Posts by Country

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Life in Adelaide


Today I was chosen to drive for my team. Having never driven in Australia and being a few months out of practice I was nonetheless happy to do it. I figure I've had plenty of practice driving on the left side of the road on my push-bike (bicycle). Upon stepping into the van I immediately found things to be quite a bit different. First, the parking brake was kind of hidden but probably this isn't too unusual. Next I went to shift into gear but the gear shifter was at a weird angle and on the wrong side so it took me a second to locate it. As I went to turn out I reached for the turn signal which just turned on the windscreen wipers - the turn signal lever is on the right side of the wheel. After getting under way everyone was on edge thinking that maybe the American was not the best choice to drive a van full of people on the left side of the road. Sure enough, we did have one incident - an Aussie truck driver swerved out into the intersection, blocking several lanes at once, and stopped. I first tried going around but found that he had something else in mind. I had to slam on my brakes as the driver came two lanes over into mine and stopped. No matter, I had been paying attention and given myself plenty of room to stop, now just to convince my passengers of that...
On turf I found many people had already been knocked - this generally makes things more difficult. I eventually found a guy who invited me to go over his bill and, upon his satisfaction with the product, he signed up. After another couple hours of nothing but appointments I talked a girl into signing up over the course of many rather harsh objections. Every time she came at me with "maybe another time" or "lets not do this" I just informed her of more aspects of the electrical industry and my role in getting her a reduction on her expenditures. Finally she signed but it's hard to say if she'll stay once her husband finds out...
On the drive back Ben had to do my paperwork because, as the driver, I'm no longer required to do paperwork!


Today I won another 6-pack during the channel meeting and I drove us to turf. One of the newbies today was my trainee, Aggy. Aggy was a really good speaker and perfect for the job except for the fact that she was medically incapable of doing it. We got out on turf and I knocked a few doors in front of her but eventually she just couldn't take it anymore so I let her sit in the park while I continued on. Apparently she gets back and heart problems so walking around for even a short amount of time causes her serious pain and even illness. I went ahead and knocked a few more doors throughout the day and she eventually just went home. At the end of the day I was surprised that I still had no sales - I felt like I was really on my game but then that may have been the problem. I was using a lot of smiling, eye contact and excitement with the customers and, off course, too much of this tends to creep people out... I decided this was probably the case when I started talking to a lady and she just stared and backed away slowly. I went ahead and had a snack to calm me down a bit and at this point I managed to get a sale but unfortunately there just wasn't enough time left to finish strong. On the way back nobody did my paperwork so I had to stick around at the office a bit and do it myself. Back at the hostel Breadtop was closed early again so I missed out on yet another after-work treat... not the best day.


This morning I applied for my Australian drivers license and, after getting my temporary license, went to work and made three sales - two before 3p. The first was a nurse who was just happy to save a couple bucks. The next was a lady who worked from home selling party stuff and had just signed up with Alinta the week before. I impressed upon her just how much better my deal was so she cancelled Alinta to sign up with me. After a few hours of setting up appointments and getting mild responses I found a guy who was indifferent to the situation but willing to hear me out. He didn't handle the bills but, upon hearing that I could reduce his rates, he let me check his meter number and sign him up. As I finished the vero call his wife called and started yelling at him for his insubordination. He tried to call it off but I told him that it was already done to which he responded that he was actually fine with that since he was saving money. After getting back to the van Brendon gave me a giant lollypop full of little lollypops for making the first sale today.

He also gave me a six pack for being the first one to hit kpi (three sales in a day). After picking everyone up I drove us to the pub for Friday night drinks. After hearing that we might have some fun stuff in store for the nigh I called my Korean roommate William to switch shifts with him. At the pub Matt decided he had lost a bet by not making sales today so he streaked across the highway... I walked in with Danny to grab a drink while everyone else waited patiently for his return. After having a drink, some chips and some bread I finished off Jess's chips and manager Matt decided it was time for our free cocktail towers - several one meter (three feet) tall towers full of cocktail.

After consuming those most people started heading home so I caught a ride with Matt and his roommate/cousin, Nick. Since Nick couldn't drive I was nominated to drive us into the CBD. Nick's car kind of reminded me of my old Nissan - decent acceleration and low to the ground, great for drifting!


