Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Unhealthy glow?

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?


Bhupi said...

Well I don't think you were bad on your side. There has to be a limit to everything and anybody crossing that limit has to take the beating. Its true that sales people are taught to promote the products but but but....there has to be limit.

I gues what killed u the most is the salesgirl applying an unknown creme on your face. Anybody will get fumed. Everybody is sentitive about there skins and very particular about what to use and what not and thinks 100 times before buying something for skin.

So a stranger applying something strange on my face will be very strange for me too. In my opinion you were as polite as you could be. Nothing to sin about :)

Kalyan said...

First time here.
I'm bored of the credit card callers and "agents" too, who master the art of annoying strangers. But, this definitely isn't as bad compared to someone pointing out spots on skin!!

Liked reading the other posts as well.

Jagan Mohan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Laxmi said...

As a rule I am very polite to salespeople, no matter how annoying they are .

You broke your rule.

And you are trying to justify it.

Supremus said...

Poor salesgirl, she deserved more of your outburst and you didnt give it! tch! tch!

I hate annoying sales people, but I just think she was just trying to lure you and hit the wrong buttons. She will learn... with practice :)


why said...

Hello there!
I can relate to your feelings... I think that in our culture people feel free to say what they actually think about one's looks... This can have both positive and negative effects... After all, you don't want someone to be fake, but neither do you want to be insulted, right?

in fact, I *just* published a comic podcast about this very issue! you can check it out at http://tinyurl.com/d4e2k

Shruthi said...

@Bhupi: Actually the salesperson did not actually apply anything... but she pointed out areas on my face with her index - which I think is extremely rude.

@Kalyan: Thats a funny article :D - I also know someone who mastered the art of cross-questioning the credit card callers!
And thank you! :)

@Laxmi: I think you missed the point of the post :)

@Supremus: Many other people I narrated this to have expressed the same opinion ;) but... well... :)

@Why: Exactly. People feel free to comment on looks without any qualms. And yes, if I ASKED for an opinion, then it would be different. Or if the person who was commenting was known to me. But here it is neither!
My server is having difficulties playing "Weighty Matters" - sounds interesting, though :) I will listen to it and get back to you!

indiacorporatewatch said...

Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission

Good you denied her permission
and maybe she will think twice before baiting her next victim .

The cosmetic industry worldwide is a 150 billion $ industry whose foundations are based on Lies,deceit
and sold through perverse advertisements and by bombarding ordinary people with lies and more lies until they start feeling inferior and succumb to the temptation to use cosmetic products

Health and Glow is owned by the RPG group who also own food world

These people infact train their sales women on how to sell effectively with the aid of lies
and clever suggestions and regularly conduct workshops on decieving

The sales woman is a small pawn in
the larger scheme of things

She is just the messenger of the dirty message that is formulated by marketing professionals who sit in A/C Boardrooms and come up with ingenious ways to make men/women feel inferior about themselves

indiacorporatewatch said...

BTW here is the link I found on
how to change
fonts and size of the heading


Bombayite said...

I guess you can get even by taking a bunch of friends and try out the wholesale sampling of the shampoo and moisturizer :))

or better still, stand next to her and tell all the people that its a shady product :))

...juss kidding.
I guess it was just the case of someone loving her job just a bit too much!!

Shruthi said...

@Abhay: Yes, you are right. That is what the salespeople are. Just pawns. Unfortunately we just take out our anger on them coz we cannot get to the higher-ups.
Your point was extremely well put.
Also, thanks for the link! :)

@Bombayite: Ha ha :))

Rita said...

"Is it supposed to be a good marketing strategy? Does it work?"
I think it does. The first thing that comes to my mind in this connection is one of those TV shows that sell different products. Most of those items are aimed at making yuo look good - slimmer, taller, more presentable. They work, don't they?

Bishwanath Ghosh said...

I think the salesgirl did what she was expected to, and you did what you were expected to. The attendants at the shops often get on your nerves: they never leave you alone. Thank God you now have the big bookshops where they just let you be, but till a few years ago these attendants would stand over your shoulder.

Having said that, the salesgirls at Health and Glow, Foodworld, etc. are a harmless lot who are just doing their job. Nice to hear that you imagine yourself in their shoes: not many people do that.

Arz000n said...

I remember when I Was in Delhi, and badly needed hair cut, I went in those BIG and good looking salooons...while he was "examining" ma hair he said:

you have dandruff...need to apply anti dandruff oil n all
Me - fine...go ahead
then he said..there are few white hairs too...need to apply mehndi
Me - Fine
I can see some dead cells on ur nose..need to go for face cleaning
Me - Grrrr..
you can go for our full facial...thats even betta

All this toook 4 hrs..

I went there for a simple 18Rs ka hair cut and ended up paying 1100 bucks

I so hate those Delhi saloons


Adi said...

I think its a bad strategy. You will never sell anything to anyone if u piss him/her off. Its common sense ... but then it aint so common anymore now, is it ;-)

I dont htink u over reacted... i think u under reacted ... you prolly shd've slam dunked her ;-)

Oh btw, Im Adi, how r u :-)

Shruthi said...

@Rita: Yes thats what the ads do. But then you look at the ads, you look at yourself, and then you say, maybe I need it, then you go ahead and buy.
But this direct approach is someone else pointing out ur flaws, and I don't think that works.

@Bishwanath: You are right, they are just doing their job - no point getting angry at them, but sometimes your patience just fails you :)

@Arzoon: Hee hee... that's funny! Yes its happened to lots of people I know too :)

@Adi: Ha ha! I should have, huh? ;) [Poor girl ;)]

Anonymous said...

yeah ... Laxmi missed the point ;-)

Shpriya said...

Shruthi,came thro someone else's blog. People are becoming weary of this marketing strategy but however vulnerable people fall a prey. cant blame the salesgirls as they are only doing their job , isnt it? :)

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this post Shruthi. Happens to me as well.

- Sarika

themartianscientist said...

Hi, I came across your blog and find it very refreshing and interesting. I can relate to a lot of what you have written. This particular rant is especially something i can relate to. I am Indian and I have the Indian skin tone, as we proudly like to call it- 'colour'. I walked into Health and Glow, looking for something, this sales girl walked up to me and says- Madam, would you like some fairness cream! That Infuriated me and I asked her if there was something wrong with my skin. (I am not normally polite:)). And she insisted that it would help me. I was with my cousin, who had a 'fairer' complexion and she stepped in asked for a cream that would make her skin darker. And then, we left the store.
Its ironical that so many Indians are obsesed with becoming white, where people in the west, are burning themselves in UV boxes to get darker.

Anonymous said...

very understandable. each one of us has a righ to individual space, and everybody must respect it, even salespeople!

Don't know how many times have I sat irritated, unwelcome advise pouring into my ears, from the beautician, while i take my routine haircut. Wondering cant he/she realise i am not interested! why not save it for the more beauty concious/chatty ones?

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