CONVERSATIONS. this is not up for a vote.

My phone rang.

I answered.

The voice was male; the practiced familiarity of an old friend calling to check in. But of course, it wasn't an old friend, it was a stranger calling to talk to me about an investment opportunity.
(Please don't ask why I didn't hang up immediately; I don't have a good answer, except that I have an ongoing interest in the psychology of how Person A tries to get something from Person B. With me being Person B in this scenario.)

Is this Joe Long?
he asked.

I prefer Joseph.
I said nicely.
Yes, this is Joseph Long.

Well Joe,
he said.
Are you familiar with Office Depot? Trading for around six dollars a share currently?

I said.

Thing is, Joe,
he said -

- I paused him for a second.


He didn't pause; he fast-forwarded slowly; plowing ahead into how difficult it is for anyone to actually analyze the market - other than Morgan Stanley OR his company.

Now Joe,
he finally came up for breath.
Would you say this sounds like a great opportunity?

I don't know.
I said.
I always do due diligence before investing in anything. So I can't say it sounds like a great opportunity until I've looked things over.

What sort of things do you think you need to look over?
he said.

I look at a company's historical performance, annual reports, industry outlook, P/E ratios...look at some numbers, get an idea of where they've been, where they're going, and what they represent.
I said.
Stuff like that.

Well here's the thing, Joe.
he said.
You're not an analyst, otherwise you'd be at Morgan Stanley making a bunch of money.

I have no desire to work at Morgan Stanley.
I said.

Those numbers and things you're talking about?
he said.
They really don't matter, Joe. You can't really learn anything from them unless you're an analyst, so that's where we can help.

I said.
And regardless of whether you find looking at those things helpful or not, I do. I'm not prepared to say whether or not it's a great opportunity. I haven't had anything in front of me to look at. Email me a link to your website and I might take a look.

Here's the thing, Joe.
he said.
We don't do the email game. We don't mess around with email, so -

- I interrupted.

Two things.
I said.
You don't "do the email game?" As opposed to the one hundred percent of Fortune 1000 companies that do, as well as, uhh, pretty much every Fortune-Anysize business you can think of?! And second: as I've told you several times: it's JOSEPH.

(I was completely unprepared for the most amazing display of...moxie to come. Arrogance? Blustering idiocy? The most mind blowing display of poor salesmanship I have heard this year as he responded:)

he said.
I prefer Joe.

(I think my demeanor is generally fairly congenial and even-toned, but my children looked up from what they were doing as I started laughing in disbelief and my voice shot up several decibels.)

Did you just tell me,
I said as he kept trying to talk over me.

Did you really just tell me that you prefer to call me "Joe" after I told you to call me "Joseph?"

I'm sure a lot of people call you Joe.
he said.

I said.
is beside the point. I told YOU that my name is Joseph multiple times! And you have continued calling me Joe.

It sounds like you're getting very emotional about this.
he said.
Like it struck a nerve.

Struck a nerve?!
I said.
Uhh, yeah. You called me, wanting my time and attention, yet you have not shown the basic respect of simply LISTENING. I have asked you, then TOLD you to all me Joseph. And you have not respected that.

I'm sure a lot of people call you Joe when they meet you.
he argued.

I said.
A lot of people do when they FIRST meet me. And when I tell them that it's JOSEPH, then that's what they call me.

I'm sure a lot of people still call you Joe after that.
he kept it up in a doomed attempt to convince me that people do not actually call me what they call me.*

I said.
In fact, they do not. When I tell them I prefer Joseph, pretty much one hundred percent of people respect that wish, although you are dropping that percentage fast.

Well Joe,
he started in -

I yelled; my children watching in giddy entertainment.

It's just habit.
he said.

I said.
Habit to not listen to what someone else is saying. Habit to not respect someone at the most basic level. Habit to have your ears tuned to the sound of your own voice.

It sounds like a big deal to you!
he said.
Here's the thing -

- Here's the thing,
I stated.
I'm going to help you learn a valuable life lesson today. I am going to hang up on you in a moment, and I want you to understand that you have lost a prospective client BECAUSE** you did not listen and because you did not show the most basic level of respect. I am hanging up now. Have a good day.

And I hung up.

And then we had a great little conversation with the children about Respect and standing your ground for things that are important. They listened attentively, but I kind of felt like a rock star for how awesome they thought I was after standing up for my name.

"I'm probably going to have trouble going to sleep tonight because I'll still be laughing so hard."
my daughter said.

Anyway. Peace, universe. Buy low, sell high, give it all away. Something like that  Have a good one.

- Joe Long

*to those friends who have called me Joe for years: you're fine. I love you. And you can do that. But never, ever, not even once, have I introduced myself to someone new as "Joe."
**and maybe a few other reasons

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