Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Remco Years - The Final Chapter

Our CEO was batshit crazy.

He was this Col. Kurtz like figure down in Houston, an est disciple who would send out these rambling, indecipherable "Company Memos".

They were like letters from your senile Great Aunt down in Arkansas who thought you were her long-dead sister, Marta Lou.

They were only useful for their entertainment value. The guy was nucking futs!

The folks below him weren't any better. There was no real business direction. It was all panicky, reactive decisions based on lagging business indicators

There was no Strategic Vision because (I suspect) they were all huddled around the corporate hookah listening to our CEO/guru spout his est-inspired, ganja-fueled, goon-babble.

So our boss, Dan, would get these memos and phone calls from Houston.

"You have too many delinquent accounts! If your customers are one hour past due, you go get those units! Take no excuses! Get those units!"

So he would be forced to send us out on these massive roundups that were coordinated like multi-jurisdictional warrant strikes. We would even notify law enforcement officials and have units staged nearby and on alert if we needed them.

Then we would be left with fewer customers and a store room full of cockroach infested rental units waiting to be fumigated, cleaned up, touched up, refurbished and ready to be rented to some other poor schmucks.

As a result of all this, we would start doubling up on our due diligence. We started to be more careful about who we rented to. We would verify employment. We would actually call their personal references. We tried harder to make sure we were only renting to people who could make the payments.

A few weeks would go by, and we would get another urgent memo from Houston.

"You have too many idle units! Those units aren't generating any revenue sitting in the store room! Move 'em! Anyone who walks in with a pulse and can 'make their mark' on an application leaves with a unit! That store room better be empty by the end of the week! You're e rental company! Rent some units!"

This tidal cycle would repeat itself over, and over and over. We saw the folly, but apparently the folks in Houston were oblivious to it.

I know the stress took its toll on Dan. Like any good manager, he tried to be a buffer between us and Corporate HQ. His job was to absorb all the crazy, stress inducing bullshit and distill it down to "this is what we need to do to keep the paychecks coming".

Towards the end, Dan was forced to accept an Assistant Manager hand picked by HQ. That's when it started being not so much fun anymore. It was also about the time that we started branching out and renting shit like washing machines, dryers, furniture.

I forget whether Dan quit or got fired. But we were all left reporting to the corporate assistant manager guy.

Also can't remember whether I quit or got fired. I suspect I was fired because I wound up on unemployment for a while. The Remco delivery van was no longer at my disposal for personal use. I could no longer afford my apartment. I needed a place to live.

As I recall, Dan wound up with another sales job, but he wasn't making the money he used to and he was looking for a roommate.

So we became roomies at his place at 65th and Oak. Our landlord was the owner of Kelly's in Westport.

What went on during the years that Dan and I roomed together are probably worthy of their own series of posts.

Thanks for reading.


Donna said...

Very interesting.

Lee said...

We await "XO - The Bosom Buddies Years" with great eagerness.

I Travel for JOOLS said...

I think they call that a