The 7 Dodgy Sales Guys That Ruin Electronics Stores For EveryoneBy Chris Weiss
In general, electronics salesmen hold a respectable place in the salesmen hierarchy. These wired warriors serve on the front line between the garbled, tech-laden nonsense that the industry and pundits spew and the less savvy, tech-ignorant minds of the of the American masses. Without them, many folks would be at a loss for basics like the difference between 3G and 4G. As salesmen, they are decidedly steps above the slicked-back used car and mattress salesman that bring the profession down for everyone.
Generally speaking, of course. That doesn’t mean there aren’t bad apples. And by bad apples we mean rotten, maggot-infested shriveled skin-hanging-to-cores that resemble nothing of the sweet, luscious fruit we know and love as apple. We’re using guys to cut down on pronouns, but don’t worry gals, you can suck this bad just as well as the gents.
Perhaps this guy thought that he was signing up to get high and try and solve the conundrum of how that many televisions could be playing the exact same movie at once. Because that’s what he appears to be doing every time you see him. If there was a job description that ran something like: “lazy, uninspired 20-something needed to wake-and-bake, eat Fritos and watch Napoleon Dynamite in his boxers all day,” he’d have been gainfully employed years ago. As it is, getting high in the stock room and wandering around trying to dodge every customer, manager and supervisor in the store will have to do. Ask him a question, and you’ll get the emptiest, unhumanest stare that you’ve ever seen etched across someone’s face, followed by “I’ll have to check with my manager.” And by “check with my manager” he means “go smoke another j in the back and forget I ever talked to you.”
How to Deal: The minute that he goes to check with his manager–and he will–be on the lookout for another home-team-colored shirt to find a real answer.
Photo: Rob Boudon
Not only does this guy offer to help you way more than you’ll ever need in the laptop case aisle, he spends a full eight minutes detailing the exact sequence by which he can help you. You say that you’re just looking in your most dismissive tone, and he proceeds with something like: “Okay. You keep looking. Just let me know if you have any questions. I’ll be right over here at the intersection of aisle eight and five. That’s my section; I might wander so far as aisle three, but I’ll still be around the general vicinity. Nope…you know what, scratch that, I won’t go to aisle three. I’ll keep my eye on you, and I’ll be back if you need me. Also, if you need anything else that’s different from the nothing at all that you currently need, you let me know. But for now, you keep looking. Just wantchu to know I’m here if you need anything.”
How to Deal: Wait for him to point to where he’ll be waiting and slink off into the opposite direction. He’ll have talked for another three minutes by the time he realizes he’s by himself.
More often lurking in a snooty, high-end AV boutique, this guy is basically looking down his nose at you from the minute that the bell rings on the door. Rather than treating you like a customer, he’s treating you like some sort of filthy miscreant that’s going to burn the store down. Despite the fact that equipment is clearly set up so that customers can test it out themselves, this jack ass is so scared that you’re going to misfire and destroy his precious inventory, that he basically leaps in and takes over for you. Not in a “Here, let me help” sort of way, but more in a “Get your disgusting, pud-jacking hands off my dials and let someone that knows what he’s doing handle it for you.” You might as well be a rambunctious two-year-old in a fancy crystal shop.
When it comes to making a sale, he’s completely indifferent and he’s really just counting down the nanoseconds until you leave. It’s kind of clear that he has an unnatural lust of some sort for the very goods he’s supposed to be selling.
How to Deal: Have some fun. Wait until he gets busy with another customer or the phone, then turn on every piece of equipment in the store to max and start slapping your head and yelling for the demons to stop screaming at you. Run out of the store like you’re on fire and never return.
This guy starts off okay–a little friendly small talk, a timely ‘can I help you find something’, and all is on the up and up. He sets you up with a TV, stereo, speakers, GPS or whatever you’re looking for, lets you play for a minute and asks if you have any questions. Then, exactly 1 minute and 45 seconds later, like a 29-year-old virgin getting laid for the first time, he pulls the trigger way too early: “So, you interested? Should I box this up?” As if his entire job was to shove a product in your face, wait two minutes and then make a big, spanking commission. It doesn’t matter that the product costs $4,000 and you didn’t compare another single model. And it’s not just an innocent, hopeful inquiry of a young boy making his first sale, it’s that snide, jaded remark that basically reads like: “Are you planning on buying this? Because if not, I have better things to do than stand here and talk to you. I sold Stephen Baldwin–yeah, that Stephen Baldwin– a full home theater system earlier today, so I don’t need your lousy commission anyway. I’m really just being nice.”
