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 Post subject: Re: A Liverpool Lad ©
Post Number:#341  PostPosted: 05 Jan 2016 20:27 
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A New Year


Now the festivities were over we had to face the New Year, it would seem that some changes would be imminent; the news from our management was that we were skating on thin ice and that we would have to make some radical changes if we were to keep our contract with Sainsbury's and thus keep our jobs. Now that Alan Law had gone there was no longer a firm hand on the tiller and some of the men thought that they could do what they liked because there was no one to keep them in check. I had many a discussion with our shop steward and he seemed to think that everything would be OK. The director of the depot asked me to go and have a meal with him and another director; he wanted to see if I could put the men in the picture about the reality of the company's situation. Over the meal ,Mr Berman drew a very black picture of how our future looked, there were companies like Christian Salveson who were offering Sainsbury's better terms than we were giving them and they were willing to do away with 28 mph speed limit that we operated at plus a guaranteed turn around of the wagons. We had reached ridiculous situations were men were claiming for night out money when delivering to local shops. Mr Berman offered to give them the night out payment if they brought the wagons back to the road outside the depot so that they would'nt have to send a wagon with two men to fetch the truck back to the yard. And this was happening, one guy even parked his wagon on the hard shoulder of the M5 just below Junction One by West Bromwich. He walked to the nearest bus stop and caught a bus home. That caused aggravation with the police and cost a fortune to get the truck back to the depot. It was only a minority of drivers who were behaving like this but it made things hard for the rest of us.The drivers who were doing this were not left wingers seeking to overthrow the system, they were like the Luddites ,machinebreakers at the time of the industrial revolution,out for trouble and sod the consequences.
I still had my party politics outside of work and I used to sit on the Magistrates bench twice a fortnight, the company was more than happy to give me time off to meet my commitments and I found the work very interesting. As a magistrate we were limited in what actions we could take in sentencing offenders,in fact when we met on the morning of a court session the clerk to the Justices would go through all the cases we were to hear and advise on what measures we should take, it was almost like rubber stamping. As a new magistrate I sat on the bench with two older magistrates and held what was a watching brief; the two senior JPs were both Tory ladies and were very much in the Thatcher mould. But they were very, very innocent; one case we had to listen to was that of an inebriated man who was found wandering in the corridors of a local hospital. He was armed with a Browning automatic pistol and was very incoherent. The duty sister called the police and they took him into custody and here he was before us next morning, sober but somewhat shamefaced , as the charges were read out against him. We heard the witnesses out and there seemed to be no intent to harm anyone, he was that drunk that the police described him as only being a danger to himself. We retired to our meeting room and the two ladies gushed at how nice looking he was, wearing a silk open necked shirt which exposed the best part of his hairy chest ,upon which there was a huge medallion. He had a mullet and a zapata moustache and looked like an aging rocker, the two ladies were quite overcome with lust. We returned to the court and they told the clerk that they thought he was harmless and should just be given a caution. I was disgusted, Jim Claaghan was still in power when this happened and we learned months later that this character was part of an organisation called " Hedgehog" a private right wing army and this man was supposed to assassinate the Prime Minister when he visited Tamworth. By that time the government had changed and Hedgehog vanished.
Talking about the Iron Lady, she was making very heavy weather of things in early '82; unemployment was soaring, there were shortages in the shops and she had embarked on a frenzy of privatisation ,selling off assets that were profitable and were providing much needed income to the national purse but the unemployment bill growing apace. She was determined to destroy the power bases of the union so the workers would work for buttons, and she was succeeding in this endeavour but she made one massive mistake, by removing the Royal Navy presence from the South Atlantic ,the Argentinian government took it as written that Britain was no longer interested in the Falklands. General Galtierii, who was President of Argentina sent an occupation force to Port Stanley and declared the Falklands were now the Malvinas.
That was the moment Thatcher should have been impeached for malfeasance, instead she wrapped herself in the Union Flag and condemned this country to penury. The bill for removing the Argentines was,is, in the trillions, all of our shortcomings can be blamed on this massive misadaventure, our grandchildren will be carrying that debt ,and with the further wars since then the debt mountain grows. We British are so easily duped by these lizards, she destroyed our major industries ,sold off the utilities and carved up the NHS.But never mind , we'll all end up in the poor house and Mrs Thatcher will be remembered as the woman who saved Great Britain . Beam me up Scotty!!!



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 Post subject: Re: A Liverpool Lad ©
Post Number:#342  PostPosted: 16 Jan 2016 17:12 
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This year was proving to be a very busy one,I had spent a week at the TGWU's hotel in Eastbourne,where I attended a tutor training course. It was very intensive and we used audio /visual aids to help us see how we appeared as we gave speeches/ lectures,it was impressive in showing you your weak spots and really helped you tighten up your presentations. The same tutors were here as at the Summer schools and so we were more relaxed in a familiar atmosphere. The hotel was quite impressive and it seemed quite full for a lot of retired members were there on "holiday" and there were a few that were convalescing too. We ,the trainees were from all over the country and numbered about 12. The restaurant was as good as any 4 star hotels and the food was excellent ,we sat at the same table for every meal and were attended to by the same waitress at every meal. I had been warned by one the of guest's that the waitress looking after our table was a bit ferocious and never ever spoke excepting to ask what you wanted . I did'nt fancy a week of that and when she first came to our table I noticed she a beautiful golden tan, and it was winter time. When she came to ask for my order I mentioned that she had a wonderful tan and asked if she had been somewhere exotic. She smiled and said she had just come off a cruise on the QE 2, a wonderful Cunard liner. I told her that I was a sailor with Cunard and she smiled as she took my order. I was set after that because she always spent a little time with me as she served and would bring photo's that she had taken on the cruise to show me. I was fed like a fighting penis by her and really enjoyed my stay there.

Back in Birmingham I was introduced to a chap from the Workers Education Association who did a lot of research for the TGWU. His name was Tony Caufield and he knew about my being on the TGWU's list of Parliamentary candidates; he offered to coach me in my speechmaking so that I would be able to face the task of making my presentations to the various selection committees that I would have to undertake in order to win a seat. Having been present a some of those meeting as member of the audience and as one of the selectors I knew that this could be quite rigorous and I accepted Tony's offer with much gratitude. He was a strict taskmaster and he put me through my paces until he thought I was fit to face a selection commitee.

The first one I attended was for the European elections; it was up in Stoke on Trent and I was up against a couple of fellow trade unionists. I enjoyed the meeting and was pleased with the result, it was favourable, but being a European Election I had to appear before the different constituency parties that made up the Euro constituency; I had quite a few to go to. In my own party we had some very middle class members who had joined since the '79 general election. They had never been involved in politics before and although they seemed to pleasant socially ,there was a great divide between them and some of the older members. No sooner had they come in to the party than they sought to change the nature of it.They started to address members as comrades,something that I had always thought that was unneccessary, we had always used first names and seemed much friendlier .It was around this time that they introduced a friend of theirs to our ward meeting , a very well spoken young lady who was given to using the term comrade no matter who she spoke to. She was extremely politically correct. I disliked her from the start, she was everywhere if there was an action group she was on it , any demonstrations she was there too.I was slowly becoming aware that our newcomers were pushing for her to be our Euro candidate even though she had'nt been to a selection meeting yet. Pretty soon it was time for our constituency to make it's selection and ,lo and behold, she was on the list of candidates. Professor Caufield gave me a weeks extra tution knowing that I had a fight on my hands. Then came the day of the selection meeting ,there people from all our ward parties and some from the rural areas nearby. I never saw any of the other candidates go through their paces,that was'nt allowed . Our "Comrade" was there and she was on before me. I was the last to go and I knew my speech backwards ,sidewards, it was ingrained in my nut. I was ready for hecklers and could'nt wait to begin. When you are standing in front of your peers , making your deepmost thoughts explained ,when you open your heart and let free your beliefs, it is wonderful to see the effects you are having on your audience. The warmth you feel flowing toward you as you speak on is so fulfilling that you feel that you are getting your message across.

When I finished my speech it was to the sound of rapturous applause ;I then asked for questions and they came thick and fast and I was really enjoying it and then one of our newcomers rose to his feet. "Comrade" he asked "Is it true that you were a member of the Communist Party before joining the Labour Party?" He then slithered back into his seat. "I 'm surprised you asked that question ,considering I told you and the members of our ward party just a little while ago; I've never made a secret of it" Looking at my audience I saw some frosty faces amongst those from the rural areas and some embarrassed faces among my close colleagues. The "Comrade" won the selection and I was quite angry for a while ,but life goes on.

On the trade union side of things ,our branch had decided to take a coach load of drivers to Transport House in London to demonstrate against the imminent introduction of the tachometer into our vehicles.

It was pretty good attendance and our coach made good progress ,Dennis Mills,and some of the old committee men sat at the back of the bus and it looked like they were playing cards and so I stayed where I was ,chatting with some of the younger members.One of the younger committee men came down to me and told me that they were actually having a committee meeting at the back of the bus and that main topic of discussion was how to get rid of me as the national representative on the road haulage committee.I was bloody angry and got up and strode to the back of the bus. "I've heard what's going on and I'm going to make it easy for you; I would'nt want to be a part of this committee any more.I've done all the sh** getting rid of Alan Law ,without your help, and I don't want to be included in any more of your schemes" I went back to my seat and just fumed. Dennis wanted my job ,after all I had done for the little swine. Thus we live and learn.



