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When salesmen become demons

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Every morning, I dread getting to the Newlands shopping centre area where – it would seem – vendors of all nature are waiting for me to make my way past them so that they can sell me whatever they have on offer for the day.

Don’t misunderstand me. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a bunch of guys trying to make a decent living out of selling their wares. In fact, that is a noble gesture.

But sometimes, it’s all about how a person tries to persuade you to buy into their business that is all wrong.

These guys obviously have zero appreciation of the fine art of selling. As they crowd around me with their pockets of strawberries, or sunglasses or whatever else, I develop a deep sense of dread at the conversation to ensue.

“Sisi, buy these strawberries/ sunglasses/ sweets, please,” one will say.

“I don’t have money today,” I will respond.

“But sisi, just one dollar,” he will continue. “I promise you won’t regret it.”

“Sorry, not today,” I will respond, hoping that this will conclude the conversation.

Far from it.

Rather, these responses seem to provide them with the fuel to carry on and on until I have to completely shut myself off from responding to them and disappear into the nearby office complex.

I know these are desperate times and everyone is looking for a means to survive, but these guys actually put me off buying from them.


Because their techniques are more about harassment than selling.

Because they do not appreciate the fact that I perhaps do not need to buy strawberries or sweets or air time daily!

Take the one who sells tennis rackets.

Each day, he lurks around the corner waiting for me to pass by so that he can spring his rackets on me and try to convince me that I need to buy one.

“But I don’t play tennis,” I once told him.

“So get it for your child,” he responded.

The cheek and nerve for him to even insinuate that I had a child old enough to be able to hold a tennis racket!

A good salesperson knows to not make assumptions about their customers, especially ones that can backfire in their face!

As a result of his statement, he has served himself a life ban from my service – even if I one day decide to emulate Serena Williams’ ferocious forehand.

But most importantly, a good salesman knows that hounding his potential customers like prey won’t encourage them to buy anything. It will only make them more resolute to never buy anything from him, thereby shutting out all possibility of him ever attempting to make a follow-up sale.

One comment to “When salesmen become demons”

  1. Comment by limbikani:

    You “dread getting to the Newlands shopping centre “? seriously I don’t any reason to “dread” the vendors unless the ones at Newlands are a different lot altogether. In other parts of Harare, including Mbare, market Square, 4th terminus, Eastgate, Avondale, I simply laugh it off with “Ahh nhasi hakuna chinhu mface wangu, pamwe mangwana” and i usually get a “iri bho boss, later!!”

    Try to act friendly and be their ‘sister’ as opposed to a ‘buyer’. you’ll find they’re a helpful lot sometimes. they usually know what’s going on around that place better than anybody else.