An encroaching PEST
This is a discussion on An encroaching PEST within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; The dealing with PESTS thread reminded me of a situation that happened this last Saturday. On Saturdays, my wife and I set up a spot ...
November 1st, 2011 12:52 PM
An encroaching PEST
The dealing with PESTS thread reminded me of a situation that happened this last Saturday. On Saturdays, my wife and I set up a spot in a small indie market for my wife's small business. Out setup is as follows: the area is a small parking lot on the corner of two streets. We are in the corner of the lot, closest to both streets and the sidewalk with a moderate tree lawn between us and the sidewalk. For product marketing purposes, which my wife dictates, we are usually sitting with our backs to the main road, but in order to keep an eye on the store area, it would be near impossible to not have a street and sidewalk behind us. Normally, I pass the time on the computer hanging out in forums like this one while keeping an eye on the traffic up and down the sidewalk.
This last Saturday, a woman stopped and started chatting with my wife. This isn't unusual, except this woman wasn't asking about the product or business. Instead she started talking about how she fell (at work or home I can't recall) and insisted on going to a neurologist because something had to be wrong and he kept insisting that there wasn't, but finally ordered an MRI which supposedly said that she had MS and he ordered chemo for it.... The details of her condition are irrelevant, but her presence had me at the Orange Condition and while appearing to ignore her I was paying attention and waiting for an "off" move or comment to take action. At one point, she then asked my wife for her name and I cringed when my wife told her (not that it is a secret because it is right on my wife's business cards). She then asked what my name was and again, my wife told her (this I didn't care for). After this she pretty much wrapped up her conversation and left at which point my wife asks, "Why does everyone stop and try to talk to me and tell me their troubles like that?"
In this instance, given how we were positioned, had she done anything seriously aggressive, like demanded money, I could have gone from apparently oblivious to having a strong hand bead on her with a clear line in seconds, but this would have undoubtedly caused a serious disturbance of the sheeple shoppers and other merchants. Anyway, it reminded me of the PESTS thread, because the lady really was a pest and because there was a post in that thread regarding talking to strangers who may try to approach in a nice and friendly fashion. My question is, in a scenario like this, especially when you don't necessarily want to appear to aggressive or off-putting because they may be a potential customer, how best to handle them?
November 1st, 2011 01:45 PM
Welcome to Dealing with the Public 101:
When you have a store front business, in many states, you can post a sign that says "we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone." And, if you ask them to leave, they must.
Your business model is doing business with the public in a public place... too bad. If no admission is charged to the venue, then you will get anybody and everybody.
Ever been to a gun show? Can you imagine the riffraff they'd get if there was no admission? If you didn't have to pay to get in... I'm sure the Brady Bunch, et al. would flood these things...
It could be worse!
November 1st, 2011 01:52 PM
Sadly, you're in sales, and when you're in sales, you have to deal with the public. If you haven't noticed, a large percentage of the public is nuts.
Savvy sales people do something called "qualifying a lead." Where I work, it is a big, formal process, and may take many weeks. Basically, you are determining if it's worth putting your time and effort into this person (or organization) to make a sale. Many times, we find out the person can't afford what we sell, doesn't have the power to get the money, is trying to get a quote when they are already planning to buy from someone else, or is simply wasting our time.
Your wife needs to develop a better sense of qualifying a lead. If this woman comes up and starts to shoot the breeze, and you determine she isn't interested in buying anything from you, you need to develop the social skills to be friendly, but STOP WASTING YOUR (and their) TIME. Every minute you spend chatting with someone who isn't going to buy from you reduces your sales effectiveness.
Learn to say, "It's nice talking to you, but I have to put out more inventory." or, "Thanks for stopping by, have a nice day," while turning your head to someone else. Interrupt her and ask if you can show her something you sell, or just ask if she's planning to buy something. NEVER volunteer personal information. Sure, you may have a business card with your name and number, but keep other personal matters personal.
Sometimes it's just some old nutter with time to kill, and I doubt you need to worry about having to shoot someone at the village farmers' market. She's likely a older widow whose kids don't bother to come around, and her bridge partners are sick-and-tired of listening to her health woes. I have an aunt like that.
(Not saying not to carry, or be oblivious to your surroundings). However, to maximize your sales, your wife needs to learn to qualify leads, and to avoid wasting sales time with unqualified "buyers".
Diplomacy: the art of saying, "nice doggie," until you can find a big enough rock.
Last edited by MadMac; November 1st, 2011 at 06:22 PM.
November 1st, 2011 03:33 PM
I agree with MadMac, when you are dealing with the public you get all types of people. I have worked large open "shows" or booths at the State Fair displaying and selling motorcycles and atvs. Everyone wants to stop and look and talk but I can count on two hands the number of sales generated by these "promotional" displays. Usually at these type of events you are bored enough that talking to even the kooks at least breaks up the day.
November 1st, 2011 03:34 PM
I`d buy the Wife a Turban and a Chrystal Ball.....$25.00 for help!. That`l scare them off.
November 1st, 2011 05:56 PM
MadMac, I think I am going insane because I find myself agreeing with you more and more as time passes. Either that or I misjudged you when we first met on here, my apologies for that.
"The value you put on the lost will be determined by the sacrifice you are willing to make to seek them until they are found."
