Better Call Barb

In the course of my work, I talk to a lot of people in the fishing industry, from retailers to distributors to fishing guides to tournament pros to tackle company executives to biologists to everyday anglers.

When I call an office — whether it’s a tackle manufacturer or a conservation organization, I sometimes get passed around in search of the one person who can answer my question, send me off in the right direction or get me the stuff I need when I need it.

Almost invariably, this person’s name is Barb.

“Barb can help you with that.”

“You need to talk with Barb.”

“The only person who might know that is Barb.”

“I’m going to have to transfer you to Barb.”

“Unfortunately, Barb’s not here today.”

“Barb’s away from her desk.”

“Barb’s out this week.”

“I’m not sure where Barb is, but I’ll ask her to call you.”

Now I’m not sure why women named Barb are so preternaturally capable, and it’s really not my business. It’s just good information to have.

A lot of times, I’ll call an office looking for someone in marketing to help me with a question. About half the time, the person who answers the phone will draw a blank. There will be an awkward pause, and sometimes … when I’m either feeling lucky or ready to gamble, I’ll ask a question.

“Is Barb available?”

You’d be surprised at how many times they perk up and say, “Yes, she is! I’ll transfer you now.”

When I get to Barb, she always seems to have the answer, though I’m not sure how she does it … or even who she is.

Do you have a Barb in your store or office? You know who I’m talking about — that go-to person who is almost always going to have the answer or at least send callers off in the right direction.

Maybe your “Barb” is a Bob or a Steve or a Sue or a Julie. Like Shakespeare said, “What’s in a name?”

Maybe you are “Barb.” And if you are, you’re probably needed on the phone or at the front desk right now. Don’t worry. I’ll wait.

The important thing for those of us who work with a Barb is that we know it, we know who Barb is and we realize the value of putting Barb out there where she — or he — can do the most good.

Never hide your Barb!

If you don’t have a Barb, don’t panic. None of us starts out as a Barb. Barb’s aren’t born. They’re developed, nurtured and grow into the role. It’s true that you can hire a full-fledged Barb and have her — or him — hit the ground running, but you can also find Barbs in the rough and let them gradually fill that role.

Either way, everyone needs a Barb.

And yes, here at FTR, we have our own Barb … actually, it’s Barbara.

I’ll transfer you now.

A rising tide lifts all boats. Let’s be that tide.