Cold Call

“Hi, This Is Scott”

In the go-go period of 1995-1999 (the Dot.Com era) everybody was in a hurry  to do something “internety”  Salaries were inflated and an incalculable number of companies sprouted up and their only value proposition is that they had “I,” or “E” (for internet, and electronic, respectively) and created a web site. 

That time was a gold rush for recruiters. Thus, I received many phone calls that I didn’t have time for, and/or had no interest in. In 1996, my office phone did not have caller ID, so I had no way of screening outside calls.

One day I received a call from a recruiter, about a position in the Chicago suburbs. 

I told her that I lived in the city,  and was not at all interested in commuting to the suburbs. I told her I didn’t think I’d be a fit for the job based on that alone.  

Though I agreed to send her a résumé. I would soon regret that decision.

“Have You Heard of McDonald’s?”

She called back a couple of days later. She seemed out of breath as she began telling me about the greatest job in the history of our solar system. 

Less than two minutes in, I told her that I wasn’t interested. 

I reminded her that I lived in the city, and didn’t have a car, and had no  interest in buying a car. Thus, I was not interested in talking further. 

The recruiter wanted to keep talking anyway, and she did. I learned the position was with an advertising agency, that   “has been in business for 30 years.”

I already worked at an ad agency (that had been in business for 100 years). I told her I didn’t want to pursue opportunities in other agencies.

“I am not interested……” I said….again.

She interjected “They have one client, but it’s a huge one. ”

One account? My interest dropped from “Very Little” and dropped to ” zero.”

She added “Have you heard of McDonald’s?”

Hmm…moving on to condescension? Didn’t seem like a particularly solid technique to win over a prospective candidate.

 “McDonald’s: that’s their client. For 30 years! The company ‘does the work’ for their Monopoly game. They loved your résumé and are very interested in talking to you.”

 “Does the work”? What the hell?

That could mean anything: printing, graphic design, media buys, strategy, etc. and maybe even something internety. 

I must admit, the M-word (McDonald’s) did cause me to pause for a moment. Like many people my age, I had fond memories of McDonald’s:

I almost asked her to elaborate, then I had a feeling in my gut. A queasy feeling, like the time that I got sick at football practice shortly after I’d eaten 4 Quarter Pounders on a dare.

I didn’t know if this was a gut instinct, or a Pavlovian flashback. I concluded  it was the former.  There  was no force on Earth would make me interested in that position. There was too much risk, and a Super-Sized  serving of inconvenience.

“I Knew You’d Be Perfect”

I said, “It doesn’t matter who the account is. I don’t plan to work for a company with only one customer. My current company had a client for 75 years and they lost it last year. Furthermore, I don’t want to work in the suburbs. I don’t even have a car.”

“Well, you could  JUST  buy a car?”

“I don’t want a car. There are many reasons why I got rid of my car. I’d be happy if I never had a car again.”

“Well, you could JUST take a train.”


The location wasn’t near a commuter rail station. The would involve several bus transfers; therefore a lot of time. I reiterated that I wasn’t interested. 

She was getting exasperated, and said, “But they loved your resume and  want to know how soon you could start.”

WHAT?!? That was the second time she said she had shared my résumé. It didn’t register with me the first time. On the second occasion it did. 

“You shared my résumé?!? Why did you do that?!? And who makes decision to hire people without an interview?” I asked, in a whisper-shout.

She replied, “I knew you’d be perfect. And I’m sure that they’ll make it worth your while to commute out there. Or you could just buy a house near their office. They have a big budget for this job, you could probably buy a nice house…”

“JUST” again.

“OK, This is Your Loss”

I was way past done. With every fiber of my being, I tried to restrain myself as I reiterated all of my key points: I didn’t want to commute to, or move to, the suburbs. I didn’t want to buy a car, or spend hours on commute trains and buses. 

She tried her money line again, “But, they’ve had the McDonald’s business for 30 years, and…”

After some effort, I was finally able to convince her that I wasn’t interested. She signed off with a disdainful “OK. This is your loss. Bye.” There was a bit F-U! in her voice.

Across the Pond

I didn’t think much of  the conversation years until  after I’d moved to Michigan. I learned on TV news of a high-profile scandal involving the McDonald’s Monopoly game.  Some of of their promotional agencies were axed.

I was glad that I had gone with my gut. I didn’t want to put all my eggs in one McMuffin.

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