He was 19 years old and touting all of the reasons why I should purchase a $1100 knife set. I couldn’t think of any. He had zillions.
I am surprised we even met. He was a student distributor for a nationally known cutlery company, referred to me by a mutual friend and promised his presentation wouldn’t take more than an hour. Our first conversation went well until I heard “we need to find a time when your husband can attend too.”. I pushed back…he insisted. I AM SORRY. WHAT!?
I assumed it was because I’m just lil ‘ol me and can’t make a decision on my own about something so important….< Stated sarcastically in the worst Southern accent I could ever use….like Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias.
Now…to be fair….I wouldn’t make an $1100 purchase without talking to Craig….but he wouldn’t buy it without talking to me. We always talk to each other when we find something that we absolutely must have. But neither asks permission from the other.
This was my final offer. Meet with me. With no husband. At 7am. I had pushed this poor kid off for over a year. He never gave up. He cheerfully agreed to the early morning meeting time and was standing outside when I arrived.
I set his expectations from the first phone call. I can’t justify an expense for something I will rarely use. Yes, I am sure they are nice. But we don’t cook every night. Or every week. And…if I am going to spend $1100 on something, it would be on something that I’d really like to have….like jewelry….or a gun. He walked through the history of the company, talked about the construction of a high quality knife versus a terrible one.
They obviously train their employees. It is impressive training. He was using every possible tool the company gave him and responded to every objective. He wasn’t the issue. He was the epitome of what you’d like representing your company.
Does your husband hunt? You mean while I am in the kitchen baking up a pie? Preparing for when my man returns home? This time, I am fanning myself with a paper fan…the crappy accent remains. He never asked me if I hunt…but I am a huge game hunter and would have spent thousands of dollars on hunting knives. (Actually not true. I don’t hunt.)
Then it got even better.
We started talking about knife sets. The Homemaker Set. The. Homemaker. Set. Helloooooooooo. The 1950’s called. Maybe I am too sensitive…but are you freaking kidding me!? I stopped his presentation and started peppering him with questions. “Wait. I’m sorry. The what set?”. I heard the innocent response “The Homemaker Set!?”.
I think my question surprised him. I continued. “Do your executives, marketing team, etc think that term could be updated to reflect, uh, the world today!?.” You know….to something better….like The Little Lady Set.
I was starting to sense a trend.
“Sandy, these knives will last a lifetime. They can be passed to your kids and grandkids…they are legacy items” (or something similar).
He finished his presentation. I didn’t purchase anything….but I knew ahead of time I wouldn’t. I shook his hand and wished him luck. This kid is going places.
I couldn’t get the whole experience off my mind. So, like anyone would do when they are pondering life, I went to Google.
Definition of homemaker: a person who manages a household especially as a wife and mother.
Huh. I googled again.
Definition of a CEO: the main person responsible for managing a company.
No reference to gender in that definition.
Maybe I was being uber sensitive. Salespeople probably want both spouses in a presentation so they can’t use the “I need to talk to my spouse” excuse. There are more men hunters than women in the world. I’m still shocked with the homemaker set thing….but…maybe I was being ridiculous at my thinking.
Nope. I am not. The world has changed and everyone is adapting. Well, not everyone.
Since the presentation I’ve noticed that cheese DOES stick to knives if the blades aren’t creatively constructed with holes to allow airflow. And I will never again hold kitchen scissors without remembering how those perfect scissors felt as if they were made to fit my hand.
I visited the company’s website. “<Company Name > knives have been handed down from mothers to daughters, grandfathers to grandsons and between friends. <Company Name > is for Generations.”
I am my only generation. My family tree stops with me.
So for now, I will keep my crappy knives with the rusted rivets and dull blades. My cereal doesn’t mind.