Never take things for granted.
One of the things I used to do, in addition to developing websites, was IT support for small businesses. My company made contact with the businesses, contracted with them to provide the first line support and then a third party company provided second line IT support remotely.
At this particular time the third party company owed me a few favours so they agreed to supply me with leads from their own internal telemarketing people.
One of the leads they gave me was for the NAAFI at a nearby army base. The line they used was to get the potential customer to agree for us to do an IT Health Check. From the results of this we could then sell other IT support services.
For those who don’t know, the NAAFI is an organization that provides retail, leisure and particularly catering services for Britain’s Armed Forces around the world, so this particular lead looked promising because I thought it might lead to bigger things.
I duly made contact with the manager, arranged a meeting with her and on the day turned up suited and booted clutching my briefcase and laptop. I was a little puzzled when it turned out that the address she had given me turned out the be a Spar shop, but I immediately explained it away to myself thinking that, after all, it was the NAAFI and it could make sense that they had a Spar franchise.
I want into the shop, asked at the counter for the manager who came out, greeted me and took me through into a back room which to my surprise turned out to be the employees rest room (for US readers this is the room where the employees go to eat their lunch and have a rest, not where they go to relieve themselves!).
We started talking and by this point my curiosity got the better of me and I asked where the computers were because they certainly weren’t in the rest room. “I thought you were here to give me a medical” the manager retorted. And that’s when the penny dropped with a big clang.
She had not heard, or had dismissed, the IT bit and only heard the words Health Check. Being part of a military associated organization she thought this was some kind of perk for senior employees. And I suppose I did look a little bit like a doctor on call.
I went home fuming at the bozo that had set up the appointment but, looking back, it does make for a good party piece.