No Such Thing as Bad Publicity
My boss, gentleman that he is, also happens to be the company’s founder. As such, he plumps neatly into the category of entrepreneur. The one curious thing that I’ve found about nearly all entrepreneurs is how they can be so easily described by one simple phrase - ‘People who are easier to admire than like.’ That might be just the begrudging Mick in me talking but still, they are the type of people that make you want to shout – ‘I see all that you have achieved and I take my hat off to you Sir - but PLEASE do not sit beside me on this airplane fore I know that you are going to bore me shitless for hours with your homespun wisdom and personal philosophy in life!’.
Sr. G on the other hand, seems to be the exception. He is well read, soft spoken, has a decent sense of humour and seems to have a paternal kind of fondness for all his employees and this, in my humble opinion, puts him well above the rest of his ilk. His decency as a human being was well tested last week when one of his employees opened his big, fat mouth and made a wisecrack in front of the whole company that should have left him flipping burgers for the rest of his working life.
About six months ago our company contracted a representative in one of those smallish west African nations that is currently in a state of relative peace. The local rep., who is doing a fine job, recently asked us for some kind of giveaway merchandise to promote our company amongst his potential punters in the region. After thinking it over our boss decided upon a box full of baseball caps with our company name and logo proudly displayed on the front.
A week after the caps were sent off, we were all chatting at the coffee machine with Sr. G pontificating on the wisdom of choosing a cheap but practical piece of merchandise with a high exposure factor when muggns here pipes up with an alternative point of view.
‘When you think of it, most west African nations are either on the point of civil unrest or have a neighbouring country at civil war. So can’t you just see it, in a couple of months time, Newsweek magazine does a special about child soldiers around the world and on the cover, a photo of an ten-year old west African boy on a dusty road wearing a combat jacket and carrying an oversized AK47. Perched on his head is a pretty blue baseball cap and if we look a little closer, we can easily make out a company logo and name. Free publicity associating our company with child exploitation, now THAT is what I call a high exposure factor.’
Everybody laughs out loud including the Boss and then there’s one of those rare and magical comic moments. As the possibility of this actually happening slowly starts to sink in, Sr. G’s smile begins to fade. It takes a full ten seconds. He then turns and gives me the type of look that Jack Palance gives Billy Crystal in City Slickers. I’m sure he came close to saying ‘I shit bigger n’ you’, but he was already hurrying back to his office to try and cancel the delivery. What a lark.
So anyway I digress. Did you want a large fries with that order?