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 Post subject: Re: A Liverpool Lad ©
Post Number:#343  PostPosted: 17 Jan 2016 19:33 
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A bit more Bad Luck


So, here we are, it's February 1982 and the world is still turning and we in Britain are really at war. Galtieri has invaded the Falklands and has handed Mrs Thatcher the means to save herself from being branded an incompetent fool and to turn truth on its head and morph into a heroine. She entered this war with Gusto and embarked Britain on the road to financial madness. The press was universal in its praises of the Iron Lady and she wrapped herself in the Union Flag and became the Saviour of the nation. But at what a cost, there would be many families shattered by the loss of a son or father and the cost to the country would be enormous. I was amazed that the political opposition in Parliament never raised the cost whilst the war was being fought, they gave Mrs Thatcher their support, we never learned what the US and French support cost until after the war had been concluded. What we know now is that it left us with a bill that our grandchildren will still be paying after we have shed our mortal coils. And it was all down to that vain, silly woman making those cuts in government expenditure.
Back in the real world, I was busily cutting back on the time I spent on union business and spending more time at work and my time on the magistrates bench. I was seeing some very interesting cases, amongst them was one that the Police were prosecuting . It involved a young boy who was being tried on a charge of aiding and assisting a burglary. The youth in the dock looked nothing like some of the scallywags we had been accustomed to trying, this boy was in his school uniform and he looked a nervous wreck. There was a very poor looking woman in the stalls, she was twisting a scarf with her hands and looked very distraught.
It was his mother, she was very poorly clothed and seemed like she was in need of a good meal. My two lady colleagues looked at her and nodded to each other . The senior JP opened the questioning , the boy was being charged with aiding and abetting at a robbery of his fathers house. We then found that the father had been promoted to management at his place of work and had been given a car too. Father then became entangled with his secretary and moved into a new house with her, leaving his wife penniless. The poor lady had to move to a council flat with two children because her husband had stooped the payments on the family home. They were given a flat on sink estate and the mother was doing her best to keep their children on the straight and narrow. The father and his paramour used to enjoy continental holidays and the father would allow his son to stay at their house so he could look after his dog and feed his fish That winter of 81/82 was very severe and the young lad was very worried for his mother because she never had a winter coat. His Father and lover were off on a christmas jolly to the sun and his lad was left in charge of the house over the holiday.
He had learned of a burglar who lived on the estate he now lived on and made a deal with him, he would let him steal the key for a price,it had to be enough to buy his mother a newcoat and his small sister a present for Christmas. A deal was struck and the young man went and bought the coat and the gift. The burglar was a wuss and was caught very quickly , he fingered the young man and here he was now ,awaiting his fate.
The mothers coat was recovered by the police as was the gift. I asked the chairman if we could retire to discuss the case ,we retired to one of the side offices and I jumped in right away with my feeling in the matter. "The wrong person has been on trial here, if that young mans father had treated his family so badly it was no wonder the boy had acted as he did" To my surprise the two ladies agreed. I pointed out that mother had been shivering all through the trial because she was so cold. They agreed to award her £25.00 from a special needs fund so that she might buy a coat. The boy was discharged without a blemish on his record and I felt that justice had been done.
Just after the autumn in '81 I bought a little Alfasud, it was a cracking little motor, economic, sturdy and zippy. She was also very stable, I was motoring home from work with my friend Pete, my son Steven was in the back and we were zipping along the Tamworth Road when there was an almighty bang. I looked at Pete and Steven was saying what was that dad , bit we were still motoring and there was no effect on the car or steering . So , what had gone bang. I pulled into a layby to have a look and found that I had no rear near side tyre. It was absolutely shredded. What a motor. We changed the wheel and carried on home.
A few days later I was taking my mother and father in law home to their house ,they lived quite near us now; their house was on a bit of a hill and I parked on the road outside their house, I was only dropping them off. When I got them to the door they asked me to come in and have a look at their new fitted kitchen. I was in their kitchen ,praising it's looks when there was a knock at the door, being nearest I answered it and there was a portly old man standing there . "Have you got a mustard coloured Alfasud" he asked. "Yes" I answered ,"Is it in the way?" "No" he replied "it's just rolled down the hill" I stepped outside and there it was, crunched up against a lampost at the bottom of the hill.When I got down there I found that the overhead cam belt had bee severed which meant that I mus'nt turn the engine over as this would smash the big ends. I got a friend to tow it home and called the garage,informing them of the severed cam belt and telling them that the engine should not be switched on. They agreed and told me they would pick it up in the morning. I left for work as usual, Pete picked me up.When I got home that evening Sue told me that she answered the door to some spotty young garage hand who had come to the door and asked for the keys, whereupon he jumped into the motor and drove it away...................................... To be continued



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 Post subject: Re: A Liverpool Lad ©
Post Number:#344  PostPosted: 26 Jan 2016 20:56 
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A bit more Bad Luck

continued


So, there I was ,without a car, out of my union activities, lost my chance at a Parliamentary seat; what more could go wrong? It was'nt long before I found out. Rumours were flying thick and fast at my company, every day brought fresh rumours and by the beginning of February some of those rumours hardened into fact. We were going to be closed down, Sainsbury's had a negotiated a deal with another large transport company to take over the operation from us. It did'nt come as a shock to me, I had been telling these boneheads that that was Sainsbury's plan all along.! and they would pay the going priceThey just wanted a sane ,sound agreement , we had achieved one of the best wage agreements in the industry and we did'nt stick to our part of the wage deal. We had made one demand too many and the customer had had enough. The surprise to me was that the drivers themselves were devastated, most of them had purchased their own homes, bought good quality cars and were enjoying fantastic holidays in the sun. This was all about to end. The sense of regret was palpable, "if only" were words that were frequently heard, but it was too late, we were finished. The last week at work was terrible, all trade had ceased and we still clocked on, and then sat in the mess room for 8 hours with nothing to do. I took my board game of "Campaign" to while away the time, it could have four players at a time and proved to be very popular. It was all about Napoleons campaign in Europe and involved alliances and political chicanery I had owned it for years and had never had the chance to play it to it's full potential; now I had gained some devotees and we spent hours, days, re-fighting those battles of old. It was lunatic really, there we were, faced with unemployment but we could'n seek other employment or we would lose our redundancy payments. When the end came it was bloodless, we took our payments and started to hunt for new employment. The drivers had a reputation to get over first, Militant, with a capital M. I got my first taste of the future when I reported to the union office to go on the employment register, I was'nt welcomed. Alan Law had made sure of that when he was "retired"; although he and his daughter had been gone for over a year, the young lady now running the office was cast in their mould. There was no place for me on the books. I then started to look further afield and found that my reputation travelled ahead of me. I went looking around the main counties adjacent the West Mids and met with the same blank refusal everywhere......................I was blacked. As the weeks went by I realised that my driving days were over, even the Driving Agencies had no space for me on their books. I never had a big payoff from my redundancy and I was given another shock, when I went to the job centre I found out that I was'nt eligible for unemployment benefit because I was a magistrate. Because I was committed to serve so many hours a month on the bench I could not offer myself for work 24/7, therefore I was'nt unemployed in the real meaning of the word. Lord Hailsham was the Chancellor then and I wrote to him of my predicament and he replied that they had not come across a case like mine and he would look into it. Time was now crucial , no income but still the same cash outflow; I had to do something , quick. Thing were falling apart at home, Sue was so frightened ,as an only child she had led a fairly sheltered life and had a father who had always been in work. We had a massive row and she left home ,taking our daughter , my son Steven stayed with me. I had to get a job,
The garage had written off my car and refused to accept any responsibility for the damage caused by their garage hand. I needed a car, I was not going to get a driving job again and needed to look elsewhere for employment.
I bought the Birmingham Mail everyday and scoured the job vacancies, insurance companies and other off the wall set ups were looking for men and women and so I started to look in that direction, they all looked desperate; I went to a few interviews and was dismayed at what they expected,I saw men sitting at desks with piles of Yellow Pages directories as they phoned non stop to seek appointments. The offices seemed full of despair. I took a friend of mine to a car auction and he helped to buy a car that was rust free ,had a good engine and a good set of tyres, it did'nt have radio but it was the best car I had ever had. I then went a bought a good suit, it made me feel better and I started to look for a company that I could work for and feel good about it.
On the Thursday edition of the Birmingham Mail they had a large range of sales jobs and it was amongst those adverts I saw one that appealed to me. It asked me what I was looking for, and sol I answered it; the man at the other end of the line sounded almost like a vicar, gently spoken he asked me what I wanted out of a job and I told him. He then told me a little about his company and then asked if I could go for an interview, but I had to bring my partner along too.
Sue and I were back together now and she was thrilled to bits with my news and we could'nt wait for Monday when the interview would take place. Come Monday Sue and I set off for Lichfield where the interview was to take place. The secretaries were really nice and sat with us while we filled them in ,we were then taken to the managers office where we given a fulsome interview, again we were asked if we had any questions . Apart from learning that the company had been going since 1949 and was part of a world wide network, the question never arose about earnings or hours, but Sue and I were really switched on by our interviewer. I was then told that there would be a second interview later in the week and they would let me know ASAP if I had made the cut.



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 Post subject: Re: A Liverpool Lad ©
Post Number:#345  PostPosted: 02 Feb 2016 20:04 
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continued:

Before I leave the transport business I would like to tell you a tale about my son Steven. On most weekends and school holidays he would come with me in my wagon, he enjoyed it and he was picking up lots of traffic lore for he was an avid listener and seemed to soak up more than I ever did about trucks and their engines. Some of my workmates found him very entertaining and would some times ask me if they could have in their truck if we were on the same route. We would usually pull in at the service station before our exit and I would recover him and continue on our way. He was not a softy and he could hold his own amongst his peers, in fact he was a very popular lad at school, but he was a prankster and was in trouble with his headmaster. The lady who was Mayor of our little borough ,as well as being a member of the Labour Party. I had often taken Steven with me when I went to visit her and she took a real shine to Steven and often went to see her with a couple of his schoolmate. She allowed them to pick some apples and would often give them a glass of pop. Nancy was her name and she had been very badly injured in a collision on the old A5,and I was going to take Nancy the latest ward newsletter, Steven came with me and Nancy was pleased to see him.
She asked Steven how he was getting on at school and he told her about his being in the heads black book, so she asked him if he would like to be back in his good book. Steven nodded and asked how he could do that, she gave him a wi onecked smiled and said " ask him to invite me to have a public visit to your school, no one has been there for years. Steven was in two minds about this, it would be great if he could get Nancy to visit ,but would the headmaster believe him. Come Monday morning Steven approached his form master and asked him how to go about getting the headmaster to agree to a visit from the towns Mayor, so, Steven was told to approach the head and ask if an invitation could be sent to Mayors office inviting her to visit the school. The headmaster told Steven to write the letter himself; the thought was that the Mayor would just throw the letter away.
Steven wrote a good letter and signed his name to it;Nancy accepted the letter and wrote to the schools head informing him of the request and a date was set for the Mayors visit. However Nancy wanted Steven to be given all the plaudits and wrote to the head that she wanted Steven to meet the mayoral limousine at the schoolgates and she wanted him to introduce her to the head and his staff when they arrived and to escort her around the school with the head. It was a grand day and Steven's standing with head improved tremendously. Nancy is somewhere in heaven now but Steven is still holding things together, he has had a very eventful life and a whole load of jobs. I have no worries about him, no matter what happens he will cope

