A collection of short stories and journalistic commentaries depicting my simple life
and how I fit in with the modern day universe of our times

SALES




Warning !! Old Joke Alert... Or as I like to call it,
"What Price a Beautiful Girl or a Second Hand Car!"

A man walks up to a pretty young girl in a bar.

"Will you sleep with me for a million pounds", he says.

The girl thinks for about two seconds before giving her reply. "Yes!" she says.

"Okay”, says the man, "will you sleep with me for £20 then?"

"Twenty Pounds?" replies the girl in disgust. "What kind of girl do you think I am?"

"We've already established that," says the man. "Now we're just negotiating over the price."

I was reminded of this whiskered gem when I watched a TV programme I’d recorded the other night entitled ‘Would You Buy a Used Car from This Man?’. It was aired a few months ago, but I only just got round to watching it. And before I get into the 'meat' of what I want to talk about today (and while I'm thinking about it) here's a quick time saving idea...

Don't watch programmes 'live'.
Record them and watch later...

I do that quite a lot, and when I do, one of three things usually happens:

1. I don't get around to watching the programme at all. If I can't be bothered to find the video out, put it in the machine and press 'play', it probably means I wasn't really very interested in the first place, and just intended watching so I could fill an hour of my pathetic existence with something which didn't involve working or thinking.

2. I start watching the programme, and realise that only a small part of it will be of interest, and so I fast forward to that, and skip all the 'padding'.

3. The programme is great, but I can still save time by skipping through the introduction, credits and advertisements.

If you try this for a week, I’ll guarantee you'll slash the amount of time you waste watching TV by half. Oh, I know you are far too high-brow and sophisticated to watch TV at all... obviously you spend all your spare moments listening to Radio 4 and reading important books. I just included this idea for those other people reading this... not you... you know the people I'm talking about.... common people. People like me.

Anyway, back to the plot...

‘Would You Buy a Used Car from This Man?’ got past all my filters. So I dug it out, pressed play, and watched it. Right through to the end even. I don't know whether you saw it, but if you didn't, you missed a real treat...

It was one of those fly on the wall documentaries which seem to compete with home makeover, or reality (lack of) talent programmes for 95% of our air time these days, and featured a team of very dubious car salesmen operating from a car supermarket in Wolverhampton.

I bet the programme makers couldn't believe their luck!

Because the salesmen were the sort of commission hungry desperados who give all commission hungry desperados a bad name. Among the tactics and techniques they owned up to on camera were...

* Electronically eavesdropping on customer’s private conversations to get an edge in further negotiations.

* Detaining customers by any method short of physical restraint to get them to sign on the dotted line.

* Challenging unhappy customers to a fist fight to resolve a dispute.

One of the salesmen summed it all up like this "They know how we operate, but we know where they live. We'll burn their house down." A charming attitude I think you’ll agree!

And the aggro wasn't only confined to dealing with aggrieved customers. The salesmen hated each other too, culminating in one delivering a head-butt to another as bemused customers looked on.

A case for instant dismissal you might think...

But no! The recipient of this ‘Glasgow kiss’ was the one to get his marching orders from his Indian born boss because he refused to shake hands with his assailant! "He's from Lithuania", said the Asian boss "so he's got an attitude problem ain’t he?"... A comment that would have been for the race relations board if it had come from anyone else!

Anyway, you might not think there's much to learn from this sorry tale (other than to never even think of becoming a car salesman, and to never buy a car from that particular dealership), but something during the program caught my attention, it was something the top salesman, Mark, said. It got me thinking.

You see, as the end of the month got nearer, Mark (a real nasty piece of work) resorted to increasingly desperate tactics in order to eke out the few extra sales he needed to win his bonuses...

And that's when he tried to sell a car to Richard,
the bloke making the documentary!

"You can't seriously be trying to sell me a car", said Richard.

"Of course I am" said Mark. "You're in the market for a car."

"No I'm not," said Richard. "I'm here to make a documentary."

"Okay", said Mark. "But if I had a Ferrari here and you could have it for £10 a month, would you buy it?"

"Of course I would", said Richard...

"Then you're in the market for a car" said Mark...
"all we have to do is work out a price you're happy with."

I have to admit that he had a point and the balls to actually make it... as did the un-chivalrous gentleman in the old joke I opened with. But it just goes to show that whatever the product, there is a low price at which the demand becomes almost infinite. Everyone would want it. And likewise (and allowing for absolute scarcity in this) there is also a high price at which supply becomes infinite too. Where everyone would sell it.

And all this goes to show that whether you love it or hate it, you’ve just gotta admire the weird and wacky world of semantics used when selling things.



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Its my own fault really, its all about what I see in the world, and how it all translates for me.

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