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The Confessions of an RV Parts Salesman



    Before we jump into things I want to apologize for being a lump when it comes to writing. It’s been over a year and a half since I wrote anything and frankly I’m not sure when or if that will change. I still have stories I want to tell but I’m too damn lazy with the down time I have to actually do it. I know, “excuses, excuses” right? I had someone follow me the other week and all I could think was "You poor soul."
    Anyways, I’m sitting at work enjoying a small calm at the moment and I was just mulling over some of the stuff I’ve seen and done today and thinking I should attempt to be productive with the thoughts instead of watching Vinny or playing Terraria under the desk. As this is essentially venting at this point expect less than flattering language. You've been warned, not that I think anyone who reads these actually cares.
    Recently, ShyYoungBrony recommended “No Sale” to me. It turned out to be a nice little story where Rarity basically has the most composed mental breakdown ever as she vents her frustrations to customers who don’t really want to buy anything. If you’ve ever worked retail definitely give it a read. Anyways, it got me thinking about my job and the frustrations it entails and in my mentally exhausted state I began to think of certain “Retail-isms”, if you will, that I use almost daily in an attempt to be polite and considerate to people who almost never return the favor.
    To give my frustration a little context, we sell a luxury here. No one NEEDS an RV. Hell, I’ll never own one, way too much hassle, so when someone wants to get upset with me because A manufacturer won’t work with me or when my shop is backed up it’s hard to sympathize unless the people are living in it. Keep in mind that most of these started as legit statements and then evolved into these blanket statements because I deal with a bunch of people and sometimes I have to tell some of them something just to pacify them.
    “I’m sorry he/she is tied up right now…” This one can mean a number of things. Around here it often means exactly that but it can also mean: he/she is in the bathroom, he/she is sick of being on the phone leave them alone, he/she has no more information than the last 5 times you called over the last hour can you please just chill out we are trying (the most common alternative), we don’t want what you are selling, or I genuinely have no idea where they went but they sure as hell ain’t here.
    “There was a mix up with our distributor.” Nine times out of then this means “We fucked up and didn’t order your thing/ordered the wrong thing.” Although shit does happen and I have had boxes get left on loading docks.
    “I was out of the office that day.” This used to be a lot more true before I went to working five days a week. Now it usually means I honestly don’t remember but you look/sound like you’ll get mad at me if I say that.
    “Let me see if I can get him/her on the phone.” This translates to “I have no idea if they are even here right now because no one tells me when they run off around here.”
    And then there’s the politely honest statements compared to what I want to say.
    “I’m not familiar with that.” = “I have no idea what you're talking about or how to deal with it.”
    “I’m still figuring that out, let me grab someone who knows a little more.” = “We don’t believe in training around here apparently so you are about to become a learning experience.”
    And let’s not forget my all time favorite answer to any question ever when trying to get information about a part, “It’s for an RV.” WELL HOT DIGGITY FUCK ARE YOU IN THE RIGHT PLACE MY FRIEND. Observe the following conversation in script format where I will be “N” and the customer will be “C”. In this case, the customer is here and has the part he is looking for and I don’t know what it is.
    C: I’m looking for a part. (Holds out part)
    N: Ok, what did this come out of?
    C: An RV.
    N: (internal calming breath) Where in the RV?
    C: Off the door.
    Aside: their are like 12 different kinds of doors for these rolling headaches.
    N: Ok, like, the entry door, or?
    And that’s when I usually get the information I need. Let’s look at another scenario where the customer doesn't have the part or is calling me on the phone.
    C: I’m looking for a valve for my toilet. (This is a really common issue. Most people don’t understand that the underside of these trailers are not insulated unless the unit was specifically made that way. They call it the "Polar Package." This means that if you don’t drain the water from your lines and it gets cold, things are going to get  broken. For the toilet, this means holding the flush open to let it drain. Most people forget this which is honestly understandable)
    N: Ok, what kind of toilet is it?
    C: I don’t know.
    N: I need to know so I can get you the valve you need. Does Thetford or Dometic sound familiar to you?

    C: No, it’s a [trailer brand here] if that helps.
    N: Unfortunately not sir. RV’s are built on assembly lines and they just buy whatever is cheapest in bulk and use that until they run out then find the next cheapest thing.
    C: Well what is the most common?
    N: The two I mentioned before are the biggest brands, however both of them have at least 6 different toilets on the market and they all use different valves so I really either need to see the valve or know exactly what toilet you have.
    A few things can happen at this point. If I’m lucky they accept that and try to find me that information, or they give me the VIN of the unit and I call the manufacturer (mixed results from that one because some brands don’t exist anymore), or they agree to bring me the part.
    Now at face value, that doesn't seem all that frustrating and in small doses it’s not. However the rules that apply for toilet valves also apply for water heaters, air conditioners, refrigerators, faucets, and pretty much everything in an RV and I field at least six calls an hour on top of the people who come in eight hours a day, five days a week and it’s always the same thing. It wears a person out after a while.
    I could go on but it’s almost closing time and I have things to do before then. Not to mention I’ve written almost three Google doc pages which is more story than I’ve written since I started this job. Maybe I’ll continue another time and tell you about the people who expect too much.
    Anyways, Monky out.


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