End Game: Day Zero


Friday, April 30, 2021 was Day Zero for the oversight of the sale's transition.

Starting in the morning, we had no idea if there was even going to be a changing of hands. A lack of communication on the part of the buyer, along with some fairly questionable decisions being made by their upper management made us wonder whether or not they were going to be able to meet the demands of the deal.

Let me back up a little and give a little history of the sale.

March 30, 2021 (or as they say in Europe, 30 March, 2021): the two heads of each corporation met in a board room to discuss terms. The sale was to be part asset, part share sale, with a list of assets and their values set out for both groups to see. An agreement was made: the new buyer would take responsibility for operations April 1, 2021 with the official buy-out and pay-out to come at a later date (TBD).

It was determined that I would stay on-site to oversee the transition for however long it took. At the time, I thought maybe one-to-two weeks tops. I also thought that the buyer would have a much more hands-on role in the transition.

Oh, how naive I was.

Fast forward to Tuesday morning, the final week of April. I e-mail the new owners to advise them that we would need an injection of cash in order to withdraw the amount required to finalize the share sale portion of the deal.

Response: no shares will be bought in this purchase.

I'll put our response in the words of the yard manager: it was like a kick in the balls.

To top it all off, they had brought in someone for an interview whose position would take up a good chunk of the yard manager's job. Yet another (as he put it) kick in the balls.

Back to the point of this post: Day Zero.

The night before, due to a lot of questions as to the intentions of the new owners, I was advised that if the new owners show up without payment, that I was not to allow them to proceed with any set up.

I got to work that morning and wasn't informed until almost starting time that the only other office staff would not be coming in. They were "sick." No big deal, I figured I'd just close down the yard for buying, but when that didn't work out to well (as customers would just pull on to the scale without coming into the office first), I decided I'd take the metals, but only from those who were willing to take a cheque.

The day was fairly busy. I had to shut down the office at one point as I'd ordered subs and a cake to throw a little party. As a joke, I wrote "Happy Retirement, Bert" (my nickname for the yard manager) on the cake.

Hours passed. No contact from the new owners.

Finally, after lunch, we got a phone call.

F1: I'm on my way, but I need access to the utility and communication accounts.
Me: I don't have authority on those accounts, and the person who does is not available. Why was this put off until the last day?
F1: Can you just write something on your letterhead and you can sign pretending you're the person responsible?
Me: Sorry, I don't do that.

It was about 1:40 when she finally showed up. Did she have the cheques? No, she did not.

F1: Sorry, I just need to get this software and hardware set up on the computer.
Me: I've been informed that no set up is to occur without cheques in my hand. Also, as the company itself was not purchased, just assets, and those assets did not include computer hardware, these computers are going with me and you'll have to buy your own.
F1: This is why you're being pissy? Because we didn't buy the company itself?
Me: This is not me being pissy, this is me being firm. Maybe you don't recognize it because no one has been firm with you your entire life. This is what I've been authorized to tell you in the instance that you fail to bring payment.
F1: Oh, you're a real gem.

At that point, she stormed out.

She came back in a few minutes later with an announcement: the CEO was coming, he was bringing cheques, and once they were put in my hand, I was to leave the property immediately.

Kicking me off the property? Good luck with that. But, since that was the way they were handling it, I decided to shut the office down right then.

The yard manager and one of the yard crew happened to be in the office when I started and offered to help me take down the office. (They're truly the best and I'll miss them and I'm sorry that they're currently stuck with the new owners.)

This resulted in a lot of laughter and jokes on the yard Telegram group. (Which I just now realized had the new staff added to, which just makes me laugh a little more.)

In order to keep things running, F1 broke out some cash and some paper in order to keep the customers flowing. It was clear she was not familiar with purchasing metals, not understanding even the shortform for pounds (lbs). When she mentioned that she couldn't even give customers receipts, I went into a drawer and pulled out a carbon-copy purchase order pad and handed it to her. Petty, I know, but still helpful!

Around 3:30PM, the CEO and one of his associates showed up with the cheques. I went over them, packed up the rest of my stuff, and went off to the bank. And then, I took the rest of the night off.

Epilogue: Monday morning arrived and proved how disorganized they truly are. Despite having known that there were no computers in the office, they failed to go purchase one to set up the software and hardware that they'd been in such a rush to set up on Friday.

Epilogue epilogue: I just got a text from one of the yard crew:
Usually I walk into the office and it's all happy. Today was so gloomy, I swear I was at a funeral.

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