kiosk7I’ve often wondered to myself how profitable those mall kiosk shops are. Selling $10 sunglasses, cell-phone-blinging cases and purses with dead celebrities on them don’t seem like very lucrative ventures. And it’s pretty apparent from most kiosks that the employees agree – they’re very rarely trying to move any merchandise, choosing instead to text on their cell phone or stare blankly into space.

However, one particular kiosk in our mall bucks this passive-behavior trend.

There is some kind of Dead-Sea-Salt-Lotion product that the employees are VERY eager for those who walk by their stand to sample. I was unaware of their eagerness, and this ignorance caused a small disagreement between Hayley and me.

Hayley and I were enjoying a low-key day at the mall. I don’t remember the exact details, but I’m sure I was carrying several bags while munching on a delicious Auntie Anne’s pretzel. As we got near Dillard’s, a man jumped in front of us and said something along the lines of “Hello! Would you like to try this lotion?” Hayley politely refused and he then replied, “Well can I ask you a question?” Again, Hayley refused, but this time, not as politely.

I was shocked – Hayley is not typically rude to complete strangers like that. And so I told her that I thought she should have at least answered the guy’s question so as to avoid being terribly rude. She disagreed. And we had a small argument about it.

Boy was I wrong.

Those guys are like Venus Fly Traps – they lure you in with the innocent “Can I ask you a question?” question and then they don’t let you go. They snap down and put on the hard sell like you would not believe. I am now ruder to them than the Abercrombie salesfolks are to ugly people.

So once again, Hayley was right. I should have known better than to argue with her mall acumen.

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  1. February 24, 2009 at 10:24 am — Reply

    “I am now ruder to them than the Abercrombie salesfolks are to ugly people.”

    That’s hilarious, Todd. And for the record, I’ve learned the hard way that you really have no choice but to be abrupt with those salespeople.

  2. February 24, 2009 at 2:50 pm — Reply

    Last year around Christmas I was in the mall with my two toddlers when one of those Dead Sea Salt salespeople followed me down half the wing asking me questions. I was pulling two toddlers, no way was I going to buy any of their lotion. When I got home I called the mall office to complain, not sure which kiosk was harassing me, but the very nice receptionist knew just who I was talking about and said that the mall manager had already talked to them several times. Sadly you do have to be rude in order for them to leave you alone. Politely averting your eyes no longer works.

  3. Brad
    February 25, 2009 at 7:39 am — Reply

    Brandi and I actually prepare ourselves to make it by their kiosk unharmed when we’re out mall walking. If possible we take the outside lane, get busy talking to each other, make NO eye contact, don’t even glance their way, and absolutely do not acknowledge them even if they jump out in front of us. It’s the most intense time of every trip to the mall.

  4. Cliff
    February 26, 2009 at 4:55 am — Reply

    As one who worked in sales for 6 years I think I need to interject here.

    Don’t blame salespeople for trying to SELL.

    If they call you at your home or knock on the door at your house, fine, be abrupt and rude.

    But they didn’t come to your house… you came to theirs.

    You came to their job and then have the gall to tell them to leave you alone.

    You are a guest in their house and have the nerve to expect not to be “bothered”… let’s not even say bothered… you expect not even to be approached!

    Ex-squeeze me? Baking powder?

    You went to their place of work and you’re surprised they’re working?

    A word to the wise:

    If you don’t like salespeople approaching you and doing their job to put food on the table, shop online.


  5. Hayley
    February 26, 2009 at 9:11 am — Reply

    These are not normal salespeople. I’ve worked retail, I know that when you enter a store an employee needs to greet you and offer to help you find what you’re looking for. With these kiosk people, I don’t have the option to simply avoid entering their store, and thereby avoid them, as they’re out there in the middle of everything. So, I avoid making eye contact with them and yet they still approach me, and don’t give up when I say “No, thank you.” I was polite to them the first few times I experienced their sales tactics, but it’s too much. They shouldn’t be belittled or cursed at or have rotten vegetables thrown at them, but they don’t accept a smile and polite refusal, so I have stopped with the smiling. They have no right to follow mall patrons, especially those with little children, who have turned them down already. Maybe they need a new marketing strategy, as there are many retailers who sell hand lotion without harassing passersby.

  6. February 26, 2009 at 9:13 am — Reply

    Todd, that is so funny. I went to the mall last week and that same booth was there and the chick stepped out and offered me some Dead Sea lotion. She then asked me if I knew where the Dead Sea was. I did. She asked me if I know why it was called the Dead Sea. I did. When I gave her that answer she was really surprised. I guess most public school educated people have no clue why it’s called the Dead Sea. Anyway, she started to talk more and I just said “I’m on lunch, I gotta go. Thanks for the lotion!”.

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