I have been aggressively cogitating on the various forms of bull-crappery that come out of our human mouthpieces whilst we are in the midst of trying to sell our fellow men things that they don't need. Imagine those high pressure salesmen that spout such multi-syllabic obscenities as " sure-you-can-think-about-it-but-there-is-another-customer-REALLY-interested-in-this-so-you-might-not-want-to-wait" or "I-talked-to-my-manager-and-we-can-give-you-this-insane-price-ONLY-until-4-this-afternoon" when we all know that there is really no time-limit and no "other customers" interested in what we're buying. This has been a personal struggle of mine, because I essentially built an entire living off of selling women what they "technically" don't need (although, think about how much you NEED to feel pretty! Isn't that a physical, insatiable necessity????). Having just come back home from a festival, I'm restlessly agonizing over things I said to customers, think I WILL say in the future to customers, and of course, things that customers say to me. As I toss and turn in the bedsheets of bewilderment, let me tell you about my oldest brother.
My eldest sibling is a used-car salesman at one of those "buy-here-pay-here", "bad-credit-no-credit-NO-PROBLEM" places. If you imagine my personality , but in a large, powerfully built-man, you've basically got my brother. Every time we talk on the phone, we end up sweating profusely and clenching our fists while we yell into the minute cell phone speakers about the governement, bad business tactics, lazy people, apathetic attitudes, and the stupidity of the 21 year-old-guy that my niece of 17 years is dating (freaking love! He's too much of a weenie to come and pick her up from her house because he's AFRAID that he might not be able to find his way there, so he has to meet her at the mall. He plays video games late enough that he "can't go on that date" because he doesn't want to come home too late to his mom. We think he just needs tucked in with his warm milk and teddy bear. *sigh*) Anyhow, back to my brother. He is the only honest and decent used-car-salesman in America, and because of that strange anomaly, there must be a magnetic force around him which draws in the needy, friendless vagrants of Southwest Missouri, otherwise known as "the Drainpipe of the Earth" (a guy I dated was the one who adorned the ozarks with this title. By the way, that same guy wore kilts, played banjo, had a shaved head, sideburns, and no beard. When I broke up with him, he sort of shrugged vaguely and went back to playing Super Mario. Ben, where ever you are now, you missed out in a serious way. I mean, serious.)
Phew! Let me start another paragraph. I have tangent-itis, apparently. My brother (name withheld to protect the innocent.) is honest and firm with people. If they're trying to buy a car at his lot when, in fact, the same car is down the street with a better price tag and lower mileage, he will TELL them. He will plead with them. "Make the best decision, you don't need to go with us." The people will be so impressed with his directness and frankness, they will pay a couple thousand dollars more to go with him! He toils away verbosely, striving to sway the new loyalist, but to no avail. These people must be used to being treated like garbage, thus when they encounter a decent human being, they will fall and worship at the alter of simple kindness. I admire my brother for how forthright and steadfast he is. I feel that the best kind of salespeople are the ones who genuinely care about their customer and truly love the product. Customers are smart, and they can always see through any veils of deceit that hang over the faces of these stealthy peddlers.
The other part of this weekend that shocked me was how many customers came up to me and said that they had either been treated badly by other vendors OR that other vendors (cough,cough, you know who you are) had been bad-mouthing my company! GOOD GLORY! I almost can't even work up a good anger here, because I feel so bad for your company AND your self esteem if you feel like you have to unleash a stream of slander on unsuspecting patrons who really just wanted to come, dress up, and have a good time at the festival. I know this sounds like the most passive-aggressive passage in the history of history, and I loathe being one of those people who pound out their angry blogs and shoot them out into the boggy darkness of the blogosphere. The BIG point that I want to make here is that everyone, including me, will get A LOT farther by showing respect and civility to both their customers and their competition. I've said this before, and I'll say it again. When girls come and work for my booth at festivals, I demand that they not stoop to mud-slinging and back-biting in efforts to try and make us look good. If I hear one of my workers saying anything slanderous, I take them aside later and talk to them about how it makes us look like a bunch of jealous, catty poo-heads, which reflects badly on my company.
When I, personally, hear demoralizing denigration of another company spewing forth out of one of the bitter salespeople of that merchant, I am NOT inspired to look further into what THEY, THEMSELVES have to offer. I just leave with a bad feeling, and I'm actually MORE curious about the company of which they hold such vehemence. I think, "Wow! What could these people possibly have done to inspire such poison! I had better go and see." Furthermore, I think it's depressing that these people sell themselves short by taking up their precious time with the customer to engage in negative criticisms instead of helping the customer to feel lovely and appreciated. I would like to encourage other vendors to remember that we're all in this hard life together, and we all truly do understand the suffering that is inflicted in the very act of deciding to be a merchant. I SEND CUSTOMERS over to other booths when I don't have what they need, and I have great friendships with people who should probably be my arch nemesis. We are SOO lucky that everyone has different tastes, and there are a lot of women that come into my booth and cannot find anything they like, BUT will come into YOUR booth (if you're not too busy frowning and complaining) and gladly buy entire sets of garb, ESPECIALLY if they like you and your passion for your own company.
Now, I'm not saying that I'm always perfect at dealing with customers. I felt like I had been punched in the gut when we had a lovely lass walk into our booth and tell us that no one had helped her the day before even though she had come several times. (Now, granted, the booth was jam-packed the whole day, and my friend was literally feeding me a sandwich whilst I laced up a customer and tried not to let chunks of turkey and cheese fall onto her bosom while I talked.) NO excuses! I can PROMISE you guys that I'm trying with all of my might, mind, and soul to make your festival experience the best it can be! I'm SOOO sorry to any of you whom I have offended (especially the lady for which the breadstick projectile was intended.) and I'm even more sorry if I have not been able to help you personally or make you feel pretty. That's all I want in the end. I LOVE just simply playing dress-up with women and helping them to appreciate their bodies.
Back to the moral of the story. My brother is awesome, be honest with people, and the next time you feel like bad-mouthing another company (the HORRIFIC irony is that is what I'm doing in this blog! Alas!) consider just spreading the love of what you do over to another person. When you send out positive energy into the world, that is what you will get back.