I have always been a conservationist. I pick up other's garbage. I adhere strictly to the mentality of "leave it cleaner than you found it". I do not shoot over my limit. I do not shoot before or after hours. I do not poach. I build duck boxes and set them out when and where I can. There have been many years that I have attended banquets and paid memberships to conservation groups. As a young man I belonged to a particular conservation group that strives to help ducks and their habitat and have been doing so with great popularity for decades. There were some years that I did not renew my membership for various reasons (mostly financial) yet when I began to make duck calls I wanted to re-join that effort and be as strong a force as I could to help them in all of their efforts toward conservation. I am sure with little imagination, you can guess what group I am speaking of.
In an effort that was mutually beneficial, I reached out to the local chapters and ended up speaking with the regional director for the conservation group. I will reserve his name for legal reasons, But throughout the rest of the blog I will refer to him as LL for "lying Larry". When I spoke to LL the first time he seemed nice enough and we made an agreement. I would donate at least 2 calls per banquet that I attended. (that is somewhere between 90 and 200 retail value in calls) depending on what I took there, I would spend the extra effort to make them unique to the banquet and chapter by wood burning the logo and date on them to increase their value as much as possible. In return the local chapter would allow me to set up a tiny table in a corner and display all the calls I make. I could not sell calls at the banquet. I could write the names and contact information of ppl who were interested in a particular call and contact them at a later date. In essence, taking an order for a call. We agreed that actually having a call maker at the banquet would enhance the ambiance of the banquet and it would help me get my name out there as well.
The first time I met LL at a banquet in person I was a little less impressed. He came off a bit snobby and cheap, like a used car salesman. Let's face it. It doesn't matter how good a person you are, it doesn't matter how well you get along with most people, there is going to be someone out there that you just don't get along with well. LL and I were like that for each other I think. I didn't really care for him and it seemed apparent to me that he didn't really care for me. The epitome of an "oil and water" relationship. However, we tolerated each other. I always did my best to be very kind and appreciative to LL as I knew he was in the driver's seat on how this worked out. I must admit, he responded professionally and kind as well, regardless of the apparent distaste he seemed to have for me. The situation worked out however because I brought calls that the conservation group had zero dollars in, a complete donation, therefore 100 % profit for the organization, and they allowed me the space to show off my goods. We always paid for our meals, and kept a membership in good standing. If I brought a prostaff member with me, I always paid for his meal as well and in many cases, they would ask me to come to the microphone and explain and demonstrate how well our calls worked. Never once did a local chapter president have a single negative word to say about how he helped. Very often I would stay and help tear down after the banquet and sometimes we arrived early enough to help with the set up. More than often we were thanked over and over for our efforts and told how much they liked having us there and that they wanted us to come back the next year. In several instances we did. The calls Usually brought about 180.00 in live auction form. The least we raised was in Loganville Ga which was 80.00 in silent auction, the most was 230.00 the same night in Paulding County in Live Auction. I usually sold a couple calls as a result of being there. The most I ever sold was in Augusta Ga where for 2 years my calls raised 150.00 or more and one of those nights I took the names of 10 people who in turned bought 9 calls in the days thereafter. In 2 year's time we raised over $2000.00 in donations for the organization free and clear profit, which for a company that only did about 15k in a year that is not too shabby. Although, most inside that organization would agree, $2000.00 is a minuscule amount in this organization who handles billions of dollars in revenue/donations for "conservation". However, this year we surpassed 20k and are growing with leaps and bounds. Think of what we could have done for them had we continued.
At one banquet, the local president of the chapter told me as they were wrapping up and had collected all the money from the patrons of the banquet that was possible, when the banquet was over I could actually sell some calls if I wanted. He felt that once the banquet was over, it made no difference whether or not I actually sold a call, they had received all they could get. I did end up selling a call after that banquet was completely over.
Later, there was a particular week in which there were several banquets only a few days apart. I attended 3 in row and LL was there at all three. As I walked in I said hello to several of them, LL was there and I jokingly said "If we keep this up, you're going to get tired of me." He flatly responded "You said it, not me." I felt instantly I had outstayed my welcome. The banquet went well, and my calls raise over 100.00 for the night, I do not remember clearly the exact amount. At the end of the night, all the patrons had left with a few exceptions, LL was counting the money and a guy who was hanging around asked if I could go ahead and sell him a call. I told him normally no but I would check. LL was busy counting the funds so I asked the local president if he had a problem with it. He said very clearly, "no problem, we are done here, our banquet is over, you can do what you want." I sold him the call. If I remember correctly it was a 35.00 wood duck call.
I was 2 hours from home, it did not even cover the gas for me to get there and back.
The next day I received an email from LL formally discontinuing our relationship claiming that I had been "repeatedly asked " not to sell calls at the banquets (lie #1 as we had never had another conversation about that since our first) and that it had come to his attention that I had done so multiple times (lie #2) and that I had done so the night before (lie #3) and that clearly my "sales" were distracting from the conservation efforts of the organization ( absurd opinion based on lies #1-3).
I get it. He didn't like me for whatever reason. That stuff happens. Yet, he was not/is not man enough to come out and say that. Because, in my opinion, it would expose him for the unprofessional, weasel of a little man he is. Am I bitter? yes I am. I don't like to be lied about. If you don't like me, that is fine. Let's see if we can work that out... but don't lie just to make yourself look better to someone whom you may have to explain your feelings to. Clearly, this was LL's way of dealing with me that left little room in the eyes of anyone above him in the organization, to think he was anything but golden. That is the way a used car salesman would act. A MAN however, would have called me on it. He would have asked me why I did something that was against our agreement if he felt I had done so. So, for his personal reasons he lied and misguided his superiors (his direct supervisor was cc'd on the email) and lied to others who were expecting me to be at their banquet (I have friends who have been the recipients of those lies). Why did I write this?? for you, the wondering mind who wants to know a little more about the people you do business with or work with or whom you employ. LL is a cheesy, whiny, lying little person who can't deal with someone he doesn't like. I want the truth to be told. So, I told it. There you have it, do with it what you want. Do I miss doing the banquets? Yes. Did it cost me money? maybe 1000.00 in sales that I clearly made up by concentrating my efforts elsewhere. It's simple. I despise a liar. I hope he finds a way to change that about his character. I've never really known a liar to change much though... If you work with the Senior Regional Director, North Georgia of a particularly popular conservation group, watch your back, for personal reasons you may get stabbed in the middle of it.