Periscope Depth

get your filthy fingers out of my pie

While I’m asking people for explanations*, can someone explain why sales people like Glengarry Glen Ross? I hear sales guys quoting it all the time – “always be closing,” “second prize is a set of steak knives,” “fuck,” etc – and I don’t get the appeal. Just yesterday, two of the directors at work referred to an inbound prospect as “a real Glengarry lead.” But as someone who very briefly worked in outside sales, I don’t see it. Especially since I made the mistake of renting Glengarry Glen Ross one weekend and watching it before going in for another day of cold calls.

I know the consumption of art is a subjective and ultimately private experience, but if you quote lines of Mamet dialogue as a means of psyching yourself up to sell, you’re doing something wrong. Glengarry Glen Ross isn’t about a bunch of cool sales guys who push themselves to beat the competition and nail their quota for the month. It’s about how the American work ethic compels us to link our masculinity with our jobs, and the petty things we’ll do to keep our jobs as a result, said pettiness thereby undercutting our masculinity without us even noticing. To do that and then call some prospects should be mortifying.

Same thing with Boiler Room; I hear people do that, too.

Who are these people? When these guys played lacrosse in college, did they psych themselves up by quoting Tom Berenger’s lines from Platoon? Do they cheer when Steve McQueen botches the jump in The Great Escape? I know I have a slight tendency to overthink things, but my reading of Glengarry Glen Ross is pretty superficial. No one in there is a hero. No one gets out clean. What’s there to like?

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* And thank you to Brian and Fisher for coming through on that one; the rest of y’all can go back to sleep.

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