How did you know I was a real estate agent?

I attended the annual get together presented by our real estate company in Seattle yesterday and it was the usual affair in a down market of company mucky mucks and inspirational speakers attempting to sell better times ahead to the sales people, who in turn will go out into the community and parrot those lines to their friends and neighbors.

Being in sales and knowing a line of bullshit when I hear one, it was for the most part good bullshit and when I exited the beautiful venue of Benaroya Hall and stepped back into the real world of our current real estate market of continuing high rates of unemployment and increasing mortgage foreclosures, I none the less felt a glimmer of optimism that perhaps the worst is behind us. Maybe I’m just a sucker for a happy ending.

What really strikes me however when 2,000+ real estate agents gather in one venue is the ostentatious image of conspicuous consumption on display by a great many of them. Upon casually glancing around, about half of these agents present an image of quiet competence, dressed conservatively in well-tailored suits or in tastefully understated casual wear. Professional in appearance in other words. The other half suggest that there was a scheduling conflict in the rental of the Hall with our company and Barnum and Bailey, and rather than resolve the conflict the clowns simply showed up and attempted to mingle without being noticed. I hate to break it to them, but clowns are always noticed.

Arriving in their highly polished black and chrome leased luxury vehicles with every useless after market do-dad conceived in the minds of useless after market do-dad makers bolted to the exterior and interior of their rolling thrones, their Zoot Suit like attire of insanely cut and colored robes, sheer hose, hand-made Italian shoes, eye-liner and excessive makeup, unconvincing hair color on the 50+ crowd,  rings and watches so festooned with jewels that informing you of the time of day is, like a human tailbone, merely of vestigial use. They scream to be noticed. Don’t even get me started on the women.

I understand the need of a business person being visible to potential clients but in my experience, and I’m speaking generally here, this over the top Peacockery by many in my chosen line of work seems a weak substitute for a reputation based on customer service and meeting your clients needs over time. I don’t know who they think they’re fooling but apparently they are fooling enough to maintain the payments on their regal lifestyles. For now. Like circus clowns in times past seen as comedic entertainers who now are perceived more as being kind of creepy, this type of  real estate agent or anyone in the business of selling who’s stock in trade is to baffle you with bullshit and dazzle you in the majesty of their perceived success seems on the wane.

Faster, please.

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7 responses to “How did you know I was a real estate agent?

  1. I love this item but I gotta tell you that this thin white type on a black background isn’t working for you. Graphic designers that think it does are, well, clowns.

  2. Black type on white background. White on thin black just eats the edges of the font as you can see. Might have to hack into the css for this page if it’s custom. If not there might be a variation of this theme at veloso’s page. Then again maybe no since he seems confused and in transition. Just remember if it is hard to read lots won’;t bother to read it.

  3. I was there, but didn’t get your ostentation vibe. Mostly I feel that when attending RE conventions on the East Side, where agents still wear suits and drive expensive cars to show you how prosperous they are.

    What hit me in Benaroya:
    1. Holy shit, is every single agent here over 50? Where were the 20- and 30-somethings?
    2. More ethnic diversity than I’m used to seeing among those few younger agents. Finally.

    I wish us both a better year–

  4. It was kind of funny seeing OB up there fist bumping his way through the event. My mother was one of the first agents John hired back when he bought the Sand Point office and managed the Lake Forest Park office for years so I remember him as a tyke. Time marches on doesn’t it?

  5. Interesting.

    How about realtors with trophy houses?

    Conspicuous consumption? Ostentation?

  6. It takes a pretty good picture Arthur but if you could get a look at me after a typical day of tending for 3 horses, two goats, chickens, 8 dogs, 5 cats…conspicuous consumption probably wouldn’t come to mind. I drive a ’98 Chev pickup with 200K miles (hey! who does that sound like!) that is usually covered in mud. The house is actually pretty modest as was typical of many modern homes of this era although the setting is pretty spectacular if I do say so.
    You know the look I speak of if you have spent any time in certain areas of the eastside.

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