Pennies on the Dollar

I have been visiting Brother Dan for the last few weeks after my guitar lessons on Friday.  So first I go to Dan, the guitar teacher, and then I get on the freeway for a little bit and visit Brother Dan.  He went back to work .50% about two weeks ago.  It’s hard to tell how he is doing or what he is doing for that matter.  But then, since he got into the computer game, I have never been sure exactly what he was doing.  But whatever it was he was successful at it; he kept moving up and getting paid more and more.





Generally, he seems to have been hired as a communicator.  He had some technical knowledge, I guess, and he would translate that technical knowledge into even less technical language so the sales staff would understand it.  He would be like, sell this and sell that and tell them what it was exactly they were selling and what it was worth.  At his old job this meant selling stuff of the kind that Cisco Systems makes, like enterprise multi-protocol routers.  Whatever the hell that is.

But after the big dot com crash, people all over the country were stuck with mounds and mounds of technical stuff that they couldn’t use.  The company he worked for—which he called a computer junk yard—bought up this stuff, sometimes for pennies on the dollar, and still in the original packaging, and would sell it again sometimes to small municipalities that wanted up to date stuff and sometimes overseas.  I seem to remember something about a connection in Rumania.

So he would be on the phone and make an offer, pennies on the dollar, for a bunch of stuff sitting in an abandoned office somewhere in Indiana, and the guy on the other end would be practically crying, like you can’t mean that.  And my brother would say, because it was true, I am sorry but that’s what it’s worth.  Like “Take it or Leave it.”

Maybe because he was in charge of making million dollar purchases of this stuff and was about the only person who knew what the stuff was and why they were buying it (because Brother Dan knew what was valuable and could be resold), he was put in charge of the company warehouses.  One of the warehouses—the biggest one I think—was in Dallas, TX.  So he would have to fly there from time to time and walk around the warehouse.

And that warehouse was a mess.  Nobody knew where anything was.  Valuable stuff would be piled over in a corner  unprocessed, other stuff would be mislabeled.  This was a pisser because you can’t sell stuff if you don’t know you have it, where it is, or what it is.  So he would go down there and give them a pep talk or tell them to concentrate on this and that, though he seemed to know whatever he did was going to be a lost cause, since the real problem was the company wasn’t paying its warehouse guys nearly enough to make them pay attention to any sort of details.

He worked for that place for a goodly amount of time.  God, could it have been ten years?  And before that he was at another computer place.  And before that he drove a beer delivery truck for 12 years. He was good at that too and I could understand what he was doing.

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