What would Don Draper have done?

In our advertising agency business we try to maintain reasonably high ethical standards. We like to get paid for what we do. We like to pay our business partners in a timely fashion and we don’t expect any special treatment. We don’t approve of inducements.

For you fans of Don Draper in Mad Men, please note that he is showing how it was back in the 50s and 60s not how it is today. I know this because I was around for the tail end of all that. It was a daft business back then. Standards were not what they are today.

Speaking of ethical standards, the Wicklow Hunter, who is a friend and also a supplier to our business, left me in a gift recently. I came in to my office and saw the present sitting on my desk. I could not accept this. Ireland is in a recession. We all need the work but this was going too far.

The offending gift. He had gone too far this time. I had to remonstrate with him…

I did not want to damage our friendship but a case of Chateau Les Arromans De Garde 2009 is just a bit over the top. I reached for the phone….

Now, the Wicklow Hunter, like so many sons of that county is a plain speaking man. When I told him of my issues with his gift, he just laughed, called me something unrepeatable and said;

“Have you looked inside?”.

“No” I said “I was afraid to touch it.”

“Open it.” he said.

“I can’t” I said.

“Open it” he repeated (slightly too forcefully for my tastes).

I did…

In the case I discovered not the expected half-dozen bottles of Bordeaux’s finest but a dozen eggs and some mushrooms growing in soil in the wine box.

Pretty embarrassing stuff. Mind you, I could have done with the drink by the time the call was over.

“I thought you would be interested in the home-grown mushrooms.” he said in a tone of some hurt. “We can’t keep up with the fecking chickens. Somebody has to take the eggs. I thought you could cook something nice and use it in your food blog.”

I promptly dismounted the high horse of moral rectitude. Through my rising embarrassment I fumbled a “thank you” and apologised to the WH, hung up the phone and put my head in my hands. So much for ethical standards.

He later explained how easy it is to grow mushrooms in the attic. I’ll have to give it a go. I don’t think the WH will be dropping any more ‘gifts’ into the office.

That evening, I went home and quietly prepared a Home Grown Mushroom Omelette for the Wife and myself. I haven’t told this story to many. I really am a bit embarrassed. Keep it to yourself.

 Now, here’s what you will need

  • A relationship with somebody who keeps free range chickens in his garden.
  • A relationship with somebody who grows mushrooms in his attic.
    (Neither of which I have any more.)
  • Some chives.
    (I have them growing outside my back door.)
  • Salt, pepper and oil or butter for frying.

Do I really have to tell you how to make an omelette? If I do, you should be as embarrassed as I was on opening the case.

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Latest comments
  • A wonderful and funny turn of events. I have been in some similar scenarios and simply did not know what to think…I love the head in your hands part 🙂

    • I think he has forgiven me at this stage. But, time and egg deliveries will tell.

  • I’ve no doubt he did this on purpose and is chuckling into his Bordeaux right now as he reads this post. The most bizzare ‘gift’ we received in the marketing department (of a long gone firm) was a set of holly wreaths for the team from a design company, at Christmas. They were trying to be ‘out there’ and ‘left of field’ I think but what it came across as was a kind of funeral analogy that got us all worrying that the end was nigh. Well the end was nigh but they weren’t to know that but it was a remarkable coincidence.

    • I’ll remember to not send wreaths to our clients… Mind you, the boom followed by the bust has put paid to our giving corporate gifts at all. Saves a lot of hand wringing and angst.

  • Fantastic Conor! I was so jealous when I saw the wine box, I’m still jealous, those mushrooms look wonderful. I bet that omelette tasted pretty damn good!

  • Trickery! My favorite. I’m sure I’d like this Wicklow Hunter fellow. Glad you made a meal of it.

  • Gotta admit, the mention of ‘Don Draper’ got me here and I’m certainly leaving with ‘find’! Lovely read…looking forward to more!

  • OMG – I was laughing so hysterically that my husband, who is trying to watch TV, gave me the look, then stormed out of the room to go watch somewhere else. Oh, my dear Conor, you are truly precious and I love your humor and the situation that you got yourself into this time? I would have been there too! Thank you for the laugh of the day!

  • Great story!

    Making an omelette is easy.
    Making an outstanding omelette is difficult!

  • Oh the embarrassment! But the box is also awesome…a wonderful gift 🙂

  • Great story!

  • Great posting although I was hesitant to read further beyond the title because I don’t watch Mad Men — wasn’t sure I was going to be able to relate. Glad I did ! 🙂

  • I really had to chuckle as so many of your stories do. I’m sure of two things…the omelet had to be delicious and Wicklow Hunter is still your friend. I think the box by itself is wonderful even without the wine and would love to have it in my wine cellar.

  • The moment I saw the title the first thing I said was “Don would sleep with them, of course.” I am glad to hear that this wasn’t about shagging everyone – LOL!

  • Hi! great post. I would Iove to hear more stories about advertising, as I plan to go into that field as I graduate college!

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