The sales floor reeked of sweat and anticipation. ‘Unit Prospects’ huddled together under the glare of fluorescent lighting. Salesmen flashed their fillings and flared their nostrils, sniffing out commission. On one of the tables, an ‘UP’ did not look well.
‘My client’s about to pass out,’ said the saleswoman, capturing the attention of the boss as he slithered towards her table. ‘She’s diabetic and she’s turning grey. They’re telling me they’re interested, but look at her… they can’t stay much longer. Can we go into button-up next?’
Button-up. The last phase of the selling A-Z. Time for the big dogs. Another set of yellow teeth would soon gnash down on a broken biro in between crocodile smiles.
‘Where’s your T.O.?’ queried the boss, nonchalantly.
‘He’s on another table.’
‘Speak to your T.O.’
The T.O. – the “Take Over” – was indeed preoccupied with publically berating a salesman on the neighbouring table. His clients didn’t want to buy. The Scottish T.O. was down to his last gram. It simply wasn’t on.
‘I need help now,’ pleaded the saleswomen. ‘She’s on the brink of collapse.’
‘It’s not my problem if your T.O. can’t handle his tables,’ mumbled the boss with a shrug.
‘I know, but my client,’ the saleswoman pushed on, ‘she needs an injection or something.’
‘Not my problem.’
The interchange continued as the Unit Prospect in question – a woman in her late 60s – started gasping for breath. Veins protruded from her temple. She wasn’t a pretty sight but the boss was far too concerned about the deposit they might not be capable of paying. Despite her descent into the realm of unconsciousness, this diabetic wasn’t his priority. As the female UP continued to wheeze, the paperwork was prepared. The injection would have to wait.