Sunday, July 15, 2012

Colorado Salesmanship

I've heard both these stories from Steve before, but when he relayed both of them yesterday, something clicked. So here they both are.

Steve grew up in Greeley, Colorado. Besides mountain views, cattle, family, and his best friend Gene, Greeley offered two things. One was the marching/concert band he played trumpet in, and which happened to need new uniforms at the time. The other was being a town large enough to use parking meters. The kids found a great idea for fundraising.

They would roam the downtown area with pennies, nickels and dimes in their pockets, keeping an eye on expired meters and the progress of the meter maids. When one neared an expired meter, one of the kids would quickly pop a bit of change into the meter, enough to save the vehicle from the attentions of the law. They would also place a printed card under the wiper blade, letting the owner know they had just been saved from a $5 ticket. A donation in any amount would be welcomed by the fundraising band. They quickly made their goal, as many grateful drivers paid $10 or even $15 for saving them the hassle of dealing with a ticket. And the meter maids supported the cause by not hassling the kids.

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As a young adult, Steve worked on the Eisenhower tunnel for the new freeway rising westward from Denver. At one point the workers were on strike. It was hot, but the workers were faithfully there, picketing. A Miller Beer truck passed them, the driver honking and waving in support. A Budweiser truck passed them, its driver also honking and waving in support. But when the Coors truck passed, besides honking and waving the driver pulled over past them, opened the back of his truck, and set five cases on beer on the roadside before driving off.  From then on, any member of that crew who even so much as thought about ordering any other brand of beer was inviting a fistfight from his buddies. Steve figures those five cases sold thousands.

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