Today I woke up really late, went to the office to get my bike, and rode it to the Botanical Gardens to meet up with some mates from work.
We played some card games and drank some goon then headed over to manager Matt's for the barbie (barbecue). At the barbie I opened a bottle of wine with my shoe and learned how to open a beer with a lighter. Unfortunately the wine was carbonated so the shoe thing didn't end well. After a snag, burger and kebab I hopped on my push bike and headed back to the hostel for work.


After the meeting today I rode back to the hostel, got groceries then worked and made pancakes with Peer. After making variations of pancakes, using cheese, ham and maple syrup, we went out on the balcony with Danny to relax while waiting for a response from Roozbeh. During this time I did my laundry and eventually we ended up heading over on the bus. At Roozbeh's place we caught up a bit and played cards (spoons, dirty 7s, etc) and Peer did a magic trick he learned at "Steiner University" where he could "smell your card." 


This morning at work I got to pop a balloon and won three drinks. After the channel meeting we loaded up into Jess's van and went to turf. When we arrived I walked over to a couple people, gave them some helpful advice and, in return, they gave me a coke. The first sale I got today was to a lady who was hangin out front with her friend. While I was signing her up the friend wanted to sign up too so she called her carer but the carer was already talking to a LUMO rep from my van! My second sale was a Filipino guy who had to go to work so I finished signing him up later with his brother. While walking around I ran into a TRU Energy manager who explained that his group was on a road trip to my area. They were walking my turf but he politely offered to move to a different area since there was really no sense in trying to sell the houses I had already been knocking. After a while I managed a last minute sale to a lady with three kids. She was looking for work so I gave her the number to call about working with us and pitched her the job details. Back at the hostel I called Peer over and Melonie came by for a drink as well. Next Danny joined us so we all had a couple drinks then Danny and I made hamburgers.
According to Danny Brendan's girlfriend got into a fight with Matt last night which resulted in her getting kicked out of the barbie. She was spying on our company for TRU so that they could poach Lumo reps and when she confronted Matt about this he lost it.
After eating we all headed over to Roozbeh's - we were even able to get our Korean roommate Willy to come with this time. On the way I talked the bus driver into giving us all a discounted pass for a total of $12. When we got to Roozbeh's we all had snacks and played some cards while, after just a few minutes, Willy began to fall asleep and ended up being miserable for most of the visit. At about 2a got a cab back to the city which ended up being just $20 split between the five of us!


Today I went in for manager training at 10:15a then, after the channel meeting, we all hopped in Jess's van again. On the way to turf we played a ISPY (a game where you find what's on your card and punch the person next to you) for the second day in a row. On turf I started making appointments and had a promising start but by three I still didn't have any sales (though I did have a guy with bad credit who just needed to wait until his wife got home). At 5p I finally made a sale to a young Maccas employee with plans to attend TAFE for early childhood development and another sale to a guy I had met up with at the beginning of the day named Joe. Joe is an aspiring singer/dancer who wants to get on X-factor. He wanted to get my card and talk later but I explained that I couldn't come back so, after considering that he had heard good things about Lumo on the tele, he signed up. After that I ran to the guy with the bad credit and started signing up his wife but apparently it was too late to do a manual sale so I told her I'd try and get to them tomorrow. 


Today after manager training I was back to driving for my team and had to train another rookie, Connor from Ireland. Right off I made a sale in front of my trainee to a lady running a daycare who said her bill was $800. Being I was able to save her $150+ per bill I grabbed her meter number and signed her up. For my next sale Matt promised me a third balloon for making two by 2p. Unfortunately the next customer was a bad credit even though she was clearly pretty well off. The second sale ended up being to a lady who had just got back from shopping using her meter number. Finally, my third sale was with a TRU energy customer who had a debt with them and clearly needed the savings in order to pay it off. My last customer was another bad credit and my main appointment after 6p bailed as I was getting back... but I ended on three sales so "happy days". 


Today after manager training I won a balloon with a $20 voucher in it. After driving my team out to turf I trained a newbie named Joanne who made four sales the day before. It was a slow start but by the end of the day I had four sales! My first customer was a young girl who had bad credit and the first sale was a guy who was late heading out to work but still signed up. The next sale took me about an hour to finally secure since the woman wasn't sure if she had recently switched but, after confirming her retailer was still Origin, we went ahead and filled out the paperwork. My third sale was a guy who owned one of the local restaurants (Noodle Box) in the mini mall where we've been stopping for lunch everyday so I told him I'd give it a try. Next I spoke to four people who were already signed up with Lumo then tried a few appointments, including one that Joanne forwarded me. Out of time I began to head back but stopped at an appointment from the start of the day. He wasn't home but as I turned to leave he and his girlfriend showed up and I sold them almost instantly - turns out his girlfriend was actually a happy customer of ours before and just hadn't gotten around to switching over in their new place. The guy was in the Aussie army and explained that he was kind of jealous of US forces and the respect they get back home - apparently Aussies don't really get as much appreciation for serving their country. After finishing up I ran back to the van and we went picking everyone up. It was pretty late but we still had to drop off something that one of the newbies had forgotten, pick up a walksheet that our manager Brandon had forgotten at a customers house, and stop for petrol (gas). I ended up being late for work at the hostel.


