From a newsgroup post dated October 17, 2007:
Elsewhere there’s a discussion of a very annoyingly condescending salesclerk someone dealt with recently; I remarked there that such salespeople are fools, because you sell more stuff with flattery than condescension.
Which reminded me of an incident, lo these many years ago, which I didn’t post there because it wasn’t relevant, so I’m posting it here. Not that it’s relevant here, either, but it’s my newsgroup, so I can post it anyway.
I was in the audio department somewhere, I think at Circuit City, considering whether to replace all or part of the stereo system I bought back in 1973. I was chatting with a salesman, who was doing a pretty good job of ingratiating himself without being pushy or condescending, and I had explained that I maybe wanted to upgrade my twenty-year-old system.
He asked what I had.
“A Sansui 661 receiver,” I said.
He nodded. “A decent unit in its day,” he said, “but you can do better. What have you got for speakers?”
“MicroAcoustic FRM-1s,” I said.
“Well, you aren’t going to replace those,” he said. “There isn’t anything better.”
Whereupon he managed to flatter me immensely, and impress me with his knowledge, at the same time he lost the sale. He was the first salesman I’d met since 1975 who’d ever heard of the MicroAcoustic FRM-1, and if he said that no one had improved on it, I believed him, so I didn’t buy new speakers.
I did spend a pleasant half-hour chatting about audio equipment with him, though.