Continuing a lifetime's study of different species in their natural habitats, we’ve just heard (on an extremely unreliable grapevine) that Sir David Attenborough has been commissioned to do a programme on hospital sales reps to help celebrate the NHS' 70th birthday.
Should be interesting. Already, we can imagine his rich, hushed tones…
The Hospital Sales Rep, or to take its biological name ‘Salesus Reptilius Hospitalis’, is a fascinating species.
Often seen congregating in hospital coffee shops and car parks, some are easier to spot than others, but none more so than one type in particular: ‘The Peacock’...
Through decades of evolutionary self-styling, The Peacock is characterised by its appearance: the parading sales rep of the healthcare world. Witness them huddled together in a group, and it is impossible to miss this plume of salespersons.
Well-groomed, ultra-coiffed, and adorned with designer stubble or the latest trend in facial hair – of course, that is just the males – don’t be fooled that physical appearance is all that matters to them...
Accessories are just as important. What could be more resplendent than a sharp-looking three-piece suit, a bold tie, brown shoes and statement socks? And all of this perfectly complemented by an understatedly large wristwatch that is rarely ever used to tell the time.
It’s perfect attire for a hospital setting, even if it is a look that wouldn’t be out of place at a wedding, on a Stock Exchange trading floor or international catwalk. To The Peacock, showcasing the latest trends never goes out of fashion.
Fledgling Peacock reps, known as ‘Preeners’, aspire to this full image status in the hope of being accepted into the wider family. However, it can lead to an extremely harsh lesson if not managed properly. Many a Preener has been ostracised by his plume for not realising that there’s only one ‘l’ in ‘Rolex’ and that ‘Arrrmani’ is no more than a cheap, West Country imitation.
In today’s modern world, Peacocks also need to be incredibly fit and dextrous – it’s an absolute must if they are to manage the latest piece of IT equipment in one hand, and a quadruple-shot free trade Ghanaian latte in the other. And, so as not to compromise either of these functions, their bags are often kept in the boot of the car for safety. It’s all part of keeping up appearances.
Nonetheless, image-conscious though they may be, Peacocks also have an innate ability to blend in effortlessly with their surroundings. In an instant, and thanks to a rather ingenious talent, they can render themselves invisible. One minute you see them as clear as day, and the next, you’d be hard pushed to spot them in an empty room. Probably because they’re not there.
Whilst often misunderstood, there is no doubt that they remain one of the most enigmatic creatures within the sales genus.
But, in the right setting, and at the right time, it is possible to catch a fleeting glimpse of this extraordinary species in all its glory.
Usually around midday. And rarely on Fridays.
Until next time...