One accountant’s reflection on what a 1960s blender and tax resolution services have in common.
The Good Old Days
When I was a kid, growing up in the late ‘50s through the early ‘70s, my father sold high-end blenders on the fair circuit (L.A. County Fair, New York World’s Fair). He was a traveling salesman, also known as a “barker.” He was the greatest barker in the world—way better than Billy Mays (of Oxiclean fame). Blenders were a huge part of my father’s life. It was what he did, and much to my chagrin, they became a part of my life as well. I worked summers fixing those damn things to earn a little money and help my parents (I was very good at taking them apart and fixing them). I worked with my parents at the L.A. County Fair and had the opportunity to see many amazing things from around this great country and around the world. My father introduced me to many of his fair colleagues, whom I found to be very strange. But what I never appreciated at the time was the true significance and importance to my own existence of what my dad had accomplished over 30 years.
A Time to Reflect
My father retired in 1975 and moved to Las Vegas, where he took his talents and did other things. I stayed in California to follow my own divergent path. I never thought much of the life lessons I took with me on that path until my father passed away in 2007.
I was sitting with my sister, writing the eulogy for my father’s funeral, when I began the journey of recalling all the different products my father sold and all the places he’d visited. There were the blenders, of course, but there was also the Chopper and Slicer (as seen on TV), the Magic Bubble Wand and the Hula Hoop, just to mention a few. I was even in a commercial for the Magic Bubble Wand. (When I watch it today, I know why I am an accountant and not an actor.)
As I sat in introspective silence, contemplating the life of a man whom I thought had accomplished so little, I had an epiphany of just how much I had never noticed about him. Set aside for a moment that he was shot down over Germany while serving his country in World War II. He almost died and spent 13 months in a prisoner-of-war camp. Set aside that he was newly married just before this fateful mission. Set aside the fact that my parents worked their way from Michigan to Los Angeles with almost no money in the late ‘40s. My father could sell ice to Eskimos. How was he able to do that?
Trust! My father was a man that people trusted, so much so that they were willing to shell out their hard-earned dollars on items that they had no intention of buying when they entered the fair grounds. I finally realized the lesson my father taught me: I must gain the trust of my clients. I need to apply his mentality toward tax resolution services. The forms and paperwork are merely just that—paperwork. Clients must trust that I will safely and securely guide them on a journey known as the IRS maze of confusion.