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.