Sunday, January 21, 2007

Warning: Sales Pitch Ahead


I hate putting this up here, but I have to in order to say I really did try.

My Ent'ship class put us into teams of four people two weeks ago and gave us an assignment: contribute $5 each and figure out a way to turn it into $200 by January 23rd. It had to be legal, ethical, and do-able. We were supposed to brainstorm ideas. That meant, no criticizing others' ideas. Just put them out there, write them all down and pick one. Assign a team leader and a team recorder.

Long painful story short, I find myself experiencing the same thing I've always encountered in group situations. I'm not heard. My ideas are dismissed. One person comes up with something that sounds "easy" and the rest of the group (except me) votes yes for it because they want to do as little as possible to get by (except me) and the person whose idea it is becomes leader by default—even if they aren't the best choice for leader.

One of the ideas I proposed was to hold a Knit-Athon on campus. I raised lots of evidence for its success and had a carefully-thought-out plan that I presented. But even though the other girl is a knitter, nobody was interested in it (the two guys looked blank).

Our team wound up printing up tickets for a raffle. The object: sell 80 tickets at $5.00 each (20 tickets per team member). Offer two $100 prizes. Hold the drawing after class. Pass out the prizes. We each get back $50 for our "hard work". Should be easy, right? That depends.

If your demographic/peer group is geared towards that, then yes. It's easy. If you are in a fraternity/sorority full of 18-22 year olds with easy access to Mom and Dad's disposable income, sure. Especially if you're out at the bars on the weekends selling to people who've had three too many.

But if you're me, and you're 40-mumble, and you just moved back to your old neighborhood full of senior citizens living on fixed incomes, you're living off your savings while waiting for probate to finish with the estate, and all your friends are single and working a crappy job or parents with young children who are struggling to pay for rent/mortgage/child-care/gas in order to get to work every week, $5 bucks becomes quite precious.

I brought up this concept at the meeting (minus the "parents are dead" aspect)—maybe the price should be lower. But it was shot down abruptly. They'll sell at $5, I was told. Besides, if we price them lower, then we'll have to sell more of them. This way, it's easier. (There's that word again—"easy". Never mind if it's doable or succesful, as long as it's easy.) It was a classic case of "I came up with the idea. You, shut up and do what I tell you to do. And don't raise a ruckus or rock the boat. Even if you might be right."

Well. I tried to tell them. They ignored me, and they failed to even come up with a backup plan in the event it wasn't working. So I have all 20 of my tickets in hand, unsold. The drawing is Tuesday. All my friends said "no way at $5.00—maybe at $1 or $2".

The sad thing is, there are people who've said "my friend took this class last semester and they didn't really do the project, they just said they did and brought in enough money to 'prove' it and the teacher didn't check or anything, so... if we want, we can just say we did it". I replied, "But that feels so wrong." Ooops. Sorry. Didn't mean to sound like a grown up or anything. Like, totally un-cool, dudes, on my part. Rad. Word to your Mother. Like, Dudes.

Honestly, I'm not being negative about the project. I'm being realistic. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that I'll still have 20 tickets on Tuesday. Please don't feel pressured. I'm not going to ask any of my readers to buy them. But if anyone has a wad of disposable cash and wants to, visit the Hundred Dollar Club on Facebook or send an email to hundreddollarclub AT yahoo DOT com. I'd be happy to sell someone a ticket.

Or not.

At this point, I'm disgusted with it. I'm glad this isn't the team for the rest of the class. The way I see it is, it's an experiment designed to teach us what not to do... wanna bet? So I'm not worried about whether it's a success or not. If it fails, fine. I hope if it does, that it serves to teach an important lesson (or two):
  1. Have a contingency plan (didn't we all study that in the prerequisite to this course? Were they sick that day?)
  2. LISTEN to your other team members. They may raise valid points.
  3. Choose the leader that is best suited for the JOB, not the one whose idea it was. In business, there are idea people and there are leaders. They are not necessarily the same person.
  4. If it seems "easy", it probably isn't.
  5. Not everyone is made of money or has Mommy and Daddy to foot the bill.
So. There's my sales pitch. Buy a ticket if you want. Or, don't, and help them learn this difficult lesson. Man, what irritates me is that I've become the person in the group I've always hated—the weak link. The one who fails to complete their mission. Ick. I didn't want to be that person. It just happened. It's a first for me. I'm usually the one that gets stuck doing all the work!

In other news, I had great fun Friday afternoon making a mess all over the Surface Design studio painting my fat quarters for Monday's assignment. A fat quarter is when you take a yard of fabric and divide it into four "squares". Some of my designs worked, a couple failed. But that's ok! It was fun anyway and I have enough for my assignment. I probably should take my camera with me and get pictures to post, eh?

There was a momentary possible horse crisis, but it resolved itself on its own and my horse is fine. (Somebody interpreted his roll in the mud and pawing and laying down as signs of colic; but that's just my poor bored studly gelding for ya. Plus the barn changed the hay suddenly to rich alfalfa, and that'll give any horse a stomachache. You can't change food suddenly. It has to be a gradual introduction or they can feel ill until they adjust.) Of course, it didn't resolve itself until I trekked out to the barn in 21 degrees of breezy weather to check on him. Brrr!

Labels: ,


At 4:12 PM, January 22, 2007, Anonymous tiennie said...

Sometimes I think kids don't really know the value of a $1. I've always held a job since I was 12 and I shudder to see parents so ready to just give their kids new and better all the time w/o making them work for it or understanding that more expensive does not always mean better or why not even try using what they already have!

At 12:59 AM, January 23, 2007, Blogger Jeanne said...

They don't. Yet. But they will. Oh, *evil grin*, they will. Once they graduate and get that first mortgage payment... and they have to start paying back their student loans...

At 4:23 PM, January 23, 2007, Blogger Stick said...

SHI*T!! I missed the deadline. I was going to help, but I didn't read this til this afternoon. I'm SO SORRY!!

At 7:47 PM, January 26, 2007, Anonymous Carrie K said...

You're not the weak link! Sheesh. You're the one with the clear adult view of the situation. Sucks to be a grown up sometimes.

So how did it go?

At 6:39 AM, January 31, 2007, Blogger Bad Amy said...

In laboratory classes I'm the dreaded lab-partner that actually wants to do experiments correctly and completely instead of rushing and making it early to a kegger.

Nope, not the weak link at all... That would mean we're both weak links! ;)


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home