Honest Integrity: Indigestible Humor, Crafty Viewpoints, & Other Misnomers of Insularity

Jan Verhoeff

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Chuckle through a few meals with a 12 year old and you’ll know it’s possible to survive anything. If he’s wearing a sweatshirt that says “Just be glad I’m not your Child” thank your lucky stars and be prepared to laugh out loud!

“So, if I eat all four food groups at one meal, do I get points?”

Now, I’m not silly enough to think he doesn’t have something up his sleeve, but I am gutsy enough to look him squarely in the eye and ask, “What are the four food groups?”

“Rice cakes, peanut butter, pickles, and root beer. ”

The grin on his face says it all, and I decide not to ask where he got that idea from. I take another bite of the Mexican Salsa and Burritos on my plate and consider my answer a moment. “Sure, you get points. ”

“Did I tell you about Josh’s new dog?” I shook my head and took another bite. “Thirty feet of piss, from one side of the room all the way around behind the Entertainment Center and his Dad told him if that dog takes another leak in the house he’s going to skin him, roast him on the spit, and serve him up on a bun with mustard, catsup, and relish. What’s a spit?”

“It’s a barbeque grill, usually has a rod that turns to roast the meat evenly. ” I answer, ignoring the important part of his ramble.

“Mom, a good dog barks whenever a stranger comes around. ” I concentrate on sipping my soda, looking around for a distraction. “John and Leda have a whole batch of puppies, and they have shots and everything. If I had a dog, I wouldn’t always be asking you to take me to my friends. I could play with my dog. ”

“I don’t mind taking you to your friends occasionally. ” I continue looking for a distraction, “Besides you have to get out now and then. ”

“Well, I was just thinking, we don’t have a spit. ” (Can you hear the wheels turning?) “John said all of the puppies were house trained. You know Leda would never allow dogs in her house if they weren’t house trained. ”

“We need to get a grill. Steaks and chicken on a grill this summer would be an awesome treat. ” I answer, picking up the trash from the table and taking it to the trash bin on my way out the door.

“Mom, ” my son followed me out the door and stopped in front of the car, “Mom, I’m asking you if I can get a puppy. One that’s potty trained. We don’t have carpet. I would take care of the puppy, and you gave me extra points!”

I ruffle his hair and answer, “Honey, we gotta get you a hair cut. ”

As I unlock the doors and he slides into his side of the car, I glance across the seat and see a tear sliding down his face. He’s just made the end all of sales pitches, asked me for something he really wants, and I’ve just responded in the same way my clients do when I’m attempting to sell them a new product. The key turns, the ignition fires, and we’re backing out of the space and I realize; I can’t say no.

I pull up in front of Leda and John’s house and he sits there, head down, eyes closed, broken hearted. His seatbelt is the only thing holding him in the seat, the weight of all those tears waiting to fall would tip him right out onto the floorboard if he weren’t belted into the seat.

“So, do you want the black one or the brown one?” I asked, looking at his lowered head.

A smile crept across h is face, dimpled his cheek, and put a wrinkle in front of his ear. “You mean I get a dog?”

And that my friend is how we ended up with a Chocolate Lab named Hazelnut who lives in the gray plastic dog hut in the middle of the living room. It’s too cold and snowy to leave him outside, and I’ve never been the kind of mom who lets dogs sleep with kids, so the living room is the only other option at the moment.

And if that dog pisses on my carpet, I’ve already told my son, I’m going to skin him, roast him on the spit, and serve him on a bun with mustard, catsup, and pickle relish. Yes, I know he doesn’t believe a word of it, but the dog doesn’t know that!

The moral of this story is, when your clients and customers don’t seem interested in the product, show some honest emotion and tell them one more time how much they need what you’re offering. You never know when a little bit of honest integrity might complete your sale.

Jan Verhoeff is a full time homemaker, mom of four wonderful children, and works from home in the field of marketing, copywriting, and business/tax consulting. This article honestly has very little to do with any of that stuff, but it’s a cute story about how her son sold her a bill of goods on a dog that brings him hours of joy. The dog barks at everyone who comes to the house, stranger or friend, and has intimidated tax clients into additional services. Who needs Guido and an IRS strong-arm with Hazelnut laying under the desk? Visit http://brandyourmarket.com and sign up for your FREE ezine subscription of The Branding Iron. Let’s just see if you don’t get enough marketing tips to keep your Iron in the fire for another hundred years of business.


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