Saturday, 7 July 2018

'The Tea and Biscuits' Sales Rep

Our extremely unreliable grapevine has been at it again, this time with more news on the series celebrating the NHS’ 70th birthday. The next episode continues its observation of healthcare sales reps in their natural habitats. 

Sir David Attenborough, over to you… 

Another member of the Hospital Sales Rep family is ‘Salesus Slothius’, better known as the ‘Tea and Biscuits’ Sales Rep. 

Compared to ‘The Peacock’, this salesperson is far less conspicuous and prefers a more leisurely, long-term approach to how they go about things. To them, the word ‘mañana’ has too urgent a connotation. 

Favouring a much more casual style, Salesus Slothius is recognisable by its friendly, chatty and innocuous demeanour. It will often announce its approach by poking its head around a door and simply enquiring whether everything’s okay. 

And that’s it. Nothing more. 

Should this lead to an invitation to sit down, it then provides the perfect environment for it to relax into full ‘Tea and Biscuits’ mode. There is no other situation in which this rep is more at home and at ease; it’s a setting that allows them to demonstrate their full repertoire of sociable, empty communication over a hot drink and chocolate Hobnobs. To discuss any form of business is considered uncouth. That can wait for another time. Instead, it’s far better to talk about anything and everything else. 

As well as biscuits, their staple diet consists of sandwiches, cakes and donuts which they will often share with others. If anything, it adds to the conviviality. However, because they arrive laden with such a feast of goodies, one shouldn’t expect anything as practical or useful as pens, pads or even product information. Unless they’re in edible form. 

Collectively referred to as a drizzle of salespersons, very little ruffles the feathers of The Tea and Biscuits rep. Urgency just causes them stress. Hence slow and steady, steady and slow, and slow and slow wins the day. Indeed, why do something today that can also be done tomorrow, or next week, or next month? Or never. 

They are usually spotted in daylight hours and, being less fleet-footed than other reps, have evolved a keen sense of danger; as such, they are extremely careful not to stay too long in one place before returning to the refuge of their car. Sometimes, they will stay there for hours on end until the perceived threat has passed. You’d be forgiven for thinking that the hospital environment is not their natural habitat. That’s not true though – they are just waiting for the all-clear when they can again move around unobserved and in safety. 

Climate, too, can play havoc with their desire to venture into The Great Outdoors, and there have been instances when the early onset of a harsh winter has forced some into premature hibernation. In fact, some Tea and Biscuits reps are sometimes not seen for months on end. And that may be regardless of what the weather is doing. 

Come springtime though, and after a long, bleak season, they will eventually resurface refreshed and relaxed… 

Ready for another exhausting sit down and nice cup of tea. 

Indeed, it’s the circle of life.

Until next time...

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