Volume 44, Issue 10 - October 2009



Just the Facts
Stop Spreadin’ Those Glass Rumors Around
by Max Perilstein

In the great heyday of the mid-1980s there was a pretty popular song all over the radio. It was by that very memorable (not) group, The Timex Social Club. The song was simply called “Rumors” and it had a very catchy tune and harmony. Go online and listen to it, I’m sure the memories will come rushing back. In 1986, “Rumors” even climbed to number 8 on the hit chart. I think that if this song came out today, it would be number 1 … at least in our industry because “rumors” are basically the most popular thing we have going.

Look at all these rumors surroundin’ me every day
I just need some time, some time to get away
From all these rumors, I can’t take it no more

There’s no denying that the art of the rumor has been a stalwart in this industry for years. The basic shooting-the-breeze at a sales call typically consists of 10 percent product information, 10 percent quote and order follow-up and 80 percent rumors. The reason that it now has a more pronounced place is that we are in the middle of a terrible economic condition and now a rumor about a company’s health, product performance or people becomes much more dangerous. Two years ago when the industry was healthy and we were having a glass shortage, rumors could be laughed at and tossed out. Now with each comment, doubt grows, as if these itty bits of information have somehow gained magical legitimacy. This is not a fun time for anyone in this industry; good companies have closed, good people have lost their jobs and 44 general contractors now bid tiny schools. So we surely don’t need any help on the race to the bottom.

I can’t go no place without somebody pointin’ a finger
I can’t show my face cause when it comes to rumors I’m a dead ringer
It seems from rumors I just can’t get away
I bet there’ll even be rumors floatin’ around on Judgment Day

Have You Heard ...?
Of course those of you who know me are probably screaming at the page now, saying, “Wow this may be the most hypocritical article of all time,” and I can understand that. I freely admit that I am one of the people who enjoyed talking and getting insight on what’s happening out there. Heck, at one point my blog was dedicated to stuff like that. But in the last six to nine months that has all changed.

One day I heard a rumor, which was false by the way, about a product’s performance that hit the street and did some tremendous damage. The story went that the product did not perform as advertised, people were suing, the company was in trouble—basically the whole shooting match. When I heard this story, I knew it was false. I knew the company involved and was a huge fan. I knew this was a smear campaign at worst, and I debunked it on the spot. But the damage was done; I heard that same story, with exaggerations attached, for the next several days. It was insane. You could only imagine the damage that was done given our current economic attitudes.

What’s mine is mine, I ain’t got time for rumors in my life
I’m a man who thinks, not a man who drinks, so please let me live my life

Just by writing this column, I’m sure I will spawn rumors about myself. Maybe I am just paranoid, but I know this industry very, very well. And, sadly, I was a part of the mobs that traffic in this stuff. But, no more. My focal point is to worry about my own house, and not engage in anything else. It will be tough, because, as I noted earlier, it’s an ingrained attitude. I’ll probably slip up, but I am going to try, because right now being positive and focusing on the matters at hand should be the goal, not looking to pin things on others. My late and incredible father always told me that I shouldn’t worry about what other people say or do, just to worry about myself. It doesn’t matter that “everyone else” is doing it. So, at the end of the day, the moral of my message is to think twice before you pass on a story, especially if you don’t know the truths, facts or actual details.

Stop (Stop) spreadin’ those rumors around
Stop (Stop) spreadin’ the lies
Stop (Stop) spreadin’ those rumors around
Stop (Stop) spreadin’ the lies

Max Perilstein serves as the vice president of marketing for Arch Aluminum and Glass. Mr. Perilstein’s opinions are solely his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of this magazine. His column appears bi-monthly.

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No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.