Just sell me the God-damned elephants already!

I’m about to spit nails. I’ve spent the past week setting up larger purchases for my new lab (yay!), something my chair has been very supportive of me doing prior to my move so that I can hit the ground running once I arrive in TTT. And while the expensive decisions I’ve been making have been a little stressful and  overwhelming, I’m getting to plan my lab from the ground* up and couldn’t be more excited to have this opportunity.

And then this morning happened. A sales representative questioned whether I actually *needed* a particular piece of equipment for which I requested a quote. I’ve used this specific piece of equipment in my postdoc lab for the past 5 years, and could argue it is crucial for my sub-sub-SUB-field of research. Others in my sub-field or my sub-sub-field may not be willing to part with the almost double amount of [MY] start-up money that I’ll be spending on this piece of equipment, so I can understand the initial response I got from the sales rep this morning:

SR: Are you sure you want to go this more expensive route? If you’d like, I can show you this more affordable option that we offer.

Me: No thank you, this is what I’ve been using for the past five years, and the savings on the other options you’re talking about aren’t worth the hit I’ll take in productivity.

You’d think at that point the sales guy would move forward with getting the quote prepared for the particular piece of equipment I requested information on. But no – I have instead spent the entirety of my day since trying to justify why this piece of equipment is a necessity for my lab. Not to my department or my chair, but to a company that stands to make more money from this purchase. This in place of getting quotes together for other items I need to purchase, organizing my postdoc work for the move, and taking care of experiments that need to be done to get grants that are needed to keep this crazy scientific venture of mine moving forward.

I frankly don’t understand why I need to explain to this douchenugget that it is NOT acceptable to tell me this equipment would be a waste of my money. (Um, yeah, thanks, that’s an insult to me AND my postdoc mentor). And it is NOT acceptable to quiz me on MY research in a completely insulting, male-dominance, I’ll take care of the poor little girl with a cute new lab sort of tone. And it is most definitely, NOT acceptable to make me feel like a tempestuous, bitchy woman when I state you have stepped way over the line with the insulting manner in which you’ve made me justify a piece of equipment I wish to purchase.

If it weren’t for the fact that this particular piece of equipment is BY FAR the most cost effective way to achieve the level of productivity I need for my research, I would simply walk away from the company. But after digging through the websites of several competitors and researching other options, I can’t find a comparable system out there. I’m frustrated and quite frankly at the end of my rope, and I can’t help feeling like this wouldn’t be happening if I had a penis. I mean, if I wanted to give you a shit-load of money to purchase a herd of elephants that you had for sale, would you explain to me why I should buy your monkeys instead? No, you’d sell me the fucking elephants. Patting me on the head and telling me I don’t need elephants is simply unacceptable.

I want my elephants, and I’ll get my fucking elephants. Even if I have to grow a pair, I WILL HAVE MY ELEPHANTS.

*Well, not really from the ground up like some really cool bloggy peeps, but at least from the bench top up. 🙂

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10 thoughts on “Just sell me the God-damned elephants already!

  1. OMG it’s all so Pretty Woman, isn’t it?

    You/Julia Roberts: How much is this?
    Sales rep/bitchy store lady: I don’t think that would fit you.
    Y/JR: Well. I didn’t ask if it would fit, I asked how much it was.
    SR/BSL: It’s very expensive.
    Y/JR: Look, I got money to spend in here!
    SR/BSL: I don’t think we have anything for you.

    And it’s too bad you can’t get this thing somewhere else, because then you could call them back up and be all, “You work on commission, right? Big mistake. HUGE.”

    And…end scene.

