Sleazy salesman meets his match in IT truth tellers

The boss's golden boy is a lying, bullying salesman who's done in by evidence of his impossible promises to customers

I'm sure most of us have worked with someone desperately trying to prove their worth to the company and, in the process, making life difficult for everyone else. Sometimes their shenanigans go to extremes. Here's my story of working with a salesman who unloaded impossible demands on the tech department and one too many improbable promises to customers.

I was working at a midsize office, where the tech team kept tabs on internal IT and built systems for external clients. At that point, I'd been the senior tech at the company for four years.

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We had never met this salesman, but he was hired by the owner as an "outside sales" expert. I have no idea how the deal was put together except for the fact that he worked on pure commission -- which made him desperate to sell, sell, sell. As for his his "clever" way of doing this? Lie to clients and leave the tech department with the responsibility of meeting his sales pitch.

Promise the moon until you hit a crater

He promised clients anything and everything, including software that didn't exist or systems that couldn't be built, due to combinations of parts that simply could not coexist or were beyond the hardware limitations. He promised service contracts that couldn't be upheld, such as guaranteeing it would take 30 minutes or less to fix a system, when it would take longer just to drive to the site.

As the senior tech, I explained to him many times why the systems he'd promised couldn't be built, outlined why the service contracts were impossible to meet, showed him why the software couldn't be sold, and offered realistic solutions and alternate configurations.

In response, he flew into a rage, got up in my face, and screamed that he was the highly paid salesman and we were the monkeys who did his bidding. If he sold it and the customers wanted it, we had to build it -- no questions or excuses. He told me that he didn't care if it was impossible to build. My job was to get my lazy butt into the shop and build it because his job was more important than mine, because he made more money than I did.

This happened several times over the course of two or three months. More than one incident included physical threats of violence and veiled threats against my employment. Other employees had similar run-ins with him.

At one point, I asked him how much money he'd be making if the owner found out he was lying to his customers about what could and couldn't be done. That didn't seem to get through to him, either.

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