Yours truly is attending a food conference right now for 4 days. Usually I shy away from work related stories but this is too funny to leave alone.
At this conference we are tasked with meeting with as many as 32 vendors in 1 day. Think of it as food service speed dating. Each appointment is 15 minutes, a bell then rings and you move to the next appointment. To say it’s grueling is an understatement. There was 1 particular vendor that stood out and we will call him Opie.
While most booths boasted colorful, 6′ tall signage, tooting the latest and greatest non-gmo pork or plant-based crusts, Opie’s booth decorations were on par with a hospital room. Three 10-pound, tin cans, stacked in a triangle, flanked Opie on each side. A sign read “OVER 100-YEARS OF BUSINESS”.
Opie was a plain, mid-20’s, man. Clean cut and dressed in a polo with khakis. He sat alone and upon our arrival, did not stand up to greet us. He started off with,
“My dad is in the hotel room.”
J and I looked at each other, attempting to figure out how this was pertinent. Anxious to get the meeting over with, I dove in.
“So, what are we selling here?” I asked, faking enthusiasm.
“Peas and corn,” he said matter of a factly, then he managed to boast, “we sell cream corn to half of the country…mostly prisons and hospitals.”
Ladies and gents if you’ve been to prison, Opie supplied your cream corn. You’re welcome. Apparently Opie felt this to be a bragging right and something to share to potential customers. We looked at him inquisitively.
“Oh, ok. Do you offer anything else?” I asked, thinking he just needed a segway, since he was filling in for his dad.
“Nope, just peas and corn. We do have cream corn.”
This is when I found the conversation going absolutely no where and used the opportunity to have fun with the situation. Whether he didn’t want to be there or was absolutely dead set on peas and corn as the only products, was beyond me. We had 14 minutes left and it was going to be a long-ass 14 minutes if I didn’t do something.
“Now Opie, have you thought about expanding your product selection? Say, with carrots?” I asked in the most serious tone I could muster.
“No. We are going to stick with peas and corn,” Opie responded with the zeal of a monk.
“Ok. Well do you offer a peas and corn medley?” I asked, using my hands to describe a combination of peas and corn, doing everything I could to stifle the giggles threatening to erupt.
“We don’t offer peas and corn together. Just peas and corn separately.”
Look, I’m a firm believer in if you are doing something right, with a limited amount of products, then bravo. Focus on what you’re good at. But to have a booth at a conference for canned peas and canned corn, is ridiculous.
By now, I swerved around, looking for hidden cameras or something to denote we were being punked.
“My dads in the hotel room,” Opie told us….. again.
‘Probably bangin’ a hooker right now,’ I thought. I was annoyed and done.
P.S. Later that evening there was a dinner event. We saw Opie at the buffet table, filling his plate (dad, nowhere to be found). What we cannot confirm for you is if he selected the corn on the cob. Obviously he didn’t have any of the baby carrots.