Why don't you just tell them...
To sock off...
Some tickets to a Bros reunion gig in return for a favourable article? £1,500 to do a straight rewrite of a press release? Or some "free" man perfume from Kaspersky called Eau d'Eugene. Just what would you accept as a gift bribe to do someone's corporate bidding? OK – I'll 'fess up – Reg Towers was not invited to glory in some …
Back in the 90's I was an FAE for a semiconductor company. The woman that was the head buyer at one of our Fortune 500 customers really liked the guy that was our director of marketing. She indicated she would send millions of dollars of business our way if she could have an intimate weekend with him.
Rumor is when our division VP heard of this, his response was "I'll pay for the hotel".
I once got a free track day. Lots of fun activities, but the best was driving old Ford Cortinas on a skid-pan. At the end of the day, I strolled back to the 10 year old Cortina I'd driven there, and reflected that the hosts had completely misjudged my ability to influence purchasing policy.
I'll take your Cortina and raise you a 600bhp AMG Merc...
Like you, I have no influence whatsoever. If I had, I would of used their services, not because of the bribes, but because they were genuinely a better company...but the ones with best liars, sorry sales team, won.
For a couple of years, my job title was "Infrastructure Coordinator (UNIX)", and was visible to the open internet. This then meant that quite a few of the dimmer salesdroids would phone me up on the assumption that I was the bloke in charge of the infrastructure of a major university.
Sad to say, I never bothered leading these gimps on, not least because to do would involve cutting a particularly unpleasant manager of my acquaintance in on the deal.
I was unofficialy looking at vendors who had products that would replace the DOS software we currently relied on. I had two software products on the cards one was a Windows version of the DOS product we used already and the second was from a new vendor. The windows version of the legacy software was actually just the same as the original. It still had all the faults and things that people hated with no attempt apparently being made to improve it. The second company was streets ahead and their software was far better than anything we'd used before. They also had a willingness to make modifications/include features and functionality if we asked them nicely which was a revelation.
Both companies had sent people to London to see me and to answer any questions I might have. Despite explaining that I wasn't going to be swayed by anything other than the software both had taken me out for lunch. I'd already made up my mind which product I preferred and I would be sticking to that come hell or high water. One took me to a very nice full service restaurant in Soho with a decent meal including desert and drinks (soft in my case). The other took me to Pret a Manger for lunch buying me a sandwich and a Coca-Cola. Unsurprisingly it was the new guys who were the former and the existing bunch the latter.
A "Bendy Bill" toy from Microsoft: Memo for MSFT: giving the head of a UK Government IT department a soft toy doesn't work. Try a peerage next time.
From a certain anti virus company: Lunch and drinks at Oxford v Surrey at The Oval. If we had been required to do a Mexican Wave then there would have been a problem - there were only 28 of us present and 24 were the players and umpires.
Visit to a gay pole-dancing bar in Manchester. Still not at all sure why we were invited there, perhaps the Cloud suppliers were trying to tell us something.
My favourite: an IT supplier rep who had forgotten his corporate AMEX card and so we had to pay for our own corporate "hospitality" by his company. He then rings me up the next day to ask me for my receipts so that he could claim back the costs for himself.
The best bribes are another story ...
I never got my Sophos socks either, I do have a Naked Security t-shirt though which is in a pile of vendor t-shirts to only be used when painting/working on the car etc.
Symantec used to be very good for swag, I've still got a travel mug and various other bits and pieces from them and have also won a few prizes in the draws at their events.
Microsoft are pretty poor conversely, other than pens and USB sticks they gave away the oddest swag for attending an event. I was at the Windows 8 roadshow in Glasgow and they said every attendee would get a free first aid kit. We all assumed over coffee that this was health check and readiness and upgrade tools and the like, but no, it was an actual first aid kit of the type available in a petrol station with £10 of fuel, just with a Microsoft logo on the case.
