Foot and mouth disease is a very deadly malady in the livestock industry. It was eradicated many years ago in the US and Canada through quarantine and destruction of diseased herds. It recently has become a national security concern again because of terrorist threats due to the viruses explosive onset. Also due to the mobility of cattle in today's markets, it could bring widespread economic losses to our meat supply in a matter of days if the virus was introduced virtually anywhere in the US, Canada or Mexico.
However that is not what this blog is about .... this blog is about the salesman's malady of opening mouth and inserting foot! Let me explain:
A few days ago I happen to run into a rancher fixing fence along a dirt road down in the Osage. Now I have been trying for this man's business for several years and seen an opportunity here to continue building my relationship with him. Now I had some knowledge of personal facts, one was that he was very proud of his daughter studying in college to be a doctor, so when a very young woman came walking along the fence to where we were talking, I extended my hand in introduction.
"You must be the daughter, Shelly" I said, proud of myself for remembering her name and hoping to impress the rancher. "How's college life?"
"That's my wife, Sarah." was the rather curt correction from the rancher.
OK here was a missed fact, the rancher was divorced and remarried. (And to a much younger woman.) Needless to say I didn't gain any points on that call.
Another similar episode happened when I made a call on a rather young couple with two young children. As the young rancher and I discussed mineral needs for the summer program, his wife joined us carrying coffee. She was clad in tight low riding wranglers and a tight cotton knit shirt covering a protruding midsection.
Not wanting to "overlook" the obvious I stated, "Congratulations! Steve never told me. When are you due?"
"I'm not pregnant." was the icy riposte.
When cattle are diagnosised with foot and mouth disease they are immediately destroyed and the carcasses buried. It's fairly similar with a salesman.