Sales Assault

Don’t you hate walking down the front of the electronics aisle at the big blue superstore? You know, the one where they have stacks of TVs and large bins of movies to dig through? Movies, which, by the way, this is a lot of commas, you would never actually watch? Like Sylvester Stallone’s Over the Top, a movie about arm-wrestling. :| Seriously? Who thought that was a good idea?

But that aisle that separates the electronics area from the rest of the store is where they lurk. Standing there with their clipboards and their nice tucked-in polo shirts… The Sales Assaultiate. Dun dun dun.

I can’t stand them. Heck, I can’t even stand the thought of them. Or what they do. They’re almost as bad as the old women who ask to see your receipt. They stand there and watch you coming, and you make that uncomfortable eye contact as they throw a light smile at you and start shifting their weight to be right in your way. And you know what’s coming. They’re gonna ask who your internet provider is.

Dude, seriously? I came here to shop. Not be assaulted by a sales guy trying to get me to sign up with a rival internet service provider. And so what if I can get it for ten dollars less per month? I still have to go through the hassle of being there on a Tuesday between 2 and 6 while they do a half-ass job installing something they barely understand. And then I have to cancel my current one and send back the modem I’m using now. I don’t even know where a FedEx drop location is. So the box will end up sitting in my garage because I’m too lazy to find one – and not to mention, don’t believe I should have to find one to return this thing. Why should it be my job? It should be that guy’s job who stopped me in the store to begin with.

There are two ways you can deal with these guys. Well, technically three, but I’m not going to talk about the illegal one. The first way is to politely say, “No, thank you, I’m not interested. No seriously, I said I wasn’t interested. Get your damn hand off my arm before I break your nose.” And walk away. The second way is to just say, “I already use Spectrum.” And walk away. Of course, you can stop and listen to their spiel and maybe even be talked into buying what they’re selling. But I didn’t mention that option because it’s the gay option.

If I want better, or new, or faster internet service, I will go looking for it. I will come to you, douchebag. Don’t stop me in the middle of a market when I have a full basket and a nine-year-old clinging to my hand begging me for Pokemon cards. It’s maddening. Don’t just assume that I want to stop and talk to you because you have such a great product.

Of course, they’re just doing their jobs. Kind of like telemarketers who call you in the middle of your turducken sandwich and ask if you’d like a water purifier. So I don’t really feel all that sorry for them when I’m rude to them, because they chose that job. But mainly, I would say this is an open letter to the companies that think it’s okay to station someone in a store and assault people with this aggressive sales tactic. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

I would be totally okay if you sent the same person there with the same nice little booth full of modems and the same clipboard, and told him to just stand there and smile. But at this point, they can’t even say, “Hey, how are you today?” because I know it’s the opening to their pitch.

I don’t even know if this tactic works. Of course, I guess it works on the weak. Those who are incapable of walking past and being somewhat rude to someone who could be perceived as just trying to start a conversation with you. But I guarantee I can tell you where that conversation is heading. Yeah, it may start with something like, “Hey, pal, did you see the Cowboys game Sunday?” But it’s certainly going to quickly turn to, “Well, you could have seen it better if you had Burt’s Internet Service!”

I am the guy who told you to engage in the elevator. Remember that? And I even offered a refresher course on it. So I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t this hypocritical? Or at least mildly contradictory? Nay, I say. This is totally different. You see, on an elevator, you’re surrounded by people doing the same thing you are. Taking the lazy avenue between floors. You’re on the same page. The same level. The same playing field. You should talk to them. They are probably even your peers, or coworkers. But if you’re shopping and someone is trying to sell you something for which you did not come to the store, the bet is off.

Now I understand, people in elevators may just want to be left alone. One of my ex-wives once told me that when she traveled, she was like that on airplanes. She was in the sales market and was always flying all over the place. So the airplane was where she found her silence. Her alone time. I guess an elevator could be seen as the same thing: a reprieve from the day’s coming conversations. Or from the conversations and interactions you just finished having. Either way, I respect that. But there is now a handsome way to make that very obvious. And every person, I beg, who ever gets on an elevator carries one in her pocket or purse. Yup. That smart phone. Light up your face with that smart phone and you shall be left alone.

Wow. Maybe that’s what I need to do at the TramLaw. I will try that and report back here to tell you if it worked or not. Until then, feed me your ideas. Tell me what you think we should do about this growing epidemic of in-your-faceness.

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