I have just finished the shortest full time job in my existence. Touch One Advertising is an outbound face-to-face promotions company. It’s quite Americanised: There’s an almost evangelist warm-up session at 8 in the morning where employees are encouraged to shout, sing, stand on chairs, play games, eat junk food extremely quickly and generally make a complete cock of themselves. I’m fairly comfortable with this kind of environment, so I found this interesting.
If you are the kind of person who can turn a no into a yes, this could be the job for you. However, I have learned through 2 media sales jobs and loads of promo work with Key 103 that I cannot. I hate rejection and there is nothing I can do about it.
So traveling to Chester and getting women to take out membership at a hair salon was going to be difficult. First, I am a guy. I know nothing of women’s haircuts. Second, I am not a hairdresser. Third, and most importantly: If you can put up with being told no by women all day, I take my proverbial hat off to you. They may be saying “no” to the product, but regardless: they ARE saying no to YOU. As a single man, this is pretty much my own personalised vision of hell. I managed to make 2 sales on the first day, which was amazing. After this, I made nothing.
On the first day my trial assignment was this:
“Richard Branson has an island off the south coast of Cortez, apparently somewhere in the West Indies. They are called the Virgin Islands, and was originally colonised by the Danes His golf course is situated near the shore. His golf balls are damaging the coral reef around his island and ultimately damaging the environment. How many golf balls have affected marine life in Cortez?”
This was a ridiculous premise. Branson’s Airline is one of the most successful in the world and emissions from these planes massively outweigh the damage a few golf balls could do. Besides, it said on MTV Cribs that his speedboat-driving servant collects the balls.
I did speak to an oil worker who was very knowledgeable about the environment and said much that more damage is done to this environment by Philippino fishermen, who use dynamite on the reef to sell off the findings. Chinese deep-sea fishing boats and dredgers will also pull out anything from the seabed in these areas and sell it on. The oil worker said most damage done in these areas is caused by the need to feed Asia.
An interesting first day, I think you’ll agree. After this I was trying to sell hair VIP passes to women, and everything descended into chaos. It was freezing in Chester and people were reluctant to stop. One of the managers, Alexa, was a total bitch and actively discouraged teamwork. When she bollocked me for asking another trainee for advice, admittedly, I pulled a face behind her back. For such a heinous display of insolence, she rang me at about 10pm when I was on the bus after salsa. The first thing she told me was that she was disappointed in me. What. The. Fuck. First off, if I ask another trainee for advice, I could be learning everything wrong. God help us. Second, she’d found out from someone that I’d pulled a face at her. All this happened because I was talking to another trainee. I put the point across that I was talking about the job. Her response? “Don’t argue with me, Matt.”
Admittedly, I was fighting my corner. I didn’t do this kind of thing a year ago, but I don’t take anywhere near as much shit now. This call came after a shift when I’d made my first 2 sales. And she was disappointed.
Other misadventures inside Touch One included a stray Pit Bull walking onto the bus in the morning and only one woman stepping forward to evict him. It sat on the back seat of the bus like a human chav. I thought this woman was going to get her arm ripped off, but it let her pick it up. Also on my last day, while on the train with a rather nice girl called Chloe, I witnessed a dead horse in a field. I told her I was going to offer to go out and try and revive it, but that would probably have just been flogging a dead horse. She loved that joke. She concurred that Alexa was a bitch and told me loads of workplace gossip. Second by second I was convinced I needed to resign.
Yesterday Chloe got called back to the office and as a result I was left in Chester on my own, trying to pitch. Within a few moments I thought: What the fuck am I doing, in the middle of the street, on my own, trying to flog haircuts to arrogant women? I’ve not even got the chip and pin machine! The logical conclusion came to me a little later than you might expect: after an hour on my own I thought: Fuck this. I found my way to the train and got back into Manchester all on my own like a grown-up.
I explained to the director that I’d spent more than I’d made, I hated rejection and I didn’t think the job was right for me. To add insult to injury, the two sales I made had been back-dated in some way and payments hadn’t gone through. This meant that I didn’t get any commission and hence no pay for the whole week aside from travel expenses. It also meant that, as 2 women were using hair treatments that they hadn’t paid for, Touch One were getting the bailiffs to go after them. The director said if I found the right product to sell, I’d go far. I concur.