It was still only February and we at the transport depot were waiting for the axe to fall; we clocked on as per usual and then went and sat in the mess room, it was crowded and the atmosphere was dire. The union had said it would endeavour to get us all working again but the jobs that were available were paying less than half of what we had been earning. However I was the only one not to be re employed in the industry; because of being blacked by both the union and the employers I was having to change my work and was waiting to hear the results of my last interview. I had a letter from the company asking me to attend the second interview and I had wings on my feet as I drove to Lichfield to see if I was of the stuff they were looking for. TBC



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 Post subject: Re: A Liverpool Lad ©
Post Number:#346  PostPosted: 08 Feb 2016 19:52 
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continued:

Post by The Tenement Kid on a few seconds ago
When I arrived at the office there was a crowd of people there, mostly men ,and they were all smartly dressed. Just looking at them you could tell they were sales people,sharp suits ,smart dresses and that go get 'em look on their faces. I felt a little awed by their presence, I was used to negotiating with my employers and arguing my case; these people were speaking a different language to me "Yah ,I was on 20 k there, plus expenses....." "Did you work for So and So?" "Blah blah, blah. I knew I had to make an impression if I were to stand a chance. After we had all been given a hot drink we were ushered into the Regional managers office, all of us, and I quickly realised that they were doing a mass interview , Fords had done this at Halewood and I had been to their mass interview, it was conducted like a contest between the quick and the dead; and here I was having to go through the same process. There were about 20 of us in that office and I knew that there would be a lot of us going home without making the cut.
The man running the interview was really sharp, quick witted and worldly wise he knew all about handling big interviews He opened by telling us of the company and it's back ground, it hard started off in America just after WW11 and was now a large international concern with offices throughout the Western World, it came to the UK in the late 50's and quickly grew to be a national concern with offices throughout the UK and was now in Europe. They equipped a lot of Football clubs and Liverpool's Bob Paisley appeared in their brochures, the 1982 Olympics chose their equipment for their physio rooms and it was used i9n a lot of hospital's both here and on the continent. There was'nt one of us applicants who had ever heard of the company or it's products so it was a great surprise to us learn of it's existence. The questions flew thick and fast ,most of them were about how much we would get paid,others were about how much the equipment cost, did we get company cars and expense accounts,etc. etc.. We stopped for a teabreak and when we reassembled there were a few empty chairs. I was'nt going to go anywhere,I was frightened of going home without a job. The second half of the session consisted of finding out how hard we would work at things to make a success, how long could we work for without earning a penny, what dreams did we have for the future, did we like to win at things? Well I was not the sporting type and have never entered into competitive things, I was a great reader and I loved doing the Sunday Times crossword but I did'nt think that was the sort of person they were looking ,but I stuck my oar in at appropriate moments. The manager wound up the interview by telling us that only 8 would be be chosen for the next training course which would commence in a weeks time,he wished us well and said we would receive a letter in a couple of days time to tell us whether we would be among the successful number.
I left for home in a state wonder, the company looked good , the list of it's customers was long illustrious, it's length of time in business meant something and some of the sports clubs and hospitals were household names. I knew that I could last a month without earning a penny but that was all, I was not eligible for unemployment benefit and I could'nt take job that paid me buttons . This was make or break time for Brian.



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 Post subject: Re: A Liverpool Lad ©
Post Number:#347  PostPosted: 11 Feb 2016 16:13 
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continued:

The letter arrived two days later, I quickly opened and read it with mounting excitement;I had made the cut!
I read that I was to start training the following Monday and that I would be expected to attend the training school for three days and each day would last 8 hours and I would have to make my own arrangements for lunch.I told Sue and she was so pleased to see how happy I was;this would mean a new start in life. We went up to Liverpool to tell the family of our good news and Mum was so excited to see us so happy, we had'nt had a barrel of laughs lately and this felt like turning a big corner. While we were up ther I thought I would go and see my favourite Uncle and to give him my good news too. Uncle Bill was an old soldier and I had idolised him when I was a boy, he used to take me with him in truck when I was a boy and I always trusted him because he had always been a good 'un. He received my news with something less than happiness "You'll never do that job Brian, they are all con men who go around fleecing the poor and sick . They go into people's houses and don't leave until they have screwed them to the floor" I was shocked to hear his words and they weighed heavily on me. He was right that I was'nt like that but nothing that I had heard from the company had gave me any inkling that I would be expected to " screw people to the floor" When we started back to the Midlands I felt like I was under a big black cloud; I was due to go to the training school on the morrow and i could'nt shake off Uncle Bills warning. Come monday morning I set off for the office in Lichfield to commence my training, I would give it a fair go and if I felt that it was a job that involved sharp practice,or anything untoward, I would pack up and put it down to experience. There were eight of who arrived for training and the other seven were all experienced salespeople and I felt easier for that because they would most probably have heard of the company ,or know of it's reputation. We were met by the branch manager and the training manager and they both seemed very nice, Don, the Branch manager was ex-Raf, and Bill the training manager was an ex Military policeman. Don was plump and softly mannered, with a humorous grin and Bill tall, bearded and ram rod straight,and they both wore nicely tailored suits. After meeting them I started to feel a little easier, they were a pair of nice guys.My fellow trainees were a mixed bunch but they all seemed the part, both mmale and female,smartly dressed and full of sales patter; with them I felt a little ill at ease, they were all experienced and would know what was in store for them; to me it was all unknown territory. Bill introduced to our equipment , it consisted of a suitcase which housed a massage pad and a massage hand unit.This was new to us all,and I wondered what the hell we were to do with it; we were not long in finding out. Bill first of all gave a detailed history of the company from it's commencement in the years prior to World War Two and to it's growth through the USA and Canada and then on to the UK and Europe. It was now in most of the commonwealth countries and Europe, and none of us had ever heard of it before, it was called Niagara Therapy.We were given reams of information about medical reseach and the names of hospitals ,both here and abroad, plus the sports clubs that had it as standard equipment. I felt a lot easier after digesting that information, but, how were we to sell it? Well we would be given postal leads that people had sent in asking for a free trial, we would then go and see these people and demonstrate how it worked. And that is when Bill showed us how to use it, we were split up into pairs and one would treat the other ,following Bills instructions . A lot of us found it quite humorous at first, we had to massage the "patients" leg, from the tips of their toes,right up to their groin; it was all done to strict times , 5 minutes on the sole and heels, 5 minutes on the calf 10 minutes around the knee joint and finish on the thigh to groin for a further ten minutes. After a few false starts we achieived fantastic results, bearing in mind that we were mostly young and healthy, the treated leg felt so much lighter and full of life, and to demonstrate how much better that leg felt we would place the "patients" leg together, feet flat on the floor, we would place our hand over their feet and then tell them to kick the untreated one up into the air( they were sitting down) and then we asked them to kick the treated one up and the results were amazing, the treated leg literally sptang into the air. We practised that until we had it near perfect,when we were proficient enough Bill showed us how to do other parts of the body, stressing all the time that we were not doctors or nurses, but salespeople out to help,if we could and to advise them to visit a doctor if we could not. Those words became engraven on my brain.We were given detailed help to our sales presentation, making it clear that we were a commercial company that had long experience in the field.The company's founder had created a sales"patter" that was very useful, when you met people for the first time they very keen to know about both you and the company and if you could give them that information with out seeming to give a spiel , just conversationally, that helped to break the ice.We were not told how much the equipment cost until we were into our last day of training, by the time we had lost two of our number, they felt it was'nt for them, that they were ex double glazing salesmen had a lot to do with that.On our second day they let us take our case home with us and the first thing I did was take it round to Sue's parents house, Dot, her mother was riddled with arthritis and I would feel a lot better if it helped her.It did, and it did it better than I expected and my belief in the product increased enormously. Thursday, tomorrow, would be our last day of training and I felt a lot better about what I was doing, let's get to that last day. Thursday was all about paperwork and money,. we were given the price of the equipment and the rules and regulations of paying in and earnings. When we learned the price I blanched inwardly, the price of my kit ,to a customer was £636.00 +vat, we did chairs and other items ,the cheapest chair being £800.00+ VAT and the dearst chair was £3200.00+vat. Uncle Bill was right, I was never going to be able to sell this stuff.



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Post Number:#348  PostPosted: 12 Feb 2016 17:12 
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continued:


