Thursday, July 29, 2010
Is this the modern way of selling?
After forcing myself into my sister and her husband’s dinner plans on Sunday, they considered my plea and took me to dinner. As we were enjoying our meal, two ladies walked in, sat at the table next to us and started conversing loudly. They kept calling for the waiter. I noticed that my sister was eavesdropping, for a second I told her to stop but then I realised that I also started eavesdropping (one of the ladies was talking about the toothpaste that she uses which can only be bought in Spain). A few minutes later I heard her say “excuse me” loudly again, thinking that she was calling for the waiter for the hundredth time, I didn’t bother to look in her direction, but when the” excuse me” started sounding like it was coming towards me, I turned to look at her and I realised that she was calling for me. Holding up a little package from where she sat, she said “hi I just wanted to say that I sell MAC powder, I get them from America and I am selling them at a discounted price, i am having a kind of sale, trying to sell them all off” I smiled politely, thanked her and said that I wasn’t interested. (Since my sister and I were arguing about the toothpaste being from Spain or not, I decided to ask the lady) I told her that I was eavesdropping earlier and heard about her wonder toothpaste, so she started the story about her sensitive teeth and how she found some toothpaste that can only be bought in Spain, since I live in Lagos and have no plans of travelling to Spain or changing my toothpaste, I soon lost interest (if at this point she brought out a tube of toothpaste and advertised that she sold it, I probably wouldn’t have minded, though it would be very unlikely that I would buy it). She must have noticed my disinterest as she shouted across the table again “I sell accessories too” holding out the one she was wearing around her neck.” They are in my car outside, I can show you” she continued. I smiled again and politely told her that I wasn’t interested. She then asked for my complimentary card, which I didn’t have with me, she went on to ask for my number so I gave it to her (at least that was for free and I definitely know how to deal with phone calls from strangers) she gave me hers and told me once again that she sold so many other things.
This was a strange experience for me. Why would I want to buy cosmetics from a total stranger at a restaurant? Did this mean that she came in with the intentions of selling her cosmetics in there? (She carried them in a separate plastic bag when she came in). A couple of times I have seen people hand out complimentary cards politely (in a stylish manner) in enclosed places but this was the first time that I would experience someone waving a product from a distance to me at a restaurant in the name of marketing. I think it might actually have been a different case if I said to her that I liked the powder she was wearing and she then answered back saying that she actually had some for sale. That wouldn’t be as bad as a co customer trying to sell you powder, calling for your attention while interrupting the consumption of your favourite apple crumble and custard. Ridiculous I’d say!