International Assignment

He was very excited about the new job. Head of marketing for Asia Pacific and Global Duty Free. The wild west of the spirits business and destined to grow in importance.

He would soon find out that it wasn’t all that great a position for lots of reasons, not least of which was spending 2-3 weeks a month away from home. But the first reaction was total excitement.

First order of business – take the physical and get some shots.

So, off he goes to the medical office, a visit to Dr. Goldfinger and Nurse Crotchet. The Doc is pleasant enough (albeit enjoying the exam a bit too much) and he passes with flying colors.

Nurse Crotched is another story. Very competent, very capable but dour… we’re talking beyond focused — a combination of resolute and sour. On top of it, think of the Church Lady from Saturday Night Live. But, she was well intentioned.

“Okay,” she says to him, “You need shots before you can go to Asia.”

“What kind of shots?” he asks. He’s not afraid of needles but what the hell?

“Well, tetanus, malaria, a series of hepatitis, cholera, all sorts of disease preventatives.”

“Is this really necessary?” he asks.

“Yes, you never can tell what you’ll encounter…where you will be…what you’ll be eating.” Then with a little glee in her voice, “Besides, it’s company policy.”

Some time later, she finishes and he gets off the table and ready to leave.

“Just one more thing,” she says. “Here’s a Dopp Kit[*]. It contains items you may need while traveling.”

He looks inside and sees a bizarre assortment of stuff – a pack of analgesics, Band-Aids, iodine, Alka Seltzer and assorted travel related items. Things he already travels with.

But there at the bottom of the kit, is a condom. He can’t resist mentioning it.

He takes it out of the kit and holds it up. “What’s this for,” he asks.

The nurse turns crimson and says angrily, “You know full well what it’s for.”

“Yes,” he answers, “But why only one?”

She storms off. Good thing he got the shots first.


[*]First produced by Charles Doppelt, a leather goods designer who emigrated to the U.S. from Germany in the early 1900s. In World War II the U.S. Army issued them to recruits by the millions. Who says this blog is not educational?

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Retired Drinkers

I generally don’t post jokes but I thought this one was worthy of wide distribution. Besides, it’s the one-year anniversary of this blog and I wanted to say thanks for reading by providing a smile. Stop me if you’ve heard it.

Four retired guys are walking down a street in Scottsdale, Arizona.

They turn a corner and see a sign that says, Old Timers Bar – All Drinks 10 cents. They look at each other and decide to go in, thinking this is too good to be true. Got to be a catch.

As they enter, the bartender, an older gentleman as well, says in a voice that carries across the room, “Come on in and let me pour you one! What’ll it be, Gents?”

The bar was well stocked and each of them ordered their favorite drink – a couple of martinis, a whiskey on the rocks and a gin and tonic. The bartender, using only top shelf brands, serves the drinks and says, “That’ll be 40 cents please.”

The four friends look at each other. They smile and can’t believe their good luck. They finish their drinks, there is no hassle, no scam, nothing but a fun time. They decide to order another round.

Again, four drinks are served and the bartender says, “That’s 40 cents, please.’”

They pay the 40 cents, but their curiosity is more than they can stand. Two rounds of drinks for less than a dollar. Finally one of the men says to the bartender, “We don’t get it…how can you afford a nice place like this and serve great drinks for only10 cents a drink.”

“Well,” says the bartender, “I’m a retired tailor from Phoenix and I always wanted to own a bar. Last year I hit the lottery for $125 million and decided to open this place. Every drink costs a dime — wine, liquor or beer – it’s all the same price. Best part is I get to meet and chat with interesting folks like you guys.”

“Wow,” they say to each other. “That’s quite a story,” one of them says to the bartender.

As they’re on the second round, they notice a group of seven people at the other end of the bar who don’t have drinks in front of them and hadn’t ordered anything the whole time they’ve been there.

One of the men in the group gestures at the seven at the end of the bar and asks the bartender, “What’s the story with those guys?

The bartender says, “Oh, those guys are all retired New York snowbirds who usually go to Florida for the winter… They’re waiting for Happy Hour when drinks are half price.”

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How to increase sales

As a group, spirits and wine distributors are among the smartest business people I know.

But there are exceptions.

Back when Metro New York had many distributors and wholesalers, there was one operation whose owner was – how should I put it? – the runt of the litter intellectually.

On one occasion, or so the story goes, a sales manager was having difficulty meeting the NYC plan for Chivas Regal. He paid a visit to this particular distributor and I imagine the conversation went like this.

Sales person: Listen XXXXX, we’re having problems making the numbers on Chivas and I need you to increase your inventory.

Distributor (in a slow whiny voice): But, YYYYY, I already have a warehouse full of Chivas. It’s moving slowly. How can I take more?

Sales person: I don’t care. We need to increase our shipments.

Distributor (in an even whinier voice): Well, what should I do with the cases I currently have.

Sales person (getting angry): Listen to me. I don’t give a damn what you do with the goods in the warehouse – sell it, give it away, spill it out, burn it, whatever….

Distributor (now very confused): Slow down, slowdown, I want to make sure I got it…you said sell it, burn it, what else?

Rumor has it that the distributor is now a supplier.

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