The reality was far from ideal in a culture that took pride in inclusivity and where the general consensus held that people no longer made snap judgments about others. Under the veneer of pleasant smiles and openness, the old adage “judging a book by its cover” still applied. However, if one took the time to look a little closer, they might find hidden gems behind those first impressions.

When a young farmer made the decision to leave the flat plains of North Dakota for the tropical coastlines of Florida, this lesson in appearances and misconceptions came to light. He moved to the state recently and started looking for work, which eventually brought him to a large department store with “everything under one roof.”

He addressed the manager as soon as he walked into the business with a resume largely comprised of farming experience. The manager, an experienced professional, questioned, “Do you have any sales experience?”

Yes, I was a vacuum salesman back in North Dakota, the young guy said after a brief period of hesitation and a hint of pride.

The unusual response intrigued the manager, who raised an eyebrow. Even if he wasn’t completely convinced, something about the young man’s demeanor caught his attention. Okay, I’ll give you a shot,” he said. You can begin tomorrow, and I’ll stop over after business hours to see how you’re doing.

The first day on the job for the young farmer turned out to be a difficult task. He persisted, nonetheless, determined to succeed. The manager entered the sales floor as soon as the store’s doors shut, anxious to assess the performance of his most recent hire.

How many consumers bought something from you today, he enquired?

The young man looked down to the ground, appearing a little defeated, and murmured, “Just one.”

The management seems dissatisfied. Only one? 20 to 30 consumers are typically served each day by our salespeople. If you want to keep your employment, you must swiftly improve. One sale each day won’t satisfy the high standards we have here in Florida. Keep in mind that you are no longer in North Dakota.

The young farmer humbly accepted the criticism while keeping his gaze on his shoes. The manager had just given a new hire a reprimand on his first day, and he couldn’t help but feel a tinge of sympathy for him.

He tried to be more friendly and said, “Okay, how much was your one sale for?”

“$101,237.65,” the young man said with a tinge of pride as he turned to face his supervisor.

The boss was perplexed. “$101,237.65?! Exactly what did you sell?

The young farmer started to describe his sales trip while grinning. First off, I sold him some brand-new fish hooks. I then suggested a fishing rod to go with his purchase. He indicated going down the coast when I inquired about his intended fishing location. Naturally, I led him to the boat section and convinced him to buy a twin-engine Chris Craft. I accompanied him to the automobile section out of concern that his Honda Civic wouldn’t be able to tow the boat, and sure enough, he purchased a 4×4 Expedition.

The manager couldn’t even speak. “You sold a man a boat and a truck when he came in to buy fish hooks?”

No, sir,” the young farmer chuckled. He entered to purchase his wife tampons. I merely said to him, “Dude, your weekend is shot; go fishing.