Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Saturday morning at the hardware store

I walk in and a clerk approaches to ask if I need help. I tell him I need a flashlight, just something basic. He walks me to the appropriate spot in the aisle, and begins describing the selection.

“We’ve got your Eveready. $3.95. Not the greatest, but does the job,” he says, starting at his lowest price point. “Then there’s this Energizer. Better grip. $6.99. Or we’ve got a Sylvania. Good for the garage. It’s $12.99.”

He takes a step to the right, moving toward something else, as if he’s signaling that we’re about to enter a special new universe.

“Of course,” he tells me with a knowing look, “you could get this.” He begins hefting a powerful looking cylinder of silvery black metal and then starts thwacking it slightly menacingly on the palm of his other hand.

“This,” he pronounces, “this is the one the cops carry.”

Of course, he had me at the product demo, but the law enforcement piece put me all in. I buy two of them……at $49.99—each.

There are a number of lessons here, not the least of which is the incalculable sales value of story in the store. This was a pitch-perfect bravura performance, and in case you’re thinking today’s workforce isn’t trainable in this skill, you need to know that this associate was not some old-timer hardware store guy—but a 20-something “kid.”
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