We were told to meet up at public house near Dudley at 10'00 a.m.Friday morning,we would meet Don there and he would give us some leads to work on that day. When we met there was another new member short, may he got cold feet like me. However, Don gave each of us a batch of leads that had been sorted for this postal district, with a few encouraging words Don bade us all good luck and told us he would ring us this evening to see how we had got on.And so, with a belly full of butterflies I set out to find my first prospect. My years of canvassing for political purposes had removed any fears of doorstep confrontations, I had learned the hard way of how to approach a front door; 1/ Give a firm knock, or ring the bell and step back 2/ turn away from the door as though looking down the street 3/ put your hands behind your back (you take nothing to the door)4/ wait until the door opens and then turn around smiling 5/ Just say "Hello"and the persons name and then tell them who you are.. You then ask them if they remember writing to us, showing them their enquiry form as you do. 9 times out of 10 they would have forgotten they had sent in the form but when they saw the lead the memory came back, they had sent the form months ago, some times they said it was years ago. I would always ask them why they had written and they would begin to tell me their story. By this time they had usually asked me in and I would then ask them different questions about how they were affected and they would pour out their troubles. At this point I would ask them if they would like to see if we could help and they nearly always answered yes. Before I got this far i would always ascertain if they had a partner( if they were on their own) if the answer was yes I would ask them if I could come back when the partner was home; I would never presume to treat an old person on their own, I would ask them if they had any children nearby who could sit with them while I demonstrated the equipment , or ask a freind or neighbour to come and keep them company whilst I demonstrated. I nearly always succeeded in getting some one to come and see fair play. Some people were fiercely independent and trusted me to go ahead with just the two of us. On that first day I got into 9 houses and did full demonstrations in all of them.......... and never sold a thing. I had seen some fantastic results but I just could'nt close properly, it was as Uncle Bill said "It was too bloody expensive!!" When Don phoned that night he was amazed when I told him I had managed nine demonstrations, he said the average was usually three. He then asked me about the results and I told him they were great, he was very puzzled that I had not made a sale. He then told me that he was having a sales run in Solihull in the morning and to meet in on the carpark of a pub by Elmdon Airport in the morning at ten o'clock. There were two less trainees next morning and thje others had made no sales either, it was not looking good. With ten more leads in my hand I departed on my hunt and again I succeeded in getting a full slate of demonstrations, but no sales. When Don phoned on Saturday night he was amazed at my demonstrations with a nil result at the end. I did'nt mention that the other trainees had no success either but Don was his usual calm self, "If you are getting good results on your demonstrations it should happen soon, I'm having a little run out in Redditch tomorrow, meet me on the White Hart Carpark at Headless Cross at ten o'clock, see you there. I sat down with Sue and had a talk about the situation, I was using up our cash without any results, we had no money coming in and I seemed to be a failure at this selling lark. I decided to meet Don earl;y next morning and give him back the kit. Sunday was bright and sunny and I was up with the lark, I had a quick breakfast and put my best suit on I wanted to look smart if nothing else. I sped round to Redditch already to give Don my kit and get back to Sue before lunch.when I got there the full crew,or what was left of them, were already there. I bottled out of admitting defeat in front of all the others and took the leads off Don and went out to get it all over with. I achieved another nine sit downs and then I decided to throw in the towel and headed back to the carpark to give Don the kit. When I got there the carpark was empty, I thought I might at least get a glass of pop. I sat there in the sweltering heat, my tongue as thick as a blanket, gasping for a drink. I looked at my watch, it was half past three, I had one lead left , a Mr and Mrs Goldingay in Greenhill; I could get a cup of tea there and then come up and see if I could dump my kit on him afterwards. The Goldingays lived in a very swish little bungalow, detached with double bay windows on the front and beautifully manicured lawns that were bordered with gorgeous rose bushes. I knocked and was ushered in after showing their enquiry.Mr Goldingay was a man in his sixties, a golf player by the look of him and his wife was very pretty too .I listened to their story and learned that they were having to curtail their leisure pursuits because Mrs Goldingay was suffering badly from arthritis , her joints were very painful and she could'nt sit in comfort ,sleep was difficult and life was losing it's lustre. I took my kit in and asked Mr Goldingay if I could do one of his legs so that he could get some idea of how the equipment worked. He assented and I sat him down and got him to kick legs, seperately, so that we sould see if they were the same. I then did his left leg from toes to groin and got him to kick his legs again,the result was quite dramatic and he was so excited. "Show Mary" he said, and then I sat her down and proceeded to give her back and leg a massage; she was crooning with delight and we could see the colour coming into her leg as I massaged upwards. After twenty minutes she was smiling and tears were pouring down her cheeks. She said "I feel so wonderful,just wonderful". And then I started packing my kit up. "What are you doing Brian?" Mr Goldingay asked I told him they had had their free trail and all I wanted was a cup of tea. He was amazed, "You've come in and made her feel better than she has in years and you just want a cup of tea?" He looked very puzzled."What do we do do now? " he asked, and it was here that I got embarrassed "Err it is'nt cheap you know, this costs hundreds of pounds" He looked at me shrewdly, "You've never sold one of these have you?" I nodded ,blushing brightly. " Brian, I'm a Space engineer at Lucas and I can tell you that you have one of the finest piece of kits that it has been my pleasure to come across. Don't be embarrassed by this, look at what it has done for my wife. Now I don't care what this costs ,just get your order book out and order what you've shown me here" I was fumbling with the book , I had'nt written an order before and Mr Goldingay took the book off me and made out the order himself and them made a cheque out for the full amount. By this time his wife came in with a tray of tea and biscuits, I was now calming down and Mr Goldingay delivered a little homily that stood me through all the years of sales. " Brian, you have a product that is second to none, learn to love it, it is important for you to never get in the way of any one buying this. If it has the result that we have seen here today, and if the person can afford it, you must try and sell it, don't be shy!" And thus began my life as a Niagara salesman, a life that took me throughout the United Kingdom and to some beasutiful parts of the world. I saw incredible results and met marvellous people and changed my whole outlook on life. There is more if you would like to read it, just let me know



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Post Number:#349  PostPosted: 12 Feb 2016 19:37 
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You cant stop now Brian.



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Post Number:#350  PostPosted: 13 Feb 2016 07:29 
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Y'know Geoff I've heard those words many a time from women.............................................



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Post Number:#351  PostPosted: 16 Feb 2016 22:17 
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When I reported to the office on Monday morning I met the regular sales staff and found them to be very nice, quite unlike the people who had been on the training course; had I met them in the street I would never have taken them to be sales people. There were a few women amongst them and they were of various ages and each nad their own particular fashion, one, young Anne was a dead ringer for the young Virginia McKenna, a typical English rose, another ,Kath, was mature and very sophisticated, and there was Julie, a Walsall lass,with a soft Black Country accent. The men include Mike A. a very handsome tennis player who seemed fairly shy ,but had a wicked sense of humour, there were three others but they were'nt there very long and their names have gone from my memory. The other trainees had all left,I was learning the hard way that this was not a job for everyone,it was more of a vocation. Don opened the meeting by welcoming me to the throng and presenting meet a nice bottle of Chardonnay for making my first sale. He then asked the regulars of how they had fared over the last seven days and when I heard their results I was quite heartened, most of them had done enough sales to give them at least £250.00 commission, I could easily live on that,but young Anne had earned £500.00 commission. The company printed a weekly newsletter and each individuals weekly score was published in it, I noted that Anne's sales were miles ahead of everyone else's and the score sheet included the salespeople of Europe and South Africa. Anne was a sales star, but you would never know it from initial appearances, she was witty, quite knowledgeable and still not 20. I thought "If she can do it,so can I"
After hearing the various tales that the other sales people had to tell, Don told us of the prize for the first sale made today and then put his hands together and started singing; and to my surprise , so did all the salespeople. It was the company song and it was suing to the tune of "It's a Long way to Tipperary" I was gobsmacked, I had never done anything like this before and I was not sure whether I liked it. I watched them singing and clapping with great gusto,I wondered if I could ever bring myself to join in.
The words were thus
"It's a great gang that sells Niagara
It's a great gang to know
And they're all full of pep and ginger
And the watchword is let's go go

Alway's on the level
And always on the square
It's great,great gang that sells Niagara
And my heart lies there!"
I know it sounds corny and I thought I could never get used to it, but everyone there blasted that song at a hundred decibels and seemed to enjoy it. Anyway I learned a lot of other stuff that morning, our earnings were based on 20% of the cost of the equipment ,we were paid a week in arrears and we had a retainer stopped from our sales which would be used in the event of a customer cancelling a sale. This rarely happened but the company always paid you full commission on receipt of an order so it would prevent any costs being taken from you. When retainer got to covering the cost of equipment no more money was stopped and you were reimbursed the bulk of the money already saved. The company also had a registered charity, this was started by it's American founder ,Owen Murphy, he believed because we were healthy people who were earning their livings from people who were less fortunate than ourselves we should "Pay it back" some how and for this purpose each office would adopt a cause which would benefit from our charity. The company would facilitate the cost of print and paperwork ,plus any postage and the typist's would do all the administration in the company's time ; that really sold the company to me and I promised myself that I would play my part in that.
I was now ready to earn an honest living, and what a living it proved to be, this part could be a book on it's own "The Confessions of a Salesman".



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 Post subject: Re: A Liverpool Lad ©
Post Number:#352  PostPosted: 23 Feb 2016 16:29 
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The First week

