Monday, November 30, 2009


As I mentioned awhile ago, my store has a gas station, and I’m often out there. I don’t think I could do it all the time, but it’s a nice break from time to time. Time is spent coaching people on how to use the pre-pay, cleaning spills when people want to round their bill up to the nearest dollar, and general tidying. Mostly, it’s pacing, and waiting for someone has a problem for me to solve.

Not long ago, someone asked me about gas caps being left behind, and if we just throw them out. Yeah, if no one’s come for them after 3-4 days, we figure that they aren’t going to. Then said that we glue them together and make modern art sculptures.

He replied “That’s funny. You’ve got a great sense of humor.”

I’m a big fan of my humor; I find it well-tailored to my sensibilities, but that was surely not one of my gems. This fellow was clearly Carnegie-izing. (I learned that term from Alice Schroeder in her recent biography of Warren Buffett, The Snowball. It loosely means “flattering until the subject wants to do what you want them to do.” The concept is based on Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People.) So this gent was clearly blowing sunshine up my ass.
I’ve seen this approach twice before at work, so I had an idea of what was coming. “Have you considered way of making some extra income?” Here we go…

Now, if you want to do Network Marketing, good for you. D. Trump and R. Kiyosaki endorse it, and I’m not going argue on wealth-building techniques with either of them. But when someone’s working retail, they’re getting paid to be polite. If we’re listening to your spiel, it’s because we’d get reprimanded for being rude.

My first experience with this was when I was cleaning up a water spill, and a guy said “I’m in insurance, and I’m looking to open offices in this city, and looking agents; people looking for a career change.” I guess mop-swinging made me a good candidate.

The second one was just precious. He offered me $900 for my earrings if I signed a contract saying I’d never get another piercing. When I asked what else was involved in this amazing (?!) offer, he got really vague. He tried convincing me that when a woman sees piercings on a guy, she assumes it means he wants to be led around (see “Whipped”). Then asks his wife, “When you see piercings on a guy, what does it make you think?” “That he wants to be led around.”
“Yeah, and you didn’t have any time to rehearse that at all, did you?”

Thank God a manager came along and told this guy that I had work to do. As soon as he was gone, I thanked her profusely!


  1. haha thats one thing I can't stand. I mean it kinda feels good the first time knowing that they picked you to ask but man does it get annoying. But I understand what you mean. Working in retail we always have to have a smiling face and be polite even though we don't feel that way.

  2. Man, I love people.
    That sounds like something straight out of a super cheesy movie. I feel I'm a better person for knowing it's actually true. Like I've gained something in knowing the general public really are just out for themselves.

    That's a damn good story, sir.

  3. 900 for your earrings? I want to meet this person! LOL.