In the early 1970’s I worked as a chemical salesman in the Middle Atlantic States . The Division’s Sales Manager, Frank Margolati, was located in New York City . He was a veteran sales professional with a highly supportive management style. He was a good teacher and excellent motivator.
One afternoon I telephoned into the office and was transferred to Frank. He advised me that Goodrich Chemical was building a large Poly Vinyl Chloride plant in Pedricktown , New Jersey that would be using our product, a flame retardant for vinyl plastic. He told me to make contact at that facility and get to know the purchasing agent. I immediately complied.
The purchasing agent, Ron Merriman, was a friendly man who liked to socialize. I reported back to Frank that I had made dinner arrangement with Ron and his wife and asked if he would join us. Frank agreed to come to south Jersey and join us for dinner at a newly opened five star restaurant in Cherry Hill . As we concluded our conversation Frank said: “This is a very important account for the company. It is essential that we make a good impression on Merriman. He stressed: “When he thinks about buying flame retardants he should remember you … and … send the order to us.”
Frank, my wife and I met the Merriman’s at the Hyatt Hotel in Cherry Hill and proceeded into the elegant new restaurant. We were seated at a large table that was decked with beautiful linens. The table settings were impressive, with beautiful plates and silver wear. The water goblets on the table were the largest cut glass vessels I had every seen. They were filled with ice cubes and water. Ron was seated at my right, my wife at my left and Frank directly across from me at the circular table.
Drinks were ordered and we initiated a spirited dinner conversation. The friendly atmosphere and the pre dinner drinks led to enthusiastic banter. We shared stories as we shared the delights of a truly fine restaurant.
As I was telling a story, in my animated and expressive manner, I used my hands and arms to accentuate the delivery. In one large gesture my right hand struck the huge water goblet directly in front of Ron and the oversized drum of ice water tumbled into his lap … soaking him with a cascade of the frigid liquid.
Ron sprung to his feet and yelped like a dog. He danced around his chair trying to disperse the frosty surprise; he then darted for the men’s room in hopes of drying off. As he disappeared from view, I looked across the table at my boss. Frank shook his head slowly as he rolled up his eyes and said with a smile: “He certainly will remember you!”
And he did! Ron and I became friends and my firm enjoyed years of good business with Goodrich Chemical. In time, Ron moved on to another job and I lost track of him. But, I am certain that he remembers his really “cool” five star meal at the Hyatt in Cherry Hill.