I set up a time to meet with the good people at Talents West in summer 2008 by sheer persistent phone chatter. They relented and I was told to come out to HQ on Lake City Way “around 3 pm.” I arrived on time and knocked on the nondescript wood shingled 60’s era North Seattle building. I got no answer. I was about 5 minutes early, but thought it odd no one would be there, so I opened the door slowly and a very skinny woman sitting in front of a desk looked up somewhat dreamily. “Oh, uh, are you here for the interviews?”
No, I was not there for an interview and she seemed pretty relieved to hear that. “Well David is pretty busy right now, he’s got a girl in there interviewing.” With this, I took a seat in the waiting room that had the skinny receptionist and 2 70’s era lounge chairs, as well as various magazines. Not the stereotypical dirty magazine fare for the parent company of strip clubs, I believe there was an old Sunset magazine and strangely, a copy of that Boy Scout magazine (the owl?). No Hustler or Cherry in sight!
I’d been sitting there patiently for about 10 minutes when a knock at the door produced two very “dancer-like” women who came in to interview for the open waitress position. They both were put directly ahead of me and I was privy to some pretty interesting conversation about one of their new watches (something French) and the other one’s new boyfriend (he had a lotus). One of them seemed to already to be employed at Talents West, and they were nice enough.
There was a room to the left that was very mysterious. I kept getting the vibe that Talents West’s GM, David, whom I was supposed to be meeting with – was simply watching tv or reading in this mysterious room and it was starting to grind on me that David was potentially f*cking with me – or even worse, not aware that I was even there. I made sure skinny receptionist recalled that I was there, but she never really did anything with those friendly reminders. Just an acknowledgement and right back to her US Weekly. She was very nice, but had the air of someone who had lived a pretty hard life, hard.
At a certain point another woman came in to interview and plopped down on the 70’s era chair next to me.
“Hi, I’m Carrie!” “Hi, I’m James” “You here to interview?” “Uh, no, just here for a meeting.” “Oh, great, well, what do you do?”
I told Carrie, a very plain-in-appearance yet skimpy-in-dress woman, and she was interested in talking a little bit more about her online presence. I listened intently to some pretty interesting/disturbing web marketing strategies and gave her what little insight I could. We exchanged identities (me, a business card – her a slip of paper with an email address and a web url I’m pretty sure gave my work computer a crushing virus) and promised to K.I.T. Although we haven’t, maybe someday…
Eventually, potentially 45 minutes after our scheduled appointment, I was brought back to the office that appeared behind a hallway I was totally unaware of. It was pretty large, dark, and smelled slightly of old person. David, a silver haired 65 year old, was sitting behind his giant desk. He seemed thrilled to meet me. His teeth were the first thing I noticed. They appeared to be fake. “Hey guy, great to meet you, I’ve really been looking forward to this meeting.”
“Great, can we talk a little bit about what you guys are doing to market yourself and the clubs?” This question turned the gentile David into the all-business David.
“Look guy, we are an institution. We are close to getting our parking situation done, and when that happens we are going to be more aggressive in getting people in the clubs. Right now, we need dancers. We are hiring. We can’t keep them here long enough. If we don’t have the product, I don’t want to spend money to get new people here. I need the dancers. Do you know dancers? Cuz, we could definitely use you to get some new dancers in here, and you could make some money.”
That, coupled with David’s refusal to even acknowledge that something named Google existed (maybe) – or that anyone used that or anything else on the internet to do anything (his wife uses email, he will admit that), made it seem like my hopes for a sale were pretty much dashed.
Then out of nowhere, David said, “Kid, I like you. I like your attitude. How much should we spend on this? I like to do business with people I like.”
“Uh, I would say $500 per month per club could be a good start.”
“Ok. Junior, should we spend $500 per month per club with this guy?” They had 8 clubs at the time.
I looked around and sitting in the dark corner to the left of the desk on a couch, was Frank Colagurcio, jr. Junior had his head down, and was typing away feverishly on a sidekick in what looked like a frantic text messaging session with someone. He looked up coldly/dimly, I could barely see him in the dark. “Yeah.”
He had been silent for the duration of the 30 minute meeting and David had made no reference to him or any indication he was there.
“Ok kid, that’s great. Junior seems pretty excited about this.”
“Great, let’s get everything rolling today! Here is the contract.”
“All right, all we need to do here, is get some new dancers. We’re in the midst of some interviews right here, and they should be done in no time.”
I left the contract and was assured that it’d be faxed to me in the next day or so. It didn’t and I tried for a pretty significant period of time to get them to sign. Every time I’d call to speak to David he’d seemingly be happy to hear from me, but in the midst of a pretty significant hiring binge. Did I know anyone? Unfortunately, I was never able to do business with the Colagurcio’s, and it looks like I never will 😦
On the bright side, they can never say an ad buy with me ever had a “hand” in their demise (pun intended)….