10. Impressing The Client
Boss: Mr. K is arriving by train tomorrow morning. A meeting with him could result in a few client deals. I was to meet him at ten but I won’t be able to make it. I have a seminar to attend. He is a fussy little guy and may walk away if no one turns up. So I want you guys to receive him at the station and keep him entertained till afternoon when I would be able to see him. Make sure he’s impressed. Take him around town buy him lunch at some good place make sure he is happy. I will join you in the afternoon by around two and seal the deal.
Next Afternoon – Boss completed his presentation
Mr. K: I am impressed by your presentation and the type of services you offer. You have such good employees too. But you see my partners made some calls last night. They have found that others are willing to offer the same service at a lower price. It will be hard to convince them but I will try my best and see if I can get back to you.
Later in Office
Boss: The meeting didn’t go so well but today is the first time I heard something good about you guys! Well done! He was very impressed. So how did it go?
Employee One: We incurred a lot of expenses to keep him happy, sir. We were hoping to get a few clients to make up for it.
Boss: Well he didn’t say no. We still have a chance. How much did you spend on him? Give me the bills, I’ll reimburse you.
Boss (angrily; looking at the expense list): What?! So much?! I want an explanation for each item. Why did you spend so much on him? He wasn’t your father in law was he? Taxi charge, what taxi charges so much for driving around town?
Employee One: A Honda Civic sir. We thought we’d make a good first impression by driving him around town in a big car. The rate on big cars is quite high as such but apparently you have to make a booking if you want a big car otherwise they charge you extra!
Boss (shouting): Why did you have to get such a big car? He was an outsourcing agent not the President of America! Thank god you didn’t take a BMW or a Benz. Now what’s this car rent and repairs and maintenance?
Employee Two: The taxi was our second choice sir. First we thought we’d show him a car as our own. We rented a Honda Civic.
Boss: I don’t understand.
Employee Three: I was supposed to drive sir. But the moment I started we crashed into a banyan tree. After that the car looked nothing like a Honda Civic. So we had to pay for repairs.
Boss: Fool, don’t you know how to drive?
Employee Three: I just got a licence a few months back and am not comfortable driving in traffic. I told them but they didn’t listen. They said it was all in my mind, I would be able to do it if I concentrate. But when I started the car they started praying for their lives that was enough to distract me! And bang the Honda Civic is just metal!
Boss: Idiots! Food expenses, two times! Why are there two bills for food expenses?
Employee One: You asked us to take him to a good hotel. We took him to a five star!
Boss: Great! But what about the first bill?
Employee Two: That was for our breakfast sir. We couldn’t eat at home as we had to leave early.
Boss: Leave early? What for? His train was to arrive only at ten. You usually come to office by nine thirty.
Employee Two: We thought we’d go early sir. You see we had no idea about what time the train would come, on what platform it would stop, how long it would stop, what was the coach position etc, etc, we also wanted to hire a coolly well in time so that there was no confusion when the client arrived. And again we had not seen Mr. K before and had to think of how to identify him. So we decided to go early and make enquiries. We also had to stop by the car renting place before that.
Boss: And why is the coolly charge so high? How much luggage did he have?
Employee One: He didn’t have any luggage sir, just a laptop which he refused to hand over to anyone. The coolly was angry when he heard this. He had been standing with us from the past two hours hoping to get a good fare. He started shouting at us. We had to pay him off!
Boss: Medical Expenses? What for? I don’t see any connection.
Employee Two: He fainted sir! It was perhaps the first time he was inside a five star hotel or maybe he hadn’t had food for a long time. He went on stuffing himself. He ate so much that the hotel staff began staring at us. The moment we stepped outside he fell. We rushed him to the hospital. His Sugar level as well as heart pressure had gone up!
Boss: Great, so you almost killed him! I wonder why he was so impressed by you guys! Miscellaneous expenses? What was it for?
Employee One (tensed): Who put that on the list? We weren’t planning to claim that!
Employee Two (tensed): Never mind sir. Forget about it. It’s just a small figure.
Boss: Five thousand! A small figure! Tell me now.
Employee One: I don’t know who put that on the list.
Employee Two: You explain, you are the one responsible for it.
Employee Three: You see sir; I was sitting with him in the hospital ward making small talk while they had gone to get the medicines. He began talking about this and that. Suddenly he brought the topic down to work. He did it so slightly that I didn’t even realise what I was getting into. He made me tell him about how we do the work here and how much expense we actually incur. He also got me into discussing how much others in town charge roughly for the same work. When we suddenly realised what went wrong we were scared that you would get angry at us and fire us. So we bribed him. We begged him not to tell you. In the end he agreed for five thousand!
Boss (face red with anger): What! Fools... Idiots... ***... ***
-Ashok Sri Krishna
The above story (which I hope is the best in the series so far) is dedicated to Lord Panjabjapuresha and is released on the occasion of his Festival.
-Ashok Sri Krishna