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back to article Cool cars, cat-crushing chronometers, cashmere ... is this your IT boss?

The story goes that one day a printer vendor rep turned up at a distributor of IT gear. The rep had a message to deliver: “Your sales of our printers are not good enough". The MD took the rep out to the car park, opened the rear door of his motor and gestured to a high-end shotgun lying across the back seat. Message received and …

COMMENTS

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Silver badge
Coat

Off the shelf suits?

Pah. I have mine hand made. In Rio. And I'm not even in sales...

Though to be fair, I don't get suits all that often...

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Trollface

Re: Off the shelf suits?

But prison orange really does not suit you.

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Anonymous Coward

Suits?

Because the type of suit-wearing, fancy-watch-owning self-important arsehole have been visiting our office with increasing regularity; I've been told I can no longer turn up to work in jeans and trainers.

I don't like them very much.

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Bronze badge
Coat

Re: Suits?

Just be happy that nonintellectual jag-offs picked "suits" as their peacock outfit, they could have just as easily adopted some other equally stupid and useless clothing as their daily wear, like a uni-tard and a diamond tiara, or those long swimming suits from the 1920s. "Our unitards are custom made from only the finest silk from Asia, they start at $4000, would you like to see our fine selection of Rolex tiaras?"

There is no reason to wear a suit, other than to try to be the guy that has the better suit, and who can always afford the better suit? The person above you. (funny how that worked out) "It's 120 degrees outside, let's wear an undershirt, a fitted shirt, a vest, a jacket, and to top it off, how about sealing that puppy up by tying that shirt around your neck like a trashbag with a colorful but expensive cloth rope, make sure you use one of the special club house knots, you don't want to look like a fool." How about some stupid shoes that have no traction to complete your clown look.

Don't even get me started on the stupid 3 buttons where you only ever do up two of them.

Needless to say, that stupid look will not last another 20 years, especially once the climate starts to get hotter. Hell, people could simply stop wearing them right now, they serve no purpose, no function, and are therefore unnecessary. (unlike a lab coat or a hazmat suit) //rant

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Turning up on site in a Jag only be told that we'd lost the contract for being too flash.

Turning up on site in a 2CV only to be told we were obviously crap and lost the contract.

Turned up on site in a camper van. Kept the contract.

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Back in the day...

Late 1980s, before everyone had a couple of mobile phones, I was in the office one Friday and took a call from a vendor who wanted to drop in to speak to the boss. Boss was free that afternoon so we set up a meeting.

Chap turned up, sporting a shiny silver suit and precisely trimmed goatee, lugging a briefcase mobile with him. I met him at reception and he asked if he could call his office to check for messages. "Of course", I said, "there's an external phone over there."

"No need", he replied, pointing to his mobile, "I'll use this." I shrugged and went back to the office to tell the boss he'd arrived. Couple of minutes later, I went back to collect the vendor and show him through.

He walked into the boss's office, shook hands, then asked if he could call his office to check for messages.

"Er, sure", replied the boss and started to point to his phone. "No need", the vendor said, "I'll use this" and dialled his office on the mobile again.

Not sure if he was trying to impress us with the phone as he wasn't selling those, he was trying to flog an accountancy package. We thought he was a cock.

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Bronze badge

Black card

There's nothing like the "clank" of a titanium Centurion card hitting the table to announce yourself...

// don't have one, don't know anyone who does

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Silver badge

Re: Black card

I despise the 'ego' cards. My Amex card is the standard old ugly green card. No one I know is a big enough dick to carry one of the ego cards either. The purchasing power isn't reflected in the card, just the ego of the card holder.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Black card

I'd prefer not to have an Amex card. We just used to get the company to book our hotels and travel. But post-takeover we have to pay for it on Amex then claim it back (which pays off the balance).

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Silver badge

Re: Black card

I remember being told the story of one rather independent newspaper proprietor who hosted a large gathering at a country-club/golf resort place in Dublin years ago. Towards the end of proceedings, he beckoned the banqueting manager over, so that he could slowly hand him a matte-black credit card in full view of the assembled.

Somewhat spoiling the gesture, the manager came back with card and a frown. Brief whispers followed, and the flashy black card was replaced with a more mundane and negotiable VISA.

It's easy to offer no limits on a card that nobody accepts anymore.

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Silver badge
Joke

Re: Black card

There's nothing like the gentle tap of your manservant putting down your diamond-encrusted, gold-trimmed, Uranium Amex on the table to announce you....

//What, you hadn't even heard of the Uranium card? Who let that pleb in?

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Global Warming?

Nobody goes skiing in September.

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Re: Global Warming?

New Zealanders do. If not necessarily to Verbier.

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Anonymous Coward

Amex

I wouldn't want to be a member of any club that would have me! During my period as a student in the late 80s, I was offered countless gren cards, followed but at least half a dozen golds and one platinum in my final year. I declined them all.

