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Detail ManMy Life As A Drug Rep
By Kent Andiorio
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 Kent Andiorio
All right reserved.
Chapter One"Where the Hell is My Seat Belt"
I picked up my first Company Car in late July of 1976. I was to meet my new boss Ray, that following Monday for our first ride along. The car was a Metallic Blue, two door, 1976 Ford LTD. It was the biggest production car made in the U.S. It had a Ford body on a Lincoln chassis. It came with a 352 V8 engine that never met a gas station it didn't like. Most of the cars that I had driven up to this point were old heaps with 6 cylinders that struggled to hold the road at 65 mph. I remembered the sensation when I push my foot on the gas peddle of this LTD, like the old Beach Boys song "Little Duce Coupe, "if she had a set of wings man I know she could fly". This thing would hit 65 MPH in seconds flat, which was a bad thing because in those days the speed limit was 55 on the highway. When I got in for the first time I reached down to grab the seat belt and I couldn't grab anything. I looked down and the retractor was there but no seat belt. So I got out of the car for a better look and low and behold someone had cut the seatbelt out of the car. In the retractor was nothing but frayed seatbelt. So I got back in and drove it home, and made a note to mention it to Ray when I picked him up on Monday. So, come Monday I mentioned it to Ray and he said to me "oh yea, the guy before you cut them out because he felt too restricted". But you can get them fixed. I said ok and then asked him what ever happened to the guy he hired before me? He said he was one of the shortest hires of his career.
Seems one day they were doing a ride along on Route 128 in Boston, which is a beltway like road that goes around the city. He said they were doing around 55 mph which was the speed limit in those days, and cruising along in the second lane. Ray said they were talking and all of a sudden he hears this thud. The sound was the reps head hitting the steering wheel. He then falls to the right and is now lying in the front seat. Let's not forget the car is still in the second lane of a four lane road doing 55 mph. So Ray said he just leaped over and grabbed the wheel and slowly steered the car to the right lane, thank God nothing was coming he said. Then he steered the car into the breakdown lane and then down a slight hill and came to rest in some weeds and high grass. Ray said his heart was pumping so fast you could see his shirt moving. Adrenaline was pouring out of every pour in his body. All the while the rep is still lying in the front seat. Ray though the kid had died right there in the car. But it turns out the rep had Narcolepsy. One of these strange diseases where buy you just appear to pass out at any given time. Apparently he wasn't taking his medication and it finally caught up with him. All the while Ray is talking to me I'm wondering why on earth would someone with Narcolepsy not take there medication? How long did he think he could fool the law of averages and have happen to him what had just happened? How long before he killed himself or others or me? To this day I drive very defensively and always try to keep my eyes open for this guy and others who I'm sure are probably still trying to buck the odds. Hopefully this incident was a wake up call to the kid, and now understands that if he wants to keep a job anywhere doing anything, he better take his medication. When Ray was finished with his story he looked at me and said "we had to let him go". Kiddingly I said "no, ya think"?
A month later, after attending some training classes, Ray once again worked with me for a couple of days. The morning was fairly uneventful, but right before lunch we went into see one of my Dermatologist that had an office at the hospital in Concord, Massachusetts. We sat down in the waiting room for a couple of minutes and the nurse then called us into the doctor's office where we could talk in private. I introduce the doctor to Ray, and we exchange some small talk, and then I proceeded to detail the doctor on my products that we were pushing at that time. Now you've got to picture this. The doctor is sitting behind his desk, I'm at the opposite side of the desk and Ray is in a chair behind me. All during the interaction I can see the doctors eye's glance back to Ray, then to me, then Ray, then back to me. It seemed a bit odd, but since I couldn't see what Ray was doing, I didn't give it much thought. A couple of minutes into the interaction I noticed the doctor was now staring at Ray with no regard to me at all. The doctors index finger went up, asking me to wait a minute, and the next thing I know I hear a thud, and when I turn around Ray was lying on the floor, holding his gut, like he just got hit by a snipers bullet. The doctors comes running from behind his desk, kneels down at Rays side, turns to look at me and tells me that Ray just had a Kidney Stone attack. I was stunned. I'm thinking to myself, how the hell did this guy know he had Kidney Stones from behind his desk, and 18 feet away? But you know what, he was right, he did have Kidney Stones. Luckily we were already at the hospital so the doctor checked him in. While he is being processed I just hung around and waited to see what would happen next. An hour or so later Ray is admitted and since he was going to be there all day I thought to myself should I hang around or should I go out and finish my day and check back around 5—5:30. Now mind you I've only been with the company for a month, so I figure it would look better if I finished my work day and came back later to check on him. When I did return Ray was furious, he couldn't believe I had just left him there. He went on and on about how he was going to have me drive him home to Connecticut, and since he couldn't get in touch with me (no cell phone at that time) he had to call his wife to drive to Concord and then back home. I told him that no one mentioned anything like that to me so I assumed that since he was at the hospital that I should go out and finish my day. I figured this would be a bad time to ask for a raise, so we both departed Concord and went to our respective homes. At subsequent meetings he would always ask me "now your not going to leave me here are you"? I would always respond and say "Only if you misbehave". We always had a laugh about it and that was that.
