I'm a sucker for a good sales pitch. Really, any sales pitch. Salespeople can smell me coming from a mile away. That's why Saturdays in the BX and the Commissary are always so difficult for me. All it takes is one free sample, and I suddenly feel I must buy three boxes of Ham, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Hot Pockets. It's a compulsion, really. Or maybe it's the law of reciprocity. They give me a bite-sized free sample; I subsequently buy their nasty microwave food. That seems reasonable.
Recently, my parents were here for a visit, and we were shopping around the BX on a Saturday afternoon. Suddenly, this overly-enthusiastic voice comes over the loud-speaker and says, "Ladies and Gentlemen, do you like free stuff? Then meet me in front of the fragrance aisle in five minutes for your FREE gift!" My mom and my hubby both rolled their eyes as if to say, "Oh, no. Here we go again." You see, this very scenario happened four years prior, and we all went home with a box of $30 knives that have since rusted. But, I'll have you know they are still sharp!
Since my dad and I are both suckers for "free" stuff, we made our way over to the fragrance department. There, we found the awkwardly enthusiastic man with his bowl of water, his tomato, his piece of mangled wood, and his set of never-seen-before-knives. Except we had seen them just a few years ago. Still, dad and I stood there like we'd never seen a knife before. When he asked us to come closer, we came closer. When he whispered to us about how few "free" gifts he had to give away, we leaned in to better hear him. We were eating out of his hand.
At one point he impressed us with the powerful capabilities of his incredibly inexpensive knives. He sawed through a piece of wood like it was a stick of butter. [Only a slight exaggeration.]
Meanwhile, my mom and my husband - who both refused to come closer when he asked them to do so - continued to roll their eyes in disbelief. They thought surely I wouldn't fall for this same sales pitch AGAIN. Especially when I already had the same stupid knives. Especially when said knives are currently rusting in my kitchen drawer. Especially when this salesperson is horrible.
And they were wrong. I bought the $30 knives. Dad just got the free gift (a lens cleaning cloth). Tightwad.
My family laughed at me the whole way home at how easily I am swayed by a horribly predictable and uncomfortable sales pitch. Maybe I bought the knives because I felt sorry for the guy in his early twenties who had all the charm and wit of a bill collector. Maybe I wanted to get rid of the rusty knives currently in my drawer. Maybe I am just that easily swayed by salespeople. (Don't even get me started on my track record with infomercials.)
But wait, there's more!
A few weeks later, we were at dinner with another military couple when my husband couldn't help but throw me under the bus about this whole knife business. He explained the entire excruciating story to them. The sales pitch, the "free" gift, the sawing of the wooden block...and then my friend's husband said, "Wait, I know who you're talking about. I saw that guy in the ER!" Apparently, this knife sales "professional" proceeded to slice his hand during a demonstration - oh, and let's not forget to mention that the knife broke apart and hit his one of his spectators as well. No doubt he had just asked her to take a step closer.
I couldn't stop laughing. And now I'm just picturing this poor guy with stitches in his hand trying to sell these knives to an already-skeptical audience. He probably had to change his sales pitch to say, "I would show you the part where this spectacular knife cuts through a block of wood as easily as a stick of butter, but I'm going to have to wait until I get my stitches removed."
What's the most ridiculous thing you've ever purchased because you got caught up in the sales pitch? Any Magic Bullet owners out there? Any of you hanging on to an ab machine for the past 15 years that you've never touched?
Cross-posted on Katy's personal blog: The Morgan Trail