Have you seen those ladies, young and bright, all decked up, standing alongside minimalistic shops with big boards, trying to sell you their sea-salt scrub, diamond facial etc. ? I had never seen them much back home in India, but somehow Singapore seems to be full of them. Any mall I go to, I find them here and there, everywhere!
I have nothing against the product. I have never tried it myself – so no comments.
This may not be much of a conversation but more of beration. But it did touch me in ways more than one. I have been contemplating this for a while now. This is what happened.
A couple of weeks back, 2 of my colleagues and I had some extra time for lunch. Since we had not brought our boxes (it was all planned), we thought of visiting a mall nearby and check out their food court. We had a good one hour and a half and were waiting to indulge in food and desserts.
As we started walking towards the food court, the very obvious that has been happening to me at a frequency of more than twice a week happened. But well, this time I was not alone. A lady all decked up stopped us to tell us of her sea-salt products. I am so fed up of hearing sea-salt that I will just run away if anyone says that compound word anymore. She started telling us of her products. We were in a generally chirpy mood and so humoured her.
I respect them. I really do. I respect their ability to stand there all day, not knowing what percentage of their advertisement will actually convert to sales – I know it must be an arduous task wearing all of that make-up with compulsory stilettos, made-up nails and a smile always on their face. It is a very tough job, honestly.
After politely declining and thanking her, we walked ahead. This time, we were again greeted by another lady from another sea-salt shop. Instead of selling the product to us, she started with “You have a lot of marks. See, this pimple here. It is soooo big. You have too many blackheads. And you have patches of tanned spots. You have black circles” and so on and so forth.
I just lost it. She did not address one person. She was generally pointing to us, our “features” and going on and on.We tried to resist initially but just couldn’t.
Before I knew what was happening I heard myself saying (quite loudly), “We are very happy with how we are. We know that this is your duty. But if making people walking by feel that it was the biggest mistake they did and making them feel bad and sorry for themselves is your way of advertising and selling the product, then I’d have to talk to someone” and blah blah. I couldn’t believe that I had done it because I just choose to ignore and pass on. Well, I am not sorry that I did.
Trust me, I know that what they say may be facts. But they make it sound like the most horrendous things to ever surface on Earth (err. the face). They make it sound so important. After all, a boil on the face or blackheads on the nose is not something vicious. Or carnivorous. If it bothers me, I will go to my grandmother and follow her besan flour or lemon or hibiscus or tulsi recipe and concoctions.
By God’s Grace, I am a whole being. I see people with the most severe forms of disability. I see people with jaw surgeries who have practically half their face missing. Or people who have quadruplegia. Trust me, there is not a single moment when I don’t feel thankful. Yes, I too have passed through and continue to pass through bad hair days or sometimes feel thankful for a clear face only to wake up to a boil right on my chin. And I do wish that it would go away. But that does not make me less thankful. It is probably a very human thing. Or may be a girl thing. I don’t fret about it all day in and day out.
I feel terrible when the salespersons call us aside or tell us right in between a moving crowd about visible blackheads and dull skin and marks and acne and all that ! If they wish to sell their sea-salt or pearl or shell cream, I would prefer that they word it nicely even though they think the customer to be a droopy eyed, saggy skinned, black head ridden, acne covered person.
No, this is not a rant. I don’t think I am over reacting either. I am not going to read this after 10 years and feel like I over reacted or laugh at myself.
I do like to keep myself groomed. But I do wish for sensitivity and sensibility on part of people who wish to sell their products. Maybe they could just talk of what it can do, or say more politely or maybe just let the interested customer ask them for a particular feature.
If not anything, all of my belligerent attitude that day made me feel happy. It made me feel like I really did not care about any of what she said. But I chose to tell her that. Ofcourse, I could have chosen to ignore the salesperson and act like I was above all this and not tell her any of it. But the fact is that I am not. I don’t choose to be that way either.