The Consultant Conundrum

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Posted: 4/14/2015 1:02:24 PM

  • They came under cover of darkness, cloaked in primeval hoods and capes reminiscent of the puritans who burnt the witches in Salem a five hundred years ago.  

  • No, they didn’t. Not really.  That’s just how I feel when “The Consultants” come to town.  Their inherent evil precedes them.  They suggest that we do things that take us out of our comfort zones.  Some of the things that they suggest are so simple; so obvious. Things that I know I should do, but I clearly won’t, even though I pay them for their expertise. 

  • It’s not like they tell me to dress up like a mermaid and swim in a tank all day on Saturday to attract new customers (Although that might work). They suggest things like in-store contesting, improving the customer experience, and standardizing the logos in the stores.  Yes, admittedly, we still have logos floating around from when Heinz spelled Ketchup with a “C.”

  • That’s the thing about consultants: They basically suggest that we do things that we already know that we need to do in the first place.  But I’m a busy guy.  My people are busy putting prices on yummy adult beverages and shipping them all over the country.  And things take time.  They take money.  I don’t like to part with either.

  • So ‘they’ swoop in.  ‘They’ get everybody all excited.  We agree to doing things that we have absolutely no intention of doing, from creating parking lot weenie roasts to keeping better track of the names of our customers.  Then they leave and we go back to doing things exactly the same way we did them before they came in and told us what we already knew.

  • But this visit was a little different because one of the two consultants was ill.  Not just a little bug. We’re talking the bubonic plague–like symptoms that would have kept Tom Brady from playing in the Super Bowl.  Nonetheless, the moron made the trip to infect the rest of us.  The consultant, not Tom Brady.  If Tom had shown up, this story would be very different.  I’d be expressing my man crush in the most bromantic terms possible.  Alas, it’s about a sick, fat guy who was charging my $500 an hour to cough on my conference table.

  • It is unclear to me what the purpose of this exercise was.  He slept through most of our meetings. In fact, at one point he excused himself to use the men’s room.  He came out about a half-hour later, glibly suggesting that I ought to think about installing a comfy pillow and perhaps a comforter.  We laughed in that uncomfortable “TMI” way and moved on to more discussions.

  • I’ve never been one to believe in this “aura” stuff, but this guy’s was definitely green; the kind of green you see on those animated mucus pill commercials.  It was as if Lucifer were the puppeteer and my consultant a cheap marionette, dancing on the edge of the I Should Go to the Hospital cliff. 

  • Ultimately, thanks to his partner, we actually agreed to accomplish a few new goals. In the real world, though, we parted company knowing that everything will remain the same as it was before the visit. Except I have this runny nose.