The above is not me, but it pretty much resembles the look I likely gave to my 10:30 appointment this morning.
Working in media, part of my job function is to meet with various sales reps to discuss their media outlet and how (and if) we should partner with my brands. As advertising is basically high school with corporate cards, the scope of personalities and egos is immense. Even so, there are a few names that can just make you cringe. My 10:30 is one of these names. I didn't want to take the meeting, but that would just be unprofessional. Besides, he begrudgingly gets my business and I had a bone to pick with the positioning of my last ad.
10:30 was in to meet with our entire group a month or two ago. I am still in awe of how he fit himself, Jr (his son) and their hyper-inflated egos in our conference room. Immediately, the self important name dropping began. He removed what was admittedly an expensive timepiece from his wrist and passed it around the room like we were poverty stricken naive children and not media professionals managing multi-million campaigns for extremely high end luxury goods brands, and ourselves donning jimmy choos, tag heuers and the like. He also held us captive for over two hours without actually pitching his publication, only his lifestyle.
So it was with trepidation I negotiated a time for us to meet. Luckily, I had a Sarbanes Oxley compliance group meeting with the agency lawyer at 11am, so upon greeting 10:30 and Jr, I was able to cut them off at the get go with an apology for lack of time (whereas a rep should be able to give me their whole pitch within 20 minutes regardless).
Halfassed acknowledging his verbal diarrhea of hanging out with Stephen Spielberg the night before and Wayne Gretsky coming up to him during a recent lunch to give a quickie neck massage, all of which Jr proclaimed with the gentle prodding of his father "Tell her who!!!" "Tell her what!!!" "Tell her...", I kept trying to turn this Queen Mary of self importance back to the task at hand: what can you do to generate sales of my product. And move my brand into a more acceptable position than first 66% of book (whereas no other book would think of putting us past first 15-20%).And again, he was showing off one of his 367 watches. How do I know how many he owned? Because Jr was prodded to tell me, of course.
True, the timepiece he donned was one of my brands, and clearly worth about my annual salary. I grew up in the Hamptons. I've made cappuccinos for Jackie O and John John. I recognize wealth. I also recognize and respect class. I do not respect 10:30 nor is his flaunting the watch, literally in my face, going to change that. I'm not impressed.
Clearly, this is a man who needs self acknowledgment. People likely bow to him all the time. I proceeded to coolly respond yes, it's beautiful however, what are we going to do about the positioning issue? And what event can we plan to boost sales in our Beverly Hills boutique? Neither of which he answered in the remaining ten minutes of our meeting. We wrapped up thanks to a faux name dropping of my own "My CFO will be at this meeting, and we can't keep him waiting now can we?" complete with my most phony yet forceful smile reserved for such occasions.
As I walked them to the elevator, 10:30 was still yakking about his watch and I was not taking the bait about 1950, the particular make. Nor did I care that no one in the parent company who manufactured it could even obtain one it was such a hot money ticket. I just continued giving him the Stepford Wife treatment. Off the 1950 came and he shooed Jr aside as he cornered me against the smoked glass doors. Flipping it over, he kept pointing out the 64 inscribed inside. (For those not in the know, when a fine timepiece is manufactured, sometimes limits are set on how many will be produced. Supply and demand.). He was now practically jumping up and down explaining how it was so important he have this particular 1950 line and how crucial it was to secure the 64th one manufactured.
10:30 was born in 1950! (Yep, yep, got it...)
10:30 lost his virginity in '64! (Wha? Did he just...)
Marinate on that moment. Now imagine yourself cornered against a glass doors with not eighteen inches separating you from this guy. And his son four feet away.Out came the Stepford laugh and a knowingly coy boys-will-be-boys eye roll. JUSTGETTHEFUCKOUTYOUFUCKWITTOOLBAG was my internal scream as I kiss kissed cheeks in the European manner while opening the door before rushing for my 11am.
My ears are still bleeding and I'm going to need massive amounts of pinot gris to ensure his adolescent lovemaking will not enter dream territory.