Awkward Interviews with Turner Barr: The Mongoose Dances with the Snakes

Today I’m happy to present a guest post by Turner Barr of Around the World in 80 Jobs. He’s taken working around the world to a whole new level, making my days as a carny seem totally normal.

Here’s his awkward interview…


Timeshares: behind the scenes, it’s not this peaceful. Image credit

“You look like shit.”

The timeshare manager looked me up and down – part amused, part disgusted, but with utter satisfaction in himself as he gave me his assessment. His bright shirt, greasy slicked-back hair was combed to perfection. Years of selling cars in Southern California had harden him, no doubt. He was 100% ready to sell 100% of the time. The setting for this character was equally stimulating, as from one end of the massive sales floor to the other, middle-class, middle-aged, vacationers sat wearing their tacky Hawaiian shirts across from other slick dick salesmen who were hungry for the kill.

The setting was more than a little eerie, not just from the Motely Crue of gruesome villains, but from the perfectly planned layout of the sales machine that lay before these unsuspecting holiday makers. Each vacationing couple sat facing the windows, facing paradise – palm trees, three-tiered pools, thatched bungalows. They didn’t know that this Eden was in fact merely a mirage. Some maybe knew, but when you’re put on the witness stand, with all the questions already formed, your objections answered before you lips move, and a crowd of accomplices already saying yes to the story, it’s hard to say no. These slick snakes know how to get an audience to say the only word they want to hear: Yes.

Me: “Um…Okay. Tell me what you really think”

Sales Manager:  “You see those guys over there? They are hungry. They take no prisoners. They wake up in the morning, ready to make shit happen. You – you don’t look like that.”

Me: “Oh, I see. You mean those guys over there in the shirts that were cool like four years ago?

Sales Manager: [half-smile] “This ain’t for everybody kid. This club. This resort. This is the big time. This isn’t some shack down the road. We sell blah blah blah blah a year. “

I started to tune him out. All I could hear was the snake hissing. The rattle of intimidation.

Copperhead snake

Reminds me of a few bosses I’ve had, actually. Image credit

“I close more than anyone.”

His persona was perfect, really. I was intrigued to hear his story. People that are this full of shit are amazing to watch. Their mannerisms are such that you can’t really tell if they’re lying or not because they are so narcissistic that they believe the stories they tell themselves. He was selling me there. Selling me on his facility. He was selling the elite team. Selling me the Timeshare Sales lifestyle. He offered opportunity at the same time as pulling it away with exclusivity. Carrot without the carrot.

Me: “So what kind of conversions do you get here? How many turns do you go through daily? Do you pre-qualify your leads?”

Sales Manager: “Blah blah hiss hiss. If they are breathing with a credit card in hand, we take them.”

I’ve had a few sales jobs before. So although I didn’t know much about timeshares, I knew that it was more about asking the right questions than anything about the product. Trying to act knowledgeable about something you don’t really know about is a losing game. These guys can smell bullshit like they can smell a sucker with a credit card.

Sales Manager: “I don’t care about the resort facilities. Who cares? That shit sells itself. We care about hitting them with their pain and pleasure points. Find those and hit them hard. We sell lifestyle here kid. You got any sales experience?”

Me: “I have some online ad sales and real estate experience.”

Disappointment graced his face.

Sales Manager: “Yeah. You real estate guys have a problem in this industry. You always want to build up customer “relationships”. You’re stuck in the long-term.”

The loose translation I think he was getting at was accountability and a good standing reputation.

Sales Manager: “See that guy over there. New guy from Canada. Was in used car sales before. Guy sells the shit out of this place. He can make those fuckers sign like they just hit the lotto.”

I took a gamble.

Me: “Kind of like dating a girl and trying to pull a one-nighter?”

The manager grinned widely with satisfaction.

Sales Manager: “Exactly.”


The not-so-innocent mongoose. Image credit

Sales rule numero uno: Know your audience, and play to them.

Me: “Good. Well I am hungry for it. I’ve been here for a couple of weeks and am ready to make as much money as possible. No matter what it takes.”

Sales Manager: “Alright [grins as he feels is about to ‘close’ the sale]. Well – I gotta warn you. This is the army. I run my sales staff lean and mean around here. You gotta shave that beard and put one a nice shirt. Not that piece of shit you got on. Come back with a clean shave and maybe my boys can get you to work.”

Me: “Great. You got a business card I can contact you with?”

Sales Manager: “Naw, I don’t do business cards.”

You know who also ‘don’t do business cards’: Con men.

Well – in everyday life I probably would have been taken aback by such forward arrogance and brazen defiance of moral character. But truth be told, I rather enjoyed watching the snake’s performance. Everything from the charming monolithic prison resort to slick-dicked douchery that accompanied it. I don’t know if it was from desperation for cash and gainful employment, or just an eagerness to see how it was going to unfold in magical bullshit land, but this Mongoose started work on Monday.

Turner Barr, Around the World in 80 Jobs

Turner Barr works the streets of Rome.


Turner is the man behind Fed up with bogus online information about working overseas, Turner  shows you how he funds his travel with different jobs and enriching experience he finds around the world. He enjoys ice cream, unwarranted compliments and small yappy dogs. Follow him on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.

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