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Business Cards & Bullshit . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I had to step away from Cyberspace yesterday to do one of my least favorite activities - entertain business clients.

The marathon session lasted from 8:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m., and by the end, I simply wanted to flee the scene to avoid any more business small talk. I loathe small talk in general,and business small talk with a passion that borders on unhealthy anger, a stance which has gotten progressively worse as I've gotten older.

Time is too precious to discuss the humidity in Houston or the relative merits of rental cars or skiing in a town that I know I will never visit.

The funniest thing that happened all day occurred at the beginning of the session. There were ten people sitting inside our largest boardroom, and before anything could start, the business card exchanged HAD to happen.

This was semi-hilarious as everybody circled the room, reaching for wallets or suit pockets, trying to procure a business card to slap down on the table in front of every seat like some game of perverse dominoes.

I felt like I was in that film, "American Psycho," where Christian Bale is sweating at a business lunch because someone might trump his business card with one of theirs.

What are you supposed to do with business cards anyway? Collect them? They seem to exist solely to prove that you have a job and a title that you can pass onto someone else as a form of currency.

These days, most people use email for contact information anyway as nearly all businesspeople have an electronic version that travels far easier than the paper kind.

This charade took roughly 15 minutes before everyone had 5 brand spanking new business cards in front of their seat. It was all downhill from there, however, as there were presentations and small talk galore to fill the remaining hours.

Oh well, I obviously survived the ordeal, and now, I am back to my usual routine. The only difference is that I have the office administrative assistant coming by at 1 p.m. to discuss new business cards.



  1. Gypsy Says:
  2. This is absolute gold and BDS at his very best. I laughed all the way through it so thanks for that.

  3. I rarely have to enertain, but I found myself in a large conference room recently and the obligatory exchange began... I just had enough cards to give and out and at one point said "Giving out biz card feels like Halloween for adults, doesn't it?

    *chirping crickets*

    (Seafood people have NO sense of humor.)

    I'm glad you survived and I totally agree about small talk.

  4. Heff Says:
  5. ...Sounds like a good excuse for a "Bathing with the Drunken Viking" post to me !

  6. Gypsy - I hear that Seinfeld line "It's gold Jerry, gold" when you wrote this. Ha. So, thanks for that as you have to laugh at stuff like this or you'll cry.

    Anonymous Boxer - That's a great line. I would have laughed for sure if I had been in the room. In fact, I might have to store that away for later use - crickets be damned. Finally, the small talk is brutal and surprisingly draining on the body.

    Heff - You're right as I actually tried last night, but collapsed watching a basketball game instead after a single beer. Thursday will be a different story.

  7. Miss Ash Says:
  8. I remember in Tokyo this older local gentleman decided to be my tour guide at one of the temples. Afterwards he handed me a businessish type of card. Thankfully I had read to treat such things with respect and to accept it with two hands and place it in a wallet. Otherwise I would have either declined or shoved it in my pocket. It's not like we were going to be pen pals.

  9. Whatever happened to the good ol' days when entertaining clients was procuring peelers and pros.

  10. Miss Ash - Smart move as that could have been ugly had he taken it poorly. But what did it say? The title was: Temple Tour Guide I suppose. Hopefully, it was a good tour.

    WhatIgot - It would certainly be easier to peel off a few $100 bills, and call a service. Far easier. I wish I was older in the 80s.

  11. When I was working, I was responsible for emptying my boss's pockets of business cards and filing them in a neat little wallet with requisite business card sized slots about 10 to an A4 page. I can report that, in the three years I was there, I was never required to find one particular card from those contained there. Filing for the sake of filing. As you say, nowadays, people swap emails. Frequently, after seminars, guys request the pleasure of my email and then send me 'funnies' because they want to remain in contact but have absolutely no idea what we really have in common.

  12. BostonPobble Says:
  13. You could really shake things up at the Business Card Extravaganza by simply saying "I don't carry them; they are silly and obsolete." See how people react to that. ;)

  14. Havingmycake - I knew it. Thanks for validating my idea around the fact that nobody actually uses these things once they have them. As for the email trick, I find that to be a weak way of dipping your toe in the water without really jumping in (so to speak). You might as well put it out there, and see what happens.

