Marketing Pro
Bev Vines-Haines

  I took a job in Puerto Rico.  Coming from Seattle, this island was a culture shock on every possible level. The sun blasted  my almost new cabin every day for the first five months I lived here.  I say ‘almost new’ with a hint of irony.  That’s how it was listed in the online ad I answered.

In reality, it is a one bedroom, cockroach infested, falling down unit contained within a seventeen building, cockroach infested, falling down complex behind a dismal shopping center some forty-five minutes from the beach. 

When I accepted the job I thought I was the luckiest guy graduating from U-Dub. Some graduates walk the streets for at least a year before settling for a position that falls far from their degree expectations.  And I was about to put my Marketing skills to work in an exotic tropical location. A small chain, some seven stores, catered to the cruise trade as well as other tourists.  Recently the stores had suffered sales setbacks and advertised a position to rebrand and reinfuse excitement.

Fortunately my new digs were only a few hundred yards form the chain’s flagship location.  If a building can be truly tattered the Souvenir Casa reigned as proof.  One window was actually broken and had clearly been that way a long time.  This store had nothing anyone would even want to steal.  The shelves were dirty.  And most were half empty.  The souvenirs were a bona fide joke.  They contained an array of lost lot cases from all over the world.  The first end cap I saw had flags from Mexico and Uganda.  Another featured dancing hula girl dashboard decorations, complete with leis.

One afternoon I sneaked into more prosperous shopping areas, those that actually advertised beaches and four star hotels, and perused the items tourists bought.  Excited I went to my corporate office and was told they wanted me to infuse sales with the current inventory.  Basically my little chain was broke.

It is hot.  Beastly hot.  Occasionally it rains and my heart beats fast, longing for a soothing Seattle drizzle. But rain comes and goes in a hurry here.  Sort of the only thing that does move swiftly.

I’m all in here in Puerto Rico.  My starting salary covers little more than my rent.  I’m told I am seventh in the line of new Marketing Managers for Souvenir Casa. 

A month after I arrived I met a girl. She brought me a fan and a cold beer. And then she stayed.  Sticky hot sheets feel more bearable when she is with me.  I don’t mull over my old plans much these days.  In fact, I just got an unbelievable deal on walking sticks from Australia.

First published:August, 2017
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