So I went out for round 2 yesterday afternoon, and... the results were mixed. Don't get me wrong, I did secure sponsors as the title of this blog entry indicates, but what I mean by "mixed" is the awful feeling of being rejected. I knew that there was the certainty that a couple people that I would approach might be so receptive to such proposals, but when you have such an attachment to a cause, it's not easy to say, "okay, fine, I respect what you have to say, have a fine day sir/ma'am."
This illustrates the human tendency of being attached to an outcome when you've put effort into anything. You WANT to have it go in your favour. And by not having something swing towards favour, you have a sudden feeling of less, or not being validated because of your conviction of the cause being so noble/worthy.
To date, I'll start with the complete and utter failures in terms of me selling the proposal and stirring up interest for the cause. My first destination was Baldini. I had come prepared, all spiffed up and ready to fire on all cylinders, fully expecting to see "Tony," a man who purported himself to be the owner of the Italian restaurant, when in fact he wasn't and was just a waiter.
This was the exchange:
Me to waiter: Hi! Is Tony here??
Stewart (the waiter): Huh? Who's that?
Me: Oh, is this place under new management?
S: not to my knowledge...
Me: Can I speak to the owner?... (fully expecting Tony to come out)
S: Here's Sal, the owner
When I meet Sal, the owner, I'm doubly flabbergasted as he was brown, and I never recalled Tony being brown.. only as a short, lanky and gay Italian male.
Sal: What's your business here?
Me: *going into my pitch off the cuff* ... wasn't the prettiest one as I was thrown off big time.
Anyway, cutting to the chase, I amicably and politely tell him that I hope he considers the proposal, fully expecting that he wasn't gonig to be receptive at all. I move along to the next spot - Dangerous Dan's.
Dangerous Dan's is the local greasy spoon. Big fat guy, that I had addressed as "Dan." Needless to say, he wasn't really receptive as he does a good amount for charity apparently, working with Queen Alexandara Sr. School up the street. I think the interaction may have went downhill, not for how I delivered it, but it had to do with his name.
Next stop, The Booze Emporium, they're not open yet so I'm off to The Burger Shoppe. I've checked this place out once and I have to admit their burgers are tasty. A fresher and simpler alternative to Dangerous Dan's, revolving around a 50's is theme. They will definitely become a neighbourhood rival for "Top Greasy Spoon", as they had a good amount of traffic flowing in and out. So I make my way into the small restaurant, and present myself to Mustafa - the owner, we met before and had made some small talk, starting with my usual "Welcome to the neighbourhood!" whenever a new bar/restaurant opens up.
After talking to Mustafa for a while, he's warm, friendly and seems to be receptive, and he offers to donate a gift certificate to The Burger Shoppe. NICE! Another one for the team. I'm happy and I shake his hand vigourously, and we make plans to meet so I can pick up the gift certificate at 2 PM this upcoming Saturday.
Soma Restaurant & Lounge: drop by and re-introduce myself to the cute bartender, Courtney. She has a nice smile, I smile back in kind, but course asking if I could speak to the owner for a business proposal. She agrees and tries to get the owner, but to no avail - he's just about to step out. Feeling rejected, I say thanks for finding out for me, maybe I"ll drop by afterwards for a drink and politely excuse myself for the next and last place to check out on my list.
Pop Bistro - worst reaction yet, it was either Mark or Joe (can't remember whose name was who's), probably wouldn't even give me the time of day because the restaurant was "closed" even though the door was open. I guess I came in at the wrong time as he was about to step out. He wanted to shoo me out of there and get me to bugger off, which I politely do and move on to the next stop.
The Real Jerk - a trendy Caribbean restaurant that has been a cornerstone of the Leslieville/Riverside Community for well over 15 years, most notably recognized by the huge smiling Sun logo on the front of the building. I had dropped by here once to have some Oxtail, recommended by Clay, the owner's son.
I made the pitch to him, and he seemed very receptive. He appreciated my politeness and still remembered me from way back when I last visited him in January. I guess I made a good impression. He said he'd pass it on to his parents, and they would probalby be more than receptive to donating a gift certificate. Not a yes, but still not a no. I'm feeling good about it.
By now, I'm pooped, and I go back to Soma for a shot of tequila and a martini to unwind. This has been one of the more challenging things I've encountered this year - going into a business, and asking for something, for which they have no immediate tangible benefit, only the promise of benefits in the future. I banter with Courtney the bartender a bit more, definitely no flirty vibe, darn it.. must be my energy level. We share about our passions for retro 80s music and she recommends me an 80s group I've never heard of before that she had played on the stereo system - Level 42. I quickly jot it down. Chill out a bit more, and then call up Bonnie to arrange a meet up as I know she's good with Advertising as she was a graduate from the OCAD program for Advertising Design.
We end up going back to Barrio, not for alcohol, but for drinks, and it was an AMAZINGLY productive meeting. She definitely knows her shit. Got a lot of new and fresh insights. After this session, we ending up parting ways, with me giving her a huge bear hug, and inducting her as an official part of the team. Her working title officer name is "BoonieTron" I will come up with something better and more geeky later on.
So to update you on the current situation, I've secured One Million Comix, Barrio, The Burger Shoppe and Kubo Radio and their Babycakes cupcake brand.
Next up, I'll be going back to Booze Emporium, hit up The Comrade, Leslieville Cheese Market, Joy Bistro, Pulp Kitchen, the local Starbucks, Amato Pizza, and the Indigo in my workplace building. Should be fun...