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murphblog: Saturday, June 28, 2008

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"Cardiologists hired by the companies offered short briefings on ways to reduce radiation doses, while sales representatives in business suits quietly talked up the benefits of the scans and the clarity of the images. The sales atmosphere was low key, more art gallery than "Glengarry Glen Ross.""

That's a quote from today's NYTimes article on the selling of CT scanning machines by General Electric, Philips Electronics, Siemens and Toshiba. Is there much difference between the war machine and the medical machine these days? And why is an art gallery more ominous-sounding than a piece of theater by David Mamet?

I had a CT and all the heart tests at Bellevue Hospital because I was in such a bad state Medicaid paid for it without question. The result? I'm a walking time bomb because of a congenital heart defect but, other than already having a mild heart attack and nearly spinning off into oblivion, not doing too bad.

While at Camp Laguardia the nurse practicioners were constantly prescribing allergy medicine that I've since learned netted them thousands in kickbacks. I've always had hayfever and other than getting out of mowing the lawn and taking some off-the-counter allergy medication it never caused a problem in my daily life. But in the system I was a money-making machine for these characters.

So none of us ever escape being a cog in the capitalist system and when you're "in the system" as I was you are a very important cog.

Saturdays at work are always strange and usually not very profitable for me. That's the day all the trash floats in: Americans complaining about the price of the Lacoste polo shirts and fat Europeans smirking about how much fatter Americans are because we've sold out of the small sizes.

My goal is to ring $2000 a day, or $10,000 a week, which gives me a commission of $600 for the week. My draw, the amount I have to sell to cover my guaranteed hourly rate of $8.00 an hour is around $300, depending upon how many hours I work. I almost met my goal this week but the week previous was pretty slow and I barely made my draw. Such is life working at Macy's selling Men's Lacoste to Europeans on vacation with plumped-up Euros.

It's easy money because Lacoste sells itself but as one of my co-workers pointed out even in a good week we're making pennies compared to other businesses. How much do art gallery salespeople make? More and more I've noticed the "hard sell" at work in galleries, but not to me. They "engage" the customer and profile exactly the same way as we do at Macy's though at times it seems as though I'm in a production of Glengarry Glen Ross and my heart tells me it's time to look for other, less strenous, employment.