Right after the Monday meeting I had a little meeting with Don before I hit the streets, he reminded me to keep a good diary,noting who I had seen ,what had transpired and to start making list of all expenditure that incurred during the course of my working day. We were commission only salespeople and had to use our own cars and buy our own fuel for them.We could claim for for items of food and drink during the working day, but that would be set against our taxes.I popped into the local stationers and bought a large page a day diary and an accounts book; if this was going to be my future I did not want to caught out by the tax man at some future date. Just after mid morning I set off for my first call, it was in Sutton Coldfield at the top end of town. The lady of the house opened her door and I introduced myself and showed her the form she had sent in, like the ones I had seen before she welcomed me and took me to her living room. She was Polish and was widowed, she had arthritis in her knees and arms and was finding it difficult to get about. I told her that I was quite happy for her to try Niagara but was worried that she was alone,I asked her if she had any relatives who lived neaby that might sit with us while I did the trial. She had a grown up daughter who was still living at home but she was quite happy to try it now, she trusted me. I went out to the car to fetch my kit and sat her down in her favourite chair and set the kit up.The wonderful thing about the equipment was that you had to be fully clothed to try it, so there was no embarrassment.I did one leg and she was amazed at how good it felt,and then did her left hand and arm. She was almost crooning with delight. I felt great to see how different she was and then did her other leg and arm so that she was equally balanced, when I had finished she got up and walked about and then climbed the stairs. She was ecstatic about how much easier it was to walk and I explained to her that it was'nt a cure,just a temporary relief and when the aches and pains returned she could do it again,she then asked if she could have one and I then showed her the complete range. I was mindful of Mr Goldingays little homily to me, don't get in the way of a sale and so let her make her own mind up about what she would like, she opted for a set like the one we had just used. While I made the order out she went and got her money and we concluded our meeting with a nice cup of tea and a Polish pastry. I left her on her doorstep ,waving me good bye and went off to my next call.If I did one sale a day like that I would be on easy street in no time. I cannot recall the next three calls ,save to say that they were good experience but no sale.I had been told that the average salesperson made about three sales a week and saw about four people a day,so I was'nt dishearted, this was my second sale in two days. When I got to the office next morning to hand the order in Don informed me that they had had a phone call from the Polish ladies daughter complaining that a "con man"had tricked her mother into spending her hard earned savings on some cheap trash. She had left an number where she could be contacted I immediately called her. I tried explaining what had happened when I met her mum but she ranted and raved and said she would contact the press. I then asked her where she was at that moment and she told me she was with her mother. I told her to stay and I would bring her mothers money back. She was standing outside her mothers house when I arrived, red faced, flushed with anger she launched into me, calling me a rat who preyed on old ladies etc.etc. She would'nt look at my bona fides or any of the companies literature,nor would she let me speak to her mother. She was hard assed gal. I took out all the money that her mother had given me and made her sign a receipt and then told her that next time her mother stiffened up with crippling she should rub handfuls of the money on the painful spots. I left her standing on the pavement holding the bunch of notes, staring gape mouthed as I drove away. I learned another important lesson, always get a son or daughter involved when you are dealing with an elderly person they can be a salesmans best friend when they see the difference just one treatment will make. I was still working in Sutton Coldfield later in the week and the road I was working on was where a young man I had worked with at Colgate lived. I had'nt seen him for a couple of years and thought I would cadge a cup of coffee off him, he lived with his mum and elder brother in a very large bungalow and his mum always welcomed me when I called there.Rod was this young mans name and he was a fork lift truck driver at the wagon depot. He was loaded, the job was not the wealth factor with him, he was a gambler. The whole time I knew Rod I was aware of his skill with the horses. He would follow specific horses watching them mature and then when he saw the time was right he would go to a racetrack where they were appearing and put a big bet on them to win. It was uncanny, but it worked. The Bungalow the family lived in was bought, and paid for out of Rod's winnings, he owned a Land Rover,a soft top Jaguar E type and a forty foot cabin cruiser which he kept on the River Severn ,plus a big static sleeper van which was parked in Brean, and which he had loaned to my family holidays at no charge. So Rod had played a big part in our lives in the past. Both he and his mum were home when I called and I spent half the morning with him catching up on old times, he was still a fork lift driver and still had winning ways on the horses. His mum was busy in the kitchen I went and had a chat with her and she was very interested to hear about my new job. She was surrounded by cup cakes and sandwiches, mountains of them and I looked at the them and was about to ask if there was something special going on and told me that they were having a family get together that night and asked if I would like to drop in if I were in the district that evening. I told her I would love to drop in because I already knew a lot of her relatives and would love to see them again. I finished my coffee and got stuck into work again. Can't remember anything unusual about the rest of my calls, I was too busy focussing on the party that evening.



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Post Number:#353  PostPosted: 24 Feb 2016 20:06 
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The First week continued:


I left off work and went to Rods at about 7.30 pm. There were quite a few cars on the front so I had to park on the pavement. When I got inside the party was beginning to get well underway, most of the people there were Rod's relatives and there was a very relaxed atmosphere. Pretty soon word got around that I was now in a different job and I was being asked quite a lot of questions about what it was I was actually doing, I went out to the car and fetched my kit in and was very soon surrounded by most of the party goers. I did no more than set it up and let those who wanted to have a try at it. Pretty soon their curiosity was satisfied and the party resumed it's normal pattern ,groups chatting and people dancing. I was about to put my kit away when Rod's older brother came over to me and asked some searching questions about the equipment and it's provenance.Rod had told me that his brother had suffered an anuerism which led to him having a stroke, and this led to him being unable to use his right hand. This was a disaster for him because he had been a professional artist and had made a good living commercially. I was very unwilling to let him try it and explained to him that it was'nt a magic wand and it did'nt cure anything but he persisted in me letting him feel the hand unit. It seemed a harmless enough thing to do and, after showing him how to control it I wandered away to talk to his mother. Now this mans right hand was like a talon, it was permanently clenched and the arm was drawn against his chest. There was'nt very much harm could do to himself and I got into the party spirit and just enjoyed the conversation. I still had to drive home so I never had much alcohol,just coke and fruit juices. It was about 9 0'clock when I some some commotion over where my kit was and my first thought was"Sh*t" I went across to the gathering and saw Rod and his mum standing by Herbert ,who was stroking his mothers cheeek with his,now fully opened ,right hand.There was a raw emotion among the onlookers and Rod and his mum had tear streaked cheeks. Herbert asked me if I would see his girl friend, after feeling the effect it had on him he wanted to see if it would help his Pauline. He asked me if he could tell her about it so that I would'nt be calling on her cold. I gave my assent and drove home with belief in my equipment thoroughly bolstered. Next morning Herbert phoned me and told me she would like to see me as soon as possible,so I made her my first call, She lived in a very small terraced house next to a butchers shop in Maney Hill, not very far from Rods house.The front door was open and I called out my presence from the door step and she yelled back "Gerrin Here!!" I walked into the front room and found this fairly young lady sitting backwards on a big farmhouse dining chair.She had a duvet covering the seat and chairback and her chin was resting on the chairback. She made me understand that this was the only way she could get a degree of comfort, this was where she lived and slept.She was suffering from non stop pain and very interrupted sleep. Herbert had told her all about the kit the night before and she was impatient for me to begin. She was in the advanced stages of multiple screlosis and used to spend a few days at a respite centre at the end of every month. My heart was in my mouth when I proceeded with the massage, as per usual I massaged one of her legs and got a joyful result and based on that I did her whole body. You would have thought we were making love by the sounds emanating from her mouth; it had taken me an hour and a half to do her from tip to toe and when we finished she was so happy, " No Pain now, no pain now" she whispered. Now looking around this little house I prejudged things and thought she would'nt be able to afford, let alone physically use it. But she pre empted me "How much does all this cost then" she asked me and I countered her question by asking her how she thought she could use it, she had two children but lived alone, she could'nt do what I had done. Little did I know that Herbert had looked in my catalogue the night before and told her about the chairs and beds and I thought that she would faint when she heard how much they cost. I got out the catalogue and showed her the different bits of equipment, she looked at our top of the range unit,the Rollosage chair,this had four indepent motors in it , one the the leg rest ,one in the seat and two in the back. they were all independently controlled and the chair was fully reclinable. There was also a heater in the back which was terrific when used in conjunction with the massage. It retailed at £3,600.00. Pauline then asked what covers it came in and I showed her the actual cloths. She settled on a deep green moquette. I had'nt asked her a single question regards the sale, it was just as Mr Goldingay had said, "Customers will buy this Brian, don't ever get in the way of a sale" There was a big problem though, all the chairs were made to order at our Wrexham factory but there was a seven week waiting list. Pauline looked crushed when I told her that "I can't wait that long Brian, can't you get me one sooner?" I told her that it just was'nt possible, and then I had a little brainwave "I'll come and give you a going over on my way home from work , can'thave you suffering again girl" She gave me a cheque for the full amount and I got a heroe's welcome back at the office. I was really beginning to enjoy this job.



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Post Number:#354  PostPosted: 02 Mar 2016 21:52 
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All about the Job


I was learning my way around the company and it's rules and regulations, they promised to assist us in our endeavour to become bona fide salespeople and they had strict rules with regarding to our behaviour, we were not allowed to make claims about the equipment unless there was published proof to back that claim up. We were not to pretend we were in any way medical, we were not allowed to engage in haggling or telephoning the office from the prospective customers home begging for a deal. We did not discount, the price stated was the price paid and we were not to ask for more than the stated price.The main point of it all was that you let the equipment speak for itself. I found in practise that it was best to see if it worked for a person before I engaged in a close. If it did'nt work you had nothing to sell and you would go off to see someone else who might benefit. I never left a persons house without sitting and having a cup of tea with them and it was amazing that when we were supping they would nearly always give me the name of someone they knew who might benefit from this. Some of my best sales came from these cup of tea referral's. The company also had badges for people who had started to make regular sales, these came in the form of a kings crown and the first one to win was the silver pin, this was won by making 16 units in a four week month, this would give a good wage and built your confidence. Then there was the gold crown pin and the units required were qualitavely greater; and then when you were cruising in first you went for your diamond pin,. this was when you were on to real money. I got my silver pin in first month and was awarded a bottle of something by the branch manager, who then egged me on to go for the gold pin. He came out with me for the day and pointed a few faults that I had dveloped, I noted them down and got back to basics, show-tell-show. It worked for all the top salespeople now I wanted it to work for me. There was one thing that I found hard to come to terms with, at the end of everyweek that was it, come Monday morning you started off at zero again, the only money you would have coming in was from what you sold; so when I went into the office on a Monday morning I used to have butterflies fluttering in my tum "Am I gonna make it this week" After an hour or so sitting with my colleagues and listening to their tales, the butterflies began to settle and I was restless to get out there again. Bob would dish out the "Leads, announce the prize for the first sale of the day and lead us into the company song and off into the streets we would go. I was learning about the various ways the company sold the equipment, they would have stands at a lot of farm and flower shows, only the best sales people were taken on for these, you worked hard but the rewards were greater because nearly everyone who visited these shows used to watch curiously as we demonstrated it.The Royal Show at Stoneleigh was one of the best agricultural shows, the farmers were very down to earth and their wives were the one's who ruled their roost's. We did have a giggle at my first Royal Show, our Leicester office used to share the stand with us and they had brought a young man with only 1 weeks experience. The stand was like a small stage and there was room for 16 lounge chairs ,the idea being that each salesperson would have two chairs to work with, one with the portable kit set up on it and the other for the prospects partner. There were 8 sales people ,plus the rookie.The only place left was on the show chair, which reclined and was fitted with built in massage units, we usually only showed to people who asked to try it, we sold on our pad and units and were happy with that. So , there we are ,the first morning of the show and we 8 salespeople were mad busy working away; and this old lady dressed in tweeds lisle stockings and a countrywomans comes on to the stage and sits in the chair. The manager pushes the rookie over to her and said ,in a cut glass accent, " Well what does this thingamajinny do?" The rookie blushed and turned on the motors her ladyship( for she was titled) gulped and settled back into the chair. Little did we know that the roookie had turned all the motors to the top speed; Lady B started colouring and the rookie passed her the hand unit which she fondled and placed it right on her crotch, a silence descended on the staged as we watched Lady B go on to the foothills of an orgasm. She writhed and screamed and we all felt sorry for the young rookie; and then she slumped and looked in a state of sheer bliss. The manager got her a cup of coffee and, as she drank it she called the rookie over and bought the chair and hand unit.................Cash. Next day we were all busy again and this little ferret of a man dressed in a Norfolk Jacket, deer stalker and plus fours , came up to our stand and stuck his shooting stick into the grass and proceeded to watch events.He was there quite a while when he pulled up his stick and came on to our stand. The manager whispered "I bet that's Lord B" When the man asked him "Who sold my wife that thingamjimmy yesterday?" The manager brought the boy over for execution. His Lordship shook the Rookies hand and said " Make an order out for me son, same colour chair so that it matches the memsahibs" That was the great thing about shows, you really did'nt know who was going to sit down next.



