A Job that was a Matter of Life and Death. Circa 1979

Morning Folks!!

So earlier I told you the story about my 1977 Cadillac. But that story led to other events and other events led to the future. They day before I introduced you to 'Sampson' and 'Ribeye.' If you have not read those 2 posts, please read them first so this story makes more sense.

I had that car for only 2 1/2 years and put on lots miles and not much left. It was 1979 and business was not so good and my employer was taking 90 days to pay me. He was behind tens of thousands in commissions and I had to BEG him to send me money. Why not quit? Well it is 1979 dude! It's hard to get a job and harder to get a good job. Anything I would do would make me less. A lot less. Not enough to cover my bills. So begging them for money became normal.

They were just hurting themselves because by Tuesday I was so dejected and unmotivated that I would just take the other 5 days off and be in vaction. What difference does making $100k mean when they only feed you a few grand at a time to just keeo going but not enough to enjoy what I really earned. So I became a slacker. A damn good one. lol

I traded in my loaded up 1977 Cadillac for a stripped down but brand new 1979 Caddy with a lower note. I was preparing for my next move and a car with many miles was not going to do the trick.

They were finally into me for close to $70,000. They would always give me just enough to stay but never what I had already earned. It really sucked but I was trapped.

So I finally opened a furniture store in Houston, Texas and became a customer as well as my National Sales Manager title. Most of my inventory came from the factory I represented and when I was as close to even as I was going to get, I jumped ship and went to the competition. I owed them as much as they owed me. Bye-bye! My days of being an 'Indentured Servant' were over.

The other company had been hounding me for 3 years to make the move. But I never could because of the amount of money that was always owed and money I would never see if I left. I finally did and that closed one chapter and opened another. And even more stories upon stories within stories. But my days of begging for what I already earned were over. It was like being a free man for the first time.

The next 30 days saw me visit every single account and drive 10,000 miles to do it. 30 days! Coast to coast, border to border and many nights driving without sleep. My old employers wanted to kill me. Really. They might have if they knew exactly where I was at. They would work the phone in front of me and behind me. I would write 3 orders and have one canceled. But the one they got was always the one with the least profit. They were on me 24/7. But my new factory had given me 'Carte Blanche' and they loved what I was doing. Every day I would call and they would get 3 or 4 new accounts. Maybe 8 orders a day. I was burning it up! The first months were uncomfortable and then our paths finally crossed at the Furniture Market. Things were still tense. But eventually things calmed down.

The first factory went out of business just 18 months later. I was taking a lot of business and the bank ended up closing them down. Eventually they sued the bank for something they did and walked with $12 million. The 2 brothers from Cuba wanted to kill me then and for months after that, but we competed fiercly those 18 months and are still good freinds to this day. I speak to both at least once or twice a year. They abused me, but I also learned a lot. Things you can never learn without being exposed to it.

Have a GREAT Day!

Rick Schwartz


5 thoughts on “A Job that was a Matter of Life and Death. Circa 1979

  1. Matt

    My brother told me of a story you once told of selling furniture to a guy who would sell the furniture on the West Coast with a mark up. Can you post a link or incorporate. Cant seem to find and seemed a good tale.

  2. Sem

    These stories are interesting, Rick. The applications are endless. Thank-you. I learn a lot more than the .com versus all battles!

  3. Josh

    You lived a whole life before I was born. Well in 1979, I was 4 but what a life you’ve lived.


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