A year or so later I would always get these bad vibes working with Ray. He seemed distant, and reserved, always deep in thought. When we were working together whether it be local or out of town he had grown fascinated with the new business of "Racquet Ball".
When we worked in Boston he would have me run out to Harvard just to see their Squash and or Racquet Ball courts. Same thing when we were near Boston University. I even took him into the new facilities at Boston College. I noticed with him it just wasn't a passing glance type of look, it was a serious studied approach. He would feel the walls, jot down the dimensions of the court, what kind of floor did they have, was it glass walls or paneled, was there ventilation or did the air get stuffy. The last time I worked with him was in Burlington, Vermont. After our day seeing the Dermatologists in town, he had me take him to a new workout facility in Burlington so he could see their new courts. Well at this point I had to ask him why all the interest recently in Racquet Ball. He told me that he was intrigued with the sport but didn't like playing on old squash courts at the Y in his town, and wanted to see what other facilities had to offer, just to compare. I found out a couple of months later that he was only giving me half the story. Ray soon left the company. I couldn't believe it. When I asked why, I was told he planned to pursue a new Racquet Ball business venture in Connecticut. It would be called Court House One. Now everything was falling into place, all the visits to the schools, all the fascination with the details of how the courts were constructed and all the equipment that was involved. He wasn't just interested in the sport, he was soon to be a major player in what would become the business opportunity of the 80's, a business venture of a lifetime in the new trendy sport of Racquet Ball. Ray was the only Manager I had ever lost in all my time to an outside interest. Although it was sad to see him go, it was great to see that he was pursuing his own dream and making it a reality. What's more, he risked everything he had on the venture. You've got to admire anyone who has the testicular fortitude to do that. To pursue a goal and not give a thought to "what happens if I fail". The last I heard, he had opened four Court Houses in the Connecticut area and was indeed enjoying the journey and "living the dream".
Chapter Two"I Ain't No Bean Cooker"
As a reward for doing well, the company has what they call the "Presidents Club". This club was usually the top 10 MSR's, 2 DM's and one Regional Manager plus a few home office types that wanted to go away on vacation for a week. This particular time we were on the Island of Bermuda, it was around 1982 or 83. The first night we had a dinner party for everyone with cocktails, dinner and speeches. Presidents Club rings were handed out and it was a nice affair. At dinner I sat next to a fellow buy the name of Wes Richey. Wes was the MSR in the Dallas / Ft. Worth market. To my eyes, Wes was the quintessential cowboy. I could picture him in a Resistol Cowboy Hat, Wrangler jeans, Justin boots and a belt with a big old Rodeo Buckle on it. We sat next to one another at dinner and the conversation started to shift towards cooking and in particular cooking Chili. I told Wes that my mother made the best chili ever and he said to me "is that so". I told him it was called "Pittsburgh Chili". My mom's chili recipe consisted of a baked potato that was skinned and cubed and put in the bottom of a bowl, she would then pour her chili over it. The chili itself reminds me of the chili at Wendy's, that is, kidney beans, ground beef etc., and she always served it with Saltine Crackers. 1 found out later that she served Saltines because Taco Chips hadn't been invented yet. Now in fairness to me, when your young, you just assume that all people eat like you do and so 1 thought this was the universal recipe for Chili. Wes just started laughing and said to me, he said Kent "I ain't no bean cooker, I'm a Chili cooker." Turns out Wes had won in the late 1970's or early 80's, the "Texas Chili Cook Off'. Wes has since passed on but his wife Dorene has won the competition four more times. His recipe was considered the best in the state of Texas. Quite the accomplishment indeed. He said he never uses kidney beans in his Chili and neither did anyone in the contest. So here for your enjoyment is Wes & Dorene Richey's award winning Chili Recipe.