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 Post subject: Re: A Liverpool Lad ©
Post Number:#355  PostPosted: 04 Mar 2016 21:06 
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Early Days


This job was not 9 til 5,it was what you could aford to spend away from home without causing too much upset. When you were working an area time was not an issue. I was learning that most people had sent off their enquiries months ago, sometimes years ago, and the advertisements were put in magazines like the Readers Digest,TV Times,The Lady and other such journals. They would be done on a geographical basis and the company H.Q. would send the replies to the local offices within the advertised area. The local offices would work those leads in their areas but sometimes the reply rate would be so great that other sales offices would be called in to help areas that were finding it hard to cope.It was this that got me out and about to work in different parts of the UK. We called them team runs and the company would put us up in guest houses ,us being the hard core of the sales force, a skeleton staff remained in the Lichfield area working on the thousands of leads that flooded in locally. The team runners were a motley bunch,. there were 4 ladies and five men and some of us shared bedrooms and were happy to do so, and others preferred their privacy. I was a sharer, it was almost like being at sea, the rooms were mostly en suite and twin bedded. Two of the ladies had very strict standards, Kath and Margaret, both top drawer and both fantastic salespeople. They had rich husbands but both wanted to be financially independent. They never knew each other prior to working here and they pretty quickly became like sisters.Kath was very like Penelope Keith and Margaret like a mature Jean Simmons ,and I adored them; they came from a world that was so different to mine. These were ladies that you would see on first class passenger ships and in world class hotels, they were never patronising and they used to love hearing my seafaring tales. Those two ladies worked with me for the whole time I was there and I never had a single bad moment with them.There were other people too, most of them were like me, working to make a better life for our families. Don, our branch manager was an ex RAF conscript who bought a greengrocery business when he returned to civvy street. He built up a thriving business and he had to get out of it when he severely injured his spine.That was when he came across Niagara, he was treated on it by by a private physiotherapist, the treatment worked and Don contacted the company and got a sales job with them. He was a wonderfully calm man, to watch him demonstrate was like a having a lesson in the art of the soft sell, relax, relax, relax. He helped me tremendously, the area manager was a great little guy called Derek Levin, he was small in stature but a giant personality. He could enthuse you to raise your targets and was a wonderful motivator, as well as being wickedly funny. He was Jewish and he reminded me very much of the likes of Jack Benny and Henny Youngman, I owed alot to him over the years. Whenever we did a team run , Don would always be there with us in the guest house or hotel and Derek would always join us on the last evening, he would organise a great dinner and the drinks would flow freely and the banter would fill the air. At one hotel we were at ,the television in the rooms had cable, this was in the mid 80's and some of us did'nt even have Sky or NTL.We discovered the pornography network was available in this hotel, you had to pay for it so we never bothered with it . However ,Derek came down on the last night ,he would always book a room so that he could join in the fun and then crawl off to bed when the night was over. My room mate and I had an attic room at this old country hotel and we were the last to leave the bar, as we were climbing the stairs we noticed a flickering light coming from under the door of a room that had been empty all week "I bet Dereks in there" my roomie said. "If he is, he must be watchin the porno channel" I said. I went to the keyhole and glimpsed the scene, it was the porno channel. I muffled my voice through my handkerchief and snarled through the keyhole "You dirty little bugger, get yer 'and orf yer penis, pull off yer socks ,switch that filth off and git to sleep" The tv and light went off immediately and we retired to our bunks. At breakfast next morning my roomie was regaling the salespeople with the stunt we pulled on Derek when in to the dining rooms comes the man himself, he looks a bit puzzled by his reception and asks one of the lads what had happened. At the first mention of him being caught watching porn he said he did'nt think so "I'm not stopping at this hotel, I'm in the one across the road !" There was a middle aged guy having breakfast on his own further down the dining room, he was coughing and choking on his coffee and had the biggest blushes you ever did see. Saturday would see us all departing for home, we never worked the weekend when we got back,that was precious family time And, writing of family time, this year, 1982 was the first time we took a continental holiday, Steven was 12 ,Jo was seven and the only holidays we had had were in caravans , the West Country and Wales were as far as we had travelled before, now that we could afford it I thought we should have hotel holiday in Belgium. I booked it through British Rail including taxis to and from the main station at Birmingham. It was'nt what I had dreamed it would be, we stayed in Ostend at a hotel called the Kingston ,it was half board and the food was dreadful, the room was even worse, we had a double and two twins and the double was horrible , the springs had gone and it was almost like sleeping in a hammock. My son changed into a surly bugger who never wanted to do any thing with us, he palled up with a slightly older boy at the hotel and he never wanted to be with us. I could'nt understand it, this was my little mate, now he was just a moaning kid.The atmosphere remained that way the whole holiday. When we came back to Dover he disappeared as we were disembarking, we were hurrying for the train when his absence was noted and I dashed back to the ferry and saw him lurking around the lifeboats on the top deck. I yelled at him to get down here and half the people on the dock stood frozen to the spot. I was furious, it was clear that he was trying to get back to Belgium. But we had a train to catch I frog marched him right through the customs shed and into the station , there were four trains getting ready to leave ,which one was ours? I asked a porter which one was going to Kings Cross and he pointed to the one furthest away from us. We ran over the bridge and got ourselves aboard when I noticed a train pulling out from the platform we had just left, and there waving to us from a window were Sue and Jo as the train disappeared from view. The porter had guided us to a stopping train which took an age to get to Kings Cross. It took me all that time to calm down. I had a lot to learn about coping with a growing son.



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 Post subject: Re: A Liverpool Lad ©
Post Number:#356  PostPosted: 08 Mar 2016 15:38 
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Early Days 2



Life was'nt all cakes and ale, somedays you were treading the grapes and some days you were drinking the wine. It was a case of learning to work your way to success. Selling is a business where the most common word is NO, not everyone buys.There are so many reasons for failing to sell, it was our job to learn those reasons and to try and overcvome them .I was lucky enough to see a BBC Horizon programme very early on in my job which was about the salespersons forerunners - the Hunters. The cameras followed a group of Masai hunters who were on the trail of a rogue lion which was attacking their cattle, and a group of IBM computer sales people who were attempting to sell a business system to a large HI Tech company. The methods of the hunters and salespeople were remarkably similar,the Masai were shown trekking the spoor of the lion and the sales people were looking at the business section of the Financial Times. The salesmen were looking for tenders put out by companies wanting new equipment. Once the hunters had trekked the spoor of the lion , they made a circle around the lions retreat and the warriors were placed so that if they flushed the lion out it would have to pass one of their number who would be ready for the kill.The salesmen were shown gathering as much information about the tendering company as posssible, who the decision makers were, who their competitors could be and what their financial capabilities where. Having armed themselves with enough information they then did their presentation, knowing the strength and attributes of the buyers and armed against any possible objections. When the Masai flushed out the lion , it bolted and ran straight into the line of hunters---a kill. When the salesmen answered all the clients objections they asked the question "Would you like one?" and then shut up, the first one to speak always loses. I was able to put that away to use when all else failed ,because I was learning that there is no such thing as a born sales person, it is a trade and it has to be learned. We would have people join us and they would have a period of success and then leave as soon as they had a bad week or two. That is why the company had so many training courses, people felt failures if they did'nt make sales everyday. I was still enjoying what I was doing and it still had it comical sides, for instance I went to a tiny hamlet in Leicestershire and I got a strange welcome at the first house I called at " Ohh, the Niagara man" said the lady who answered the door " Sandra, go and tell Mrs Hesketh the Niagara man is here" turning to me ,she said " C'min luv and have a seat" What was I getting into here? I pretty soon found out, a fat red faced lady burst into the room brandishing a wedding photograph. She glared at me and the turned to the lady of the house and said " No, that's not him." I asked what was going on and it turned out that a Niagara salesman had been to village some years before and run off with this lady's newly wed daughter in law. She showed me her photograph and she was the very essence of an English rose, and her abductor was a Scouse salesman. Well that was me buggered in that village for a start, I was given a cup of tea and a cake and made my way to the next village where I had more success. Another time I was working in Stourbridge and called at a block of flats where I had a lead for a lady.The flat was very tastefully decorated and there were little knick knacks on the shelves and coffee tables. There was no sign of a husband and I asked if he was at work , "No" she said"'Ees in a nursin' home, 'an he won't be cummin out either" There was a photograph of a sailor on the mantle piece, he had a beard and was wearing his fore and aft rig. I asked if she had any children and she said they had'nt wanted any , so I got down to business and asked her all about her problems. She was keen to have a go so I went down and brought my kit in , the front door was ajar and I called out that it was me and she answered " I'm in the bedroom" and so I walked down the hall to it. She was lying on the bed dressed in naught but a sheer baby doll night dress. I was quite taken aback and told her she would have to get dressed before I could demonstrate and she replied "Don't you be at it, you Scousers'll go to bed with anybody" Exit Brian stage left. And then there was the nice West Indian lady in Quinton in Birmingham, again ,she was living on her own and was suffering something terrible from artritis, yes she would would to try it please. When I came back in with my kit she was sitting stark naked on the settee. Phewwww," What are you doing Mrs?" I asked. " Well ,yew is de doctor man" she said. I waited until she got dressed and gave her a lovely massage , when I was leaving I asked to come with me to the door, just so that the neighbours could see that she was still in one piece. I did learn that some of the salesmen I worked were not above succumbing to a widows charms. I was still very much in love with my Sue.



