“You Vendor People”

Once you get established as a reliable vendor, there will be opportunities for you to set up in all kinds of different places. We were recently invited to set up in a lobby in a very large oil and gas company for a week. If this happens to you, you must read their rules, understand them, and follow them to the letter.

Understand that when you go onto a company’s property, you are there at their invitation as their guest. They can revoke that invitation at any time they wish. Understanding and following their rules is paramount.

On our first day on site at this oil and gas company, we had to understand and follow the security procedures for their site. We pull a 14 foot trailer for our set up to haul the display pieces that we need. With the truck included, we are almost 40 feet long and 9 feet tall. This made the first day a bit tricky as I had to make my way to the underground loading dock, unload, and find an escort that would accompany me to my designated setup area. It was time-consuming, but we got it done.

What was strange was watching all of these corporate employees go about their day. Its been years since I have worked for a corporation and, yes, I had a temporary inkling to apply for a position.  Throughout the week though, I realized that they were all the same person, just in different bodies. They were so immersed in rules that they all acted the same.

On the last day during the last load of another vendor’s setup to our cars (the trailer was already loaded and waiting for me on the dock), one of the people with us was texting while walking to the parking garage. “YOU! VENDOR PEOPLE!” roared across the open space. I realized that somebody was yelling at us. “You can’t talk and text on this property”, she yelled. The first response that ran through my head was “Sure I can, watch!” Of course, I didn’t say that instead opting for a meek “sorry”.

It was in the rules. Page 16, line item 4 read that we are not allowed to view a cell phone or computing device while walking on this property. We were in the wrong. Fortunately however it was our last day and we were all just leaving.

We were all upset at being called out like that in a very condescending tone. This woman came across as better than us because she has a job at a Fortune 50 corporation. It really bugged us for a while.

Then I remembered why I do this. I gave up a job at a Fortune 50 corporation not once, but twice. I gave it up because I wanted to take a risk and earn my money based on my talents, not on the amount of time I spend filling an empty chair. The job she has is my safety net and I can always go back.

I know that these insecurities follow you around just like they do me. There is a reason that you are doing what you are doing. You are the one who made the choice to put yourself out there. You are the one that is exposing who you are and what you do for the world to see. You are the one who is putting up your capital in the expectation of making money later. You are the one taking the risk.


When you are the boss, you will have opportunities just like we do. These opportunities will hopefully pay off for you and you will enjoy each and every one. Some of them might be a pain and you will have to jump through hoops, but, with a little patience and a lot of grace it can be done. We made some money this week at this company and hopefully we will be invited to more locations like this.

Now I just need to see if I can get “texting while walking” off my permanent record.



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