It might be an idea if I take a spell from all the drivel I’ve been carrying on with, over the past several days, regarding Shay Gap, and let you in on how I became involved with the sale of booze in the first place.
Don’t you just love the word ‘Booze’? I suppose I link it to my days as a Frank Sinatra aficionado. I’ve always believed most sincerely in my motto “Booze straight; Women curved”, not that I’ve really had much success with the latter, and at my time of life, I doubt I ever will.
So, as per usual, I’m now going to bore/regale, depending if you have a nice stiff drink in front of you or not, with the story of how I finished up behind a bar.
A few years after the breakup of my first marriage, I decided to head over to the ‘West’ for a couple of months, I liked the place and I settled in over there quite easily.
I got myself a job with Mickey Mouse Airlines,; this was the WA airline McRobertson Miller Airlines (MMA), it was a subsidiary of Ansett’s, and was known throughout the West as, you guessed it, Mickey Mouse Airlines!
Now back then, was before jet travel had arrived, MMA were still using DC3’s, and had a couple of Fokker’s, so if anybody wanted to fly to the far north, they left Perth at midnight, or 1 am, or some other ridiculous time. I got the job in their city terminal, the all nighter.
I didn’t last long, trying to stay awake all night, and sleep through the day, was not my cup of tea. Half the time I was non compos mentis, stuffed up, and they asked me politely to leave. The Sandgropers are very polite people.
Anyway, I was enjoying Perth and the people, so I went looking for another job, and got one as a new car salesman, with a new Ford dealership in Adelaide Terrace. I’d never sold anything before in my life, but they were on a ‘program’ of training new car salesmen, to their standard, (whatever that was) anyway I must have looked presentable because they hired me.
Training lasted half a day, or thereabouts, then they loaded me with all the paper, order forms, insurance forms, hire purchase form’s and said okay you’re it; go sell cars; well something like that. So I wandered out onto the showroom floor, with a pro, and he was giving me the drill, and my first customer walked in; I’ll never forget that sale.
Youngish bloke, and his wife, said he was interested in buying a Cortina, at this time I didn’t no one car from another, I kid you not! Okay says me, and went through the drill that we’d been given in the morning, and after ten minutes, I was in really deep water, over my head, so I called on a senior salesman, an older bloke, and a top Ford salesman in the West; Brian Turner, a fair dinkum bloke, for assistance, and I recall the customer saying to Brian, I’m buying a car, but it’s his deal pointing to me, and Brian said fair enough.
The customer was a policeman, who said policeman don’t have honour?
So I had my first sale within an hour or so of starting, and management saw great things ahead for me. I didn’t have another sale for the rest of the month. Some salesman.
Like all salesman, I was on a retainer, in 1967 it was $30 pw, I got $13.00 for each car sold, plus 10% of the accessories I sold. Radio’s and heaters were not standard. Radio’s could cost up to $110, and heater demister’s $85, for the Falcons. If I sold Hire Purchase I got $10, and another $10, for insurance.
I must admit, that I wouldn’t push the insurance, I’d been in Insurance too long, and was too qualified to know that the insurance we were expected to sell, was no good and there was no way, I’d compromise myself on that
Anyway things got better, and I was doing really well, I had scored one big client who purchased at least two ute’s every month plus their sales rep cars after 24000, or two years, whichever came first, and in WA it was usually the miles that came first.
The manager of the transport section ,would just ring me up and say he had such and such a ute, or vehicle, to replace and I’d drive out pick up the ute, get a price, work the figures, write up the deal, and he’d sign it, and I’d deliver the new ute/vehicle soon as practical, normally just a day or two.
Came the time there was a new model Falcon out on the market, Wrights had one to be replaced, and I went through all the paper work, and did the deal and told them that there’d be a couple of weeks wait, as the new model, hadn’t started coming through to the west. That was okay, they’d wait for the new one no problems.
Trouble was, when the new models did arrive my General Manager, told me that he couldn’t hold the original figure, and that the trade would have to be reappraised, and a new deal made, I said you have to be joking,
No, said he we can’t hold a trade-in figure that long. I said do you realize how many vehicles his mob buys through me; from us; each year. The clown says that doesn’t matter the rule applies to everyone.
Nothing left for me to do but ring my man at Wrights, and tell them that our GM wouldn’t hold the price, and I’d have to have his trade re- appraised, and work a new deal/price.
He was very polite, didn’t tell me to go to hell, or get nasty, but just told me not to worry, forget the whole deal, he’d go to another dealer. He thanked me for my work, and that was the end of the best account I ever could have; my principles had lost me, at least a guaranteed 30 sales a year, and their profit, plus the service contract, through the narrow minded stupidity of a figures man.
Naturally I resigned from Anderson Ford that day!
What has this got to do with me getting into the booze business? Well I’m getting there as best and as quickly as I can; I’ll fill in the gaps tomorrow.