Have you ever been "negged"? How about by a sales associate in order to shame you into a purchase?
You know, that backhanded compliment or a light insult that brings up your hidden fears, making you more vulnerable to their cause. Like that time a sales girl in Century 21 told you that you’d look a million bucks if you just bought some Spanx to go along with that dress. Or maybe the hairdresser told you that your hair is OK now, but it would shine like the sun if you bought some crazy-ass hair serum made from Bigfoot semen.
I used to be a salesgirl in a clothing shop back in my university days, and I was well trained in the art of the sales neg. I learnt it from a colleague who, I think, had serious self-esteem problems and was a pathological liar. She was also the best salesgirl the shop had. I promise you, though, I never actually used the negging technique; it’s gross and it’s unethical and it will make the customer hate you, hate your shop and never come back again.
So I can recognize when another salesperson is negging me, and usually, nothing makes me run faster from a purchase than underhanded insults. But I was briskly walking through a shopping centre when a cute guy at a Dead Sea minerals skincare stall called me over and tried to sell me some grossly overpriced magical potions. I think he knew I was trying to get away pretty quickly, so he asked me if I had ever done anything about my age spots.
Age spots? I’m 26.
I asked him where these age spots were and he actually put his palm five centimeters away from my face and moved it around in a circular motion, indicating my entire face.
"Don’t worry, darling, I actually think they’re quite charming," he said in the world’s most patronizing tone.
I snorted and told him they were my freckles and that I never thought of them as age spots.
But this didn’t deter him. In fact, it egged him on. He said that these freckles were a sign of serious sun damage because my skin couldn’t handle the sun, which will age me when I’m older; but if I bought this miracle cream made of unicorn horns from the Dead Sea, my "age spots" would disappear and I would look years younger.
I can’t lie to you and say that I left immediately after that. A part of me has always wanted to know what I would look like without freckles. But after another five minutes of his bull, I told him that I was off to buy some factor 50, and left very quickly after that.
The experience made me think about all the other times I might have been duped by clever sales associates. Sometimes they’re not as blatant as this guy was, and it’s this insidious negging that plays on your insecurities that really does get you to slip the credit card out of your wallet.
So tell me: Have you ever been "negged" by a sales associate? Were they successful in getting the sale?