Can I interest You In Some Sweet Pickles?

100_4303.JPGLook at that late 80's early 90's junk madame secretary is wearing. Holy crap, there's nothing on that terminal. Yes, it's likely a terminal! MMmmmm IBM clickey keyboards. I still use this one to this day. Just something about the feel of them. They are big and I have hammer fat hands. She's got a scarf with a pin. Must be cold in that office. She's also wearing a Radio Shack DuoFone-129.  It was a staple in Radio Shack catalogs pretty much until they didn't make catalogs any more. Even after, they stuck around until wireless and digital stuff made these little pieces of fun completely obsolete.

100_4304.JPGImagine being a model for DuoFone products. The gal on the front had a brilliant modelling career and was in over 50 corporate videos. The gal on the back? Porn. No, I kid.  It's the guy in the tie who was into porn. Ha. No, I kid. Actually, all the people on some of Radio Shack's products were around for a few years. If I was a kid and mommy was on a box, I'd be proud to have a pic of mom on the back of a product that sat on shelves collecting dust until some poor sucker bought it for a gig at a phone soliciting company near him. Of course, most would throw out the box this thing came in. Most. I kept everything.

100_4307.JPGYes, even the receipt. It's from a location that no longer exists in a mall that was torn down from a company that is barely hanging on. I hung on to the receipt and it didn't fade like the new thermal ones do. Of course, I can buy a scanner to scan them and keep them from fading. WTF! Things were much simpler in the 90's. This was purchased in 1992. I was likely between gigs at many closing appliance stores so I chose to earn some extra cake by returning to the place I'd worked before. Phone soliciting. Yecch.


Nowadays, they have something called auto diallers. They plug in a computer list and you only talk with someone when they connect with a person. Hence, why you receive many calls a day where there is a two or three second gap from when you pick up and say "F**K YOU" and when the person asks "Is Mrs. P. Oussee there?"  It's totally digital. Once you get to work, you're taking calls, trying to see if some sucker will buy 14 shoddy windows or credit card protection or whatever junk is out there trying to see if there are any peeps still willing to part with money via phone. At least the company I worked for had legitimate products to sell and decent offers to make to customers that had already had the product. Oh yeah, this DuoFone took 4 AA batteries.  Gameboy? No, this won't play Tetris.

100_4309.JPGI got a gig there before I even decided that home electronics sales would be my future. I needed a gig and my brother worked there. He said they were always looking for bodies and if I met a minimum quota, I could pull down a little cash. They started me in a division  that sold subscriptions to Weekly Reader publications. I liked that crap when I was a kid.  I had to sell Sweet Pickles, something that helped children learn their ABCs. A little training and  I was on the phones. We were provided computerized "leads" that they kept in big files. They had NEW leads, that hadn't been called by anyone. They had "day time" and "night time" leads and they had well called leads they kept calling in hopes that just one more potential customer would pick up. We had to hold up old style phones, and they always smelled like Lysol because that's what you used to clean them before pressing your ear to them and spitting into the receiver. My room was filled with about 25 others who all were giving the same pitch. "Little Johnny is ready for the next grade of book crap and mindless mazes and word games and generic characters. Want to subscribe again this year? What? He didn't use it? How about your next youngest. How about a subscription to the next grade pap and promo TV Stars and non offensive pop music stars magazine? No? How about a Playboy subscription for you? " Well, that's jumping to another line.

100_4310.JPGI washed out of that job in a few weeks. I dialled my fingers off and got very little in sales. I guess they wanted to see who would wash out. Actually, the last day I was there, I called someone who started crying as this was a subscription for a child that was deceased. I figured that was a fitting end to a job I never really liked and dragged myself into each day. Hell, I could see if I could get back my weekend biscuit making gig at Mickey Macs. 

This phone device let you use either the handset or the head set. Had a neat LED battery test button. A switch that I don't know what it did, and the volume.  I think they sold one that had the dial pad on it as well and could be used as a complete phone. I wouldn't have had very much money back then, so I used the base of my first credit card to get into deeper debt and spent $50 on this. Why? My brother, as I mentioned, had worked at the solicitor and told me to go to a different "program" where they sold magazine subscriptions to those about to expire or had expired a few months. I went to work for that division and well, life was good for a bit. I actually made some money over what I was getting as an hourly. For a part time gig, I thought it was okay. Um.... Well....

100_4311.JPGI got this headset so I could be hands free. I wouldn't have to breathe in Lysol to remove caked on make up or ounces of cigarette spittle. It also meant I could be free while flipping leads and dialing.  A few things bugged me. When we made a sale, we would need to hold up our arm and snap. That way the supervisor of the shift could write it down. Sort of giving all of us motivation to sell sell sell. Trouble was, some of the supes would be very vocal. I'd be making a sale and they would shout my name and say I was making a sale. Must have been wonderful to the people I was selling too. A few people had nick names and I would hear "Bubbles Be Bangin" and "Dingman Be Doin' It" . No, I'm not making those up. It's why I remembered them in particular. They reminded me of carnival barkers. "Weeeeeee'veeeeee got another Biiiiig WiIIIINNNER" Then "You Get A Car! You Get A Car! You Get A Car" We were lucky if it was a candy bar.

After a while, I got so good at dialing, they would hand me packs of the old leads so I could run through them. While the phone was dialing, I would write short stories or other worthless crap and one of the supes got in my face about it.  At that point I went to the manager of the division and complained, and the manager saw my numbers, and spoke to the super who just looked the other way from then on. By this time, the job was harder to drag myself too and eventually I stopped showing up.  My retail cashier, fast food employee, electronics and appliance sales skills still kept me in wages until I got serious about some kind of radio gig. Yes, I have quite the collection of name tags and hair nets. Mike Meyers. Skitch. Thanks.