I am turning into an American...





The American shopper is easy to persuade. If you know how, you can make him buy what he doesn’t even want or need. That’s what I learned during crash training in sales for my call centre job. The trick is to be confident, and always always recommend. That is the key word. Americans are looking for an expert. They want someone who’s going to tell them that this is what you need and this is what you should want. When Americans go shopping, their minds aren’t usually made up as to what to buy and the American salesman knows this. This is why he would be recommending to the customer what he should buy. The American (if he’s ready to make the purchase) would more likely than not make the purchase.

Here is the typical shopping scene in a Filipino shoe store.

Customer (After looking around): I want this one at size ____.
Sales person: Okay, I’ll check if we have availability.
Sales person: Okay, here it is.
Customer (after trying the shoes on): Okay, I’ll take this one.

Meanwhile, here is a typical shopping scene in an American shoe store.

Customer: Hi, I’m looking for a shoe which I can use every day.
Sales person: You came to the right place. Are you looking for something which is formal, like something you could wear to the office every day?
Customer: Yes, that’s right! I’m going to wear it to my office every day. Nothing fancy though, just something decent.
Sales person: Oh, I have just the thing for you. **shows customer the shoes** These are actually on a discounted rate right now. It used to go for ___, but right now it’ll only cost you __. We actually only have a few left. This would be perfect for you! The material is good as well; it won’t get old right away. You’d be able to use this for a good number of years. The style is also fitting for a workplace, formal and elegant. Would you like to see how it looks on you?

I am afraid though that in dealing with the American shopper every day of my life, I am beginning to think like them. The other day, I went to SM to buy a pair of shoe and didn’t actually know what I really wanted. I looked around and asked a sales person that I was looking for something which is not expensive and would withstand everyday brisk walking. He then directed me to the person in charge of basketball shoes. I picked out a design and a made the purchase. A few years ago, I would have never asked a sales person to pick out a shoe for me. I would have went to the mall, looked around for a shoe which catches my eye and if it fits, I’ll make the purchase. Interestingly though, it turned out that I got good value for my money. I paid 850 pesos only and I have a very sturdy, stylish, and comfy pair of shoes.

Another instance was when I was figuring out what to do with the money I was getting from my present job (the ones not allocated for bills, food, etc). I was considering just putting it in my savings account when the person at the bank told me to just put it in a time deposit account and ‘lil ‘ol me just said yes. Then another person told me about this other product that they have just launched in line with their anniversary, apparently it was a bancassurance and you’d have to pay the premium for five years your investment would mature in 20 years. I also said yes to this person (simply because in my mind they knew what they were talking about and I should trust them).

There are still a lot of instances wherein I found myself leaning towards the American way of shopping. I shudder to think but I am turning into an American.

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