August 24, 2011

"For The First Time I Did Something For You People"

The company logos of retail stores supporting anti-gay groups, Target, Lenovo, Home Depot, HSN, Puma, Sears.

This is a true story. I promised the Executive Assistant that I would not use any names, or identifying information if I wrote about our conversations.

The Sr. VP of Sales and Marketing with No Phone Manners


I was having a conversation with a Sr. Vice President of Sales and Marketing, at a large retail corporation, regarding the boycott of his retail stores and products. After exchanging pleasantries, I explained that I was calling about an affiliate marketing relationship that his company had, and that I objected to it because they supported anti-gay organizations - and he pointedly said: “My company does not have a position on gay marriage.”

I was taken aback because I never mentioned gay marriage, and I told him so. "I'm not calling about gay marriage sir." He was the kind of guy you called sir.

He asked, “isn’t that what everyone’s talking about?”

I replied that it wasn’t what everyone in California talks about because that right was taken away over 2 years ago.

He seemed in a hurry and said, “what’s your complaint? What is this boycott nonsense? We welcome everyone in our stores and want everyone to have a great shopping experience, whether here or online. We don’t discriminate against anyone, and celebrate diversity every year.”

He was aggressive, and it was obvious he didn’t want to spend time speaking with me about this. I really wanted to ask how a company celebrates diversity every year. A Cake? Champagne? A parade of countries like the Olympics?

I reminded him that I was calling about an affiliate marketing relationship that funneled a percentage of sales to anti-gay groups.

He suddenly became silent. After a minute I said hello, in a tone that was asking if he was still on the phone.

“I’m here. I’m just trying to figure out why anyone would support anti-gay anything. That’s like supporting anti-people clubs, or I don’t like you so go away pre-school club. My wife and I have been married for over 40 years, and I’m old-fashioned. I don’t understand all of this gay nonsense all the time, but I do understand when people are mean-spirited, and that’s what this sounds like. This company does not support discrimination or anything mean-spirited. My wife and I feel the same way.”

Then he was completely silent. Again. Just as I was going to say hello, to check if he was still on the line, he started to be aggressive. He yelled “I tell my managers constantly that they have to know about these marketing relationships, they have to know the audience, is the relationship beneficial, I wanna see monthly P and L’s. I wanna know what kind of outfit it is. We have a tangled web with these affiliates and it takes a detective to figure it out. I'm not a detective and I don’t like it. Email your information to my assistant, and follow up with me in a week. I don’t like the sound of this outfit.”

And he hung up on me. I called back and spoke with his assistant, and she said that he was upset, and made apologies for her boss. I sent him an email and did as I was told because I didn’t want to get yelled at.

If Steve Jobs Says Stay Away From An Outfit - You Don’t Wear It


I called a week later, and when he answered the phone he called me by my last name. “Steele I was glad to figure out we were in good company. We weren’t the only one to look like a jackass, and my company will not participate in that marketing group anymore. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Why are we businessmen always in Steve Jobs shadow? If he says stay away from this outfit, you stay away. Smartest guy in retail." I could hear him start to smile over the phone.

"I mentioned it to my wife and she told me we’re going to my niece’s wedding in 2 months. She’s marrying a lady, and they’re good people, even though it’s my wife’s family. For the first time, I can tell her I did something for you people, and I’m happy to do it," he said as slammed his receiver down again.

Thank you, sir, I muttered. I’m not entirely sure what I said because the “you people” comment was still ringing in my ears, as he hung up on me again!

So if you’re reading this sir, my people thank your people! I appreciate you doing the right thing and supporting all the people.

straight talk in a queer world.              jiveinthe415.com
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