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Archived Observation

One of the perks of my job is that I get to travel about once every other month. You see, as a product manager, I am responsible for training people on how to use my product and also going to see the occasional large customer for a design meeting or to support a large sale.

Unfortunately, my travels usually end up taking me to such exotic locales as McLean, VA or Sioux City, IA… or even better… Cleveland. As much as I make fun of these places, I always end up having a good time when I travel. No matter where I go, I can usually find a bar to go to, or one of the locals takes me out to see the sights. Regardless of where I end up, I always come back with a few good stories to tell.

Wednesday night, I got back from a four day trip to Jackson, MS where I conducted a two day "train the trainer" session. The concept is that you take 100 sales trainers from all around the country… bring them to Jackson and put them up in a hotel and for 10-12 hours a day for eight days (including a Saturday) you re-train them on every product we sell. For me, that meant conducting two 1-hour sessions on Monday and Tuesday.

All in all, the trip wasn't bad at all. It was nice meeting people that I've only spoken to on the phone, and a good friend from Atlanta was there to do training as well, so there was at least one person there that I knew staying in the hotel (actually, in the next room over from mine).

The hotel had typical southern service. Translated for all of y'all yankees, that means sloooooow. Check in took over a half of an hour (part of that was due to the Marius Company of Les Miserables throwing a late-night party that got the staff in a tizzy)… which is barely acceptable at primetime, but was outrageous at 11:15pm. Needless to say, when I got to the room, I was very unhappy to find out that the room service closed while I was waiting in line to check in! Luckily, Forest at Speakeasy Brewery gave me a couple of bottles of Prohibition Ale to take with me in case of an emergency.

Still, the little fuck-ups aside, the hotel was as good as any $50-$70 hotel that I use for business travel. The bar had a fresh keg of Guinness, and my co-workers were a good bunch of barflies, not only closing the place down on Tuesday night, but also helping out serving drinks and assisting the bartenders with the closing routine (cleaning glasses, etc…). We're a good bunch of people, all in all.

Still there's something more sobering about Mississippi than its drinking laws (I was told that one of the counties adjacent to Jackson was a dry county) was the first thing that I saw when I got into Downtown Jackson: The Confederate Monument.

Sorry…to me, that's almost as tasteless as a monument to Nazi Germany.

But in retrospect, four days in Jackson was fine. I made friends with some local co-workers and they even took me to a good local bar that had Anchor Brewing's Liberty Ale, one of my favorite beers. Still, I always felt that if anyone saw my piercings, tattoos or Star of David pendant, that I would have probably been in a whole mess o' trouble.

Posted in Observations.

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