What I Wouldn't Give For A Terrorist On My Team

A Counterpoint by Ken Beasley, Manager, Best Buy #1318

So it just came down to me from the boys "upstairs" - and I use these finger quotes with the utmost respect - that our friend hostmaster has had a few negative things to say about terrorists. They wanted me to clarify to all of you that we are not in the position of discriminating in any way against terrorists for hiring purposes. Just so that's clear, okay? Now, I'd like to take a few more minutes to just kind of clear the air on our position on this.

You know, I'm in the trenches every day, fighting the good fight to keep our aisles stocked with top-notch computer electronics, the latest music and movies, and most importantly, a hard-working set of troops who really know what it takes to succeed in the cutthroat world of modern tech retail. And I've got to say, hostmaster, that you may have some nice ideas there, but frankly, that attitude just isn't going to fly down at HR. We need some go-getters, some real fighters to show our customers that we really mean business when it comes to going that extra mile.

I mean, really, "you don't know what might prompt them to turn on you?" Well, for starters, team morale like that isn't exactly going to keep them around very long, is it? Sounds like someone needs to work on their people skills, am I right! These people, they need encouragement, some back-slapping, maybe even a bit of fanaticism. I mean, really, though, don't we all? We all like to feel like we're part of the winning team, and if that means I have to buy a couple extra copies of Amir's radical Islamofascist news weekly, then by golly, strap me on a turban and let's get to ululating! I kid, Amir, I - I'm kidding, Amir. Great stuff on that Western capitalist dog editorial last week, got me right here...

And sure, you know, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, that Vulcan Hammer guy, they got things done, too. They had those very special skills which can really separate us leaders from the riffraff. But that's the downside to that kind of leadership: it's elitist. I mean, when you come in to Best Buy, you don't want your boss to be some frou-frou Nobel Peace Prize winner with his nose in the air. I mean, hell, I got to be where I am on an associate's degree and a couple of workshops; I just have a real handle on the current of my people, you know? Isn't that right, Shevon?

That's right, I'm down with the peeps! You see? You see? And that's not all. I mean, there's a ton of advantages to having those kinds of people around!

For one thing, they're doers, not talkers. I looked it up, and they weren't kidding: in Germany those trains really did run on time! I mean, sure, we all have to put the pen to the paper, dot our i's and cross our t's to justify our existence from time to time. But to have someone on the team who's really willing to step up when it counts, you just can't buy that kind of go get 'em. (Well, not in any of the Help Wanteds we use!) "When the going gets tough, the tough get going" - that should be their motto. I mean, you look over at Cindy in Audio. Some customer gets into a bit of a grind over whether this receiver is DTS-ready or not, and she just goes to pieces, a real mess. These guys, they won't take no for an answer.

Secondly, they're dedicated. I mean, they can be fearlessly uncompromising. Some customer comes in with an open Photoshop box, no receipt, trying the old burn-and-return scam, you think these guys just sign the form and look the other way? No way. Because they're team players. You hear that, Jeff? Yeah, just making sure you were still paying attention.

What else, let's see ... well, they're patient. I mean, if something doesn't go their way right away, they're willing to refocus their efforts somewhere else till things open up. They're not gonna go crazy on you (like that weird foreign janitor - Manual, was it? Man-well? Man well whatever - did when we had security check his closet), because they're in it for the long haul. Just like me.

Speaking of the long haul, I really like those guys' vision. I mean, really, they see the Big Picture, and it's not just the 9 ginormous 50" screens on the back wall of Home Theater! You know, back in '03 when they gave me that shift supervisor spot, I was thinking that was the end-all be-all of it for me. $12.50 an hour, benefits, access to the coffee room - that was big time for me. And then the district manager (it was Tony at the time - you remember, the ponytail - yeah, the one with the big scar on his arm from Woodstock '94), he was just kind of talking to me, and he said something about "having big plans for me" and it was like a light bulb went off in my head. I think these guys just figured all that out a long time ago. Lucky SOBs.

And you know, there's a bunch of other little things: they're real good at keeping secrets, so you don't have to worry about them leaking the Black Friday circulars ... umm, they're patient - huh? Oh yeah, I covered that. Let's see, doers, dedicated, patient - oh, oh! They're great sales people - personally I think they've honed their built-in sucker radar, but whatever works, they're always walking away with the biggest commissions. And you know, they're pretty private themselves - their home life stops when they walk in those automatic doors in the morning, unlike some people I know ... Deborah.

So yeah, maybe those people wouldn't be so great in the military, but come on - the military's for convicts and poor people. It's small potatoes for these kinds of people. They need some places with some great upward mobility, you know, some real advancement opportunities. And that is something Best Buy promises to every hard-working young man and woman. We need to get some of that can-do spirit on our team Ay-sap, people. So I've got some great news, team! I've enrolled us all in a 2-week Al-Qaeda training course in the Phillippines. Yep, some fun, some sun, some good trust-building exercises, and we cap it all off with some fieldwork in Manila! Corporate office is picking up the tab, we're shipping out next Monday, so clear your calendars, and let's get excited!