14. The Class Cream puff

Exhibit A

Cream puff: “will make concessions and be conciliatory regardless of what the other [person] does”  see exhibit A

p. 141, The Heart and Mind of a Negotiator, Thompson, Pearson/Prentice Hall 2005 (I added the exhibit A Part)

This is an excerpt from the textbook we used in my “Intro to Negotiation” class in B-school.  This was the most difficult class for me, including that horrifying macro-econ experience.  What was really horrible was that there was a role-play negotiation scenario pretty much every class, and at the end everyone’s results were listed on the board.  My friends would see my name inevitably on the bottom of the board (again), shake their heads and ask “What happened?”

My reputation as the class cream puff was established early on.  The first exercise we negotiated was to buy/sell a gas station.  I was the current owner who was trying to sell.  My friend MT told me his fictional wife was sick and we eventually bottomed out somewhere in the vicinity of me offering to pay him to take the gas station off of my hands.  So my career as a bad negotiator was born.

I don’t know how this happened.  My family members know how to negotiate, but the gene must have skipped me.  Mom and I went shopping this weekend and I marched vigorously around Marshalls, and then was so tired I had to rest a while in the only seat I could find, which was in the shoe department.  I sat for a while and laughed to myself at the last time I had been in the shoe department at Marshalls.  I was in OR, talking on the phone to my sister, telling her she was a real “hustler,” which was good since her little sister is a total cream puff.  It was during the period when Tim&Ai Ai were finishing their house and due to complications, they learned to wear a general contractor’s hat and work with all the vendors directly.

I remember thinking in the hospital that “Mommy is a hustler.”  She told me afterwards that she had seen other patients in a state of disarray (not neglected, mind you, just a little disheveled or something), and had decided to ratchet up her advocacy for me since at that point I couldn’t talk.  It did not occur to me that not talking was a problem until one night, one of my favorite CNAs clipped my call button to my sheet near my hand and told me to press it if I needed anything.  Even when they didn’t hear any sound, she assured me, someone would come right away.

When we got home I realized that Tanpo is a hustler, too.  He might be the original hustler, actually.  I understood this since Tanpo has a penchant for the speaker-phone and I used to lie in bed downstairs, near his desk.  I’d hear him doing battle with the wheelchair company or any number of organizations whose systems showed I owed them money.  Tanpo wasn’t having any of it, though, so I lay in bed while Dad sorted things out.  As the Class Cream Puff it is SO nice to have people do what I can’t do for myself.

I John 2.1 …And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.