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 Post subject: Re: A Liverpool Lad ©
Post Number:#357  PostPosted: 10 Mar 2016 17:28 
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Team Runs


Spring was burgeoning into Summer and Don had some team runs organised for us in the Derbyshire area, I was a bit lothe to go on one,it would mean working away for the whole week and that would leave Sue to cope with the kids on her own. Jo' was as good as gold but Steven was becoming a very stroppy adolescent If I did'nt go on the run I would be left working around Birmingham on old leads and the thought of working in the Peak District was very tempting. After talking it over with Sue we decided I should go, the temptation of a really good week was irresistable. We were stopping up in Matlock and would be working in mostly rural areas ,so it was all new territory for me. Don got us all in a nice Hotel situated right by the Heights of Abraham in Matlock Bath; it was a Victorian building which was built when Matlock was a Spa. the rooms were splendid and the beds were four posters ands half testers and the view from my room was wonderful, it overlooked the river and was very picturesque.I was sharing a room with Alan, a Black Countryman who had been around the block a few times; en ex miner, labourer and Elvis impersonator, built like a brick sh+thouse, he liked his ale and the ladies. But he was a decent bloke and he liked my scouse wit, so he was a fine room mate. We got a good nights sleep on Sunday and were all up with the lark on Monday, ready for breakfast and the issue of leads. Brakfast was a great disappointment, the dining room was beautiful and the napery and place setting just so, but the food was awful, it was all microwaved and tasteless.. Still the day was great and we could'nt wait for the off. When Don gave me my leads I found them all to be fairly local to Matlock itself, great! I went and purchased a street map and sortewd myself a run , I could have walked everywhere from the hotel ,but you never knew where luck would take you once you got started so I loaded up the car,it was a bronze coloured Morris Ital and was a good little motor. My first call was just across the river from the hotel, a little post office in Riber, so close I could have thrown a stone at it but I had to go around the valley and up the hill and the lanes were many and tiny. As I was making my way in the general direction of the place I stopped and asked a man who was cutting his hedge if I was on the right road,I showed him the enquiry form with the address and he said that he knew the lady who lived there and then asked me if he could try it while I was there. An hour and half later I emerged from his house with a full order and a cheque and made my way to the post office. She was quite a young woman and, my hedge cutter had given me an awful lot of information about her, she quickly invited me in to do the demonstration. It was now lunchtime and she closed the shop so she and her husband could give me their full attention. They were a very active family, they had two teen age children and they liked camping and rambling. Just lately though that was becoming a chore for the wife, her ankle and hands were be coming very painful and they were having to re think about their holidays.Well, she had a splendid result and her husband was pleased to see the difference in her, but she could'nt think of spending hundreds of pounds on herself. She said they would need the money for their holiday, I then asked her what they would do for a holiday and she looked stumped. I told her that this was a time for her to think of what it would be like for the family if she did'nt spend this money on herself. Her husband was all for spending the money and then the children arrived home for lunch. When they saw their Mum standing straight and moving her wrists freely they joined in with their Dad and pushed her into buying it. It was a lovely feeling watching them make their decision and I sat and joined them at their lunch and left to find another customer. The next call was in a place called Dethick and it was like going back in a time machine. The place was a Dairy Farm situated in a dell downhill from Crich.The farm was centuries old and as spartan and bare a place that I had ever entered. The buildings were sandstone and covered in moss and lichen, there were two old men and one old woman who lived there and they had bare stone floors and hard back wooden chairs and a great old farmhouse table. There was a huge cast iron stove with a big open coal fire and steel hobs that were blackened and burned with age.I was shocked at the state of these old people, they were rawboned and bent with age and their hands were disfigured with rheumatics. There were no proper electric sockets that I could use and yet they were desperate for some relief, sad to say, I had to leave them to it. I was to see them again, and again. They sent off every year for their free trial. When I returned to the hotel I found that everyone had had a good day and Don had set up a scoreboard for the sales results, it really did engender a spirit of competition. We all of us had a drink in the hotel bar,we had all bought our eveing meal in one of the many cafes that line Matlock Bath, after the morning breakfast none of us fancied an evening meal there. There were four ladies on this team run and they retired to bed early while the rest of us sat around chewing the fat.The owner of the hotel then asked us if we would like something special and we all agreed that it would be fine. He was the proud possessor of a Super Betamax videorecorder and he put on a tape that a friend of his had obtained a BBC production worker.We near went blind, these were out takes from BBC plays and shows and they showed what happens when sex scenes are filmed, the players were all famous faces, male and female, and they made love for real, time after time. We staggered to bed to get ready for tomorrows bout. I fell asleep having the filthiest of dreams.



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 Post subject: Re: A Liverpool Lad ©
Post Number:#358  PostPosted: 15 Mar 2016 23:13 
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Continued


When we returned to Lichfield I was not doing as well as I did in Derbyshire and the regional manager hauled me into his office and asked me what I was doing that made life so different this week to last. I was confidant enough in my position in the company to go for his throat. I told him that it was 'nt his job to bollock me if I was'nt performing as well all the time. No, it was his job to coax the best out of me and to see that I was'nt down. The area I was working in Birmingham was'nt a patch on the one I worked in Derbyshire, all he had to do was give me a few more leads up there and I would show him. He was quite shocked at my outburst and went to the filing cabinet and pulled out a handful of leads and said "ther'ya, all in Derbyshire, go and show me you're not wrong" I tore up the A38 and started scoring right away, I came back with enough units to secure my Gold Pin and started to earn some real money. Shortly after that we had one of the American directors visit our office and the regional manager introduced him to me, this man was a real New Yorker, brash and coarse and very witty too. He said to me ,"I see from your CV that you were a Commie" I answered yes, and then he said "How can a Commie be such a good salesman?" I looked at him and replied "Brother, Comrade Lenin said that in world of Wolves we must live like a wolf or be eaten, and I am biting chunks out your capitalist arse by selling well! " He laughed and my regional manager stopped shaking with fear.
We had recruited three new salesmen during this time and they were really impressive, one was a young Londoner who was smartly dressed, newly married and hungry for success, the second was a Northener, same as as the Londoner but very laid back and oozed confidence. the third guy was about my age, heavily built and very sharp witted, he was the only experienced salesman in the group and the job held no fears for him. When they had finished their training I was promoted to the position of field sales manager and the Londoner and the experienced sales guy were put under my wing to "bring them along". the deal was that I would get a percentage of every sale they made and, if succesful, I would be given other sales people to coach as well. I enjoyed this aspect of my job very much, it made me aware of how I behaved when treating customers and helped to polish them too. The Londoner was a great learner and was as keen as mustard to get started, he was a model pupil and never interfered when I was doing the business, and I was able to do the same for him when it was his turn. Pretty soon he was doing fine and bringing in the sales. The big fella was a bit of a slow starter, I went home with him and met his family and you could see that he had been succesful in his previous job, he and his wife had two girls and a beautiful house which was amply furnished. He just did'nt seem to be cutting the mustard now though. After a couple of weeks management were pressing me to sack him but I was sure that he had what it takes and I fended them off.The Northener went to work in our Eccles office so I did'nt have him under my wing but I made use of him anyway. The three of them were unaware of the importance of winning their crown pins and I put it to them that they should all go flat out to see who got the first crown pin. It worked like a charm and within weeks they were all producing good figures and within a month they were all awarded the silver pins. This meant that they could come away on team runs and work with the rest of the team >The Big Fella was a good producer and he loved the spirit of the team runs, and he always had the best sales on them. It was essential that wherever we stayed the rooms were comfortable, the breakfasts were good and that there was a bar that we could relax in at the end of the day. It was on their first team run that the Londoner and I had to share a room, being an ex sailor I was used to sharing a cabin and it did'nt bother me one little bit. When we were all back at the bar that first night the Big Fella said Jokingly to my cabin mate " You wanna watch Brian tonight; you know what sailors" I was well used to this sort of banter and then the Big Fella said " It's true is'nt it Brian " And I quipped back " Well it's any port in a storm" Soon after that we all retired to bed. Now ,I always read a book at bedtime and this night was no different. My room mate though was such a fidget, he was tossing and turning in his bunk and I looked over to him and he looked a bit edgy. He saw me looking and then asked " Is it true what Tony said about sailors?" I lay my book down and said " Between, you me and the bedposts, you're the only bloke I 've felt like giving a portion to mate" Switched off my lamp and got down to some serious sleepiong. The kid was sound asleep next morning so I grabbed the shower and got ready first. I then went down to breakfast and was enjoying that beautiful full English when the Kid walked in. He looked shattered, eyes bloodshot, unshaven and just about awake. I said "Whats up mate" and he shouted "Whats up!! I 've been awake half the night, everytime I heard a creak I thought it was you coming to get in my bed" The sound of laughter echoed around the dining and gave us a great



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 Post subject: Re: A Liverpool Lad ©
Post Number:#359  PostPosted: 17 Apr 2016 18:52 
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I Would like to start by apologising for my absence; I had a dreadful accident which let me with a triple fracture of my left shoulder joint. My right shoulder is permanently dislocated and so writing was thus impossible. However, the pain is now less sharp and I will attempt to continue with my story.

Continued


We left off at that passage where we laughing about the young salesmans fright at my leg pull,he soon realised that I was joking about fancying him and we started a friendship which lasted the whole time of my employment with Niagara.There were three young salesmen who were starting out with the company at that time,two were called Steve and the third was called Tony.They were all as keen as mustard and were competing against each to gain thier crown pins .A sales managers dream, they never needed much leadership or motivational guidance ,they enjoyed the job, liked each others company and really wanted to go to the next convention as winners.I had been to two conventions, they had both been at 5 star hotels,but I could'nt afford to take my wife. You might imagine, it did'nt make for a happy marriage,my wife was outraged that I could think of swanning off to a week long orgy of wine women and song. Well they were never that,the conventions were arranged for us to get to know the company better,to learn about new products and to get to meet some high flying salespeople.We had sales people from Britain, Ireland,America,Europe and South Africa.My first convention was to be at the Hannibal Palace hotel in Morroco. From the start I was taking flak from my wife "How can yiu think of going to such a glamorous place when we can only afford a caravan park in Devon for a holiday?" I had no answer to that only to say that I had to go, if I wanted to get on in the company then it was expected of me to be there. It was all paid for, I would not have to use any of the family's finance to go there.I was helped in my decision to go by Yasser Arafat and the PLO,they were evicted from the Lebanon and moved to the Hannibal Palace hotel, filling it up and thus wrecking the companies plan to go there . our CEO had to find another 5 star hotel that could take a few hundred salespeople at very short notice.With just 3 weeks to go he had us all booked into the Grand at Eastbourne,which really took the heat out of my wifes anger,I would'nt be swanning off to some sin filled location but going to a resort that was well known for it,s aging population. I'll have to leave off now as my limbs are beginning to hurt a bit.Be back anon.



