Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Servicing the Account
At the Business Journal, where I worked, the sales department consisted of a bunch of cubicles in the middle of a wide open floor. Due to the close proximity of one another, everyone knew everything about one another's business. This was back before cellphones really had the range they do now, so if you got a personal call, you were chained to your desk. I don't know the science of it, but the acoustics enabled you to hear even whispered conversations (you had to strain, but still) of your co-workers on their phone.
Once my husband called, disguising himself as a disgruntled client. I was backpedaling like no one's business, falling all over myself to explain why his ad was not where I said it was going to be. Midway through, after I had promised him all sorts of things everyone knew I could not deliver, he revealed himself.
"Jesus, Brad!" The collective cubicle laughter could be heard when you got off the elevator. I caught shit for that one FOREVER.
The dynamic of an office full of women is a complicated one. It reminded me of my sorority house, except you couldn't vote on who got in. Salespeople are usually competitive by nature anyway, so there was dysfunction on many levels. Men seemed to pick up on this and could even capitalized on it, if they were brave enough. For instance, if a dude made a big show of affection by sending something to the office, we assumed there was an agenda. Let's be real, there usually was.
When a sales rep would receive flowers at work, the talk would almost inevitably turn to "servicing the account". The next day everyone would inquire as to whether the girl had to give it up, and if she didn't then we took it as an act of true love - expecting nothing in return. We would whoop and high five each other and then my best friend and I would go to lunch and make assumptions about what was wrong with her sex life. Most often, we decided her husband was gay. Like I said, an office full of women is NOT a healthy environment.
There are three "holidays" in which a husband knows that you are a sure thing - Valentine's Day, your anniversary and his birthday, and oh, and if your lucky - YOUR birthday, too!
To this day (I am 41 and have been married 16 years )my friend's will ask, "What'd you get fo' yo' berfday?" This is inevitably followed by "Did you have to service the account?" Then, no matter what the answer is, "Niiiiccee."
I imagine Brad and his friends have a similar conversation when it is his birthday, but the tone is different somehow. With men, I don't think it even matters what they got for their birthday as long as they get it for their birthday. Ya' dig?
So, this begs the question, if you are a woman, do you do it in the morning and then get on with your day or wait until the end of the night when you are full of jagermeister shots and draft beer? Birthday accounts are cumbersome and paperwork filled. They require premeditation AND analysis on both your parts, believe me. You are not an amateur, after all. You have been servicing accounts your entire adult life.
I think that Valentine's Day should be recognized as a transaction between people in love. That is what I call romance. I don't know about your house, but there is more arbitration going on here in a single day, than happens at the U.N. all year. The things I have to agree to in order to get Brad to take out the recycling would turn your stomach. After a "date night" in which we go to dinner and "one of my independent films, " my husband will exclaim, "Let the negotiations begin!"
We have friends who got engaged at the same time we did - way back in the day - and they used to fight incessantly. Honestly, we both thought they might be headed for divorce, it could get so bad. Well, they live out of town and we recently went to spend the weekend with them. They are blissfully in love. It was bizarre. I kept trying to figure it out - are they medicated? in therapy? is it just that they're kids are older now and they have more time for each other? I was positively mystified. None of the above. They had an account schedule, and don't you know that ho' was servicing every Tuesday and Friday. You could set your clock by her.
Well, Brad was inspired and I was turned off, as usual. So we got together with our attorneys and set up a schedule with several pages of ground rules, stipulations, amendments, etc. I guess I ruined the idea for him , though, when I installed a time clock. He said I was taking it too far.
Another idea Brad came across at one of his "meetings" (translation - a bunch of his friends bullshitting at BW3's) was to put money in a jar each time the account is serviced. This sounded suspiciously like something illegal, but I couldn't put my finger on it. I guess at the end of a year or something, the money in the jar was to be used for a vacation. I was all for that, but when I found out that I would not be going on that vacation alone, I bailed.
So now we have settled on gift cards as a method of payment. A lot of people might see this as insensitive, but because I appreciate the "transaction" aspect of marital bliss, I see it as the next best thing to CASH, and I am pretty sure it is not trafficking in anything, unless you count the mall.
Flowers are also a favorite because no matter what, it always makes you feel special and girly and it inspires me to clean my house. Brad obviously sees this as a win-win, as well.
So I guess the moral of this story, is that with intense negotiation and collective bargaining, couples everywhere can meet in the middle and come up with something that our husbands can really get behind.
Blooms Direct is on Goodale and they have a great selection of flowers in their coolers in the back. It is wholesale, but is open to the public and you can always put together some cool arrangements at a reasonable price. They usually have specials on whatever flower is in season at the time. Their hydrangea plants are really nice, too. Check it out.
P.S. Don't you love the photo above? Every time I look at it, it reminds me of that awkward Al and Tipper Gore kiss during his presidential campaign. UUGGGHHH. Cringe.