Last evening, after the usual commute back from office, smoke in my lungs and dust in my hair, I walked into the Health and Glow outlet to buy a moisturizer. I looked around for it but did not find it. A salesgirl was hovering hopefully at the edge of my vision, so I turned to her and asked for what I wanted. She confirmed that it was out of stock. I thanked her and turned to go. She stopped me and said, "Just a second ma'am, why don't you try this shampoo? It does wonders for unruly hair like yours."
I stopped in my tracks and looked at her incredulously. How dare she, a perfect stranger, comment on my hair? Also, if I needed to be perfectly groomed after being in traffic for hours, I would have to carry a personal beautician with me. Oblivious to my expression, she continued, "Also, ma'am, your skin is dry and patchy." She almost prodded two areas on my face with her index finger. "This new cream will set it all right".
That did it.
As a rule I am very polite to salespeople, no matter how annoying they are [Just put yourself in their shoes for a minute, and you will know why]. But this was the limit. Not only was she giving me unsolicited advice, she was finding faults with my looks.
The irony was that the salesgirl herself had extremely bad skin. Compared to hers, mine could be called flawless. I almost blurted out, "Then why don't you use it yourself?". But as I told you, I try very hard to be polite. Even then, I could not resist telling her, "Nobody asked you", then I walked out of the shop.
I am still terribly irritated. Is it just me? Am I over-reacting? Are the salespeople taught by the companies to promote their products by pointing out customers' physical shortcomings right on their faces?
I have a healthy opinion of my appearance, and so I did not get influenced by the salesgirl's comments. But are there people out there who immediately feel that they are not good-looking enough, and are they lured to buy these products? Advertisements do make you feel that you are not beautiful enough. But this approach is a direct hit below the belt. Is it supposed to be a good marketing strategy? Does it work?