Wes and Dorene Ritchey's 5-R Chili:
1. 2 pounds cubed or coarsely ground boneless, trimmed beef (chuck or shoulder arm preferred)
2. 1 tablespoon Vegetable Shortening
3. 1.5 teaspoon Hot Sauce
4. 8 oz. Tomato Sauce
5. 2 Beef Bullion cubes
6. 2 Jalapeno peppers, skin surface slit
7. 6 tablespoons Chili Powder (or to taste)
8. 4 teaspoons Ground Cumin
9. 1 tablespoon Onion Powder
10. 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
11. Y2 teaspoon Salt
12. Y2 teaspoon White pepper
13. 3/8 teaspoon Cayenne
14. V4 teaspoon Oregano
15. 1/8 teaspoon crushed Bay Leaf
Cook meat over medium heat in melted shortening until meat is gray in color. Add hot sauce, tomato sauce, bullion cubes, 1 jalapeno and water to cover. Simmer, covered, 40 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water if needed. When jalapeno is soft, squeeze in juice and discard pulp and seeds.
Mix together chili powder, cumin, onion, garlic, salt, white pepper, cayenne, oregano and bay leaf; divide into 3 portions. Add one portion spice mixture and remaining jalapeno. Continue to cook for one hour adding water as needed. Remove jalapeno, squeeze juice into chili and discard pulp and seeds. Add second portion of spice mixture. Continue cooking for another 30 minutes, adding water if needed. Add remaining spice mixture and cook 15 minutes more. (Chili should be kept thick during cooking. Adding too much water keeps the spices from permeating the meat.)
Chapter Three"You Pay For Lunch?"
Towards the end of July in 1976, I had four job offers. One was with a fork lift company, another selling burglar alarms, one was with a generic pharmaceutical company, and the last one was Owen Labs. All these companies were paying around the same money, anywhere from $11,500 to $12,500. Owen Labs was the dermatology division of the company I now work for. Our major competitor also had a Dermatology division called Herbert Labs. Steve, who was the Regional Mgr of Owen called and asked me to come in for my 3rd interview. We met at the Holiday Inn just off Route 128 in Wellsley, Ma. We went down to the bar to talk, and that's where he and my new District Manager Ray offered me the Owen job. We were drinking beers and all Steve would talk about was the great PST (Profit Sharing Trust) that the company had for their retirement plan. It seems that for every dollar I would put in they would put in two dollars. I had no idea what the other companies were offering, I never thought to ask. Now I had never heard of a PST and didn't much care. I was 25 years old, my first child was due in a week, and we were in the midst of buying our first house, what did I care about some retirement account with strange initials. But Steve just kept on pushing it as the "best in the business," in fact he just wouldn't shut up about it. I just shook my head and kept saying "ah huh, ah huh ..." What really perked my interest in this company was the fact that, at the time, they would pay you $2.50 a day to eat lunch. At the end of each week you would write out your out of pocket expenses on a ledger sheet and you could put in $2.50 a day for lunch even if you didn't travel overnight. The best part was, attached to the ledger was a company check that you just filled out with your total expenses for the week and deposit it right in the bank. I couldn't believe it, this company was actually going to pay me to eat lunch. That's what did it, a silly thing like that. I figured if this company would pay me to eat, how bad could it be. So before Steve and Ray could rethink their decision, I signed up for an annual salary of $12,500, with the lunch thing added in it brought up my base pay to $13,000. With Owen, I had a territory that consisted of half of New England. I had, at that time, the state of Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and from Worcester, Ma., to Provincetown on Cape Cod. In leaving that day, Steve's last words to me were, "now don't forget to sign up for the PST, you won't regret it". It took me until November of that year to actually do it, but I'm sure glad I did. They took out 5% of my pay and put it into this strange account for my retirement. On January 4 \ 2004, (28 years later) I became the latest 401K Millionaire. I'm guessing this would be a good time to thank Steve. "Thanks Steve".
Excerpted from Detail Man by Kent Andiorio Copyright © 2011 by Kent Andiorio. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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