Finding Fidelity, the emails

As Drew simulated an earthquake causing some of the trains to derail and dangle over the edge of the stage, I mean cliff, I selected the first catastrophe in my inbox to tackle. This morning, it was scheduling a lunch with the sales dude from our main ECM software vendor.

I always found these charades to be most tedious. First off, we already paid a quarter of a million dollars each year in “annual maintenance” simply for the privilege of using the lackluster software. That, and to have access to their crack staff of support technicians, who often seemed as though they had been smoking copious amounts of the stuff.  

After a decade of annual maintenance fees, we’d purchased this particular piece of software a dozen times over. So, what else were we going to buy in the wake of being treated to an $8 lunch at an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet? Also, why was pizza always considered some sort of exotic treat in every corporate setting? Was this some hold-over from the grade school days when pizza parties were dangled in front of students as an incentive to sell a bunch of useless crap to their neighbors in a not-so-veiled attempt to raise funds for a bunch of techno-crap that the school really didn’t need?  The other aspect of these communal meals that ground my gears to a fine metallic dust, was the inability of anyone to pick a fucking restaurant. The exchange unfailingly (and actually) went like this: 

From: Sales Guy, Greasy 
Sent: Thursday, April 1, 2012 11:02 PM 
To: Holst, Jaye<jholst@mvt.com
Cc: Barnett, Jules<jbarnett@mvt.com>; our manager<deadweight@mvt.com>; our CIO<etherealpresence@mvt.com
Subject: Lunch 

Jaye,  

Long time no talk MVT compadres! [Thank god I haven’t had to visit you cheap bastards in a while] I’ll be in your neck of the woods next week, and I’d like to get a little face time with everyone if possible. [I have to come to your god-forsaken frozen-over desolate shithole state to follow up on a hot lead, and I figured I’d stop by and pretend to be interested in what you are doing on the non-existent chance I can sell you something] We have some exciting new innovations coming down the pipe, and I want to be sure you have a head’s up. [It’s more hype than substance—it always is—but what the hell?] How about lunch on Tuesday? [I mean shit…I have to eat somewhere anyway] Let me know if you are available, and where you’d like to meet up. [Nowhere too expensive, preferably some place on the pizza-buffet or Applebee’s/Chili’s/T.G.I. Friday’s/OliveGarden price tier

Thanks! 

From: Holst, Jaye 
Sent: Friday, April 2, 2012 8:45 AM 
To: Sales Guy, Greasy<greasysalesguy@softwarecompanyinc.com
Cc: Barnett, Jules<jbarnett@mvt.com>; our manager<deadweight@mvt.com>; our CIO<etherealpresence@mvt.com
Subject: Re: Lunch 

[Hopefully this was an April Fool’s joke…?

Hey Greasy,  

Thanks for checking in with us! [It’s unfortunate that you decided to interrupt the blissful silence, we enjoyed not hearing anything from your for nearly a year] Does anyone at MVT have availability for lunch next Tuesday? [Please say no, everyone!] If so, does anyone have any preferences on eateries? [Please don’t say Jimmy’s Pizza Shack!!]  

From: Barnett, Jules 
Sent: Friday, April 2, 2012 8:47 AM 
To: Holst, Jaye<jholst@mvt.com
Cc: Sales Guy, Greasy<greasysalesguy@softwarecompanyinc.com>; our manager<deadweight@mvt.com>; our CIO<etherealpresence@mvt.com
Subject: Re: Re: Lunch 
 
Hey, I’m available. I have no preference on where we eat. 

From: Holst, Jaye 
Sent: Friday, April 2, 2012 8:49 AM 
To: Sales Guy, Greasy<greasysalesguy@softwarecompanyinc.com
Cc: Barnett, Jules<jbarnett@mvt.com>; our manager<deadweight@mvt.com>; our CIO<etherealpresence@mvt.com
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Lunch 

Cool. [Goddammit!] Anyone else? [It’s a done deal, so I really don’t care who else is interested, honestly

From: Our Manager 
Sent: Friday, April 2, 2012 8:51 AM 
To: Holst, Jaye<jholst@mvt.com
Cc: Jules Barnett<jbarnett@mvt.com>; Sales Guy, Greasy<greasysalesguy@softwarecompanyinc.com>; our CIO<etherealpresence@mvt.com
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lunch 


 I can make it. Anywhere is fine. 

From: Sales Guy, Greasy 
Sent: Thursday, April 2, 2012 8:55 AM 
To: Holst, Jaye<jholst@mvt.com
Cc: Barnett, Jules<jbarnett@mvt.com>; our manager<deadweight@mvt.com>; our CIO<etherealpresence@mvt.com
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lunch 

Awesome! [Goddammit!] It looks like we have a quorum. Has anyone tried Jimmy’s Pizza Shack? [I mean…I can’t take them to McDonalds, can I?] It is on Broadway Ave. and Elm Creek Blvd. It looks promising. I know how popular pizza is with the IT crowd 😉 Does noon work? Will [the CIO] be there? [He’s the only one who can spend money, and since he’s sort of a tool, I may be able to talk him into some useless add-on bullshit administrative tools with kitschy names and catch-phrase-riddled descriptions that are pretty much superfluous and useless] I’d love to chat with all of you. [“love” is an overstatement, but conveying artificial concern and transmitting false interest is my job, I pander for a living] There are a lot of exciting things happening at Software Company, Inc.! [I have to pass out my quota of glossy business cards with our new company logo and brochures that we spent a fortune printing, even though they are strictly balderdash, buzzwords, and bullocks] 

From: Holst, Jaye 
Sent: Friday, April 2, 2012 8:59 AM 
To: Sales Guy, Greasy<greasysalesguy@softwarecompanyinc.com
Cc: Barnett, Jules<jbarnett@mvt.com>; our manager<deadweight@mvt.com>; our CIO<etherealpresence@mvt.com
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lunch 

Noon on Tuesday should work. [I’ll be sure to toss a bottle of antacid tablets in my laptop bag that day] I don’t think [our CIO] will be able to make it. [That deadbeat never even shows up to work, much less checks his email, we could hire a starving actor off of Craigslist to play our CIO and save the company hundreds of thousands in annual salary] Do you mind sending a meeting invite to us? [I am not your admin assistant, you fucking lazy fucker, and this was not my fucking idea by any stretch of your warped imagination] We look forward to catching up with you! [Fingers crossed that you miss your flight, or maybe it crashes.


Excerpt from Finding Fidelity, the forthcoming novel from Blake Charles Donley

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