Earlier this week I regaled you with pointless yet amusing tales of Holiday
retail strangeness. As promised, here are some more.
I used to work for a Western-Canadian retail chain whose Boxing Day sales
were legendary. People actually lined up around the block in the middle of
the night in brutal Canadian winters for a shot at the door crashers.
Not only were the deals extraordinary, and the action so intense on Boxing
Day, over 30 years the culture had evolved so that Boxing Day was the one
day of the year where you could be a complete jerk to customers and get away
Not just get away with it, but customers loved it. It’s like the Obnoxious
Sales Guy was part of the show that they came for.
Some classic dialogue from those Boxing Day sales:
Customer: “Can I listen to these speakers?”
Salesman: “You can listen to them at home. Do you want them? Because the guy
next to you sure looks like he does.”
Or the classic:
Salesman: “You don’t want the extended warranty? You’re buying a fifty
dollar CD player, pal. You’ll be sorry!”
I won’t lie, I did enjoy those Boxing Day sales.
Around the Holidays tempers sometimes fray, and retail interactions become
an outlet for things that are wrong elsewhere in someone’s life.
At the department store an old lady grew frustrated with what she perceived
as the hassle surrounding her no-bill refund. Suddenly she snapped at the
cashier, threw the merchandise at his head and yelled “[blank] you, you
no-good [blank] Eskimo!”
The poor guy was clearly not an Eskimo.
On a more positive note, one December at the custom installation company I
worked at as a sales designer I was chatting casually with a well-off
client. She was fretting that she still had some people on her shopping
list, and she didn’t know what to get for them.
“Well, you could always get each of them a plasma TV.” I joked.
“That’s a good idea.” She said “I need five of them.” And on that note, she
cheerfully bought five 42-inch plasmas at $3000 each to give as gifts.
That’s quite possibly the easiest sale I’ve ever made.
Merry Christmas to you all!