Death of a salesman

The recently married salesman was busy setting up a home with his wife, a rather high-maintenance lady who wanted to outfit their new abode with only the finest furnishings that money could buy.

Unfortunately, sales at the company the salesman worked for had dropped off substantially during the recession and his commission had decreased substantially. So much so that he was finding it hard to meet the financial demands of his new spouse.

But rather than deny his new-found lady love with all the worldly goods that her heart desired, the desperate sales representative decided to fiddle his expense report, inventing several dinner meetings between a number of key clients and submitting fake receipts for the meals to his manager for approval.

For a while, the sales representative’s behaviour went unnoticed by the management. Because he did not carry out his scheme on a grand scale, the one or two odd dinner receipts he presented were actually viewed as an indication of the hard work he was putting in attempting to attract new business.

But the fraudulent scheme did not last long. That’s right. On one occasion, his manager noticed that he had submitted a receipt for a meal with a major client on the very same night that the manager himself was dining with the very same individual.

One week after the event, the manager called the sales representative into his office to thrash out the matter under the guise of discussing sales in his region.

After a pleasant 10-minute chat, the manager turned his attention to the subject of the dinner that the salesman claimed he had had with his client, asking him if he was absolutely certain that he had entertained the client on that specific day.

The salesman was adamant that he had, even going so far as to invent parts of the conversation that they had had during the evening.

But the manager knew better. After he had seen the salesman’s expense report, he had telephoned the particular client in question and discovered that the sales representative hadn’t had a meal with him in over six months. Again, the manager asked the salesman if he might have made a mistake with the date, but was assured that the meeting had taken place on that specific night.

The manager asked the salesman one last time if he wanted to change his story. But again, the salesman stood by his lies, assuring the manager that he had definitely dined out on that specific evening with the client in question.

Needless to say, you can imagine how embarrassed the hapless sales representative was when the manager confronted him with the truth. And, of course, at that point he had no option but to admit that he had submitted the phony expense report to purchase a new set of curtains for his dining room.

Naturally enough, the salesman was asked to pack his sales bags and leave immediately, which he swiftly did. Sadly, the outcome of the meeting might have been a lot different – his manager might well have overlooked his indiscretions if only the salesman had admitted the truth when he was asked to come clean in the first place.

Dave Wilson
Editor, Engineeringtalk

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