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Friday, 10 May 2013


Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Oooohahahahahahahahahahahaha! (cough,cough)!

Please pardon me! I know this is not a civil way to start a conversation. I mean with a laughter which threatens to overshoot the decibel levels prescribed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court for fire crackers. But then I just could not hold back given the hilarious scenario drawn out by this sweet little ignorant friend of mine. I am sorry, it should be Boss of mine. Here is a ready refresher for you!
Confessions first. No, I was not interested in becoming an Engineer or a Doctor and I didn’t even pretend trying to be one. No I was not keen on an MBA degree and attain the cushy comforts of an AC cabin either. I became what I wanted to, a Salesman. Not to be confused with sales managers, country heads et el who dish out high sounding discourse delivered in lyrical English. I wanted to be the crux of the wheel, the nuts and bolts of a successful sales team which delivered results. The dirty your hands brigade which is in the forefront of a market war. The driver, the accelerator on which depend the entire future of a product, service or the company. The real meaningful work. Not for me the hours spent on ‘XL’ sheets and conjuring up imaginary data. Not for me the frequent bouts with power points to dispense fundas which have no bearing on the market place. I wanted the ‘high’ of putting an entry barrier to competition, convert their customers, switch their consumers, create a network of loyal partners impossible to breach, improve and retain market share or minimize the loss of it. In short I wanted to be the man of action and not just the “Boardroomla punch dialogue” kind of MBAs. Not for me the perils of blood pressure because you are sitting helpless in an AC cabin far away from the front depending on someone else to deliver for you. Not for me the ulcers and indigestion because should you fail, you lose your entire standing among superiors, peers and subordinates. Not for me the fear of a pink slip as there are always millions of openings for a ’25 years expert in field work’ as against the lonely on top kind of positions. To be the kinds who like mosquitoes, cockroaches and Mallus can survive anything.  In a nutshell a soldier who would rather die fighting, win or lose than a General wearing meaningless medals or signing surrender document.

I would be lying if these were the only motivation for me to become a Salesman. Look at the perks I enjoy. My day starts at 11 AM with a visit to the tea kadai patented by us salesman in the market place. Notes are exchanged with salesman of various other companies who in their ignorance start early and come to the joint to report ‘market situation’ and more often than not do my portion of the selling.(I am regularly in a position to make ‘offers’ to salesmen of small 2/2, garage sized ‘local’ companies you see!) A few more rounds of tea, masala vadai and market gossip later, I break to Annachi Mess for my favorite ‘meen’ curry lunch. Depending on the weather an early trek homewards for a couple of hours of siesta is often indulged in. Or another visit to the tea kadai for hot bajjis. Once a week I take a detour to the distributors office, collect all the data of sales done by ‘me’, prepare the report, ‘patao’ the distributor into signing a sales order and walk into the  ‘AC Cabin’ for my weekly dose of ‘blood pressure, ulcers and piles’. The session might last between one to three hours depending on the dates. They are longer during the month ends for obvious reasons. All ‘hot air’ is silently tolerated, defended when possible or deftly redirected when not so. Should the same go beyond tolerable limits, “Business is bad Sir, if you don’t believe me why don’t you come to the market and see for yourself” cools down the temperature. (These AC cabinwallas get out of it only to go home!) Not for me the promotions which I have been regularly rejecting. A much-in-demand man, who every time I get an offer from the competition, cajole my company into giving me a raise. And now I hold the honour of the highest paid salesman in the company! Why wouldn’t I take the promotion you ask? Read further.

ON DUTY is a phrase perfected by our clan of Salesmen.  Marriage to attend? On duty! School fees of children to be paid or the monthly PTM? On duty! Queue up for tickets for the latest Super Star movie to be watched? On duty! Dravid is batting now? On duty!  Dhoni will be batting next? On duty! From bus pass to bike repair, from a visit to Marina to even babysitting. We don’t take time off. We are ON DUTY! In fact the quip doing the rounds is that we salesman should be added to the list of services under ESMA like Police, Hospitals, Fire Service etc! We are always on duty.