    Bostonpobble - As much as that would amuse me, I think it would probably not amuse my boss and might start the business meeting off on a bad foot. Ha. But if I'm about to quit, then . . . that could be a good story to exit on. We'll see. In the interim, I think I'll change my title to: Master of the Universe or something equally ridiculous.

  15. Mr. DNA Says:
  16. Sadly your post reminds me that I need to get new business cards... Trust me, nothing gives possible clients the willies more than saying, "Ah um, I don't have any business cards with me. But you can email me at...". They look at you like you're a hare krishna soliciting donations at the airport.

  17. vivavavoom Says:
  18. love the ending!! yes, the business card BS. I hate it. But I do actually hold onto them and refer out so they work for me. I remember when I first started practicing I spent way too much money having a person design mine and do letterhead, etc. Then he left the state with the CD of his designs and when I went to make copies the disc he gave me didn't work. Now I use Vista on line and they look just as good. I always say to out red in it somewhere! feng shui and cathes the eye!

  19. What? I thought for sure I would be reading a Lindsay post. Well I know it's coming.

    Anyway, I hate when patrons say anything to me at all. I wish they would simply write down their own orders. Better yet, I wish they would stay the fuck home and eat and just mail me my tips. Now, I don't see this happening anytime soon. So until then, I will whine, manipulate their orders, and curse them out behind their backs. :)

  20. Mr. DNA - I like the Hare Krishna image, and yes, I would consent that business cards are a necessary evil. In some industries they are needed more than others, but the whole process still makes me laugh - much like Hare Krishnas.

    Vivavavoom - Dammit, now you're shooting down my theory. Ha. Actually, I do know these work well in some industries, and can see why yours would make more sense. My old occupation was helpful in the referral category as well. Finally, that's good the online choice worked just as well because I do have to admit that I would like a business card that was sharp enough to cut glass - even if I hate to hand it out.

    Upset Waittress - A little patience as that is already in my bag for Quick Hit Friday. Ha. I just can't see doing a whole write-up on Lohan by herself because she's just not worth the space. Ha. As for you manipulation of orders, that seems like a whole series of posts to me until the stay-at-home tip nirvana revolution happens.

  21. You just have to be honest. I got business cards because other people think I'm more important if I have them. Silly but there it is. As for other people's cards, I throw them out almost as soon as I get them... except for my sister's.

  22. Grace Says:
  23. lol, I completely agree. I recently went to a Wine and Cheese for some accounting firm positions. I left there with about 20 business cards. As soon as I got home I promptly placed them in a pile at the edge of my bookshelf and have never looked at them since.

    But I shouldn't talk... I've got my own business cards too. Looking forward to adding some letters to them soon :)

  24. Cake's comment is VERY enlightening.

    You can have my Trick/Treating line, 2Buck, I steal enough from you.


  25. I've always hated all the formalities that are expected during business meetings. With each meeting I think I'm losing a bit of my soul/humanity.

    good on you for surviving, though.

  26. Getoffmylawn - Exactly. It's just an arbitrary form of intellectual currency that we all agreed upon so long ago that they are necessary, but also useless. This is quite a dilema as I have had them for years as well, but as you noted, I only keep maybe 1 out of every 10 that I receive.

    Grace - Ha. That's big of you to own up to your own business cards at the end of that story. And yes, I've been to those kind of events where you network and get loads of business cards that you never use again. I suppose this is a ritual that we cannot escape from, but that doesn't mean we have to like it, eh?

    Anonymous Boxer - Borrow. We borrow from our fellow friends & bloggers. And I thought Cake's story was good as well.

    Idig - I appreciate the kudos on surviving as that's about the best you can expect from these type of events. As for the soul-sucking, I agree, but try to keep from really investing myself into the business enterprise which keeps some of that back from the cretins. It's also hedging bets, and pussyfooting around (like the word), but . . .

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