Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fake It 'Till You Make It

Once upon a time, I worked for a perfume company. It was knockoff stuff that we sold on the streets. You've prolly been approached by someone in a parking lot selling perfume before, right? Well, I'm sure it wasn't me, but that's the kind of thing I did.

It was a great time, not very great income. There was this kind-of pyramid-scheme thing going on. It was a mess. But I learned a lot. The company broke my shell/pushed me out of my cage/whatever metaphor you like...

Here's how it worked. First, there were the mandatory training meetings to learn about the product. Funny how from lunchtime on day one, the class size kept shrinking. Ok, not funny ha ha...

But we were out in the field that first week making money. Right on the spot. They checked out a box of perfume to you and you had a dollar amount to turn in for each bottle sold. Sometimes they'd run a special or something and you'd get a break after selling so many.

Your profit was whatever you could talk someone into. I'm not a seller. It didn't take long for me to realize that. But now I know one thing I don't like. And knowing I'm bad at selling tells me I'd be bad at prostitution, for example, so I don't have to bother trying that.

Ok, so now that you have these newly acquired selling skills and all this perfume stock, what next? Why, you take your show on the road, of course! I had a car and lots of free time. So go I did.

We'd travel to Oklahoma sometimes. But my favorite trips were to south Texas. We'd hit college towns and make some money. Or border towns. Whatever, wherever.

To save money, we'd all stay in one room. Usually 6-8 people. One time, I remember 14 people in one room. Someone slept in a bathtub. Lots of people brought sleeping bags. It was craziness. But youth = stupidity and we were happy.

One trip, 6 of us had gone somewhere. There were 2 girls, so we shared one bed, and 4 guys. I think two may have shared the other bed, or maybe they were too insecure, so three slept on the floor??? The boss decided to graciously take the floor. He was sleeping between the two beds. I had this short-set that I was sleeping in that night. It was from Victoria's Secret, but it wasn't like that. It was plain cotton with the words Victoria's Secret stitched across the shirt. Anyway, someone across the room asked me what my shirt said. I held it out so they could see. Now I was getting in bed, so I wasn't wearing a bra. Didn't think twice about showing someone my shirt. What I had forgotten was my boss, lying on the floor 4' away. He got a clear view up my shirt. I was embarrased, but not too badly.

Until he brought it up at breakfast the next morning. When we met up with another group. I had a red face through the whole meal. Thus the story of the time I accidentally flashed my boss.

After doing the selling thing for a few months, my parents were less than enamored with this company. I was supposed to quit and stop going on trips. But I was 18 and having fun. I wasn't eating much. Breakfast every day, but then I'd snack on oranges and pretzels the rest of the day and was fine. 6 oz. of pretzels in one hand and 6 oz. of fruit in the other is a balanced diet, right?

I got super-skinny. Which for me, was around 145-150 lbs. What? I'm tall-ish. Anyway, when we'd come back into town, I'd stay with friends so I wouldn't get in trouble at home. I'd come home while my parents were out and get clothes or whatever. My younger siblings were supposed to keep me home if I showed up.

My sister's friend parked behind me in the driveway to keep me there. I just drove out through the yard. They were instructed after that to cut the valve stems on my tires next time I came home. It never got to that. I knew I needed to stop running around like that. And I did. Just not on their timetable. But it didn't take long for me to learn.


Tell me, tell me, tell me!