November 1st, 2011 06:15 PM
noway2, the way I read your post and what came to mind was you need not watch the woman doing the talking but the other guy off to the side. To me she was pulling attention and eyes to her.
I am always trying to see the unknown, I find that it is what I don't see that bites me.
It's gotta be who you are, not a hobby. reinman45
"Is this persons bad behavior worth me having to kill them over?" Guantes
November 1st, 2011 06:20 PM
I am flattered.
Originally Posted by INccwchris
I have a rather large canon of my personal opinions on this site. I can sometimes be the gadfly, but I am at heart a very relaxed guy. I do have strong opinions, and I have been known to throw out some ill-considered comments at times.
That said, I enjoy the company here, and respect the people who post. Especially you.
November 1st, 2011 11:15 PM
Great info in post #3...we do a few swap meets and, in general, it's a lot of people we know but there's always a few out there that warrant extra attention.
Disarming victims doesn't solve crime.
November 2nd, 2011 05:38 AM
Excellent advice, especially in MadMac's post. I too had thought of the distraction factor and this is part of why I was not looking at this woman and on the store area. which consists of a 10'x10' tent space, and partially in the hopes that less attention would make her leave. There is one area that is a little harder to see because of the way my wife merchandizes, but thankfully there were no other "customers" that I could see. Tactically, I don't care for having my back to a sidewalk and busy street, which I think is both a blessing and a curse. Too much cash on hand and a lot of distractions. I have attached some pictures of the market. The stall in question is in the first one, the tie dye vendor. The lady in question would have been standing almost in the bushes on the bottom left area of the photo. It is off the picture, but the stall is the far end one on the row, with a street on the side.
I like the idea of a turban and crystal ball. I think the swami getup would go well with the clothing and table coverings
November 2nd, 2011 08:42 AM
'Anyway, it reminded me of the PESTS thread, because the lady really was a pest and because there was a post in that thread regarding talking to strangers who may try to approach in a nice and friendly fashion.'
Sometimes things are just as they appear to be, and if you set up a booth like that in a park-like atmosphere on a Saturday, you're going to get a lot of folks that are just out enjoying the day and they may stop and want to chat you up. My wife has been talking about doing tent/booth sales also and the draw for her is the chance to spend a Saturday afternoon chatting with every person that walks by!
When you start thinking of potential customers as "pests", it's time to switch to internet sales only!
To sit back hoping that someday, some way, someone will make things right is to go on feeding the crocodile, hoping he will eat you last - but eat you he will.
November 2nd, 2011 02:29 PM
If sales is a seconday or even tertiary reason to show up with a booth/tent at the local market, my comments do not apply.
Originally Posted by Rotorblade
November 2nd, 2011 11:56 PM
I reckon dealing with street people humoring them has always worked. A touch of sympathy a quip or two and kindly move onto other work bringing out more product or attending to another possible customer..or trying to tie in her problems with what your selling..maybe get a customer out of her..i dont know what you sell but she could very well next time bring her husband or something who is interested in your product..so unless there was some action some oddity other than talking about her medical condition placed you into a higher state of alert then that would be explainable.but that wasnt made clear..what was it with this woman that placed you on a higher state of alert? I for one can sense when sales people only care about making a sale with me and frankly id go buy from the one who took time to chat with me..its all about business but that doesnt mean it has to be a brutal experience..there is something for enjoying the day the sunshine the atmosphere and the company of some fine strangers..i couldnt be in sales if i didnt enjoy what i do to some extent..lifes to short..job sucks find another train for another move on..
Aiko Aiko all day....
November 3rd, 2011 06:11 AM
First, let me clarify by saying that the sales part is my wife's responsibility. I handle the IT, heavy lifting, and act as caravan guard. I am an engineer in my day job and personally have little interest in spending my Saturdays engaged in a public sales endeavor. The reasons I do this are for my wife as it is better than having her sit around depressed for lack of work. The industry she worked in (mental retardation and developmental disabilities) was hit very hard early on in the downward economy and the place she worked is not even in operation any more.
so unless there was some action some oddity other than talking about her medical condition placed you into a higher state of alert then that would be explainable.but that wasnt made clear..what was it with this woman that placed you on a higher state of alert? I for one can sense when sales people only care about making a sale with me and frankly id go buy from the one who took time to chat with me.
What got my guard up was that the lady approached in an unusual manner and part of it was just the off feeling I got from her. Most will come and browse the market and approach from the front, look a the product for a minute and then maybe socialize. This lady came from behind and started launching into a story and the story struck me as odd. I half expected her to start saying that Jesus told her to do XYZ to save her life because he wanted her here for some purpose, which in my experience is a line often used by those who are up to no good. The whole thing struck me as a potential distraction, one that could mean theft or worse. Did I expect and anticipate her to turn into a real threat and do something like demand money? No, but I was not going to let my guard down and was on alert for such an action.
In all my study of SD over the last several months, I have seen a lot of information regarding the physical tactics and see that there is plenty of training. We often talk about situational awareness, but what seems to be missing (at least for me) is the in-between. The inter-personal interaction and the handling of "pests".
November 3rd, 2011 10:21 AM
Calvin: I'm practicing my sneers. There's nothing like a good sneer to dry up conversation. How's mine look?
Calvin: Thanks. With this sneer, I hope to be an unbearable burden at any social occasion.
Hobbes: That will give you a headstart on being a teenager.