Banana In The Bathroom


Banana in the Bathroom – Expect the Unexpected for the working parent sales person

Juggling work & children is always a challenge, so on some days where you may have a particularly difficult client or situation, a crazy passing thought enters your mind, where you imagine yourself giving your client a brief insight on what you’ve actually had to go through to be present today.

This is of course is professional suicide & not at all a great career move.    It’s usually a thought stimulated by following comments from your clients.  “Oh I’m just not happy with that photo you took of the hallway, it makes that particular wall look too dark. In reality it’s because of the colour they have chosen & lack of natural light. You have now photographed it personally as well as with a professional, costing you money, to no avail.

On top of that, they announce that “It needs to be done right!” Like you haven’t done this before,  they really need this house sold ASAP at their overpriced sales price, because in two weeks the bank will repossess it. You also hear how they are not sleeping well at night as their husband has developed some strange lump on a part of his body that you really really do not want to know about and that they are so stressed from this house you haven’t yet been able to sell that they can’t even take him to the doctor to get checked.

At this point just one day, you would love to say, ” I also am not able to sleep through the night as I am going through a bitter divorce, I have four kids to organise and this morning when I blow dried my hair, I managed to not notice the bubble gum stuck to my hair brush and the reason I have a side fringe today is to cover the gum now stuck in my hair which I didn’t have time to get out. But of course this is not possible. Your trying to keep this person positive, not fester more negativity. So you politely smile and say. Let’s sort this out.

Banana In The Bathroom is a metaphor for, Expect the Unexpected.  Always keep it real, but think on your feet.

As I myself live a life full of spontaneous unpredictable encounters, I thought it fitting that I blog about real life distractions for a sales person with a family.

My day starts like any other, which means totally unpredictable. I sometimes wonder what it must be like for people who can stick to a routine, who have no unforeseen distractions in their life. I must assume these people are single and childless to live in this euphoric state.

I picture the alarm ringing at a certain time and they arise to their automatically brewed coffee that has been set by a touch of a timer from the night before. They whisk through their breakfast, only interrupted by a chirp from a passing bird.

They have had this routine for so long, that they even subconsciously sit in the same spot every morning, so that the morning sun can’t reach their eyes to distract them from flicking through the daily paper, or switching on the television to catch the morning news. There might even be time for a brisk walk in the morning before breakfast and getting themselves ready for work.

If what I have described is not your life and only one that you might dream of, then you fall into my category, of every day being a random day. Unique like no other, spontaneous interruptions see you running left, running right and somehow ending by flopping into bed at night wondering how you fitted so much in a 24 hour period. The life of the first person I described I am sure, comes directly from a sales training manual, which clearly states “Time Management” is your problem and once you learn to control that you will be more productive.

If you are a working parent, either mother or father who is the one who does most of the running around for your children, then you need to chuck this manual in the bin.

Let’s explore what really goes on. Here’s a possibility for a working parent. You have a meeting at nine with a client thirty mins drive away. Childless life would have allowed you a leisurely hour to get ready and that doesn’t include your breakfast. You have children to get ready for school and there happens to be more than one of those, what oh what does it say in your training manual about that.  Oh yes, if there was a chapter, it may indicate that you must prioritise, so let assume you have.

Let’s even assume you woke from a great sleep which happened to be uninterrupted for the first time in a month, you go to the bathroom to get ready for work…..”Why is there a banana in the bathroom?” “Who has time to ask?”  “Who has time to care?” Not you, you’re used to these random acts around your house. You barely glimpse at it, too preoccupied by getting ready before anything dramatically unusual happens. You prioritised the banana alright. Currently it’s sitting somewhere on your, it can wait till later list.

But then as you are driving your children to school, a voice pipes up from the back seat, I forgot my banana for school fruit break today and now begins to whine about how they will be the only kid without a piece of fruit. Great you think, once again you look like the disorganised parent to the teacher. You don’t have time now to go back home so basically this ones none fixable.

How were you to know that the banana would grow legs and decide to relocate from the lunch box in the school bag to the bathroom. When did that happen anyway, was it when you were wringing wet from your shower, wrapped in a towel chasing your child’s dog who had escaped to the neighbours.

