He can't b.."

"And before that, he sold one of the ex-bosses that room full of NeXTs that no-one used."

"Really?"

"Uh-huh, and before that, the stack of Archimedes boxes stashed in the basement."

"The bastard!"

"Indeed."

"And you don't want to meet with him?"

"And get the hard sell for a couple of hours? I'd rather talk in reverse Polish notation for the rest of my life."

"Huh?"

"Yoda like is it."

"Oh. So why do you get me to take messages?"

"Just seeing what's on offer. You see, meeting a salesperson can be a little like playing poker."

"?"

"You look at what they might bring to the table before you decide to play."

"?"

"Ok, so you've got some junior salesdroid, who's probably only going to be able to pony up with a business card and maybe a pen and pad with the company logo all over it. Mid-rangers can probably ante up with with a vinyl writing set and a seat in an average position at a sporting event - with the possibility of a couple of drinks at half time. The Kenny Rogers Gambler types, on the other hand, are likely to have the keys to the Corporate box, endless bar tabs, quality company merchandise and a bit of international travel under the guise of technical briefings."

"I see, so where does this guy fit?"

"He's new so it's hard to tell. He opened with a coffee - the equivalent of a couple of matchsticks. He raised it to brunch, which is more like 50p."

"Right. And where are you in all this?"

"I'm on the other side of the table with a pair of twos, bluffing and holding out for more substantial stakes. At this point, I'll need to flash him a card or two to keep him keen - by implying that we have money coming out our petootie and don't know what to spend it on."

"And then?"

"One of three things will happen. 1. He'll fold and I'll get a call from a senior salesperson who wants to get in the game; 2. He'll have - or assume he has - enough to cover his bets and raise me... or..."

"Or.."

"Or 3. He'll go balls out and pull everything on the table on a spectacular gamble that'll either earn him big dosh and a seat at the big card table of multinational marketing."

".. or?"

"Have him launching a Hutchence in the local by lunchtime."

>ring ring<

"And so the game commences.. Hello?"

"Simon hi, it's Dave here, wanting to touch base with you over lunch, don't know how you're fixed for, say, tomorrow, one, at the Ritz?"

"Ritz is good," the PFY whispers.

"Yeah Dave, not too sure if I can make it, it's a little tricky, what with our budget planning and stuff. It's so busy I'm lucky to step out of the office to fart."

"Ooh, a bluff and a raise," the PFY comments.

"Well I suppose we could catch up after your budget planning - or I guess we could just meet up after work sometime if it's convenient. Is the budget thing running on a bit long?"

"Gentle probe for what you're holding," the PFY murmurs.

"Yeah, it's a bloody infrastructure replacement plan for year end, it's driving me barmy! One minute they're saying we can spend whatever it takes, the next they're cutting it back to a couple of million. I mean what can you bloody acheive with a couple of bloody million?"

"Smooth," the PFY nods, translating: "I have two diamonds and three hearts and think that's what I need for a flush..."

We wait patiently, giving Dave time to wet himself.

".... .. . . .Yeah, I see what you mean," he commisserates, masking his excitement. "Tell you what, I could share a few ideas with you about some innovative approaches that our company's been using to leverage effect replacement plans in the States - In fact, I think I could probably jack up a quick weekend trip to the Big Apple to talk to a couple of our previous synergy-solution recipients."

"There he goes," the PFY sighs. "Nuts in a vice time."

"Well, I was planning to get a bit of rest in the weekend," I reply.

"What the hell, we'll go first class and you can catch some zeds on the flight!" he says.

"And there goes the farm," the PFY sighs.

"Well....."

. . .

"So are you going to go through with it?"

"Well, I have to admit that it'd give me little joy to see his career go down the toilet. Still, sometimes a little joy is better than nothing!" ®

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