Today we came in early since the channel didn't meet expectations yesterday. We also left early and were out on turf at 11a. With the extra hour we were expected to meet a target early and I expected to meet KPI today for my bonus. It looked like I would easily pull it off before long at all and my second door was a sure thing.. until I did the credit check. Many of the first people I talked to wanted to sign up but couldn't because they had bad credit. After a while it was just ridiculous - I should have had eight sales easy but all were bad credits. I finally made one with a customer who initially stated she wasn't going to do anything with her power. After I explained the savings she went ahead with it and, unlike all her neighbors, she actually had good credit. After signing her up I continued on looking for just two more. I got a few more bad credits - note that they all had to be convinced to go ahead with the offer before I could even find this out... Finally I had one appointment that seemed like a sure thing and after getting another one who wanted me to come back in 15 minutes to finish up I went back to her. Unfortunately she wasn't answering the door when I got back so I had to run back and finish on two. My second sale was with a guy who needed a job so I gave him the number for an interview with us.
Back at the office we all got on costumes for the awards night (my team was cowboys and indians) and headed over to the usual pub. Before heading over Matt had some contacts that make your eyes look interesting and after failing to put them in even with my help he let me put one on my own eye.
At the pub we took some photos and did awards then I quickly pulled out the contact because it was starting to make me want to tear my eyes out of their sockets. We eventually headed out with me following and, to Matt's surprise, keeping up on my push bike. We got some Yiros (Giros) then everybody just started doing their own thing so I went to another place with Jason from work and ran into Peer. Eventually I decided it was time to redeem my hotel stay that I won a few weeks ago.

It was a pretty impressive place (almost five stars) so I got into it. I soaked in the tub a bit then grabbed a robe out of the closet and layed out on the giant queen sized bed. At about 3a Matt called to inform me that a bunch of them were coming to check out the room. At about 3:30a they showed up and started drinking the minibar. Meanwhile my disconnected toenail became the focus of the room as Harry, who studied medicine, explained that I should remove it. Matt pulled out a pedicure kit (that he carries around with him for some reason) and trimmed the nail away for me in one full sized chunk. At this point everyone was fairly grossed out and pretty much decided they were ready to leave.


Today I woke up at 8a and went to work at the hostel. At 11a my first shift of the day ended and I took a nap. Around noon I made pancakes and got some rim tape for the new tyres I still need to put on my push bike. At 2p I started my final shift and at 4:30p I found out I was going to a wedding in 45 min so I got groceries, finished my laundry, took a shower, ironed my shirt and packed some stuff for the night. After Pillar picked me up I finished putting on my belt and combing my hair in the car. At the meeting hall I did a quick shave and we all ate.


After the meeting today I went with Pillar and others to a home meeting where we made dumplings from scratch. Following the meal we also had some fondu with fruit (apples/strawberries/bananas) and a chocolate fountain. Pillar then took me to my hostel and, after I did some hostel work, Yannick and Peer showed up to go to Roozbeh's for Peer's last night in Australia. Willy came again and at Roozbeh's we had some drinks, chips/yogurt and started playing cards. I ordered a Dominoes pizza with garlic bread and we played a game of Kings Cup. After a while William left and soon we ran out of snacks and drinks so the rest of us headed out as well.


Today we went back to Daveron Park and I made three sales. The first sale was to some teenagers living on the dole and the final sale was with a guy named Travis. Travis was really into cars and wanted to check out Vegas so I told him about the Fremont Experience and, after I finished signing him up, checked out his caddy. Back in the city I rode my bike to the Rosemount bar for a few drinks with the team in honor of Dermot leaving SA for Sydney, NSW. I bought Amie a drink since she wanted one and I owed her for some food she bought me a while back. After some stories from Matt and Dermot's mischievous adventures in Thailand I ended up giving Dermot my bandana to cover his face because he couldn't stop sneezing.


