Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Tarlekization of America

I sincerely believe that I could spend every hour of every day talking to someone who is trying to sell me something. It's not that that I'm wealthy or terribly fun to talk to, but it seems that nearly everyone is a salesman. I recently made a deposit at Wachovia and the teller said matter-of-factly, "Mr. TFG, we need to schedule you for a Financial Checkup. When are you free?" The proper response might have been, "When monkeys fly out of my ass, sweetheart. Now, how about the receipt?" Instead, I politely declined because I knew that she was required to try to sell Wachovia's brokerage products to every customer that she served. I imagined that this was the brainchild of some recently graduated, MBA-type, named Trevor or Cassandra, who was just itching to try out some of their Marketing 101 wisdom on the masses.

MBAs by no means have the market cornered on blowing sunshine up the collective posterior. For this, we must turn to the Albert Einstein of Bullshit: Dale Carnegie. He authored the enormously popular book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. This book remains a favorite amongst Tarleks Sales Professionals everywhere. In it, Carnegie outlines a series of manipulative tactics designed to make people like the Tarlek salesperson, and, consequently, buy their product. He says to repeatedly use the customer's name in conversations because "a man's name, to him, is the sweetest and most important sound in any language." Carnegie also suggests that the salesman find out what the customer's hobbies are, in order to feign interest in them. This is supposed to form a common bond which inspires trust. There is much more to Carnegie's book, but it basically boils down to Jedi Mind Tricks designed to rook customers into seeing the Tarlek salesperson as a friend.

The problem with How to Win Friends and Influence People is that it only has a chance of working on people who haven't read the book. Consequently, if you deal with Tarleks salespeople, I strongly recommend that you read it. If nothing else, it can provide the key to transforming a dull sales spiel into marginal amusement:

Tarlek Salesperson: "Hello, YourName. I am sure glad to meet you, YourName. How are you doing today, YourName? You do go by YourName, right?"
You: "Actually, my friends call me by my birthname: ImaRealDildo. I'm partially Welsh, you know."
Tarlek Salesperson: "Well, ImaRealDildo, I'm sure that you'll agree that my product is on the cutting edge of value-added, paradigm-shifting, lean thinking, (insert your own tired business cliche) widgetry. Also, ImaRealDildo, my product will make your whites whiter, cures cancer, and provides extra protection on those heavy flow days. So, ImaRealDildo, how many thousand widgets do you think you'll be using annually, ImaRealDildo?"
You: "Somewehere between zero and none."
Tarlek Salesperson: Gaak! This guy is immune to the power of plaid polyester. Time to play hardball. Don't fail me now, Dale. "I see, ImaRealDildo. Well, ImaRealDildo, what do you like to do in your spare time?"
You: "Just between us friends, I'm really into administering rice pudding enemas."
Tarlek Salesperson: He called me friend. Thanks, Dale. "ImaRealDildo, that's amazing. That's one of my favorite hobbies, too, ImaRealDildo."
You: Sound sincere here. "Really, that's great. Well, I'll tell you what. I've got to go now, but why don't you come back on Friday, say, about 11:45 AM?" (Always shake the Tarlek salesperson down for the free lunch.) "Be sure to bring a working sample of the widget (E-Bay fodder), 5 gallons of rice pudding, and a funnel."
Tarlek Salesperson: I'm in! "No problem, ImaRealDildo. I'll see you on Friday, ImaRealDildo. Bye-Bye, ImaRealDildo."


What can I say, I'm a closer.

2 Comments:

At 2:52 PM, Anonymous eBill said...

Monkeys flying out of the ass of bloggers appears to be a key milestone today.

 
At 6:06 AM, Blogger tfg said...

I noticed that also. I think it was a quote from some old movie.

 

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