Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Easy target.

Since there are only 10 days left until Christmas, I thought it might be a good idea for me to get out there and actually do some Christmas shopping for my family - I'm always one step ahead like that. I did some shopping up at Market Street (which is this great little area here in my hometown) and then I decided to run over to the mall real quick before it closed. I was short on time but that was okay - I knew exactly what I was getting and where I was getting them, I knew exactly how long it would take me to get from store to store, and I had the most efficient route planned so that I could get everywhere I needed to go before the mall began to shut down. I had thought of everything.

Except for the salesmen at the kiosks along the way.

I don't know why I can't just say no to these people. I feel rude when I do. So I look at them and smile and try to politely decline their offers but once you make eye contact with them, you're toast. And I know this. I KNOW this. But I can't seem to help myself. And they see me coming, too. It's like they can smell my fear and it makes them salivate - I can actually hear them slurping up saliva as I approach. They'll look past all the other people walking by and zero in on me. I don't know how they do it.

I try to avoid them - believe me I do. I've tried looking down, ignoring them, ducking into a nearby store until their attention is diverted - a million different salesman-avoidance techniques. But I somehow still end up standing there listening to the greatest new buy-one-get-four-free deal they are offering for one night. It's so frustrating.

I've discovered that two of my salesman-avoidance methods are fairly successful. Each one of them has allowed me to avoid 99% of the kiosk salesmen I encounter. Let me share them with you.

Technique 1: Fake cell phone conversation . . .
As I'm approaching any given kiosk and see a salesman eyeing me with greedy delight, I act like I'm getting a call and then I proceed to have a lively conversation with absolutely no one on the other end. 99% of the time the salesman just smiles at me and then flags down the guy behind me. The only real problem with this technique is that I feel like I need to really commit to the charade. This results in me continuing to talk into my cell phone even after the "danger" has passed - I mean, I feel like I need to see the conversation out to its logical conclusion, you know? I can't just hang up on my pretend friend. That would be rude. And my fear of being rude is what got me into this fake phone conversation in the first place. You see the problem?

So what's the exception? Who is the 1% that gets around this charade? T-Mobile guys. They are the WORST. And they have ABSOLUTELY no respect for the fake cell phone conversation. They see me on the phone but they yell at me anyway: "Ma'am! Ma'am! In the pink shirt!! Yeah - you!" And then just start talking to me until I have to finally tell my fake friend that I'll have to call her back. And then I get stuck listening to the guy's spiel for 10 minutes, all the time trying to convince him that I'm happy with my service provider.

Technique 2: Got one already . . .
Lately, I've opted to not use the fake cell phone conversation because, frankly, I'm getting tired of listening to my pretend friend gripe about her life. So my latest salesman-avoidance method is to tell the salesmen "Oh! I already have one of those!" and then just keep on walking. The problem with this method is that it involves eye contact and once you make eye contact with them, they won't let you off that easily.

If you decide you want to try this technique out next time you're out at that mall, I need to warn you that it doesn't work on the people at the Seacret kiosk. Do you have this kiosk at your mall? It's like a nail care system that uses a four-sided buffer and makes your nails look like they have clear polish on them. It's actually pretty cool. How do I know this? Because every time I try to avoid these salesmen, I ended up getting my nails buffed by one of the Russian salesmen while they tell me how great the product is. And I've bought the nail care set . . . twice . . . and have never used either one. So you might want to try the fake cell phone thing with these guys.

Tonight it was the guy at the Seacret kiosk who got me to stop. He actually started waving to me from about 50 feet away - like we were old friends and he was super excited to see me. I have no idea how he knew I was the easy mark but he did. I said "Oh! I already have one!" And he said "Really? Let me see your nails." The blood instantly drained from my face, I got the "Oh crap - I didn't see that one coming" look on my face, and began stuttering: "Well, I - I - I haven't done them - my nails - it's just that - see I -" And then he asked me "Lazy or busy?" So I stood there ashamed while he admonished me and then I had to explain that I was in a bit of a hurry tonight and didn't have time to have my nails buffed. He said okay but he looked really sad and it made me feel bad.

So I'm thinking that maybe I'll go buy another one from him tomorrow to make it up to him. I mean, you can never have too many nail buffers, right?


Phyllis Eddings said...

You need only to shop in a Middle Eastern country, or even Mexico, to get over feeling rude by ignoring, or just saying "No, thank you."

Remember, they do not take rejection personally the way most American women do. It's just part of the job to them. Get some backbone girl! LOL

Phyllis Eddings said...

Oh, and one more thing. You know the place that sells the soap, near Forever 21 & Toni & Guy? I just say, "sorry, I don't use soap," and keep walking! It's true, though. I don't use bar soap—liquid only for me, so it's the truth!

Emma said...

Catch, cracking up!! Such a dilema.....I have tried both of those techniques, but Erin taught me the winner! It's the ol' fake phone bit, but take it to the next level: have an fake angry phone conversation!! No one wants to mess with you when you look angry or put out! Works every time! Thanks, Erie.

Emma said...

Oh, forgot to say my favorite part was the bit about having to continue the fake conversation!!!! Lah, I have been there! Totally cracked me up!

Jill said...

I think you know how I feel about this. I'm just shaking my head right now. Just shaking my head.