The remorseful scientist
In a moment of heartfelt sincerity, Dr Matthew Partridge has a very important message for all scientific equipment sales people…
Dear Sales people. I am writing to you because I feel that I need to get something off my chest. I'd have done this in person but you are a collective of thousands of people and it seems unlikely that I can persuade you all to meet me at a coffee shop to 'talk'.
We've had a complicated relationship over the years. From the first time we met and you were trying to sell a dizzying array of lab consumables I knew that our relationship was going to be long and filled with exciting challenges.
We've danced back and forth between you trying to sell me stuff I need, me trying to buy stuff I need, you trying to sell me other stuff and me trying to get you out the door as quickly as possible. I'll always think fondly of those times when you've actually had the thing I want available and I've been able to give you money for it.
But it's not all been sales and smiles. Many times you've let me down and promised me things that have turned out to be the science equivalent of a unicorn made of chocolate. In several cases you've actually offered me chocolate… although you have stopped short of the unicorn. However, no amount of unicorn promises and impossibly high quotes can make it okay for the way I've treated you. They way I've repeatedly ghosted and blanked you for months at a time.
Countless times I've contacted you for quotes or even just to check you sell a product and almost always you've replied with information. Not always the information I was asking for but you were trying.
In return I've replied with deafening silence. You've persevered with continued e-mails including subjects such as "Did you get my quote okay?" and "Was this helpful". Reaching out to me just to make sure I was happy.
Again I replied with nothing.
This kind of behaviour by me is totally unacceptable. You've put yourself out there with your quote or helpful link to a incomprehensible ordering page and I've used you and moved on with my work.
I can try and explain this kind of behaviour… I'm busy with countless other researchers' things. I have other e-mails that fill up my inbox. There are lots of sales people contacting me and I can't possibly find time to reply to you all. My project changed, to something else and I don't need to know the answer to that any more. The money I thought I had was used up and now I don't want to buy anything.
But each of the reasons somehow make me sound even worse! Combined it sounds like I don't care about your e-mail, I'm seeing other sales people behind your back, I'm asking questions I don't really need answered and even if you answer I can't spend any money anyway.
Where do we go from here? Well I'm not sure I can promise to stop ghosting you. I feel terrible about it and I hope you realise that I don't mean to be so cruel.
So I ask, can you please forgive me? If you can somehow see past all of this and find that forgiveness then can look deeper still into your heart and maybe, just maybe find me an extra 10% discount? That would be great.
[caption id="attachment_92093" align="alignnone" width="171"] Dr Matthew Partridge is a senior Research Fellow at the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Southampton but describes himself as a biochemist who has accidentally ended up working with optical sensor systems.[/caption]