Business Lessons Dad taught me: Never buy Zep and hate the Mets

If you work for Zep, I’m sorry, I truly am for this post. I have no idea how the company is run today or even if the stories were true, but I knew never to buy Zep. If we were at a restaurant and Dad saw Zep products, he’d walk out if he couldn’t convince them to switch (more on ‘always be selling’ later). Today I’m pretty much the same way. If I see Zep I may not walk out, but it’s negative two points in my mind. Why the hatred of Zep? As an 8 year old kid, not being able to go to the local pizza place because they were using Zep was hard to comprehend.

What Dad told me is they engaged in many unethical business practices (remember this was 30 years ago so I have no idea how they are today and this shouldn’t be construed as a discussion about them today). He told me how much more money we could have and how much less he’d have to work if we did business that way. But it wasn’t right, plain and simple and he taught me expensive things have no value if they aren’t earned fairly. While he taught me to exaggerate sometimes, he wouldn’t lie to sell something or use high pressure sales tactics. You shouldn’t regret your purchase. He told me stories of Zep salesmen that would threaten to get a maid fired or deported if she didn’t tell a boss to buy their product. Ugggh.

Besides not allowing Zep in my home (old habits die hard), I really learned the importance of earning business, not forcing it upon people. People call computer repair companies because they can’t do this stuff themselves and are completely at the mercy of the technicians they let into their homes or offices. I take that trust profoundly and this is why we generally don’t sell computers. I see it as a conflict of interest that is difficult to avoid. We are there to help you and won’t use high pressure tactics to get you to buy more products or services. I’ve left many jobs over the years for just that reason. My bottom line isn’t on a spreadsheet, it’s in my soul. In fact, I was taught by my father that Jewish people believe when they die the very first question asked of them is “did you conduct your business affairs honestly?” I’ve never forgotten that lesson. A fat wallet and a thin soul is foolhardy.

He also taught me to hate the Mets, but I can’t remember a rational reason why. Our household was Yankees fans. That’s all I needed to know. I don’t like baseball but I know I hate the Mets. Rangers too.

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