Sales 101…or “I hate salesmen and will never, ever be one!”

What I am doing right now in life is a combination of QVC and the best feeling of really connecting with people. I’m not selling them a company or a stock, (that I wished with all my heart was on a good path and didn’t have a bleak future.) I’m having an incredible time, sharing food, thoughts and health. A customer today called to ask about a recipe I had spouted without much thought the other day. I am – VINEGAR LADY!

As we wound down toward Easter, the business was steady. Being next to a candy store has definite advantages around the holidays and Ava Marie Handmade Chocolates is one of the top stores in the state. We have two crates of “sample-sized” oils and vinegars near the door with a sign suggesting “Easter Basket fillers for the Chef!” They flew out the door which is bittersweet. On the plus side, the samples are too small for much more than a salad or two, so I know everyone who gets one will be back for more. One the negative side, they are a screaming pain in the butt to keep labeled, filled and capped. The running joke is, “Veronica said we would grow to hate the little bottles.” I have a love/hate relationship with them at the moment.

There are the ironic encounters with people I just had pegged wrong from the start. The other day I watched as three scruffy folks walked up to the store front. One guy tied his dog to the post and came bounding into the store. He was loud, skinny and had tangled long hair. The earring he was sporting wasn’t the kind that causes permanent dangly ear lobes, signifying he was an aging hippie. He stopped mid-sentence to answer his cell phone, dashing for the door. “No sorry, the reception is terrible, I’m in a friend’s bathroom in Vermont. Can I call you back?”  I was a bit baffled by this exchange.

I explained the concept of the store,  the tasting routine and he gazed at me as if I was speaking latin. He stuck his hand out and said, “I’m Pete, you must be the olive oil lady.” I was a bit dumbstruck but managed to smile and introduce myself. A woman wandered in with two young girls. I fled Pete’s intensity to give them a quick hello and intro.

Pete wanted four bottles, two for himself and two for gift. We settled on basic olive oil and traditional balsamic. As I packed up his purchases, he chattered on about how, at 62 years old, he was finally taking care of his health, while he scratched a message on the gift bag with a dull pen, spouting quotes from Hemingway. I rang up his total, just shy of $60 worth of oil and vinegar. He paid in cash, leaving his change, his receipt and two $2 bill “for luck!”  OK, didn’t see that one coming.

The woman had just enough cash for the two bottles she chose. Her youngest daughter was pleading for a cake pop at the register. I swept up the $2 bills and said, “I think that kind gentleman would be happy to buy your girls a pop each.” She looked carefully into my face and said, “He was a bit scary strange wasn’t he?”

Never judge a book by its cover and never a salesman I will be…





9 thoughts on “Sales 101…or “I hate salesmen and will never, ever be one!”

  1. Too late! You ARE a sales woman of the highest quality…. one who is genuine and loves her product.

    Might I add that “A Rose is a Rose”…..Vinegar Lady? Lady Vinegar, The Olive Oil Lady….

    Your cape is in the mail.

    • Thanks Steph, now to parlay this fun life into a million dollar enterprise, or at least sustainability!

      Who knew, all those years ago when we worked at the Tavern together that I would find myself back in NH and back in the food industry???

  2. It takes all kinds, especially here in Pboro! I have to say, I have used MANY excuses over the years not to take a phone call, but …” I’m in a friend’s bathroom in Vermont. Can I call you back?” has never been one of them!!

  3. I suppose we all judge on appearances all the time whether we mean to or not. More than once people have told me they thought I was ‘posh’ until they got to know me. Seeing as I’m the most down to earth, working class girl in the world I find that odd.

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