Last week Steve commented that he thought there was an interesting story as to why I have a beaded warthog. I’ll let you all decide.
About 15 years ago, I traveled to South Africa to do a site inspection with a client. Like usual, I arrived a day ahead to make sure everything is all set for the client. The next morning, after I had met with the hotel and the ground supplier, I got a call from the States. The client and the account executive couldn’t get out of Cincinnati due to a huge ice storm. By the time they would be able get to South Africa, it would pretty much be time to turn around and head home. Believe me, traveling to South Africa is a long haul, so you don’t want to go there to come home immediately!
So the next six days were almost like a vacation including great food and even a little shopping time. I had already found a Nelson Mandela t-shirt for YA (this trip was the week after he passed away), but since there wasn’t a client, my driver and I started taking time to stop at roadside stands as we drove around. It was at one of these stands that I found the beaded warthog.
It’s very common to find beaded animals in South Africa. The locals use reclaimed/recycled wire to sculpt the bodies and then use little glass beads to do the decoration. Elephants make up the majority of these beaded souvenirs, but you can also find giraffes, lions and rhinos. I had never seen a warthog before (and haven’t since either) and it struck me as hysterical because the missing client worked for the swine division of a husbandry pharmaceutical company. I forked over the money happily and added it to the little store of items I had bought for the client.
When I got back to my office, I called the account exec to let him know that I was doing some good notes and also sending the gift items to the client. Since I thought the beaded warthog was so funny I mentioned it specifically. There was an awkward pause and he said “You know, she doesn’t have nearly as good a sense of humor as you.” When I pushed him about what he meant, he broke down and said that she was very sensitive about the pig connection and he didn’t think sending the warthog would be a good idea. He was worried that this would hurt my feelings. Ha – just the opposite – I got a great insight into a client I hadn’t worked with before AND now I have a beaded warthog!
Have you ever had a gift go wrong?