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Pirates (Getting Closer)



I have two more girls to go and then it's lights out on the slumber party.

On December 3rd, I started this little exercise into greeting cards. Today, the printer told me that they have received the 600-dpi jpeg files of my first eight cards and I should be able to proof them in the next couple of days. Sometime next week, I'll pick up the order. At that time, I'll have 1,000 cards, 125 of the first eight.

Then comes the task of finding retailers. I initially wanted to start with ten. I've trimmed that to four. That's managable. I get to put on my salesman cap and trot door-to-door in the venues I've selected to approach. Need to practice my pitch...

I've actually done a lot of door-to-door sales. Back when I had my window washing business in the 80's and early 90's, I went to residential neighborhoods and would walk up to the door, smile, and ring the doorbell. The man or woman inside would answer and look me from head to toe. I held my pickle bucket in my left hand, squeegees hung from the ringlets in my pants, and towels were draped over my shoulder.

"Can I help you?" they would ask, one eyebrow raised.

"Hi. My name is Brett Rogers, and I'm a window washer in the area. I've done a few houses in your neighborhood, and wondered if you'd like an estimate to have your windows cleaned."

And then I would wait, smiling firmly and kindly.

Sometimes, the decision was immediate. Mostly "No," but occasionally "Why, yes. Go right ahead." Other times it would be about 20 seconds before I would get an answer.

If "Yes," I would walk around the outside of the house, gauge the number of hours that it might take, and then report back with an estimate for $20 an hour.

More often than not, they went with the estimate, and usually I would get started right then.

It's interesting to me that they would then follow me around as I worked. First, screens out of the windows and gathered and taken outside to hose down and set against the house or fence to dry. Then back inside, laying sheet down on the floor to keep it clean, and then I went to fill up my bucket with clean water. But they would follow me the whole time, and I would ask them questions.

"Live here long?"
"I see you have kids? Are those recent pictures?"
"Did I catch you in the middle of reading your bible? What are you reading?"

And so it went, the conversation started with a complete stranger and soon enough, I was hearing things that few people would hear.

"I can't believe I'm telling you all this."

And then they would continue right on from there.

Some were accountants, or retired executives, or doctors or dentists, or housewives. All of them were well-to-do. I saw some great homes, and a ton of ideas for interior decorating.

"Where'd you get that?" I would ask, pointing at a knick knack. "That's mighty interesting..."

"Oh, we got that on our trip to Africa. You know, Dave always said..."

And the story would go on.

I don't mind door-to-door. Some of my best experiences in life came from my time window washing. I met some great people, and some of them shared quite a bit of wisdom with me. It was pretty cool.

Going out to drum up retailers feels a bit like that. So of course, I'm looking forward to it. Minus the pickle bucket, which was a 5-gallon green bucket from Burger King that held, as you might guess, pickles. Perfect for window washing, and back then, a Burger King would give me one if I asked. They always had an empty one handy.

What's nice is that I'm about on schedule with my plans. I'd like to have a couple more paintings done, but I'm content with my painting progress. I'll see if I can finish this one tonight. Hope so. Late night ahead!

ETC: One more girl...


Read the whole story of "Pirates"
by Brett Rogers, 3/8/2006 9:53:22 PM


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