How to Succeed in Business

Submitted by Carmen:

Neil was a designer of special event invitations.  If you were planning a wedding, anniversary, bar mitzvah, or sweet sixteen, he'd come up with a specified invitation design for you.  I met him while accompanying my engaged friend, who was in the market for wedding invitations.

After our appointment with him (I had taken his card), I took the unusual step of calling him up to ask him out.

"That's awesome, because I thought that you were cute," he said, and so we arranged a date.

Not five minutes after meeting up in a downtown area, his phone rang.

"Sorry, it's a client," he said, and picked up the phone.

My first thought was that it was a little rude, but, being in business myself, I realized that sometimes, clients couldn't wait.  I thought it was fair to be understanding and patient.

He went on, into the phone, "Okay, so the mauve and mother-of-pearl?  Oh, you didn't want that.  I'm sorry, the reception is really bad."

At some point, I might have said, "Can I call you back?"  That point would've probably been around the five-minute juncture. Not Neil, though.  His conversation went on for closer to ten minutes.

"Is now not a good time?" I mouthed to him.  He put his pointer finger up to me in response, and then pointed his middle finger at the phone.

Finally, after the client had agreed on soft lilac and eggshell-white, Neil hung up.  "Sorry about that," he said, "Clients."

"Don't worry about it," I assured him.

We took a step.  His phone rang.

"Sorry," he said, and picked up the phone again.

"Hey Jim.  With the soccer awards dinner.  How's it going?"

I must have given a far more powerful exasperated look than I had meant to.

He said, into the phone, "Could you hold on for a sec?"  He turned to me and said, "I'm a businessman.  I run a business.  You're either going to be okay with that, or you can leave."

What a bargain.  I took a moment to process it, then said, "It's a deal.  Bye."

With that, I turned and walked away.  Over my shoulder, I heard him say, "Hold on a sec.  I'm sorry."

He caught up, grabbed my shoulder, and asked, "What the hell is your problem?  Are you psycho?  I'm with a client!  I'm running a business!"

I took another moment and replied, "Then run your business.  You've spent one-hundred percent of your time on this date with your clients, and I've been spending it with your rude ass.  Leave me alone!"

"What the..." he turned back to the phone.  "I'll call you back," and he hung up.  "Fine.  I'll spend the date just with you.  Happy?"

"Isn't that what a date is?"

His phone rang.  He rolled his eyes.  "Probably that last client, angry that I just hung up on him.  But it's okay.  Tonight's my night just with you!  It's not like I have a business to run or anything."

I backed away.  "I'm going to go.  Have a good night."

"Why are you leaving?  I just said that I'd spend the whole night with you!  Isn't that what you wanted?"

I stormed away and threw him the finger over my shoulder.


  1. I'm glad he didn't get stuck with a needy bitch like you. As a small business owner myself, yes, we have to take client calls pretty much all the time. If it were something important, like a wedding or an anniversary, then yes, I'd say it was rude to answer the phone. But for a first date with someone he only thought was cute, with no background with you? I wouldn't risk losing the business of potential clients either. Especially not on a needy bitch.

  2. I love it when the apologists come out on here.

    OP: "He took out a gun and told me that he'd kill me and my family if I didn't do what he said."

    Anonymous Commenter: "It's your own fault for telling him that you preferred Indian food over Chinese. I hate Indian food. You deserved it."

  3. ^Hahaha! I know! Someone has reasonable expectations for a first date, and the crazies come out, blaming the OP.

    Now, full disclosure: I've been one of those crazies before, but under circumstances such as these, when the date GAVE HER AN ULTIMATUM that included the option of leaving and then flipped out on her when she left...it's def not the OP's fault. I'm sure the clients will understand if they have to leave a voice message.

  4. Now be fair people. Neil was likely used to paying for his dates, and forgot the OP wasn't on the clock.

  5. A simple "I am unavailable between X and Y, please leave a message and I'll call you back" type voicemail greeting is all it takes to fix this situation. Guy couldn't even take 2 minutes to do that. I know a handful of successful business owners, and none of them insist on answering every phone call. I'm not sure if this was a dinner date or not, but I doubt he's going to lose any customers if they have to leave a message outside of normal business hours.

  6. I'm also a business person, and I think 10:05 is a jerk who is headed toward a very lonely life. I love my work but I have the sense to know that I need to take breaks and have fun in order to be sane/avoid burnout. 10:59 is right in saying that a voicemail msg could have solved this entire problem.

  7. Well, I guess we can all assume 10:05 is single.

  8. Agree that he could survive an hour or two without taking calls.

    But what would have pissed me off most was the classic passive aggressive: "But it's okay. Tonight's my night just with you! It's not like I have a business to run or anything."

  9. Anon 10:05 - It's understandable that he runs a business, but work and social life should be kept separate. She took the time to arrange a date with him when she has her own business; he should show the same courtesy. If the phone rings, oh well. It's called an answering machine. If it's really important, the client will leave a message. What, they can't wait for a few hours for him to call back?

    Married - I felt pissed off when I read that line, too.

  10. This guy should know that if your vagina is trying to dial him it doesn't want to be put on hold to hear about the mauve-and-mother-of-pearl issues he's having with someone else.

  11. ^Ha! When a vagina dials, you don't put it on hold. You pick up that pie glass, reach for that red phone and you ANSWER!


