Monday, May 16, 2011

The Aflack Salesman

This is a true story. About the first time I ever met a real, live Aflack insurance salesman.

I was in the office of a magazine in Lexington. I had an assignment that required me to observe a magazine office and its occupants for four consecutive hours. John, the executive editor, a few writers for the magazine, and I had spent the last two hours or so chatting about random things. Turns out John was from the same area of the country as I, and we had a lot in common. By the end of the day, he had me practicing my golf swing with his club.

I edited some articles because I had nothing better to do and because they asked me to. And then the business manager left. So I sat at her desk, which just happened to be the first thing one would see if he walked into the office.

There I sat, typing away on my laptop. I was wearing professional-looking clothes, so I probably looked like I worked there.

That's when he came into the office. He had brown hair, a nice-looking suit, and was probably about 30. He looked kind of nervous. Since I was the first person he saw, he approached my desk, swallowed, and spoke. He asked if this magazine would be interested in Aflack Insurance.

I opened my mouth to say that I was actually just visiting, and I was probably the wrong person to ask.

John interrupted with a wave of his hand. "No, no, he said. Go on—she makes all the decisions around here."

Bewildered, I glanced at John. I figured I might as well play along, so I sat back and looked at the salesman expectantly. He cleared his throat and began again, a short spiel about his company and why I should choose Aflack.

I said, "Well, I don't think I'll consider it unless you're willing to imitate the Aflack duck."

He looked taken aback. "What?"

I blinked. "The Aflack duck. I want you to imitate the Aflack duck."

The salesman looked at me for a moment to be certain I was serious. "Well, okay."

He cleared his throat. "Aflack," he said in a nasal-ish voice that carried a distinct similarity to the duck in all the Aflack commercials.

That won him an appreciative laugh. I clapped my hands together. "Well, that was pretty good!" I said.

John laughed, too. He looked at the salesman. "Thank you, but we're not interested."

I smiled. "Have a nice day!"

The salesman stared at me for a second, and I wondered if anything like this had ever happened to him before. He walked backward, finding the doorknob with his hand. "Uh, you, too! Goodbye!"

As soon as the door closed, John laughed hysterically. He thought it was great.

Several hours later, he asked if I'd like to intern at this magazine. I said I'd consider it.

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