Dear Predator… I Mean, Mr. Kiosk Man

Photo Credit -

Photo Credit –

Earlier this week, after a long day of work, I cut through the mall to reach my car and head home. I did what any pleasant but uninterested person would do when I attempted to pass you. I didn’t make eye contact. I didn’t even glance at your product because, after all, I didn’t want to lead you on or make you believe there was a snowball’s chance in hell that I’d be willing to listen to your sales pitch about your “miracle” lotions.  But it had been a good week, I was in a great mood and I, typically, really like people. So when you planted yourself in front of me, 5 yards ahead of your kiosk and breaking my brisk stride to hand me a “free” sample of hand lotion, I smiled and said “thank you” without slowing down, fully expecting to continue on my way. Clearly, I underestimated you.  Because that’s when you sidewinded back to your lair, beckoning me to join you, attempting to separate me from the rest of the herd so you could give me the “really” special product for the skin around my eyes. You thought I was simple-minded. You assumed I was easy. You thought you could coil around me and squeeze.  You thought wrong. 

Let me tell you something;  women today are a lot smarter and more independent than you give us credit for. Do you honestly think that your aggressive tactics will force us into submission? I resent feeling like I have to take an alternate route to my destination or feign preoccupation with my cell phone just to avoid being verbally accosted by you. My only other choice is to walk through your attack zone, fully ready for battle. I resent you trying to tell me that my own logic, my decision to not try or purchase a product, is faulty. I resent you trying to tell me, by your refusal to acknowledge my polite rejection, that I am not intelligent enough to make up my own mind. And let me tell you something else:  the phrase “no thank you” means I’m not interested. It isn’t an invitation to launch into a more determined pitch. Your hard-sell tactics aren’t enticing to me. They just make me more suspicious. You, Mr. Kiosk Man, make it extremely hard to be nice. After all, a mouse can’t let her guard down with a snake.

The truth is, Mr. Kiosk Man, I don’t like being pushed around by anyone… least of all, you. I’m an intelligent, hard-working woman who has a firm grip on what I want and need. If that something is a product you offer, I’ll ask you for it. Until then, please respect my intelligence, my right to walk by you, and my right to choose, or be prepared for your prey to fight back. It won’t be pretty.

(As if you couldn’t tell, I’m a firm believer in relationship sales techniques, and am quickly turned off by the “hard sell.”  What are your thoughts on the idea?  I’d love to hear your stories, your thoughts, or how you’ve dealt with crazy kiosk or telemarketing salespeople in the past.)


4 thoughts on “Dear Predator… I Mean, Mr. Kiosk Man

  1. amykefauver

    The same thing happened to me at the Westchester Mall when I was shopping there with my youngest daughter. A young woman accosted us, and in a breath, she had both of our hands covered in sea salt scrub. We had to rinse it off, giving her time to pitch and pitch, and my irritation was growing. She talked me into her high chair, and started pitching eye lotion. She asked what product I currently used around my eyes, and I said “Nothing” (not entirely true, but I was already done and trying to think of how to extricate myself and not embarrass my daughter.). She pretended to be horrified at that answer. Then she said she was going to apply her product around one eye and I would see the difference. I’d had it. I feigned interest, and answered loudly enough that passersby heard and smiled, “Wait, so one eye is going to look like Bambi and the other like a Galapagos tortoise?” She was not amused. There WAS a nice difference. The eye with her product looked dewy and the wrinkles were diminished, but honestly, my Lubriderm lotion has the same effect. She told the me price, over $300 for a small jar, and I just started laughing. I thanked her, but my amusement had irritated HER. (too bad) I told her she should be working in the city because of her aggressive sales techniques. Again, offered as a compliment, sort of, but she knew she’d wasted her time as well as mine. It felt a little like justice. As we were walking away, I asked Justine if she thought I’d be unable to walk a straight line now that I had one wrinkly eye and one wrinkle-free eye, and she just said we both needed a Starbucks. Agreed.

  2. Laura Buonarobo

    I am thrilled to see someone with assertiveness where these kiosk people are concerned. Once I happened in that same pathway. As I was pursued by “the man” I finally turned to him after saying no 3 times… What do you not understand about the word “no”. This absolutely falls under invading our space. Great article and words LisaMarie.

  3. Patrick

    FYI, as a man, I feel the same way. I don’t want to be accosted by these modern day hucksters and snake oil sale men either. I don’t understand how they make any money. I agree with LisaMarie in relationship sales techniques!

  4. greta cohan

    As a retired English teacher–yours, in fact–I can’t help but begin by telling you how well you write. Your short essay was interesting, certainly, and your point of view understandable and one which I share; it was also effective.


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