I was at that event and got the same kit too. I needed it for repairing the damage done after repeatedly banging my head off the desk after using Windows 8 and TIFKAM. IIRC, the guys at that event were wide-eyed poster boys for how great everything (even the charms bar) was. I remember wondering how they felt after the reverse ferret that was Windows 10 that launched mere months later...
That was the one. Maybe they're still running about somewhere extolling the benefits of Windows 8? Who knows; the main thing I took from that day was getting photos of Andrea Pirlo and Pavel Nedved in the lobby as they were in the hotel too. I think they were getting ready to play Celtic rather than install Windows 8 though.
overbearing aura of enthusiasm that comes from not having been punched in the face enough
Or as the result of the drugs prescribed after the aforementioned punching..
Although, in my experience Sales and Marketing types are entirely too thick-skinned and up themselves to take the hint.
Sadly, my current jobs doesn't allow me to be rude to the poor dears when they phone up to flog me the latest tat. Not that I have any ability to buy said tat.
 Never to be mistaken for each other apparently. Or so I've been told. Although it was a sales type that told me that marketing's job was to hold the customers down while sales screws them..
" Never to be mistaken for each other apparently. Or so I've been told. Although it was a sales type that told me that marketing's job was to hold the customers down while sales screws them.."
They come from the same B Ark. Marketing are sales guys who can either draw pretty pictures or write a document with at least three complete sentences and fewer than 8 misspelled words per paragraph.
Sales guys are marketing guys that look ok in a suit, know to shower every day, and can remember everyone's name after meeting them one time.
At one place I worked at they had a "back to the floor" event where the senior management team had to do the job of a person in their division. So the finance director was sent out with one of the sales team to negotiate a deal. The negotiations didn't take that long and he was expecting to go back to the office with sales bloke. However the rest of them were expecting to go to a bar and get rat arsed. He was even more surprised when it turned out that the sales bloke was expected to pay for this afternoon of boozing and planned to do so with his corporate card. The FD had it explained to him by the other side that this was an integral part of the sales process. He raised this with the head of sales and was told effectively to mind his own business.
At University I was bribed with the chance to view hardcore porn (back when it was still illegal) if I would loan someone my VCR. I was going away for a few days and said they could borrow it but it was to come back in the same condition as it was when I gave it to them. Didn't know what could happen to it but really didn't want it damaged at all.
Years later I was sent tickets to the Erotica show in London by a PR firm and to this day I don't know why. I felt the need to report that one to my boss in case it became something useful for blackmail purposes by someone else. We sent them back registered post to avoid any chance of that.
Still got that first aid kit in my cupboard, gets me some odd looks when i go looking for something and it falls out.
Oh, and you reminded me I almost wandered into the breakfast bar they had setup for the Juve players that morning, did get a nice selfie with Buffon though, my Son is a goalie and was very happy for me/jealous as hell
Tchotchke got showered on us to the extent it became tedious and annoying. Aluminium bike water bottles? Well, maybe 5% of us cycle...
Having said that -- I'm still wearing two (count ';em!) Symc-branded fleeces they handed out when they renamed our borged BU to Symantec Something. I lost the other one... they put us though, IIRC, four different brands in two years and a half years.
The worst one I've ever been offered? A guy offered me his daughter in return for covering up some really bad business decisions ... and he was dead serious. I reported him, but he was a diplomat and considered "untouchable". I no longer do business with outfits headquartered in third-world nations which export oil. Can't stomach it.
Or maybe raping someone doesn't appeal regardless of what she looks like?
That would have been my second thought, once the sense of imminent personal danger had passed. So probably on the plane home.
Seriously, to me this sounds like a prime example of how evolution favours people who aren't completely shit. If you accept the offer then you're opening yourself to blackmail by someone who doesn't consider this kind of behaviour extreme. Fuck knows what he'll force you into six months down the line.
But I'd have to put that into the category of best bribe (unless marriage was a pre-condition) rather than worst. There's nothing to stop you accepting then grassing him up anyway as no money changed hands and I'm not sure that's the sort of oral contract that stands up in court, Mrs.
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