February 20, 2007

Profiles in Excellence: Interview With Ray "Big Ray" Camden

Ray Camden, Third Sales Associate for our Midwestern Branch, was honored this quarter with an “Employee of the Month” award. Thanks to Ray's tireless efforts out in the field, our company eked out several extra hundredths of a percent of the market share this year. With such a stellar accomplishment under his belt, Ray can look forward to a brief, unpaid vacation, an awards banquet at the local Sizzler's Restaurant, and management's expectation that he will succeed similarly in future months or be the first to go when layoffs roll around. I sat down with Ray in between sales calls to find out how this award has affected his life.

Madge, from Reception: So, Ray, how do you do it? Such great sales numbers! It must be a lot of hard work.

Ray Camden: Yes, Madge, it is. Tireless and ceaseless work. This company means the world to me, and I've spent dozens of long nights preparing sales pitches and consulting product manuals to make sure I'm as equipped as possible to bring our services to the customer.

M: You seem to be visibly shaking. Are you all right?

RC: I'm better than all right, Midge, I'm the best! No one in the history of the company has matched my sales numbers, and if I have to rely on an occasional energy drink and cocaine cocktail to keep those numbers up, well...I mean, it comes with the territory. Excuse me.

Ray spits up into a small trashcan under his desk.

RC: Sorry about that. All this selling, I...I've been up for forty hours, so, sometimes my stomach gets...

M: Yes? “Your stomach gets...?” Mr. Camden, you've been staring into space for nearly ten minutes.

RC: Sorry, I was having a sales call.

M: But you never spoke. You aren't even wearing a hands-free phone.

RC: That's why they call me “Big Ray.”

M: Is it? Why?

RC: It's funny you should ask, Mudge. See, last fall I spent so much time at the office that my wife divorced me. Took the kids out of state, the whole bit. I got kind of depressed for a bit, and I guess I ate a little more than usual. Anyway, before I knew it, I was developing type II diabetes and weighed over 300 pounds! The guys started calling me “Big Fat Ray,” or “Morbidly Obese Ray,” or “Poor Ray, that guy should get some help.” After I lipo'd the weight off, though, I just shortened it to “Big Ray.” Memories.

M: I'm so sorry.

Ray grins with one side of his face, and seems to grimace with the other.

RC: For what? The only thing big about me now are my sales numbers! I'm reminded of a bumbling young sales associate who used to work under me. I said to him, “Son, you're like a 7/11. You never close.” He either got laid off or died, I don't remember which. You see, Pancho, the trick is to sell yourself, not the product. The customer is buying me, Ray Camden. That's what I sell. Also, this.

Ray holds up a baggie of cocaine.

RC: I've been subsidizing the money I bring in with regular sales with drug money. That way, the bosses won't know that my numbers have been drooping lately. It's just a temporary thing, you understand, until I get my groove back.

M: Mr. Camden, you're aware that this interview is for the company newsletter, right?

Ray begins shaking more violently, and excuses himself. He can be heard muttering “you promised me!” and “cool it man, everything's cool” from the next room.

M: Mr. Camden?

RC: Don't come in! Just...just go, please. I've got a very important client in here.

M: You're in the restroom, Mr. Camden--

RC: Just leave, for God's sake! And tell them...tell them I regret nothing!

Ever the salesman, Ray had to get on with closing his restroom deal. Hopefully, his dedication and support of the company can be an inspiration to us all. Ray also asked me to include the following message: “I know who you are. Stop following me. If you read this, meet me at the usual place after work.” Good luck in the coming year, “Big Ray!”

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