Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Because You Never Know What Offends

Sports fans can be a nutty bunch. Not all of them, nor even a majority of them, but enough to cause logical people to pause and wonder what is wrong with people.

A Chicago area car salesman was fired for wearing a Green Bay Packers tie yesterday to work. From everything I've read and seen that is the only reason given for being fired. The owner of this car dealership said he feared backlash from customers and the Bears organization due to past promotions involving the Bears.

Sadly there's about as much validity, as there is lameness, involved with this decision. Should the guy have been fired? Probably not. Was he asked first to remove the tie, and refused? That I don't know. From a personal standpoint if I had been the guy's boss, or the owner of said car dealership, he probably wouldn't  have been fired.

From a business standpoint the salesman himself is wrong as well. He shouldn't be, but he is. (That makes sense, huh?) From a business standpoint the tie had to go though.

I've been in sales for a number of years. One of the first things I was taught was that you never know what can offend someone, so you don't wear any apparel sporting any type of logo, or verbiage, that can scuttle a potential sale. Seems silly, but sadly it's true. (Wearing logo from the company you actually work for is allowed naturally.) I've witnessed salespeople thrown out of nutty sports fans homes because they were wearing a shirt sporting the name of the team the home owner despises. Nutty sports fans buy things. Businesses do want their money.

My boss got a taste of this yesterday as well. In the four years I've known him he's been a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan. Every winter he's worn a heavy winter coat sporting that team logo. We live in Wisconsin and now that the Packers and Steelers are going to the Super Bowl all the nutty Packer fans are out in force. He ran our store's bank deposit over to the bank and received a ration of crap and name calling over the coat. Some good natured comments, but some down right nasty and threatening.

He went to leave work yesterday and we were standing at the front of the store shooting the breeze when a middle-aged couple walked past us. They stopped and asked him if he thought it was wise to wear that coat. They also assumed he wasn't from here. Once they heard he lived here and managed this store their comment was that they'd never shop at our store while he was employed here. That's how nutty some people are, and sadly businesses can't afford to alienate them. Or won't.

Now if I were the boss, would I leave this coat at home and wear another coat? No. If he had worn a tie, or shirt with a team logo, that would be different though. We actually have a company dress code which covers this, so it's not an issue. It's understood upfront, as silly as it may seem to be. And, from a business standpoint it makes sense sadly. But it's still a shame that people act this way over something as inconsequential as this.

Getting back to the car salesman in the Chicago area. He was offered, and accepted, another job at a different dealership today. He probably shouldn't have been fired in the first place. But while another place of business did hire him, I'm willing to bet they have a dress code in place which prohibits the tie from being worn, because they may despise this type of nutty behavior by sports fans, they still want their business.

Crap like this personally drives me insane, but I've accepted it as a part of doing business. My livelihood is based on making sales. It's simply safer and wiser to dress accordingly. Why invite more nuttiness in the sales process than necessary? We already have enough fruit loops enter the store as it is to deal with who act like idiots. I already deal with enough of them without adding nutty spots fans into the equation. My tolerance gets tested enough as it is, because I don't tolerate idiots very well.


KLZ said...

All of Chicago seems to be mad at Jay Cutler and taking it out on others.

Bouncin' Barb said...

It's great that people love their sports teams but leave it home. Work and sports are two different things. Some things you just can't talk about in public without ticking someone off.

Smart Ass Sara said...

I got crap the other day at work because I don't follow any sports. And when they were all talking about the big game coming up I just nodded politely and then it happened. I was asked my opinion. And from experience, I know not to engage- so I just said, "I don't really follow sports" and this guy went BALLISTIC. Called me a Wisconsin traitor and how could I not breathe Packers. He went on for almost 5 minutes when I was like, "Look buddy- I don't follow sports. I don't even like Wisconsin and I'm not from here. Suck it asshole." Yeah. That shut him up. And today he was nice as pie to me. Go figure.

Just Plain Tired said...

KLZ -- That Cutler stuff is a mess.

Bouncin' Barb -- Yup. Especially here now.

Smart Ass Sara -- This Super Bowl thing has got a lot of Packer fans acting way too crazy.

Gail said...

Shall I risk my life and say, it's just a game!?

Dazee Dreamer said...

Heaven forbid. It's stupid sports. I've never understood the hatred. Well, except I hate all things Lakers. but I digress.

Not shopping at your store. That's hogwash. just sayin.

Sarahf said...

I just don't get it, it's supposed to be fun. A little good-natured banter? No worries. My family exchange stupid banter over sports teams all the time. But some people go way to far. Having said that, I have often been disturbed by the patterns on some salepeoples' ties, no sports teams, just really bad fashion choices. Bad ties distract me from the deals.

ChiTown Girl said...

This dealership is just a few blocks from my house. Here are a couple of links to some articles about the story, if you're interested.



Here's a video clip:

Samantha Dugan said...

Lame. It's all so lame and people get their undies in a twist about the smallest things. Sports? Really? I am a huge sports fan but would never think twice about going someplace where another team was favored. Now politics is a whole other issue. I used to go to this little diner for breakfast like 2 times a month. I liked the food and it was close but once I saw a political petition out for customers to sign, (and truthfully it was not from my camp so that has plenty to do with it) I stopped going. Not so much that they supported the other team as much as it just seemed stupid to barf your political crap on consumers that also support you. I never threw a fit, never said a word actually but that was like 7 years ago and I have not been back....

darev2005 said...

Let's face it. There are alot of people who don't think they have any sort of life unless their panties are in a twist about something. Politics. Religion. Sports. Those are the big three. Some people just need to grow the snap up.

GoofyGirl said...

as a kid I wouldn't be friends with/like anyone that chose Pepsi® over Coke® .... but that was a poorly misdirected family loyalty thing since my Great Grandpa was a VP for CocaCola back in the day. I realize now that it was stupid (even though I secretly can not fathom liking Pepsi® over Coke® even thought I don't drink soda anymore)... but why is it that as kids we think that things will change when people "grow up"? I don't think they/we do... we just get harsher.
Sports are the perfect example. I live in MA and it's RIDICULOUS how a person randomly wearing a Yankees t-shirt or cap will get treated. I've actually found myself scared at times in bars when people have felt the need to tell another how much "your team sucks."
Really just makes me wanna grab a giant frying pan and go all cartoon on their craniums.

Jessica B said...

Seriously?? That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. It's a GAME. I just don't get people sometimes.