I started thinking about what to blog about today last night. This led to a flood of thoughts and sleep was once again an issue and has led to a flurry of other concepts.
This story takes place when I worked at the video game store. I took the numbers of sales very seriously, perhaps too much, and I was always looking for that edge to set myself, and the store apart. The managers there became apathetic towards the numbers and I felt as if I were the only one who cared.
All of this was okay because I was single handily, in my 18-28 hours of work each week, keeping the store's numbers in what the home office wanted to see. As good as this pattern was it all came to a crashing halt when the new wing of the mall opened up and a competing store opened.
One of the biggest sales numbers corporate wanted was reservations. To reserve a game all a customer had to do was put $10 down and we guaranteed them a copy on release day. The competing store though offered $5 reservations and loyal customer after loyal customer began to walk around with competitor's bags. I was furious.
I've heard the saying that, "It's not personal, it's business" but the way I sold was by making a personal connection. albeit a false one like a used cars salesman, so I took this new store as personal as one could. I loved the art of making a sales pitch, and this new store had come and destroyed the game I loved so much.
I asked the manager if our reservations would drop down to $5 and he said, "Corporate said not a chance". This further angered me because we were the only store in the district that had a competing store. I am very competitive and our numbers tanked. I took this personally and I felt a deep passion to get the store out of this rut.
On a slow Thursday night I decided to use our computers that allowed for communication with the home office and I wrote a letter on why we needed to go to $5 reservations. This letter was the first thing I had written since 7th grade (four years) and I wrote with a deep passion.
I may have had a deep passion, but my knack for writing in the conversational tone was there as was writing with a hint of sarcasm. Thinking about this I now know my gift of writing was always there because I must of had three or four pages of reasons why we needed to go to $5. Corporate, at the time, believed there was no difference in 5 or 10 because in the end the price was the same, but to the customer there was a big difference and the numbers proved it.
When I got done with the letter I sat on it for 10 minutes wondering who, if anyone, would see it. I eventually came to the conclusion that I had an idea, and the worst ideas are the ones that are not shared. With that I turned to the manager and he put in his code and the letter was sent.
Several days passed and I heard nothing from the manager. I wanted to ask about it, but I was scared that I would be fired for speaking up.
A week passed and the manager finally said, "You got me in a lot of trouble! Your letter found its way to some important people and they did not like the non-professional tone of the letter! Sarcasm? You used sarcasm? I knew I should have read it before you sent it. They wanted me to fire you, but we're starting $5 reservations next week."
I don't know if this is a story of victory, or defeat. I got what I wanted, but getting the tongue lashing I did I have been afraid to speak up ever since. Of course, at the time of this story in 2001, I was not diagnosed yet and I had a hard time understanding why the people in the corporate office would have found anything wrong with what I wrote. I got stuck on this and did not see the fact that I had, perhaps, aided in changing a policy of the company. Since that day I have, sadly, had many "worst ideas" because I am afraid to share.