I work in the advertising department for a company that sells IT products and services. It’s common practice in the computer reselling industry for vendors to entice sales people into pushing their products by offering cash incentives and funding fancy contests. Often when this happens, I will be called upon to design posters and/or fliers to advertise the promotion and/or event to our sales force.
One of our vendors recently took the winners of a contest out for dinner and drinks on the Spirit of Washington Dinner Train (SoWDT) and because I designed the poster for the event, I was given an invitation for a guest and myself. So a couple nights ago, Karin and I got all gussied up and boarded the train for an elegant (if rather bumpy) prime rib dinner. The train took us up to the Columbia Winery in Woodinville, where we were treated to a tour of the winery and an extensive wine tasting*.
But it was on the trip back that the most exciting events occurred.
First off, this was when I was served a dessert – the Chocolate Paradiso with Raspberry Puree and Crème Anglaise – which I suspect is what God himself enjoys with his after-dinner coffee.
Secondly, it was during the return trip that prizes were given out – and there were some very nice prizes indeed: laptops, cinema displays, etc. The prizes were for the salespeople, of course, but I wasn’t bugged by that because I considered myself hella lucky to even be on the train in the first place. After all, we were in the SoWDT Dome Car, tickets for which run about $80 apiece and all I had done to get there was the job that’s expected of me daily. So imagine my
surprise complete shock when they announced that all non-sales employees who attended were being given a 2GB silver iPod nano and $25 iTunes gift card in thanks for all their support. Yeah, I think my jaw hung open until drool leaked out.
Let me back up a little bit and tell you another quick story so the rest of this one will have maximum impact…
Several months ago, Amanda failed to remove her iPod from her jeans pocket before doing laundry and ran it through an entire wash cycle, effectively rendering it useless. I let her add her music to my iPod and use it whenever I don’t need it, but let’s face it, that’s a huge pain in the ass for us both. For one thing, she turns the embedded volume on all her mp3s up to maximum which results in me nearly swallowing my tongue every time one of her songs comes up in my random rotation. But anyway…
Karin and I got home from the SoWDT trip around 10pm. We started in describing it to Amanda and when we got to the part about the prizes, I could see in her eyes that she sensed we were gearing up to something. I said, “Salespeople were winning computers and monitors and stuff and… well, Karin, show her what we got.”
Karin held up the $25 iTunes gift card. Panda's face sunk a little. It was all I could do to keep a straight face as I said, “Yup, imagine that, they get notebooks and monitors and shit like that and all we got was this stupid gift card and this lousy iPod nano.” With that, I briefly held up the new iPod and then tossed it back into Karin’s purse as if completely disappointed.
The look on Amanda’s face was priceless. She swallowed our act hook, line, and sinker. Once it dawned on her that there was no way we would be so cavalier about something so incredibly important, I tossed the new nano to her and told her she couldn’t use mine anymore.
I got glomped. Hard. She might be small, but she can really put the hugs to you when the mood strikes her. And as a parent, you really can’t beat the feeling of making your child so happy she doesn't want to let go of you. That’s true wealth right there.
Here’s a funny thing: just the day before, I had been absolutely incensed with Amanda about something, but the moment they handed me that iPod on the train and I realized I was going to be able to make her remarkably happy, all I wanted to do was get the hell home; I simply couldn’t wait to see her light up with excitement. Sure, the iPod might go for 150 clams on eBay, but the feeling I got giving it to Panda was invaluable.
*Actually, I don’t drink alcohol and Karin was already buzzed enough, so we didn’t partake of the free wine tasting… but we could have.