I once heard that the description of a good salesman is the individual who can sell someone something they don’t want or need, but still make them feel as though they can’t live without it.
I never thought that I couldn’t live without popcorn. In fact, I don’t really even like it. So why did I buy a box that nearly cost me $10?
Let me start from the beginning…
First of all, I support the BoyScouts of America. I think that it’s a good cause and that – without them – a lot of boys would grow up without learning how to start a fire, pitch a tent, or tie knots. And those are important things, especially in an age in which most kids are constantly glued to their television sets. Never mind the honesty, loyalty, and lessons in walking little old ladies across the street.
But I think that maybe – just maybe – they’re a little bit sneaky when it comes to their fundraisers. This past experience isn’t the first time that I’ve noticed this. They hide the taller, ganglier boys in the background, keeping them at a good distance so you just notice the neat uniforms and various badges.
And on the front lines, waiting to make eye contact with you the moment you step up to the store entrance, are short – often chubby – little boys with round eyeglasses and shy grins. And while the little boy says something along the lines of, “Can you please help support our camping trip,” all you hear is, “Please buy some popcorn so that I won’t have to quit the BoyScouts and join a horrible gang.”
And your heart melts. And suddenly, you can’t say ‘no.’ Your hands are reaching for the $10 bill you had set aside for coffee and you realize that you’d probably give him your wedding ring if it meant saving his future.
Now I guess I’m a little sheepish about this, because this isn’t the first time it has happened to me. When I was engaged over two years ago, I bought a box of popcorn and it followed me from my parent’s house to the apartment Nate and I lived in when we were first married. In fact, it lasted us through our first anniversary.
It might still be out there, as far as I know. I ended up giving it to my brother in hopes he’d finish off the unpopped bags. (Like I said, I don’t like popcorn very much).
So here I was, buying another box of popcorn, when my husband and I hadn’t even finished off the box I had bought nearly three years earlier.
“Do you want only one box,” the boy was asking me.
“Oh, yes,” I quickly replied.
“Do your friends want any?” he asked, his eyes wide behind his large glasses.
I couldn’t keep my eyebrows from rising at this one. “Hmmm, no, no, I think I’ll share this box with them.” I waved the $10 bill. “This is all I have. I’m broke.”
“You could go to the bank,” he said.
And then I realized that he wasn’t in the front lines because he was cute. He was there because he was good. Real good.
I left with only one box of popcorn… But since I had planned on leaving with no boxes, I’d have to say that he just might have been the best, little salesman I ever met.