Joe Ninety –

I was in Australia. Working for a Sales company. I got the call around two. Fella called Joe had applied for a position. An Irishman like myself. Would I bring him for a spin and see what I thought?

The job had a strong emphasis on personal appearance

First impressions.

Compliance with legal obligations and Data protection.

Joe was standing against the wall with his shirt hanging out and his tie haphazardly thrown around his neck. He had his phone in one hand and a half smoked cigarette in the other. I beeped and he looked up, smiled and walked over.

He sat in. Still holding the cigarette.

He took a few last pulls and threw it out the window. Then said: ‘Howya, Mick. I’m Joe.’

‘Nice to meet ya, Joe.’

‘Tis. Tis. Where are we going?’

‘We’ll go for a spin around here now, do a few calls and see how we get on.’

‘Is it hard to sell?’

‘Depends. Customers need to trust you.’

‘Do they give you bank details?’

‘They do, but the details go into the tablet and we can’t store them anywhere.’

‘Can we write them down?’

‘No.’

‘Just in case you might need them again, like?’

‘No. Absolutely not. What would you need them for?’

He seemed disappointed, said: ‘I did this before.’

‘This job?’

‘Yeah, with a different crowd.’

‘How’d you get on?’

‘They used to call me Joe Ninety.’

‘Why?’

‘Cos I could make ninety sales in a week. And that’d be a bad week.’

‘And why’d you leave it?’

‘Got fired.’

‘How come?’

‘Dispute over a sale.’

‘Who’s fault was it?’

‘Theirs. They reckon I forged a signature.’

‘And did you?’

‘Yeah, but they couldn’t prove it. I did a good job, like. The signature was perfect.’

‘They’re not big fans of forgery here either, Joe.’

‘I suppose. Even if it meant you got the sale?’

‘Yeah, I think they call it fraud…or something like that, you know?’

‘Do you have to tell them the truth?’

‘Who?’

‘The customers.’

‘Ideally, yeah. Why wouldn’t ya?’

‘Aragh fuck that.’

‘Fuck what?’

‘Telling the truth.’

‘There’s not much need to lie. It’s a decent product…’

‘Still….you’d get sick of listening to excuses.’

‘And how does lying help?’

‘Can we not just tell them anything they want to hear?…Get them to sign.’

‘It’ll come back to bite you. And give the whole company a bad name.’

‘I don’t care about that, really. Dog eat dog out there.’

‘Hmm….’

‘D’you want a smoke?’

‘No.’

‘Can I smoke in this car?’

‘No.’

He saw my tablet on the ground, picked it up, sad: ‘We get a tablet so, we do?’

‘We do.’

‘Can we use Facebook on it?’

‘On the tablet?’

‘Yeah.’

‘No, it’s a work tablet. It’s locked to work applications.’

‘What if you sold it?’

‘Sold what?’

‘The tablet.’

‘Why the hell would you sell it?!’

‘Make money. Tell the bosses you lost it.’

‘You’d get fired.’

‘They’d hardly fire me for losing a tablet?’

‘No but they would for selling it.’

‘What if someone just happened to rob it?’

‘Still wouldn’t go down well.’

He threw it back on the ground, asked: ‘What’s the wages like for this job?’

‘Decent – but you need to make sales to make commission.’

‘Can you claim back expenses?’

‘For what?’

‘Food. Wear and tear in your car. Diesel.’

‘You get a fuel card alright.’

‘How much is on that?’

‘Works out about $100 a week.’

‘Can you sell that then?’

‘Sell what?’

‘The diesel?’

‘Sure you’ll need it to drive around – to make your sales, with your tablet that’s not stolen or flogged to someone else. But anyway, Joe – you have to get the job first.’

‘Do you think I’ve a good chance – tell me honestly now?’

‘Chance of getting the job?’

‘Yeah, seriously now. What do you think? I’m wearing my good suit and everything.’

—-

** Buy Mick Donnellan’s Novels here **

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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