 AND the pleasure of frequently ‘bossing’ over these freshly graduated ‘suit-boot-tie’ type MBAs is priceless! No money and definitely no Master card can buy this pinnacle of pleasure. Sheer Nirvana! I call them boss but they know who actually is! Nothing matches the ecstasy of showing them their place, breaking them in, making their bones as the expression is. As you would have guessed, I delight in ‘training’ them. I don’t have AC cabins, company cars, company credit cards, the works and neither do I crave for these as long as I get a regular dose of this tail wagging the dog. The ultimate aphrodisiac.

To reiterate, I am happy, in fact proud of what I am, a Salesman! And why do I get this funny feeling that many of you would like to join me!
Thanks @Rfed1! Your ‘Boss’ has been a real help!


  1. Good one Anand!!! to go thru your post Boss, First and foremost Title Boss and your blog post Thakkali made me read it, I could relate myself to salesmen routine you have narrated on day to day basis, only difference is instead of parupa vadai and Bajji, Here is Osmania Biscuit and Irani chai, Enjoyed your post, and long live Salesmen Bridari the whole and soul of any Business. Regards Vasoo.

  2. Hi Vasoo. Thanks for the response. I guess you would have also read the earlier post What's the Target? can relate to it too! Saleu, Bechuda, Hawkers unity Zindabad:D

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed the write up. Narrating the negative side of the job, in a hilarious way
    and the 'content' content of the Salesman job.
    My chittappa was a salesman in Brooke bond from 1947.Now he is no more.I know the pains of a sales man. He was one of the promoter sales man of that company. That means for few months the salesman has to visit villages in a bullock cart ,prepare Tea, and offer it to public at
    Public places and prominent streets (house to house visit )free of cost. And later months,
    When the public are addicted to the taste, the sales of the Tea pockets will start.So, he was
    one among the thousands of pioneer salesmen team of that company.A dress code of thick
    Khaki colour trouser and shirt, with a cycle. One assistant for help and support to him.
    He was covering the area from Nilakottai to cumbum by Bicycle only.Daily cycling of hundreds of kilometers .He has become weather beaten .A tenth class fail, but turned out to be a skilled
    Marketing, and human relations manager. No computers.Big sheets of stock and sales report.
    Only cash transactions. No banks in those areas at that time.Weekly once collections to be
    Remitted at Madurai.As you say , you call your colleagues Boss, he will call all the customers
    RAJA (king) . He was knowing the owners and Tea Masters of all the Tea shops.Though by birth
    He is a Brahmin, he is a terror for even other community persons. , because of his friendship
    With Teashop wallahs.
    The irony is that in the later years, many of those Tea shop owners became politicians and some
    Of them became M.L.As. They call my chittappa 'saami' and prostrate before him.

    He has also refused promotions till last and remained and retired as a Salesman.His reason
    was, if he get the promotion, he will lose contact with public, which will make his life dry
    and cheerless. He got a all India best salesman award with silver plate of several kilos.
    So, my heart always goes with a Salesman, whenever I see them.
    As you wrote in your write up, they are the nuts and bolts,veins nerves and bones.
    Your write up made such an impact on me, to kindle my memories about my Chittappa
    a Great Salesman.
    Salute to the community of Sales Personnel .

  4. Sir, Thanks for reading. I am happy to note that this triggered some pleasant memories in you regarding your late chittappa. The story of the hard working salesman however romantic is a tough ask in the present market conditions. A balance between Boss and What's the target? is the way to go. Give yourself a chance to enjoy the comforts of a senior pro and at the same time keep the feet on the ground by regular personal contacts with Key customers. Easier said than done. I have been trying to get the balance right ever since I reached a few floors higher. Thank you for the encouraging words.

  5. Thank you for the acknowledgement . I am happy , that, at this young age,
    You are capable of dealing with men and matters , with ease.Good luck in your profession.
    You have a good writing skill. Please do not ignore it due to work pressures.

  6. Thank you very much for reading and the appreciation. Have a great day ahead.