A friend of mine, who works as an Assistant Manager (Ass Man) in retail, recently regaled me with a story that, in a quite unconventional way, reminded me of why America is great and why Americans are such great capitalists. Faced with persistent pressure from his corporate masters to increase sales, he had tried many of the standard incentives, but nothing had worked. As he was telling the story, it reminded me of one of my favorite fictional Ass Men, who came close to being fired before ever achieving the coveted “Ass Man” title as a result of an ill-conceived sales contest:
Fortunately Morgan Grimes got to keep his job at the conclusion of Chuck Versus the Sizzling Shrimp, but the question of how to motivate people, people who are often overqualified and not necessarily suited to be working in retail in the first place, to increase sales on a given day or of a given product or both, remains tricky. So rather than giving up, my friend found inspiration in the most unconventional of places, Jackass 3.5:
The challenge was this: for each sale of the product in question on the day of the challenge, the team member making the sale would get two unobstructed throws with a miniature football from 20 feet away at his, let’s see, how do I put this delicately (you know I won’t, I’m a Sailor), nuts. So what was the result? A two-fold unmitigated success. Not only did sales of the product double, but a sense of esprit-de-corps was established, and from the unlikeliest of sources. At the end of the day, when everyone had made their sales and taken their shots, not a single throw had found its mark. As a show of good faith, my friend the Ass Man offered two bonus throws to the significant other of one of his team members. She lined up her first throw and missed by mere centimeters. Hoping it was just a fluke, he prepared for the last throw of the night. With laser-like accuracy she made up for every other miss and brought him to his knees.
This, my friends, is what makes America great: we are willing to take one for the team.
This is also what makes us great capitalists: we are willing to take one in the nuts to make a sale.