The golden boy goes unpunished
I tried talking to the owner about this. As expected, it did no good. He waved it away and said he didn't want to hear about one little mistake (though they had turned into a litany by now). Plus, this salesman was his golden boy, lavished with public praise and seen as doing no wrong.
But there's power in keeping a paper trail of events, and the only way to get through to the owner was to let the evidence mount up until the inevitable occurred. I kept diligent documentation and followed proper procedure by filing them to the inbox on the owner's desk, though he never looked at it.
Nonetheless, it piled up: a copy of each work order, sales receipt, and service contract. Everything was there, in the salesman's own handwriting, and followed by the tech team's notes of "can't build," "does not exist," or "cannot meet contractual obligations" with explanations as to why not.
Cause and effect
Eventually, the efforts paid off. The salesman's actions exploded in his face one day when a large corporate customer sent a rep to the office to complain. Their calls to the salesman hadn't sorted the mess out, so they showed up in person to talk to the owner.
He was furious and had no idea what was going on -- because he never checked his inbox and waved away attempts to talk to him. When he called me into his office to find out why we hadn't honored any of the work orders or contracts, I pulled everything out of his inbox and showed it to him.
The owner was furious and fired the salesman on the spot. "One little mistake" had turned into an avalanche of stupidity. We saw this salesman soon after, selling used cars down the road. And we got back to filling sales and service orders based on reality.
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This story, "Sleazy salesman meets his match in IT truth tellers," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more crazy-but-true stories in the anonymous Off the Record blog at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.