It’s Not You, It’s Me (or my flapjack of a customer)

So, I pop up from the lab and this horny sales rep has left me a voicemail. “Er, a while back I sampled you an LCD for a project you were working on, ah, just wanted to know, um, how that’s working out you, what the status of your project is, ok, I guess just give me a call at…”

I fucking hate calls from sales reps. Not just because they want to be my buddy and call me for a year trying to set up meetings with “their guy” who’s going to be in the area next Tuesday, but also because, as a small R&D company and with a dozen similar parts out there, we (a) probably didn’t go with their part for our design, and (b) probably aren’t going to ever, in our lifetime, buy more than 10 units anyway. So, after the HSR has (without my asking) pulled some strings to send me $50 worth of free samples, I have to break him the news that we are not going to be using his part for our design. Some of these guys work so hard to get us on board…it’s hard to break the news to them; it’s like making a break-up call. I’ve only had to do one breakup letter in my lifetime, and it fucking hurt. Anyway, now I have to callback these various reps, and deliver them the ol’ Dear John:

“Hun…It’s a really great part, and has been a pleasure to work with. It’s just not what I’m looking for at this stage in my design… it’s just…my needs aren’t being met by this part. I hope you understand. It’s not you, it’s me.”

Sure, I suppose I could just dodge them indefinitely, and not return their calls, hoping they get the hint that I’m just not that into their component, but after $n in free samples (whether solicited or not), I figure I at least owe them a call.

I tried to explain that despite his repped product’s technical superiority, they were undercut by CrapCo in Shenzhen ’cause they were half the price. Then my customer is being a bitch and wants a complete redesign for free (at an estimated cost of $5k, this is a no-go), so production has not gone forward anyway, and at this point I don’t expect it to. Well, no names were named, but I was probably more honest with Horny Sales Rep than I should be under NDA. I thought the direct approach would dissuade further advances, but no. I laid it out bare: “hey, I don’t want you to do all this work and then find out this project never continued…”, but he insisted. So, I’ve got Horny Sales Rep scavenging to get me a part from his rep’d company at CrapCo’s price for a part that still, in all likelihood, will never be bought. I love R&D, but sometimes it leaves me pissed off.


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