Of course these days Eric Church has a pretty sweet gig, making music that he loves, playing for crowds of adoring fans, and selling out arenas around the country on his recently-wrapped Gather Again Tour.
Long before he was the country star he is now, though, Church found himself selling knives for a home shopping network.
But it sounds like he wasn’t as good at that as he is rocking a crowd…
After graduating from Appalachian State, Church moved to Nashville to try to catch his big break in the music business. Of course you don’t just immediately move to Nashville and become a country star overnight, so that means he had to work some pretty shitty side jobs to support himself while he was grinding it out in his music career.
And according to Church, the worst was working the overnight shift at the shop at home network.
“I’ve had a lot of awful jobs…my worst one was when I first came to Nashville. I got a job at the Shop at Home Network. I worked midnight, graveyard, midnight to eight.
That was bad enough but then I would work all night, go home, shower and then I had writing appointments all day because I was trying to get a career started.
I’d go write songs and get meetings just trying to get signed. And end up getting done at 3 of 4 with all of that, I’d go home, take a shower or sleep for a little bit and then I had to be at work again at midnight.”
Yeah, that sounds miserable enough as it is. But Eric said that wasn’t the reason he didn’t stay at the job very long. It turns out, it had something to do with the product he was selling:
“I sold knives from midnight to 7 or 8am. And, anytime somebody calls you at 3 or 4am and needs 200 knives for $19.95, it’s automatically an alarming situation.
And I just, I was young and I’d been in a lot of these people’s shoes, I had done this…I knew they were drunk. I knew what they had done. They’d just come home from the bar, flipped on Shop at Home and said, ‘You know what? I need that.’”
200 knives for $19.95? I don’t care what time of day it is, that sounds like a hell of a deal. Sign me up.
For real though, I know exactly what he’s talking about. You get drunk, turn on the TV and get sucked into those infomercials, and the next thing you know you’re the proud owner of a 10-in-1 air fryer and rotisserie that you never would have bought if you were sober.
But apparently Church wasn’t quite so eager to sell knives to people in the middle of the night:
“So the reason the job didn’t last long for me is that I was maybe the worst salesmen in history because I ended up talking a lot of these people out of it, I’d say, ‘I’ll tell you what man, go to bed, call me, I’ll be here in the morning. If you get up in the morning and want these knives you call me back.’
Because I knew what was going to happen, you know. They bought 200 knives for $19.95…first of all some of these people you didn’t know whether you should call the cops. What do you need 200 knives for? Even though I’m selling them…what do you need them for?”
Honestly, that’s probably a good call. And I kinda wish Amazon had this feature too, as many packages as we get at our house after my fianceé has hit the wine a little too hard. Maybe a little pop up asking if you’ve been drinking and telling you to come back in the morning. Or maybe somebody like Eric can give you a call just to make sure that you really meant to order an ice maker at 3am.
But of course his bosses didn’t really appreciate the fact that he was talking people out of buying the product he was supposed to be selling:
“So, it was awful doing that job. And then they got rid of me because, they were like, ‘You’re the worst. I can’t believe you’re talking people out of it.’
I was like, ‘Man I know…I’ve been there.’ I’d want someone to talk me out of buying some of the stuff I’ve bought at 2am.”
Classic Eric Church: Never afraid to break the rules to look out for others.