Monday, February 14, 2011

Interesting Customers

Photo used under Creative Commons (photo by Rickydavid).

The walkers. They tend to fall into three camps:

• Folks who live nearby, and are having their scooters serviced;
• People who one can easily suspect do not have a driver's license (and usually their first question is some derivation of "Do I have to have a license to ride one of these?");
• The interesting customer.

Some of that third group are just trying to bum a cigarette, some money or even some work. Some of them are just walking around town, and killing some time -- they're like the Patels, from Glengarry, Glen Ross: They just like talking to sales people. I can see that. Some people probably rarely exchange even the slightest pleasantry with others. It's a pretty safe bet that a sales person (a professional one, anyway) is not going to berate, demean or be rude to you on purpose, I suppose.

The main thing is, you know with this third group within the first minute or so (and in most cases, with the second group, as well), there's not even a possibility of conducting any commerce with them -- definitely not now, nor likely in the future. But sales is a service industry, and I like to treat everyone with respect (as I also like to be treated), and I answer their questions, and try to be helpful, friendly. You never know who someone talks to, and it may lead to someone else's business down the road.

Then there are the ones you can't categorize, such as this gentleman.

Interesting Customer: Are you guys open?
Me: Absolutely! Come on in. What can I do for ya?
IC: Oh... [mumble-mumble]
Me: [pause] Well, take a look around. We're kind-of down to the winter stock levels, but we have new stuff arriving in the next month or so. If you have any questions, just let me know.

After a few minutes...

IC: [pointing at a customer's Genuine Stella, in for repair] How much you take for that?
Me: Well, sir, that one's in for repairs, so it's not for sale. I do have a new one right here [points at new one], and it goes out the door for [price]. That's tax, temp tags and everything.
IC: But how much for THIS one [again, pointing at customer's Stella].
Me: Sir, that one belongs to one of our customers. It's here for repairs.
IC: How much you want for it?
Me: It doesn't belong to us -- it's not for sale.
IC: I know! But... how much you want for it?

This goes on for a while, until I finally offer to take down the customer's phone number, and tell him I'll put the owner in touch with him if he should want to sell it. "Don't got no phone." Really? I am shocked.

IC: You got any of those Honda-style scooters?
Me: We don't carry Honda as a brand, but we have plenty of automatic, "twist-n-go" scooters, yes sir.
IC: [Looks around... comes back to the customer's Stella, in for repairs] Where's this one made? Mexico?
Me: No sir -- that model is made in India by a company known as LML.
IC: This is made by the red man?
Me: Um, no. This is made by a company in the nation of India. LML.
IC: How much you want for it?
Me: [Mentally smacks head against hard surface]

No comments:

Post a Comment