Seibert finished checking out and correcting one store and then drove fast for hours in a straight line across the frozen prairie to make the next town and grab a late dinner. As he ate some of the bad meal, he reviewed the next store's records. In the morning he was at the store at seven. Nobody was there. He went across the street to a coffee shop and waited. Finally, the janitor arrived and let Seibert into the store. He went up to the manager's office, where he saw price lists (used in ordering) stacked on two tables. They were way past due. Orders should have been in New York three weeks earlier.
Back to the coffee shop. At length, he saw the manager arrive . He refilled his coffee cup. He was anxious to get started, but felt it necessary to allow the manager to settle into his day. In the store, finally, the manager came down and asked if Don would like to get some coffee. Sure. They went across the street for the ritual catch-up chat, Seibert careful to hide his coffee nerves. Back in the store, they went up to the manager's officewhich was now spic and span, nothing on the tables. "I suppose you want to work with my assistant," said the manager.
"Right, be a good place to start," Seibert said.
The manager introduced Seibert and then left the very nervous assistant manager's office. The late price lists were now stacked on the young man's desk. With a wave, Seibert said, "So, I see you guys are running a little late with the price lists."
"Yes" is all the assistant could manage. He would not, of course, rat on his boss.
Seibert smiled reassuringly. "Well, I can help there. Why don't we get to work, okay?"
"Sure," said the young man with a shade of relief. And they worked out a plan to get the orders in, and then Seibert called New York with instructions to take care of this store and get the orders filled.
By late afternoon when Seibert said good-bye to the manager and his assistant and hit the road, he knew the problem well. The manager was a good merchant who had built up business to a point where he could not manage it anymore. He hadn't grown with the business; not an unusual problem. In a few weeks Seibert moved the man to a smaller store, and all were finally pleased.