Thursday :: Nov 10, 2005

When Ambition Meets Experience


by pessimist

I just had a rather interesting experience with a young man seeking to earn his way to college by selling magazine subscriptions. He had a rather interesting approach in that he was very animated (perhaps with some chemical assistance?), but he did have some time invested in knowing something about the several hundred magazines he had available.

Despite having a very persuasive manner, he was up against someone who had done this very thing a long time ago - back before his parents had even met, I'm sure.

His goal is to be an international investor, travelling the world conducting business. In addition to studying business (at a California college to be determined should he sell enough magazines), he was intending on learning French, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese. He didn't seem to understand that conducting successful business transactions in foreign lands requires more than 'just the basics' - "I don't want to get too deep in that language stuff!"

He persisted trying to sell me, shifting his approach by asking about my interests and education background (which in order to see where he was going with his spiel I fed a little) and linking these to some of the magazines, bridging the conversation gaps with reminders that he only needed 'a few more' to finish his goal - as If I was supposed to care about that!

This is where his problem begins.

When I proved not to be an easy mark, he increased the pressure, attempting to appeal to my better nature to provide for his benefit ('You get to feed me!') by buying a subscription to a magazine. 'No, sorry' didn't mean to him what it appears to mean to the rest of us, as he kept insisting that I 'needed' to pick one. I remained firm, and finally, as if his attention span had run out, he grabbed his sales lists, and sneered over his shoulder as he fled into the night, "You could help if you wanted to!"

With an attitude like that, even one of my own kids would go without!

This sense of entitlement that younger people today have instilled in them is an interesting thing. There is no focus beyond the self, and the other serves only to provide for the self. In my case tonight, that means that I was supposed to buy a subscription for a magazine I won't have time to read from a kid I never saw before (and hopefully never will again) exclusively for his benefit, and not mine.

I'm sure that if he were to somehow achieve his improbable goal (improbable only because he didn't seem to have the necessary awareness of what he was after, not that it was impossible at all) and become an international investor, he would complain loudly that my Social Security was robbing him of a secure (and extremely comfortable) future and that I should take care of myself - just like he was doing.

Right. As he had been doing without any assistance since he was left on the side of a hill as an infant.

But I digress.

For someone who seeks to conduct international trade, he sure has a lot to learn. Somehow, I doubt that Japanese, Chinese, Hindu, or other foreign businessmen, are going to be any more impressed with his approach than that he's got a lot of misdirected moxie and an intense delivery style. I doubt that they would spend a yen or a yuan or a rupee more than I did. Like me, I'm sure they would consider that a deal with him would not result in good value for the dear expenditure.

pessimist :: 6:01 PM :: Comments (19) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!