Hey - I know it has been a while since we talked. Do you remember the night I told you that if something drastic happened up here I could get a job down in Texas? Anything can happen once. Until it happens again you wonder if that call was an anomaly. So it's been a while, I want to apologize only I'm not sorry and I know that you will understand; you more than anyone else I know listens to the silence around my words. So it happened again, the funny thing is both men have the same name. The first gentleman is quite a bit older than his namesake. Some day I'll ask what it was about me that he recognized. Back then I was one of eighteen Customer Service Reps but he followed me after I was promoted and he gave me the first sweet taste of a major success. We've since grown more familiar but he is a Southern Gentleman so he still calls me ma'am.

It started with a voicemail; there's a prosaic explanation but I want to believe that two people who needed each other could meet accidentally. I can also explain my ethical dilemma and how I handled that particular piece of the puzzle. Initially he was interested in discussing a hypothetical situation, I get calls like that periodically. People want to stock shoes but there is the initial inventory expense coupled with the delivery logistics not to mention the paperwork associated with billing Medicare. Everyone you meet has something to teach you. A paperless office is still a dream of mine, there was a state of unreality during that moment when I opened a drawer and pulled out two sheets of paper with long lists of running numbers. During that beautiful black and white moment I realized that behind our conversation was a budget. There was a catch, nothing good comes easily but I addressed it and moved forward.

Two me's ago I wouldn't have believed that I could discuss what it would take for another person to set up their own shoe store. We talked about merchandising and cross selling and up selling. We went back and forth negotiating terms and payment plans searching for those creative financing options. While I long for discount power of my own I like that my boss listens when I tell her that we should roll the dice on a man, his podiatric financier and their plan to dispense therapeutic footwear in The Lone Star State. This could blow up in my face. The other day I told my entrepreneurial friend that we needed to build history before discussing further discounts. Right now he's talking about an order that would quintuple last year's sales. Part of my job is trying to figure out if this account is worth the gamble. In reality it isn't that big but it is mine and that's what I wanted to share with you tonight.

Tons of love,

j

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