Cranberry Pecan Mix

by Larry Teren

The circular plastic container read in big, bold letters “Cranberry Pecan Mix” on the front. On the back, the ingredients panel read: “golden raisins, dried cranberries, almonds, apricots and pecans”.

There was a dash of sulfur dioxide, sugar and palm oil to give it additional taste and consistency.

Now, where I come from it would be more aptly labeled Raisin Cranberry Mix, or Raisin Almond. After all, the higher the sequence in the list of ingredients, the greater the dominance of that item in the ingredients, right?

But, I bought it despite the lie because I like cranberries and various nuts. I didn’t feel deceived, just amused. Which got me to thinking about how often I’ve been deceived and not amused. One does that as he or she gets older. It seems to happen more often. We feel that there is an international conspiracy of age discrimination, right?

On the business side, when a long time client tells you, “don’t worry- nothing is going to change. Or even if it does, we are still going to need your services”, you know its time to start deleting off their computers anything you saved on them of a personal nature. Eventually, the person giving you the vote of confidence comes back and acknowledges that he or she was wrong and “sorry”.

Or the guy who I’ve known for so many years is making a pitch to my client to provide similar type support but in a slightly different niche. (He can’t program computer code worth a lick. He brings to the table nice bedside manners. That’s about it.) He invites me to a brunch meeting- his treat- openly goes over his agenda and indicates that he has plans to work with me at this place as well as create cooperative opportunities elsewhere. Gullible me believes him but of course you, the reader, well know that it is a ruse to keep me at a distance while he maneuvers to cut me out from under. And this, after he wrangles from me a positive referral to the powers that be.

He is the easy one to blame. But it is really the client who does the nasty and tells me that I am no longer useful to them. Even though I could be and at a better cost to their bottom line than the guy with the bedside manners.

Or the client who dumps me because he thinks I should help him find a software solution for free even if I am not going to get anything out of it and probably lose their business because of it. I know- wallowing in self-pity is not fun to watch or listen to.

As a consumer, you and I are expected to pay up front for anything we buy. We may defer the payment a bit with a credit card but it has to come before the next payment cycle or bear the punishment of adding interest fees. In the meantime, the one who sells the product or provides the service gets their money from the credit card company within three days and doesn’t care about your ability to pay on time.

Often being the middle man in business transactions, it seems as if everyone wants me to be their bank. When they buy software that I resell from a manufacturer, they want to delay paying until after I am obligated to turn over the money from the sale to the manufacturer. As if I am making a profit on it.

At this point, the reader wonders if I am so unhappy with the way things are going- why not give it up? Switch gears. Be like Grandma Moses who took up painting for bucks at the age of 78. Or Colonel Harland Sanders who went into the fried chicken franchise business at 62. My problem is I happen to like cranberries and nuts. Donations can be made to my self-pity foundation.

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