– Or – Being Officious Never Pays
It was clear that we could get more ‘bang’ for our buck from a new provider. When informed of our decision to make this change, the Pitney Bowes account executive was not amused. She mistakenly believed that she was above competing for business previously won. When asked for a ‘sit down’ with me and the committee, we cordially acquiesced. A week later we met in our conference room which was somewhat formal and decorated in rich dark mahogany furnishings with floor to ceiling glass walls and a large conference table seating 10-12 guests. Comfy and warm but business like…just the way I like it.
“Tiffany” (my name for the Pitney Bowes executive) entered our office along with an associate (whom I shall name “Fawn.”). I had not met either, previously. Both women were knocked out, drop dead gorgeous…and very sexy. They were dressed professionally, but with that certain thing we as men cannot identify but know and like when we see it. They were tall, slim, busty, stunning blondes wearing dark skirts with white blouses that buttoned up the front…and their ‘girls’ were very prominent. They were the most stunning book ends ever. ‘Tiffany’ was probably in her mid thirties and ‘Fawn’ about ten years younger. Back in the day, this dynamic duo would have been Kryptonite…which brings me to my point: Nothing puts me off more than women using sexuality to achieve a goal…especially in a professional environment…like that would ever happen! Such strategy reduces us men to pigs, dogs, etc. and assumes we function exclusively on a ‘testosteronal’ level. Accurate as that may be, we like to think we are above it. We are not! When I sense that someone is trying to ‘get over’ on me like that, I just get annoyed. And, where I come from, there is nothing worse than being a pawn in a game where you have been rooked into accepting an outcome for all the wrong reasons. This is corporate seduction.
Of the seven of us, I was the only man sitting in our conference room with six women… four staff and two Pitney Bowes account executives. Our objective was to give audience to this “Thelma and Louise” parlay who were attempting to prevent their existing account from going bye-bye. I just knew their elevator conversation on the way up was of the “let me show you how to close a man” variety. After hearing their value proposition which was way sweeter than what was originally proposed, I asked in a very serious tone during a pregnant pause, “is this your best proposal?” This vocal posture was not only deliberate but intended to communicate that ‘I’m immune to your vamp like, siren calling ways’. I heard a response, but it was not the answer to my question. As Tiffany went on, I politely interrupted her and asked again, “is this your best proposal?” But this time it was with an ever so slight bit of attitude. And, again she did not directly answer my question but rather modeled a politician dancing around a sensitive issue. I interrupted a third time but not so politely and leaned forward, removed my glasses, then pointed the templars at these seductresses in cadence with my question so as to communicate my impatience…a little street theater. And, in a slow, deep, deliberate, exaggerated voice said, “I need you to bring your best BREASTS forward.” That was not my intention.
As the words rolled off my tongue, I heard them. No one was more shocked than me! The silence was as deafening as a mouse peeing on a cotton ball…a moment frozen in time. No one dared move or look at anything other than that which was directly in front of each set of eyeballs. After what seemed like forever, I apologized profusely and said, “what I meant to say was, ‘I need you to bring your best PROPOSAL forward’, but if you wish to do the other that would be OK too.” Whereupon, everyone busted up and recognized my Freudian slip as just that. Red faced, and with an awkward and embarrassed smile I motioned the ladies to send the contract across the table and I quickly signed it. I continued with, “this is a small price to pay relative to the sexual harassment suit I may have averted.” All ended well and the ladies were quite gracious in accepting the boner of the day delivered by the boob of the day.
Upon leaving with a signed contract in hand, I’m guessing their elevator conversation on the way down was brief and highly predictable…like, “and that’s how you do it!”