Thursday, August 28, 2014

2299 Pitch-handlers

I'm am constantly amazed by how certain skill sets seem to reappear in different areas of our culture. It's like the skill is genetically hardwired, and just looking for something to apply itself too.

Take Costco. Costco has more or less refined the aisle-end hawker. You know, the one who in a slightly louder than normal voice talks about the free sample he or she is offering and how you should experience the taste or smell or convenience of it right now and then purchase the attractively-priced box, bottle, or carton of it opportunely placed nearby.

Recently I walked by a few of them on my Costco shopping visit and it occurred to me that the pitch people shared a number of traits with the panhandlers on the street. 

One, they place themselves in hard to avoid places, often right near the place you want to go. Two, they keep up a constant stream of chatter, with no apparent recipient of that chatter. They talk semi-loudly to the world at large, whether someone is walking by or not. Three, they look at no one in particular as they do so, not unlike the schizophrenic street people who seem to be talking to someone inside their head. 

On the other end of the spectrum, the recipients who are more or less in range respond in ways similar to the way they respond to street people. Some folks come up and engage them. Some remark to their spouse or companion about what a shame it is the annoying talkers are allowed to be there. And some folks completely ignore them, shutting out the chatter as if it was some form of urban white noise.

"Buddy can you spare me the price of a mega pack of bite-sized quiches?" 

America, ya gotta love it. 

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