March '23

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M M A R C H 2 0 2 3 • G R A P H I C S P R O 8 1 In our parking lot, we saw exteriors being filmed and got to meet (and sell to) stars and guest stars from the show. One of my most enduring friendships to this day started while I worked there with David Ecker. When you spend about 5,000 working hours with a teammate, you get to know them very well. A few days ago, David called me about an idea for an article from a sermon he heard at church. His catchy phrase became the title of this piece. And with that phrase, it opened the floodgate of my memories and what I learned in the jewelry business. I had forgotten about their impact and how they carried on through my career in the sign industry. Let's blame age. "We are the sum total of our experiences. ose experiences—be they positive or neg- ative—make us the person we are, at any given point in our lives. And like a flowing river, those same experiences, and those yet to come, continue to influence and reshape the person we are, and the person we become. None of us are the same as we were yester- day, nor will be tomorrow." — B.J. Neblett Working at Bachendorf 's was my sec- ond jewelry job. During high school, I worked at a Zales in nearby Irving Mall. Hired as a stocker, it was at Zales when I got my first taste as a salesperson when the company offered 1% commission to any employee regardless of job descrip- tion to boost lagging sales. 1973 was not a great year; we had a stock market crash, inflation increased and was followed by a recession, an oil crisis, and unemploy- ment. Sound familiar? Where did 50 years go? Obviously to repeat itself. Each day, I expedited restocking shelves, helped cleaned glass counters and posi- tioned myself to assist the assistant, gen- eral and store manager sell something. I figured that 1% of anything was better than the $1.60 per hour minimum wage I was getting. Ironically, Hamilton had released the first LED watch, the "Pulsar" a few years earlier and it quickly became America's biggest watch success story ever; over 10,000 per month were sold. It is con- sidered one of the "Top 20 Watches of the Century" and was featured in the 1973 James Bond movie, "Live and Let Die." If I sold one, I would earn $2.95. So I did what any visionary salesperson would do, I figured out how not to leave great on the table. at month I sold 77 Pulsars. We'd been averaging about three per month. When you give a 16-year-old a check for $227.15 and his entire 20-hour weekly earnings for a four week month are only $128 gross, it changes your perspective on life and your vocation. I became the fastest stocker in history so I could get out behind the counters for as long as possi- ble each evening. I started selling watches, rings, necklaces, pins, pen sets, and silver serving sets. ere were three months total of these incentives. e assistant manager com- plained because in month two, I was outselling him and he worked 40 hours a week. I even got recognized in the chain for sales volume. By the middle of month three, I was outselling the general man- ager. en the store manager called me into his office. Uh oh. It was good news and bad news. I got a plaque and congratulated on my sales volume. He even shook my hand. He then sat down, shook his head and sighed. "I'm afraid this has put me in a delicate posi- tion. You are part time in high school and making my managers look bad. ey tell me you are not doing your stocking duties well and stealing their sales." "Untrue," I said with passion and pride. "Please look around the store. It is the best it's ever looked. I'm just better at sales than they are. Plus, they get a lot higher base com- mission than my 1%." (Remember, I was only 16 so not so well versed in diplo- macy yet.)

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