  13. Am I the only one who thought 10:05 was trying to exercise his (obviously very weak) sarcasm muscles?

  14. ^Yes.

    1:15 - I'm flattered! (And aroused! rowr) I hope you're picturing me in filthy, illegal situations while you touch yourself; it'd only be fitting. ;D

  15. If a woman set a cell phone (not an iPhone) on vibrate when called and slipped it into her vagina to go on a first date and then was called by business contacts throughout the evening, would that be rude?

  16. Sorry your joke died before it left the hangar Frank.

  17. OP had the right idea to leave at the first chance. Neil gives guys like me a bad name. Although I already have a bad name, but that's beside the point. Anyone that can't turn the cell of for a little while on a date should be single.

  18. I don't even pay attention to women. WHAT U SAY?

  19. That reminds me of a friend I shied away from because of the same behavior, may he RIP. I'd go to his house, his phone would ring and he'd yack and yack instead of the polite, "Can I call you back later since I have company?"

    It's so rude and inconsiderate.

  20. I'm not exactly on the same page as the illustrious 10:05, but eff...it was 10 minutes. I didn't think he was quite the dick-bag until late (20 minutes?) into the date, well after both parties were being pricks.
    She seemed to flip her shit pretty quickly. Event invitations may not be as important as drug running, but hell - maybe the guy needs the business pretty badly.

    Yes, douchebag all the way when it comes to the passive aggressive stuff, but not so much before.

    I brace myself for 10:05-like response. Wheee.

  21. I myself am a small business owner like Neil. I generally have to take the phone calls at all hours of the night, or I would lose business.

    Usually I am pretty quick on the phone, just asking things like 'Who dis?' and 'Where you at?' and 'What you need?' But I always try and be courteous to my date when this happens, and I bring the date with me to deliver the crackrock. Sometimes my dates will partake in the crackrock, and sometimes the bitch will owe me money from partaking in the crackrock. But usually when that happens I can make a lot more money by just having the date with me, letting her smoke the crackrock, then making her suck off my customers for more crackrock, which by then I would sell at a higher price because I brought a crackrock addicted polesmoker with me who will suck them off for just a little bit of crackrock.

    So please, lets ease off the small business owners!

  22. clearly the OP was just jealous that she wasn't the one getting married and just threw herself at the first penis she saw. that's the only possible explanation for calling up a "designer of special event invitiations" and asking him out.

  23. Seven-Thirty8/19/2010 3:49 AM

    Very droll, 11:35.

    She took the "unusual" (i.e., demeaning) step of asking a successful man for a date. He was in fact not so successful because he lived to close his little business deals.

    One key element in closing sales of this type while preserving high margins must be to puff up the customer's ego.

    "Your wedding/event is so important, you'll surely require organic paper that traps C02, etc."

    "You're going there for your honeymoon, wow, blah, blah..."

    If the OP had spent time with this guy she would likely have been bored out of her mind with all of his stories about reeling in jobs.

  24. I can understand one phone call catching somebody off-guard (I sometimes forget my phone is left on), but after that he should have turned his phone off.

    Nikki and 1:15 might be posting to this site soon...

  25. Dalek, that was so unexpected I just lost it. I love you.

    Also yeah 10:05, you're a lonely dickwad.

  26. Haha, nah, I'm married. I also have a very understanding wife that happens to not be needy. She's also a small business owner, running a bed and breakfast. Who'd have thought? She takes calls until about 9:00pm, just like me.

    None of you are business owners, are you? I imagine that if you are, you're not very successful.


  27. 10:05/10:03

    There's a difference between apathetic and needy. It's a first date and if he can't make time, then he should have said so before hand. Having to sit and listen to someone else's conversation for ten minutes at the dinner table in incredibly awkward and feels like an eternity.

    9pm? Isn't that late for a daytime hooker working the dumpsters behind the Food Lion? I wouldn't call an alley and a merkin with left over Crunch n' Berries stuck in it a "Bed and Breakfast" but that's just me.

  28. ^BAHahahahaha! Bazinga!

  29. Proper Southern Lady8/19/2010 3:49 PM

    I'm glad that this site exists. Any time I feel "not so fresh" "down there," I can just come to A Bad Case of the Dates and choose from a variety of douches to cleanse my tuna-smelling vj out.

  30. Sorry. Business owner or not, this fellow was just plain RUDE and the OP was perfectly within her rights to react the way she did. The man is a workaholic as well as an @$$hat and the lady dodged a bullet. Just about every adult (save for full-time homemakers and retirees) works so they can eat, but there is such a thing as life away from the job.

  31. I guess there are a lot of douchebags that pull this crap these days, but it's contrived. Before the era of cell phones, Twitter and having to be available 24-7 to the whole world, people still worked, conducted business and had personal lives and everything was fine.

  32. 10:05 - I'm sure everyone who has commented knows of someone who owns a business. It could be a friend, family member, or even them. The fact that you are on here trying to brag and make yourself and you wife look good makes you look like you're lying. Your not fooling anyone, lol. Nice try though. And for someone who claims to be a 'business man' you sure have alot of time on your hands to be on this site. If what these users said didn't hit some truth you wouldn't of bothered coming back and responding.

    (And question to anyone who might see this, Do you know why my name pops up with a bunch of random numbers and letters and not my screen name.?)

  33. 09c5c6: You have an opaque identifier. You might be able to switch it up through Aol. Not having had one, though, I'm not sure what the steps would be.


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