Volume 42, Issue 5 - May 2007

theBUSINESS
Victory? Maybe!
by Lyle R. Hill

I picked it up before it could finish its second ring, but just as I began to speak …

“Hill, did you get it?” the raspy voice shouted!

I instantly recognized the voice as that of Johnny “The Mooch” Rago.

“Get what, Mooch?”

“The copy of the letter I faxed to you, Hill. The one from the metal company. Didn’t you get it?”

“I did get a fax from someone a couple of days ago, Mooch, but there was no cover letter with it, and no writing on it of any kind, so how could I have known it was from you? And, if it’s the one I think it is, I had already received it from at least five or six other people.” 

“Yeah, okay, but the main thing is you got it. Pretty big news, hey?”

“Actually, Mooch, I called the guy who sent it and we had a very interesting conversation. But before I get into that, I’d like to know how you got a copy of it. It was sent to customers of that company and there’s no way you are a customer of theirs.”

“Did you see the guy’s title, Hill? A VP or something. So I’m right about this being big news, aren’t I?” 

“I’m not talking about this any more until you tell me how you got a copy of the letter, Mooch.”

“Okay, okay. You see, a few days ago I was in the neighborhood glass shop getting a storm window fixed and, while I was waiting for it to be finished, some sales guy came in, went up to the counter and started talking to the shop owner. And then the owner showed the sales guy this piece of paper and says that he’s gonna send a copy of it to Lyle Hill.”

“Mooch … please tell me that you didn’t tell them that you knew me!”

“Are you nuts, Hill? Of course I told them that I knew you. I figured maybe it would be good for a discount or something.”

“You’re ruining my day, Mooch.” 

“So then, Hill, I tell the guy—the shop owner—that I’m going to be having dinner with you that evening and so, if he wants me to, I’ll bring a copy of it to you. So he made a copy for me and later on I faxed it to you. That’s my story, Hill. Now tell me what the guy said when you called him.”

“I will, Mooch, but please promise me that you won’t ever again tell anyone that you know me.”

“Sure, Hill, whatever you say, but what did the guy say when you called him? And who are those people? Do you know them? Have you ever bought from them? Are they any good?”

“Well, Mooch, I do know them and, yes, they are a very good company. We’ve dealt with them for years and they have an excellent reputation for quality and service. I think they’re first-class.”

“Really? And what was their name, Hill … Style something or another wasn’t it?” 

“Stylmark, Mooch. Stylmark Inc., out of Minneapolis to be exact, and the guy that signed the letter was Glenn Craft, their vice president of sales and marketing. And when I called, he was very polite and we had an excellent conversation.”

“But, Hill, this is really big, right? Those guys in the glass shop sure thought it was big. You know, this Stylmark outfit dropping the surcharge thing and all. And Hill, believe it or not, the guys in that shop were giving you credit for it. That’s why I told them I knew you … you know, thinking maybe if they thought you had done something good for them maybe they would do something for me cause I knew you.”

“Well, as much as I’d like to take it, I don’t think I get too much credit for this one. You see, Glenn Craft told me that this decision was reached by Stylmark because it was the right thing to do. They are now able to better predict future costs because aluminum prices have stabilized so they decided to do the professional thing … publish a new price schedule indicating a reasonable and deserved price increase while simultaneously eliminating the much hated surcharge. I respect that!”

“Like I said, Hill, I thought it might be big and that’s why I sent it to you.”

“Okay, Mooch. By the way, did the glass shop owner give you a discount on that storm window or not?”

“Yeah, he did. But it was a bit strange, Hill. After I told him I knew you and that my last name was Rago, he asked me if I was the same Rago that you wrote about. When I told him I was, he said there was no charge for the work they had done as long as I promised to never come in his shop again. Kinda strange don’t you think, Hill?”

“Not at all, Mooch. Not at all!” 

the author: Lyle R. Hill is president of MTH Industries of Chicago. Mr. Hill’s opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine. lhill@mthindustries.com


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