Today I won a box of NoDoz from a balloon and we headed out. On turf I started making sales right off and by 2p I had three sales - it was so easy that I almost had to beat the customers off with a stick! Each sale was a simple conversation about rates and saving then straight to the paperwork. The first guy was a pensioner who had just got off the phone with AGL and was frustrated that they wouldn't help him. He had plans to go fishing on ANZAC day and just wanted to get this taken care of so, of course, I obliged. The next few were more pensioners who just wanted to save a bit on their electricity as well. Most didn't require much convincing at all, I just told them about the reduction and asked for a place to lean while I filled out a couple peices of paper, simple as that! At 5p I was on five sales and had plans to double that score during game time but after a couple bad credits and a few uneventful appointments I was still on five. Still an awesome day and a great score to end on before the day off - eight sales in two days! Back at the hostel I did a couple hours work then headed out to the cinema with an Irish lad named Stephen to see the midnight showing of The Avengers. It was $20/ticket (standard in Australia) and cost us $20 in buses and taxis but totally worth it! After the movie we walked back about four kilometers through a park and down Rundle Mall so we wouldn't have to pay for a taxi again - got back at 4a.


Today I popped two balloons for Tuesday's two by 3p and one of being in the first eight. I won a $3 scratchy and a $50 voucher! After driving to turf I worked with a trainee named Mike. Mike has been involved in fundraising for charity before so he had some experience in sales. After knocking a few doors with him I made my first sale to an independent artist. Somebody left thousands of dollars of painting stuff to her one day including some unfinished work for her to complete. Since she has done hundreds of paintings and sold most all of them for profit. My next sale was also before three - I had pitched a guy who was fully into the product but just not willing to sign for it but fortunately his neighbor, who had been eavesdropping a bit, had actually heard of Lumo before and wanted to sign up. My next two sales were neighbors and both were on payment plans yet had good credit and brought me up to four sales by 5p. The rest of the time I mainly ran into people who weren't concerned with saving money on electricity - one guy even told me that he made plenty of money and didn't mind paying higher rates but thanked me anyways. After my appointments I went back to the van and ran into the newbies, Mike and Richard. Both had a sale each which reflects well on Brendon and myself as trainers. I ended up running over to the take away shop and getting a $4 burger and heaps of delicious chips (french fries) for $3.50 - enough to share with the whole van. Back at the hostel I did a quick detail shift then ate while watching Blade with Danny and others from the hostel.


Today I popped a balloon with a free load of laundry but since I get free laundry at my hostel I gave it to someone else. Out on our new turf for the day I was training Mike again and the third house we went to had a gate that took some work to get through and then another gate after that. Mike insisted that we should just move on but I just told him how much easier this was compared to hopping the fence. Our efforts proved worthwhile as the guy inside was totally into the idea of signing his mom up for the reduced rates. After that, Mike headed out onto his turf and I continued on for another few hours. It wasn't till 4p that I got my next sale and only because a girl was in a cooldown with AGL and only after we called in to make sure she was able to cancel with them. It took about 45 minutes explaining everything in detail to get her to cancel with AGL then another 15 minutes to get her through the signup but, in the end, she was more than sold on the offer. After a bit I realized that the turf had a lot of tense people so I focused a bit on deference and got a couple better responses. Though, I found that this got me caught up talking to people who weren't actually in any position to sign up but rather just enjoyed the conversation. This wouldn't usually bother me but since I was running out of time to get my third sale (entitling me to a $200 bonus for the week) it was a bit stressful. At the end I was on two, one sale short of my bonus - for the second week in a row! What's really something is that this time I did it with four days instead of five! If only they didn't move us to completely different turf on both Fridays I surely would have made the bonus...


Today I got a smart phone (Alcatel OT-990) - it has internet, GPS, Skype and lots of other stuff. After returning to the hostel I played around with my new tech for a few hours then went to David's. When I arrived David pulled out a letter for me which contained my new drivers license!
He then said he had something more which got me nervous.. I asked him if it was a hand full of speeding tickets but he laughed questioningly and handed me some coupons. I explained that all the speed cams are new for me and, considering I don't know how strict they are and the tickets can take up to a month to arrive, I was a bit concerned that I might get a few. After this David and I went to the pub for a drink and chips and met a kiwi guy named Fred. Fred invited me to go play Rugby with him and some blokes next weekend and, with some encouragement from David, I agreed. I really do love the idea, it's gonna be fun, but it wont be easy to pull off with everything I have going on.

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