How to Deal: Give him exactly what he wants. “Absolutely, lets get this thing done!!” Then proceed to have him get a whole bunch of peripherals together: AV cables, protective cases, stands–whatever could possibly go with the product you’re buying. Let him go in back, bring everything up to the register, ring it up so he gets an idea of just how much cash he’ll be making and, if it makes any sense, have him gift-wrap something. Then play it like: “Oh crap, left my credit card out in the car. Be back in a sec.” Make sure that he hears your engine revving and tires squealing as you race out of the parking lot. For bonus shits and giggles, drive around the block and come back to watch him restocking the shelves.
You get the idea that this guy applied for a Best Buy gig just because he happened to love one product in the store. And yet the rigorous screening process employed by your local big box didn’t weed him out. Be it the iPad, 3DTV, HTC EVO–it could be any new, hip product, but it’s all that this dude really wants to talk about. You could be shopping for an air duct assembly for a new dryer and yet somehow this one-note ballad will still manage to try to sell you his puppy. And god help you if you happen to be looking for something even close to what he’s selling; you’re in for a half an hour fanboy tutorial.
How to Deal: Figure out what the polar opposite product is– the Android to his iOS, if you will–and tell him you already have one at home. He’ll be so incensed by the lost cause in front of him that he’ll turn his attention elsewhere.
The Insurance Salesman
The craftiest sales guy of the bunch, this dude seems completely normal throughout 95 percent of the sale. He’s friendly, helpful and informative without being overbearing, condescending or overly technical. He’s everything every other guy on this list will never be. But, that’s because he’s not really trying to sell you a product. He’s realized that you’re ready to pull the trigger and the product pretty much sells itself. His real job is to sell you that stupid extended warranty. Now, the reason that he wants to sell this to you is because his store makes boatloads of free, me-too cash from warranties that no one ever makes good on. In other words, unless you have a really good reason, you don’t really want it.
Okay, no big deal, he’ll understand, right? Wrong. He’s now a car salesman, and you’re a well-dressed, naive blond staring at his most expensive sports coupe. He’ selling you that proverbial car decked out with every option and nonsensical fee if it means detailing each outlandish, unlikely scenario that could ever happen to the device in question. And it’s either pay for the policy–at least the middle tier one–or spend 20 minutes hearing the full spiel, reading the fine print and basically justifying beyond a reasonable doubt why you don’t need it.
How to Deal: Storytime. You can use your own creative proclivities for this one, but an example would go something like: I haven’t bought extended warranties since the shop in question failed to cover damage to my Uncle Jimmy’s laptop. You see, Uncle Jimmy was doing some work on the can when he suddenly dropped his laptop on his balls and cracked open a particularly nasty sore–it was located kind of mid-balls near the shaft. The oozing pus, blood and some clear, syrupy liquid that hasn’t been identified to this day got all up in the laptop battery and it hasn’t charged properly since. But the warranty policy called it user error and refused to cover it. Money in the toilet.
Hopefully you’re buying a camera, because the look of sheer disgust is something you’ll want to save and remember.
Cat-Calling Cell Phone Kiosk Guy
This guy is the worst of the worst. If any salesman could inspire violence, it’s this guy. It doesn’t matter that you’re avoiding eye contact at all costs. It doesn’t matter that you’re actively talking on a cell phone. It doesn’t even matter if this guy catches you on your way out of Radio Shack with a big, clear bag that has a cell phone box and a visible five-year contract with your name on it. He’s going to yell at you as if you’re a drunken freshman with a nipple hanging out and he’s frat meat on a balcony. He’s going to tell you all about whatever free giveaway phone or new promotion is on the menu that day in his loudest outside voice. After all, he didn’t go to high school for five years, skip college to start making real money at the mall and get himself a piece of the sweet electronics lemonade stand out in front of Lane Bryant and Bath and Body Works for nothing. He’s going to sell you that phone or go hoarse trying.
How to Deal: Since this individual demonstrates pervasiveness (read: desperateness) beyond all others, the best way out is with a decoy. Push your nearest buddy, girlfriend or stranger his way and quickly drop a line about how they’ve had it with [any cell provider the guy is not associated with]. In one seamless move, dart off into the anonymous masses of the nearest food court or liquidation sale.