Me and sales techniques

I am a pansy. I really am. Like Robert Cialdini in his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, I fall for those sales techniques all the time. Out of guilt, perhaps. Shame? A moralistic obligation? But I fall. And somehow I’ll walk out of somewhere with something I did not want to have.

One prime example was several years ago when I was a car dealership. Unlike my parents, I am not immune to pushiness. And after less than 30 minutes of bantering, somehow we got an alarm system on a brand new Toyota Corolla. An alarm system that later nobody knew how to use (except for me, because out of guilt, I learned all the intricate complexities but was in Pittsburgh by then).

And only recently did I walk into a gym thinking that I had a won a free membership in a drawing I had randomly entered. As I sat down with a membership consultant, I got a sinking feeling that I wasn’t going to get my free membership as I filled out a special safety release form. In the form, there was a checkbox for how I heard of the gym. I reluctantly checked the box “contest”.

At first, he was able to establish the common feelings quite quickly when we found out that both of us grew up in the East Bay and went to local rival high schools. At first, I felt guilty that I was saying no when he offered to give me a deal because we had this commonality. Then I remembered that hey, he wasn’t my friend. Then he went the routes of what my needs were—in my mind, yes I did want to be in a fun, energetic, nonjudgemental environment—it wasn’t true. I tried to find an escape route. But I couldn’t force myself to just walk out. I told him that he was being too pushy. And here’s my pansiness, I finally paid the trial fee just to get out, knowing that I could cancel.

A few days later, I did. I walked into the gym and asked for a cancellation. Didn’t even feel like trying out the gym, because I had felt so used. It was simple, no questions asked. They however told me to call the original gym where I signed up to inform them of my cancellation. I did and left a message on the membership’s consultant message. Immediately, the consultant called me back as I was pacing back and forth in the BART station and asked why I canceled. I simply said that I was dissatisfied with the sales and felt uncomfortable in the gym as a result.

Next time, I’ll tell myself just say no. Because really, I shouldn’t be a pansy.

Documentation and UI

Never thought that a music video could have so much good ui. Note though, I didn’t have my sound on when a friend sent me this so no comment on the music. But it reminded me of that time when I was taking human factors where overloaded documentation is so necessary.

I mean, you don’t want to be caught drinking pink watermelon ball shots when it was commercial detergent all along…

A relevation of sorts

As I was walking with a friend to dinner, I asked him how he and his girlfriend were doing—their long distance relationship with him here in the Bay Area and she in NYC at school. It was more than a year since the whole long distance started.

“It’s hard you know,” he said casually. “But I just can never find anybody else I like more than her and I don’t think I really could.”

And suddenly, it all made sense.

The semi-public place of restaurants

It’s such a movie thing. The moment when a couple breaks up in the public environment of a restaurant. Food is often used to lower the stress and the anxiety. We all need to eat and eating together is one of those places where we lower our inhibitions. In some way, it’s an area where we feel free to talk. Almost frankly.

Yet, is it a place to break up? It is somewhat a romantic notion. The idea of throwing red wine up in the air and stomping out. Or the sudden shrill cry of despair (or anger?).

Like many people, I can’t help but watch a car crash.

The secret was meant to be cloaked

She asked me once the group had parted ways, “Are they dating?”

She gestured to the host and his female friend, walking up the hill in North Beach. At the moment of parting, they had shared a short glance of knowing. And it was a slight awkward moment when we realized she wasn’t going our direction even though her home was our way. I laughed and said, “That’s how things start anyway.”

A gift that gives something

A long time ago, I gave the cheapest slinky I found at a nearest game store. On the slinky, I wrote several things about the recipient. Being me, I somehow couldn’t keep it from smearing. However, when I finally gave it as a gift, the recipient was so overcome and said it was the greatest gift ever. He had always loved slinkys but never had one of his own.

I suppose, if it’s something that is still sitting on his bottom shelf today.

Yet what makes a great gift?

One gift in my memory was a platronics headset I got for Christmas more than 6 years ago. It was right at the tip of broadbandness. It was pre-Skype and pre-free-nationwide-distance. To me, it was a symbol of connectivity with the giver.

Of course though, I only used it periodically after that because nationwide distance came to play. I used it as my headphones for the following 2 years and occasionally as a microphone for an online “radio” show. It broke right before I got to Pittsburgh (on my first flight over incidentally).

Then there are the meaningful gifts. The trusts that my parents set up for my sister and me. The moments at lunch or dinner when a friend shoves my credit card and my cash back into my bag and says a loud firm NO to me. Or the simple holding the elevator doors for me when I am rushing into the building.

A recent gift was preceded by a statement: I just want you to you know that I put a lot of effort into finding things even if it doesn’t show. It’s not like I go to my table of random objects and go hmmm…what random object shall I turn into a gift today. I want you to think I did put a little bit of effort into your surprise. At the same time, don’t let your expectations go through the roof. It’s nothing too fancy.

Following by a lol.

But to my surprise, it was a chair. Not just any chair. But the Humanscale Freedom. Specifically, the task chair (not with the headrest). And what’s more, it’s the chair used in 24 at CTU. JACK BAUER USES THIS CHAIR. (When he actually worked in an office that is…)

Now with the 24 ctu ringtone and the chair, all I need is terrorists to fight. And some bit of “You must trust me.” And try not to get sent to Chinese prison.

Through prickly leafs and weeds, we strolled

On Saturday in the mid-afternoon, we walked up the hills of Berkeley to the Big C. In an attempt to cross one of the things I must do before I am 30 list.

First we stopped by Safeway to pick up a 4pack of flavored sparkling water. Safeway brand, of course. Then we swung into the Hillside parking lot and started climbing the hills paved with rocks. At some point, we took the wrong turn. He said, “I think it’s this way.”

I willingly followed through the shortcut. Prickly leaves and weeds stabbing my shins because I decided not to wear socks, thinking that the trail would not be this…grassy. And it was warm anyway. But somehow we found ourselves in a thicket of grass on uneven soil. We started moving down the steep paths where I lost my balance several times. And putting out my right hand to catch myself. Fortunately I wasn’t still in a fragile state. I tumbled the rest of my way down. And when I got to the end, I said aloud in a sulky voice, “I am not doing that again.”

But then, I had a brillant idea of looking up the Big C on my phone. And to my surprise, on one of the search results, a picture loaded. He immediately knew where to go. And about 10 minutes later, we found it. Because of its angle, one cannot see it from below. We stood there. He tried sliding down, but unfortunately yes the paint was dry. We sat on a bench nearby taking in the view of the Bay in its busy stillness.

Then wild turkeys arrived. One buried its hand in the sand. The other gobbled into the air, hoping for a mate perhaps? They gobbled and he gobbled back. They responded, thinking he was one of their own. I tried to catch one, but they got away. And the rest of the turkeys sauntered away with knowing looks.