You were running naked all bar your towel, hoping like hell that nobody’s home to hear you screaming like a fisherman’s wife at both your child who is oblivious to what is going on and the dog who has decided even though it’s only 15 cms high, to begin today of all days to start protecting the perimeter of the property.  You and the dog realise at the same time that….oh look a lizard is apparently about to break in, yes this new drama was all over a lizard. You stomp back to the house completely pissed off, half naked and dirt up your legs!! good morning you think to yourself….another great start to a beautiful day!

Back in the car, you’ve digested the missing banana episode and are tolerating what little nerves you have left to the whining still coming from the back seat in regard to the banana. “I should keep spare little packets of sultanas in the car.” you tell yourself. Next time you can substitute fresh fruit for dried.

It is about at this moment that you realise, that one child is wearing one sock but two shoes. How can this be, you ask yourself. All of the washing is up to date. You had even used your organisational skills from chapter three of your sales manual, the one right after time management, at home, to wisely create a sock basket, in the hope that all clean socks would make it in there, to later be relocated to a pair of feet. How in a basket one metre high full of clean socks, can one child out of four only find one sock and how does this go unnoticed until your turning into the school car park?

Now we have one child with no fruit break and one wearing only one sock.  Besides the fact that you don’t want to deal with the drama tomorrow when no footwear will be suitable due to the whopping blister to come, there are the other children in the class to contend with. Doesn’t your kid know they are opening themselves up for other kids to give them a hard time.

My mother would probably say, well too bad, you should have thought this through.  However, her advice comes from a generation that didn’t take all it’s instruction from an iPod.

It is at this moment, that your phone rings, stressed with worry its a client, you answer nearly hitting a kid on the school crossing. The glare from the group of gossiping stay at home mums who linger next to the school gate every morning, pierce directly at you through your windscreen. Shaking their heads at you talking on the phone. At least if they are bitching about you, they are leaving some other poor person alone.

The fact they are right, doesn’t have time to enter your mind. Well the children’s birthday parties won’t be too large this year you think to yourself, as these mothers tend to punish parents bad behaviour through not sending their children to the accused parents child’s birthday party. Oh crap you think, now I will need to make it up to my kids some other way.

Your awoken from your thoughts, as a child unexpectedly says, I’m sick. “No your not,” you say. “Yes! I’m sick.” they say  again.  “You were fine all morning until we got to the school, what’s going on?” After five minutes of prying, you find out that last term your child ran out of a particular school supply and has been getting in trouble pretty much everyday for not bringing them. But every afternoon they forget to tell you they are in trouble as a whole day has passed and now the school supply’s are irrelevant again in their mind.

The teacher doesn’t think it’s necessary for some reason to send a note home, or maybe they did and you washed it along with the uniforms & the clean clothes you keep washing as they seem to go from clothesline to floor and never make it on an actual human body.

You don’t even know the teachers name as you kiss and pretty much shove your kids out the car everyday to race to a meeting on the other side of town, with half wet hair that you try to hide behind your sunglasses as you didn’t have time to finish doing it. Some time ago you discovered that sunglasses can act as a headband on bad hair days, where 100 of these dramas have happened before eight o’clock in the morning.

Now stationary sitting in the car, you have realised you’ve answered the phone and it’s your husband! No No No! Shit you think to yourself, he’s just heard the kids in the car. Let me explain… One, you have already had a fine for talking on the phone to a client, so that’s the first thing you hear.  ”Are you driving talking on the phone Melissa?” ” Aaah technically I’m parking” you say. “Did you drive the kids to school again?” ” Um kind of. ” ” Well you either did or you didn’t? ” “Ok I did.” You say.

The kids are getting out of the car at the same time. “Bye Mum love you, you can’t park here Mum, the lady behind you is really cranky you are in the kiss and go! ” “Ok hurry up,” you say, trying to kiss them goodbye. But of four one hasn’t tied up their shoes. “Hurry hurry,”your saying. “I’m trying to hurry,” they argue. “Muuuummmm,”your child tying their shoes squeals. “The lady behind us is honking at you Mum, you better move. ” “Can’t you just tie faster?” You urge, “Here give me your foot.” You shout in desperation.

