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The dragnet of salesmanship

The first lesson to the students of marketing is how to sell a comb to the baldy. Our shopkeepers, however, are a step ahead even in this. Not only comb, they have the skills to sell even hair shampoo to the bald man. The dragnet of smart words is tossed around you so cleverly that once trapped, there is no escape. Shemsher B Singh writes.

punjab Updated: Nov 27, 2013 09:21 IST
Shemsher B Singh

The first lesson to the students of marketing is how to sell a comb to the baldy.


Our shopkeepers, however, are a step ahead even in this. Not only comb, they have the skills to sell even hair shampoo to the bald man. The dragnet of smart words is tossed around you so cleverly that once trapped, there is no escape. The suave man inside the all-glass jewellery showroom and the scruffy vendor on the stone pavement fish in different waters but use the same trick: the art of salesmanship.

At silk emporiums and jewellery stores, the royal welcome make you feel as if the entire staff was waiting just for you. The moment you sink into the cushy sofas, there will come miniature bottles of coke. Even as you hesitate, and raise your hand to decline the offer, there goes the shopkeeper: "It is just water, Sir." When you have children in tow, they have gulped the stuff already. This is the time actually when you begin to eat the bait.

If you sound the educated type, they address you as 'Sir', and your wife, whose decision will prevail finally, as "Ma'am'. If you look the other type, you are "Veerji" and she is "Behenji". Point a finger at any jewel box and out comes an entire range of captivating designer sets. Slowly, the boxes start piling up on the counter. This is the point of no return. At the end, even if you like nothing at all, chances are that you will walk out of the store with it.

Are you shoe shopping? There you'll meet the smartest salesmen. If the pair you tried is a bit tight, the guy will say: "It'll loosen up after regular use." And if the same pair is loose fitting, the pitch will change: "I have the smaller size also but that may pinch. Moreover, you are going to wear it with socks; aren't you?" You walk home in new, ill-fitting shoes.

At garment stores, complain of high rate and you get a pleasing reply: "Tuhadi apni dukaan hai (it's your own shop, Sir; paise rehen hi deo ji (don't bother with paying)." Embarrassed, you take out the wallet. In case you fear if the colour will bleed, you are told: "Kapra hund jayega par rang kadi nahi jayega (The stuff will wear out but not lose colour)."

Sweetness of the tongue and the power of the lungs are the skills to draw money out of your pocket; but don't mind, you're only shopping, Mr Fish.