  2. Dude, what a douche. I don’t know if you want to go this route, but we had a sales rep that kept postponing meeting with my lab for weeks on end. Finally, with the help of a well connected tweep, I went above his head, reported his lack of interest and contacted another company with more interest in selling us the 200K piece of something fabulous. We’re in the process of negotiating, we’ll see how it goes. But seriously, companies need to start training people in listening skills, like really good ones, to avoid situations like this one. Maybe the guy knows something about the service contract or something and can’t tell you or something about the product, or whatever, still, he/she shouldn’t question you wanting this, or he/she should let you know if there’s a specific reason (and valid, ie. they’re discontinuing the thing, or merging with someone, selling whatever) or not treat you like a 5 year old kid. If you have the money and the will to buy it, STFU and sell it. This is annoying and disrespectful to say the least. I hope you get your elephant. And again, congrats 🙂

  3. I’ve dealt with this some myself. This is when you realize that you have a big pair of lady balls. You ask if you can speak to this douchenugget’s boss. No exceptions. Then you explain that if it were not the need for this set of elephants that you would have taken your business elsewhere. Explain that you should NOT have to justify the need for X,Y,Z equipment other than to say: I NEED IT! In the future, you will be taking your business elsewhere, no exceptions. Then you very calmly say, ‘Get me my motherfucking elephants, you bastards!’, XOXOXO, MicroDrO.

    Sorry of all the stuff that you are dealing with right now, this shouldn’t be one of them!!

  4. AHAHAHA – you just made me laugh for the first time today Becca 😀 And I could totally pull off that last line if I could get this somewhere else; I’ll totally keep looking just in case something else turns up.

    “I have to go shopping now.”

  5. From the Inside, I’d say several things could be happening:
    1. there is some crazy lead time on the product you really want (which, if the co is changing production OR if it’s made in Japan could be a legit problem),
    2. the company is in litigation because the product you want to buy infringes on something, and they haven’t worked it out yet,
    3. Sales rep is being pressured to sell that particular piece of crap.
    4. Sales rep is clueless. (in which you should talk to his/her boss)

    FWIW, in biotech we have to deal with our OWN sales reps, and they can still be weird like this.

    I’m hoping you get a large elephant and some elephant consumables for your trouble.

  6. @SG – Good thoughts. The product has been around for quite a long time, so I think #2 is unlikely. I thought of #1 earlier, due to the fact that installation will be a production unto itself. But that wouldn’t be his problem. Also considered #3, since the rep was settled on this alternate even before talking to me.

    Because of the overall tone of the conversation (which I just can’t figure out how to convey and still remain pseudonymous), I mostly think this d00d just wanted to show me what a ignorant little girl I was for wanting to purchase such an expensive and fancy piece of equipment. I seriously got off the phone feeling like I had just been given a “come to Jesus” talk from my father.

    Of course, any of the reasons you provided could have been the motivation; making me feel dumb was just his tactic.

  7. What a douche!
    One thing I’ve been told over and over ((and I’m starting to learn to do) is DON’T EXPLAIN/JUSTIFY to these people. Just say “yes I need this elephant, now where is that quote?” (or sometimes simply “No” instead of “no because I am already busy that day”)
    Meanwhile try to find another vendor or another rep in the company.
    Arguing back gives the other person justification for continuing the discussion, and it’s not your job to educate him.

  8. Argh, the plague of the SR! Second NatC’s comment. Do not explain, just state: “We’ll need an elephant, not a monkey”. “But the monkeys are much cuter and cheaper too, AND you can use their tails in the same way you would use a trunk!”. “No, we’ll go with the elephant, please include it in the quote”. And if the guy doesn’t leave, fake a meeting and say “I’ll be expecting that quote by tomorrow, then”. When the monkeys show up in the quote, reply back with “I also need a quote for the elephant”. Move the discussion quickly to the email stage, and try to involve the boss if necessary. If you can, be dismissive, without telling him off.

  9. Hmmm… Did you ever ask the little person why he was recommending a different piece of equipment, one that would earn him a lesser commission? Could there be something you don’t know, and should?

    And speaking of why, why did you feel you had to justify your desire for this particular item? No one has to justify anything to some sales rep. If someone asked me to justify my need for a specific item, I would tell him I felt no need nor desire to explain myself to him and I expected a quote. Forthwith. Actually, I’d probably tell him to take a flying eff at the moon. But then, some of us are cranky that way.

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