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 Post subject: Re: A Liverpool Lad ©
Post Number:#360  PostPosted: 24 Apr 2016 14:35 
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Continued

The trip down to Eastbourne was very pleasant,Derek, my Regional Manager picked me up in his car,it was a large Mitsubishi and was very comfortable,he had another passenger,his young secretary Penny. Derek treated us all to lunch at a little road house just south of London after which we proceeded on down to Eastbourne; the last time I was here was when I attended a course on Public Speaking at the Transport and General Workers Union Hotel on the promenade just a short distance from the Grand Hotel.
The hotel itself was a big wedding cake of an affair, it was painted in brilliant white and was very ornate.The reception was a hive of industry ,thronged with delegates from the UK ,Europe and the USA. Derek knew most of them and people were hugging and greeting as at a family reunion.Niagara had two of these conventions a year and it was my thought at this time was that it was a great waste of time, we could be more usefully employed in getting stuck in to selling,we were not being paid to attend this convention and would have to work twice as hard when we got back home to make up for lost time.I was still thinking like a shop steward,it was hard to think otherwise after apending 25 years of my life as an hourly paid employee.And how come a lot of these delegates had there partners and children at this bash? How the hell could they afford it ? I would learn...,.......in time.
The rooms in this hotel were fabulous,they were more like apartments,we were two to a room but that was no problem,we often shared when we were on team runs. My room mate this time was a big burly guy from the Black Country called Alan.He was a club singer and had a mullet and a Zapata moustache,he had a great sense of humour and liked a drink or six.He came well equipped;he filled the bottom of his wardrobe with a crate of beer and several bottles of spirits. I pointed out the notice on the back of our door which mentioned that the hotel had a policy of corkage but Alan just shrugged.
When we had unpacked it was time for the official opening and we all trooped down to none of the meeting rooms; it was decorated like an American political jamboree,there was even a jazz group on stage(this was Niagaras own quintet which was made up of brilliant session players)The CEO took the stage and led us through the weeks agenda and then the band let rip with the company song and then we all trooped in to dinner.One of the salesmen from the Coventry office, ,Gordon was seated next to me and he had a sense of humour that accorded with mine and thus began a friendship which lasted for years. After we went back the room where we had our opening meeting and it was now our entertainment room, the group were on stage and we had a great boozy night of free drinks good music and a brilliant supper.We persuaded Alan to get up and sing us a couple of Elvis songs,the group busked along with him and he was given tremendous applause he never made it back to our table,he was nabbed by one of the single ladies and finished the evening at her table. When we were leaving the ballroom Alan pulled me aside and asked me if I would mind sleeping in another room tonight as his lady friend had agreed to go to bed with him.I knew Gordon had a spare bed in his room and asked him,he was very reluctant at first, but finally said yes. Those beds were lovely ,queen size they were,much bigger than a single, Ihad no trouble falling asleep that night. I was awakened by a yelp and by the slamming of our bedroom door.My head had been burrowed beneath the blankets and I sat up and saw Gordon, still fast asleep .I got up and dressed and then went back toward my own room.As I passed the cleaners room on Gordons landing I heard a female voice complaining that "that feller in number 42 had another man in room;the dirty ba**ard!!" Gordons room,, oh God.
At breakfast that morning Gordon was treated like a leper, luckily they did'nt know who the other feller was or I would have got the same treatmenthe trip down to Eastbourne was very pleasant,Derek, my Regional Manager picked me up in his car,it was a large Mitsubishi and was very comfortable,he had another passenger,his young secretary Penny. Derek treated us all to lunch at a little road house just south of London after which we proceeded on down to Eastbourne; the last time I was here was when I attended a course on Public Speaking at the Transport and General Workers Union Hotel on the promenade just a short distance from the Grand Hotel.
The hotel itself was a big wedding cake of an affair, it was painted in brilliant white and was very ornate.The reception was a hive of industry ,thronged with delegates from the UK ,Europe and the USA. Derek knew most of them and people were hugging and greeting as at a family reunion.Niagara had two of these conventions a year and it was my thought at this time was that it was a great waste of time, we could be more usefully employed in getting stuck in to selling,we were not being paid to attend this convention and would have to work twice as hard when we got back home to make up for lost time.I was still thinking like a shop steward,it was hard to think otherwise after apending 25 years of my life as an hourly paid employee.And how come a lot of these delegates had there partners and children at this bash? How the hell could they afford it ? I would learn...,.......in time.
The rooms in this hotel were fabulous,they were more like apartments,we were two to a room but that was no problem,we often shared when we were on team runs. My room mate this time was a big burly guy from the Black Country called Alan.He was a club singer and had a mullet and a Zapata moustache,he had a great sense of humour and liked a drink or six.He came well equipped;he filled the bottom of his wardrobe with a crate of beer and several bottles of spirits. I pointed out the notice on the back of our door which mentioned that the hotel had a policy of corkage but Alan just shrugged.
When we had unpacked it was time for the official opening and we all trooped down to none of the meeting rooms; it was decorated like an American political jamboree,there was even a jazz group on stage(this was Niagaras own quintet which was made up of brilliant session players)The CEO took the stage and led us through the weeks agenda and then the band let rip with the company song and then we all trooped in to dinner.One of the salesmen from the Coventry office, ,Gordon was seated next to me and he had a sense of humour that accorded with mine and thus began a friendship which lasted for years. After we went back the room where we had our opening meeting and it was now our entertainment room, the group were on stage and we had a great boozy night of free drinks good music and a brilliant supper.We persuaded Alan to get up and sing us a couple of Elvis songs,the group busked along with him and he was given tremendous applause he never made it back to our table,he was nabbed by one of the single ladies and finished the evening at her table. When we were leaving the ballroom Alan pulled me aside and asked me if I would mind sleeping in another room tonight as his lady friend had agreed to go to bed with him.I knew Gordon had a spare bed in his room and asked him,he was very reluctant at first, but finally said yes. Those beds were lovely ,queen size they were,much bigger than a single, Ihad no trouble falling asleep that night. I was awakened by a yelp and by the slamming of our bedroom door.My head had been burrowed beneath the blankets and I sat up and saw Gordon, still fast asleep .I got up and dressed and then went back toward my own room.As I passed the cleaners room on Gordons landing I heard a female voice complaining that "that feller in number 42 had another man in room;the dirty ba**ard!!" Gordons room,, oh God.
At breakfast that morning Gordon was treated like a leper, luckily they did'nt know who the other feller was or I would have got the same treatmenthe trip down to Eastbourne was very pleasant,Derek, my Regional Manager picked me up in his car,it was a large Mitsubishi and was very comfortable,he had another passenger,his young secretary Penny. Derek treated us all to lunch at a little road house just south of London after which we proceeded on down to Eastbourne; the last time I was here was when I attended a course on Public Speaking at the Transport and General Workers Union Hotel on the promenade just a short distance from the Grand Hotel.
The hotel itself was a big wedding cake of an affair, it was painted in brilliant white and was very ornate.The reception was a hive of industry ,thronged with delegates from the UK ,Europe and the USA. Derek knew most of them and people were hugging and greeting as at a family reunion.Niagara had two of these conventions a year and it was my thought at this time was that it was a great waste of time, we could be more usefully employed in getting stuck in to selling,we were not being paid to attend this convention and would have to work twice as hard when we got back home to make up for lost time.I was still thinking like a shop steward,it was hard to think otherwise after apending 25 years of my life as an hourly paid employee.And how come a lot of these delegates had there partners and children at this bash? How the hell could they afford it ? I would learn...,.......in time.
The rooms in this hotel were fabulous,they were more like apartments,we were two to a room but that was no problem,we often shared when we were on team runs. My room mate this time was a big burly guy from the Black Country called Alan.He was a club singer and had a mullet and a Zapata moustache,he had a great sense of humour and liked a drink or six.He came well equipped;he filled the bottom of his wardrobe with a crate of beer and several bottles of spirits. I pointed out the notice on the back of our door which mentioned that the hotel had a policy of corkage but Alan just shrugged.
When we had unpacked it was time for the official opening and we all trooped down to none of the meeting rooms; it was decorated like an American political jamboree,there was even a jazz group on stage(this was Niagaras own quintet which was made up of brilliant session players)The CEO took the stage and led us through the weeks agenda and then the band let rip with the company song and then we all trooped in to dinner.One of the salesmen from the Coventry office, ,Gordon was seated next to me and he had a sense of humour that accorded with mine and thus began a friendship which lasted for years. After we went back the room where we had our opening meeting and it was now our entertainment room, the group were on stage and we had a great boozy night of free drinks good music and a brilliant supper.We persuaded Alan to get up and sing us a couple of Elvis songs,the group busked along with him and he was given tremendous applause he never made it back to our table,he was nabbed by one of the single ladies and finished the evening at her table. When we were leaving the ballroom Alan pulled me aside and asked me if I would mind sleeping in another room tonight as his lady friend had agreed to go to bed with him.I knew Gordon had a spare bed in his room and asked him,he was very reluctant at first, but finally said yes. Those beds were lovely ,queen size they were,much bigger than a single, Ihad no trouble falling asleep that night. I was awakened by a yelp and by the slamming of our bedroom door.My head had been burrowed beneath the blankets and I sat up and saw Gordon, still fast asleep .I got up and dressed and then went back toward my own room.As I passed the cleaners room on Gordons landing I heard a female voice complaining that "that feller in number 42 had another man in room;the dirty ba**ard!!" Gordons room,, oh God.
At breakfast that morning Gordon was treated like a leper, luckily they did'nt know who the other feller was or I would have got the same treatment



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