So phone in hand, husband listening, lady honking, mothers group gossiping…”Shit what time is it? You think, “My appointment.” You tie the shoe.  Ok kid gone. Lecture to come.”Why didn’t the children ride their bikes to school?” “I fixed their bikes for the third time this week, so they could ride and not stress you out in the mornings.” “One bike was missing,” you say. “Why was it missing? “I don’t know”, you reply. “How can you not know?” “What is it with everyone I’m not Wikipedia!” You think. “Why didn’t they walk.” then he says. “Because by the time I finish work they won’t be home in time for me to pick them up for gymnastics if they don’t ride.” “Something’s got to give Melissa. The children need to be more organised.” Oh crap we have just reverted back to chapter two on organisational skills.

Organised are you serious! I found my pen I use for contracts in a pair of little boys jocks this morning. The last time I saw that was in the office. Had I put it down near the clean washing? Then along came a child and thought, this is a nice pen. No one clearly owns it, so off it goes. But it still doesn’t explain how it got in a pair of underwear.

For this reason you need back up everything. Expect the unexpected.

My mind drifts off to thoughts of, “Surely someone’s created a reminder app for school kids”, then I quickly jolt myself back to reality worried that I too am crossing over to the dark side of where common sense no longer plays a part as technology has taken over our brains.

I just love the people who tutt tutt tutt you on time management at this point or possibly your parenting skills…..hmm I usually have an Alley McBeal moment and want to choke them.

My point is, you then have to arrive at your appointment with all the grace, expertise, wisdom and understanding of the Dalai Lama and on time!!!!

I know there are more people like me out there, then there are that work perfectly for those time management books. So expect the unexpected. That’s the key. Always expect the unexpected. If you can do this in your own life it will make your sales life so much easier to handle.

Remember on top of all of your own dramas going on, don’t forget why most people sell. Forget the stats. People sell for reasons like, a death, a divorce, an illness, if they are downsizing, it’s usually because they are getting older and need to move to a more suitable living situation, or they have lost their job, or their repayments are now consuming them or the bank is about to repossess the property. If they are one of the lucky ones that are selling because they are upsizing, don’t falsely assume that they won’t have an unrealistic selling price in mind for their property.

They have usually still factored in the agents fees, the removalist, solicitors and the like, plus a handsome increase in capital growth, because after all they have had the property for four years and don’t care if you tell them that they bought on a high and are selling on a low, that’s not their problem, if you don’t have the ability to change the whole economy and therefore the market,  well, they will just find another agent, is what you are informed. Basically turn this rock into gold and do it now!

Welcome to residential property sales. Now don’t get me wrong you get some brilliant clients with realistic attitudes, who are an absolute pleasure to deal with, but there are still many selling situations in reality are not so great. You need to stay positive, charged and be able to handle anything at any time. Including a meltdown from your clients.

You will become their sounding board and they will rely on you heavily. You need a clear mind, a positive attitude, a caring demeaning but the ability to set guidelines with your clients. Remember you are their one hope of fixing a situation, but realistically you may have 20 clients like this, so you have to be able to spread yourself around.

I learnt this the hard way. Let’s just say going through a divorce and four unhappy children at the time, with clients who themselves are in the same situation and many other dramas, made some days harder than others to get out of bed.

I firmly believe 2014 is going to be a great year to make money. Last year saw some crazy environmental disasters playing havoc with valuations & subsequently the property market in Australia.  The change of government will see the country evolve & a strict budget put into place.

My concern closer to home is the shocking drought that’s been terrorising Western Queensland & NSW, this will have a flow on affect to household budgets.  Lovely rain has recently spared many, but there are still so many families that haven’t been so fortunate.  Hopefully the Government will step it up a bit soon, with much needed support & recognise that these people also need food in their mouths daily, so cash flow for the household even before the property churning is paramount.  Don’t be fooled that it won’t affect those living on the coast, it will also be noticed in export sales.

Initiative is what I believe will drive the economy in 2014.

Melissa Gaultier

2 thoughts on “Banana In The Bathroom

  1. Thanks also to the lovely comment from the 22nd April. My apologies for such a late reply…I’m not so computer literate & have only really just worked out how to reply. (Never mind that there was a big heading saying LEAVE A REPLY ha ha).

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