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Sat, Apr 13, 2024 08:17
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Management Side

Porno Calls

Well, we got some comments last week....

to the question, "Have you ever received what we described as a 'Porno Call'?  If yes, what was your reaction?"

Surprised, but soon figured out she was not after me, just the sale.

But being one of your female readers I'm probably not the target they're directed at.

I was surprised to hear that this is going on. Maybe since I am no longer working in an office and only use my cell phone as my business number, I am off the radar.

I avoided buying the product (pump seals from an unknown company to replace packing) but some engineers bought. They were later ridiculed when the product proved to be less than satisfactory. This was 40 years ago, when virtually all sales people and buyers were male. To put the issue into perspective, a female engineer at the IP Natchez mill told me that she had an advantage, because her boss knew she would not be accepting invitations by salesmen to the local brothel. According to her, that was an issue in the mill. It was one of the worst operated mills I have visited, and is of course now down.

I am old enough to remember the Ridge (sic--Rigid) Tool Company calendars and while my maleness appreciated the cute chicks I thought they were pretty inappropriate even if the girls had (some) clothes on.


to the question, "Assuming you are in favor of stopping such calls, do you have any suggestions on how to do so?"

Don't know how you would enforce it. Typically, I just hang up.

Perhaps a hand signal to alert someone to listen in on the call (we used to have one when bomb threats were the rage) would allow for a witness so that appropriate action could be taken against the offender.

I'm of the era that feels professionalism is important, but seems to be an endangered species. if I hear of any companies who market themselves in this manner they would fail my professionalism test and be off the list of those I choose to do business with. I would communicate this to any contacts I had or can find in their organizations. I would not hesitate to pass my thoughts along to any colleagues who might also be in a position to conduct business with them. might not do any good but I'd feel like I did my part.

I have gotten used to separating behavior into personal and professional for myself, for my department and for my employees. Requiring people to be respectful of others has proven to be an effective part of earning respect as a manager and a step towards leadership.

I have no idea of what you're referring to. What is the nature of these calls? Are they using sex over the phone to try to influence you to buy equipment or engineering services? It sounds ridiculous. Re: waitresses. I do not work in a mill but as a customer have eaten with mill people in mill town cafes, and have never run into this (always lunch time). Southeast, northeast and Midwest U.S. Are the places you describe filled only with male customers? Are they bars rather than restaurants? Boggles my mind. I didn't just fall off the turnip truck, but this article made me feel like I did.

I have overheard these calls from my maintenance people. I have seen such people working over the people at the site. Need to be careful about what you allow. Make it a policy to not make it a matter of habit.

If I ever received one of those calls, my first step would be to contact the highest ranking person I could reach from that organization to ask: do they know what's going on; do they want to risk losing all the business from me and my company's divisions; what is wrong with their thinking and would they like their board of directors to know this

There used to be a gal (not a lady) that sold woodyard equipment. Her entry into the engineering and woodyard offices was welcomed because she carried a ring binder with her that was stocked with the latest obscene cartoons that circulate in some offices. 20 years ago, you would see these all over the walls, but I am encouraged by that almost disappearing. So did she.

Hang up!


If such calls are at all common, a simple memo on the lines of your article. I would not put major resources into it. The sensible staff will respond and improve their behavior. The slobs cannot be easily changed.

Well, I am in favor of the same sort of strategy I use when people try to buy me with sports tickets, etc. Politely say no and forget about them.

Ask for a male salesman ;-) There are a few companies I know who have ladies working for them, but it is because of the knowledge they have and the quality they deliver. In Western Europe I even never heard about this, not from direct, nor from 'hear-say'. So I guess we are lucky.

Companies should have an internal blacklist of suppliers using such practices. Blacklisted companies should be given the opportunity of having their name removed, but only by the personal attendance of the President or CEO. I would like to see a public website but that is too open to abuse and the risk of libel.

hang up

I would inform them that I do not purchase from companies that sell this way, that assumes I can get their attention without listening to the whole speech.

Refuse to purchase anything from that company

These calls absolutely should be stopped. I think it falls to paper mill managers to set the standard. The mill manager and staff should make it known to everyone working for them that they don't want to do business with companies that use this type of sales practice. If the mill manager and staff are getting these calls, they should call their counterparts at the supplier/vendor company and complain. They should also share the information among themselves and their direct reports responsible for hiring the offending company that they will not be considered as eligible bidders. Lower level employees should be encouraged to report receiving such calls and the reports should be investigated perhaps by the department manager



Do you remember the ads in trade journals by Orr Felts?  They were very suggestive and were commonly seen posted in control rooms and locker rooms in many mills.

I think this came to a screeching halt when a woman became CEO of Orr.

Steven Moore

Rhinelander, Wisconsin, USA


Yes, I do Steve, I certainly do...

and, they needed to disappear.



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