Forty Minutes, Two Questions, & A Host of Assumptions

“She is a pharmacist.”

“Yes, I am 45.”

My two new favorite sentences. One opens doors and others cause people to drop pens and stare at me maw agape. I spent 40 minutes listening to a sales pitch designed to make me feel stupid and push me where the sales person wanted to go. I like to let people talk. The more people talk the more I learn about them. This sales person assumed because I dropped that Barb and I recently graduated that we were in our twenties and did not know anything.

That set of assumptions, set the sales person on the wrong path to sell me anything. For thirty-minutes I listened and made noises of understanding and affirmation while the sales person told me why one thing was bad, another was less bad, and this was best of all. Best of all had a lot in favor for the sales person. Not once did the sales person ask any information about myself or Barb, the simple fact that we graduated two weeks ago was enough information.

I enjoy people talking down to me. I really do. Rare is the situation where I have not done some research. In this case, I had done a lot of research. I knew what the sales person was talking down to me and I knew more. A poorly informed consumer is ripe for having their wallet emptied. I do not like having my wallet emptied. Never asked anything about either of us nor asked if I was familiar with the product and process. Just graduated, means young and dumb.

Convinced we could not possibly afford the product the sales person attempted to end the conversation with a question they must have thought would have ended the conversation in their favor, “Do either of you have a job?” The tone and facial expression said it all.

The backpedaling, when the sales person found out that Barb does have a job, a good paying job, was awesome. Try to visualize a verbal crabwalk up a greased slope while someone pushed rocks down on them. Suddenly we were people. We were valued customers. Suddenly the sales person wanted to know more. However, having pissed away their chance all inquires but one were shut down, because I wanted to see how the sales person handled the information.

“If I may ask,” the sales person began looking at me, “how old are you?”

“45,” if you have ever heard my deadpan voice then you know this was delivered devoid of anything other than the number.

The sales person’s pen hit the table with a very audible clack. Their mouth literally dropped open. The shock was plain to see. If you are a sales person attempting to make a sale, never show shock at something a customer tells you, especially if it is inconsequential data. Remember that visualization of the verbal crabwalk from above? Yeah, the boulders won. The sales person tried to be flattering, tried to make a connection, tried…but I was done.

I thanked the sales person, picked up all of my information and paperwork that I had put on the table before the conversation began. Paperwork, had the sales person inquired or even bothered to look would have saved both of us about a half-hour and might have gotten them the sale. Shook the sales person’s hand and left.



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