Saturday, February 28, 2009

Portrait #73: When pity made him a bad salesman

He had a guaranteed sale, and a good chance of repeat business. I made it utterly clear to him that I loved his stuff and was going to purchase something. I just couldn't make up my mind because I wanted two blouses but could only afford to buy one. It is my understanding that a good salesman would let me make up my mind, give me a bit of discount so that I'd leave feeling good about myself, then encourage me to come back for the other one when I got my next paycheck.

Not this guy. When I asked him which one he recommended I buy, he started out alright, offering me a discount on the more expensive of the two blouses. But then it seems that his pity for this girl from Brazil who couldn't really afford to buy two blouses grew too intense, because he decided to just give me the second one for free - and stuck with his promise to give a discount on the first.

It's his own fault, really. He told me he's the owner/manager of the little shop that sells imported fashions from Turkey. The tags and prices are all in Turkish and Turkish Lira, and little stickers on the hangers report the prices in Euro. The clothes seem to be of a nice quality, though the sizing is a bit funky.

It's a one-room shop at the end of a strip mall hidden down the stairs from a major thoroughfare but the layout of the shop is such that he has no storefront window: his mannequins all sit out on the sidewalk by the shop door. Nor does he have a proper changing room, so he's put a heavy curtain in the archway behind his desk. Behind the curtain there is a little back room that serves as the entryway to the tiny restroom, and as the changing room.

The back room has hooks for hanging things, and a stool, and for some reason a pair of slippers at the ready. But there's no mirror.

I was the only customer in the shop, so he gestured to the curtain and the back room and followed me as far as his desk, where he sat down and resumed a chat on MSN. So I was a mere metre from him as I tried on the clothing, being as quiet and discreet as I could. This didn't last long, though, because what point is there trying on clothes if you can't see how they look? I poked my head out the curtain and asked for a mirror, and he pointed to the front of the shop. So I traipsed up to the shop's only mirror, across from the main entrance, and checked out the wares. Four times I made the trip back and forth modeling his merchandise.

He kept chatting on MSN as I did this, but he acknowledged me quite politely each time I walked past him, to the mirror, back to the changing room, then again to the mirror, then back to the changing room, this time plodding across his shop in my socks, the next time with my coat on as I checked out a pair of jeans.

After seeing how fantastic his wares looked on me, how could he not give in to the emotions raging in his heart? I maintain that it's his own fault he gave me the blouse for free.

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