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Bronze badge

Re: Amex

Really ? I enthusiastically accepted them all.

Of course, now Amex will only speak to me through their lawyers........

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watches

They can be a symbol, but it goes both ways, a flashy gold rolex that could be used to club a seal to death, will elicit a response of "what a t**t" but similarly, if you are sporting a plastic, pound shop style, digital watch you also won't be taken very seriously either.

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Re: watches

Just avoid buying a Rolex and buy a nice watch with some style then.

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Anonymous Coward

If a flashy salesman turns up in an expensive suit and very expensive sports car there are two ways of reading this:

1. This is a highly successful individual working for a successful company. (what most companies want you to think).

2. This person is overpaid and the price you are being offered is vastly inflated. (reality).

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Silver badge

"2. This person is overpaid and the price you are being offered is vastly inflated. (reality)."

This is why, in our office, a guy who shows up driving an 8 year old Ford Falcon and wearing a turtleneck sweater and jeans, has a lot better chance of selling us a few boxes of photocopier toner than, say, a guy who shows up in a new F-type Jaguar wearing an Armani suit. Given that attire in our office veers decidedly towards the neat casual side, upstaging one's potential customers with flashy overpriced bling that is obviously going to be tacked onto the sale price isn't a good start!

There's an old Murphy's Law corollary that goes something like "The plushness of the front office decor is inversely proportional to the fundamental solvency of the firm." The same principle applies to travelling sales reps as well.

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Silver badge
Happy

Re: Steve Roper

"..... Given that attire in our office veers decidedly towards the neat casual side....." Ours veers waaay beyond casual into downright bizarre at times, but we insist that all sales visit us in a suit and tie - it helps to be able to spot them so we can avoid them in time.

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Anonymous Coward

I remember a well known salesman for a very well known megacorp who used to do the rounds in London, tanned, rolex, unbuttoned shirt with Savlle Row threads, a utter prick with an alpha-male ego the size of a small country! He wouldn't just enter a room, he'd ooze into it and dominate with his presence. Unless he was cutting GDP sized deals before elevenses ( taken at Claridges of course! ) his day was wasted. Utterly despicable and a real product of the Gordon Gecko Charm School.

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MJA

We need those types though. It's comedy gold seeing them handle situations that anybody with a normal sized ego would be able to brush aside. Like being splashed by a car driving through a puddle, or a pigeon s***ting on your head.

As long as we can see they are a cock and can talk to each other about how much of a cock they are, then we're all good.

As far as suits go, I wouldn't want everywhere to be shorts & t-shirt like Google, mainly because many people who get the same train as me clearly work for companies who have a 'dress-down Friday' policy and judging by their civvie clothes style, should never be allowed out of their suit. Saville Row though? Pfft, what's wrong with Next? Fine suits and I don't need a man with a turn of the century profession hovering uncomfortably close to my nutsack with a tape measure in order to get a pair of trousers that fit.

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Silver badge

Volvo P1800ES? Not with a bargepole!

The Volvo P1800 was actually built by Jensen. It was a relative failure until some marketing genius decided to give two (and, allegedly, a lump of cash) to the people making the TV series "The Saint". They had wanted a Jaguar E-type by couldn't get one for free, so settled for the "Volvo". As sportscars go it was pretty dismal and liable to be turned inside out by the Ford Cortina Mk1 (the original repmobile in the UK), but Roger Moore's smoothness convinced some that it just had to be a pukha sporting machine. The ES was just a blatant attempt to rip off the Reliant Scimitar. Thankfully, after the P1800, Jensen went back to making real sporting tourers and Volvo went back to vomiting out mobile barns. By that point, the BMW 1602/2002 had already become the objects of desire for real go-getter salesgrunts, leading to BMW 3-serie's domination of the middle-lane for the next three decades.

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Anonymous Coward

shotguns

I think the story is apocryphal. Grouse hunters have two of the things so the loader can reload one while the boss is firing the other. People with only one are clay pigeon shooters, armed robbers or both.

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Silver badge

So is this for people who want to sell IT?

I mean seriously selling IT stuff is not much different to selling other things.

In technology minded companies however, you don't care about what car you have, heck even having no car at all is more of a status symbol than having some expensive car.

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Anonymous Coward

rock credit card

I never worked out if they thought they were being nice, or if it was a deliberate slight to encourage us to upgrade to a more expensive card, but for years around the turn of the century, the base level card at my bank was the 'rock' card, with a pattern meant to resemble sedimentary bands.

They've gone back to solid colour now for the base card. I don't know why they changed back either.

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Anonymous Coward

Cars as status symbols

Get with the times, you need to start complaining about how slow your Gulfstream is compared to how Concorde used to be.

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