After last night’s break, we reconvened this morning on the 40th floor of our counterparty’s offices to resume negotiations. They began by handing us what was (in the terms of the partner I’m working with) an “F.U.” markup of the agreemnet we’ve been negotiating. In other words, in turning the draft, the other side had done everything they could to stick it to our client. Everything from raising major new issues (which you just don’t do — once you’ve had a turn to talk, you aren’t supposed to go back and raise new points) — to making petty language changes (like changing “a single thing” to “one thing”). And of course they “forgot” to make any of the changes we’d agreed to that would be favorable to my client.
It was a clear message that they had no intention of doing the deal and were going to be complete jerks about it. So we went into the negotiating room and asked them to just be up front with us: if that was the case, and stop wasting everyone’s time and let’s go home. Their response: Who, us? We have no idea what you’re talking about? What could POSSIBLY have bothered you in this draft? We totally want to do this deal. We love you.
Needless to say, we were in for a long day. Frustrating for my client and the partner but fun for me — my role here is not a stressful one (I just need to be organized, efficient and focused on details, which I am) and I find the theatrics of the negotiations enormously entertaining. Eventually the logjam on the other side broke, though, and we started making tiny amounts of progress instead of moving backwards. Enough to make my client think that it made sense to stay for another day.
So here I am, in Chicago for another night. My client (who is 35) and I switched to the W Hotel, so my hipness quotient is currently through the roof (said my client, “The Marriott feels like a place my father would stay” — and hey, when he’s the one paying, who am I to say no?). Then we went out for sushi at one of these trendy Japanese-Peruvian fusion places (which, unfortunately, was underwhelming in comparison to the Michelin-starred Japanese food I had in Paris last November — I may be ruined for life).
And now I’m back in the hotel, trying to get work done for other clients that I won’t be able to do during the day tomorrow, and rescheduling all of my personal life that now isn’t going to happen as planned.
(Better this, though, than what my partner is going through: He has to be back in DC tomorrow, so he left for a late flight home. Last I heard, he got bumped from his flight, which was oversold, and was left stranded at O’Hare with such dire food options as Chili’s and McDonald’s, and, presumably, has to take a crack-of-dawn flight back to DC.)