Thursday, January 21, 2010

A tough customer

There was a buyer at a steel company in Canton, Ohio who used his authority like a politician dispensing patronage to his friends. He said his company had an approved vendor list that was sufficient for all their needs. I had called on him several times but could not overcome his stubborn resistance. Finally I stopped trying. It was about fifteen or twenty years later when I called at his company again. He was still there and I managed to get to talk to him. After we had exchanged greetings I tried to interest him in a new product of a new technology. He quickly told me that he was familiar with the technology and had already found a suitable product. And then I said, “ Mr. Anon, these days things change so often and so quickly, it’s very difficult to keep up. It’s kind of a relief to find something that hasn’t. You’re still the same intractable ass you were 20 years ago.” He was stunned and speechless and I left without saying goodbye. I reject any responsibility for the heart attack he suffered a very short time after.
A few years later, after Mr. Anon had retired, my son began to call on his company and developed some new business there.

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