Yesterday, after I did a bit of food shopping (yes, decided something other than Rice and Water would be nice for a change.), I drove past a car coming the other way in the shopping car park. Not very exciting, I admit, happens every time I go shopping. This car, however caught my attention. It was a very old white Corolla which looked like it was on it's last legs and only the rust was holding it together. The thing which caught my attention though, was the sign on the side of the car. "Lose Weight Now! Ask Me How!" The first thought through my mind was, "That's not good marketing". After all, would you trust a sales person who drives the streets in something resembling a death trap? On top of that, it seems to me, that the person driving the car, probably wasn't successful in the field of sales. After all, in Marketing and Selling, "image" is quite often everything. If not everything, then it is certainly a lot. Good image also leads to good selling of the "intangibles". For those who don't know, the "intangibles" you buy with a product, are those things that you don't actually physically get with it. Like, buying a Volvo and feeling safe and secure. The intangible bit is the feeling. Many products sell on the 'intangible' of being cool. Yes! When did you last buy something expensive because it made you Cool? Those Nike shoes, those Bolle Sunglasses, those magic beans! (Those beans still haven't turned into a beanstalk either! Darn it!) I think the 'work from home' type sales people are the worst. A lot of these "sales" people are pretty poorly trained, and pretty bad at marketing themselves. Mainly, as most I think, are attracted to the ideal of becoming independent or rich! Not many of them actually make it though. Those that do, either learn along the way, or have a marketing/sales background. I will now proceed to tell some stories about my experiences with some of these sales people. Please note, none of my comments below are related to the quality, or lack of quality of the products. My first story is about an old friend of mine. He told me that he and his friends were meeting for drinks after work. He asked me to come along, and bring a date. Woo hoo! Me on a date? Who would have thunk it! So, I got my courage together and asked Mary from my Physics course (I was doing a B.Sc. in physics at the time). We turned up, only to find the "drinks after work", was actually a Herb-a-life meeting. (I mean, they hired a room and everything and it was all hype and spittle type stuff. Boom Boom Rah! You can be a millionaire if you just join us now!) Needless to say, this did NOT impress my date. (Nor me actually). So we left at the first break. Then we went down the road to a cafe and I spent most of the night apologising for what happened. (And she ordered me a coffee, which I don't drink. D'oh!) Previous to actually going into the 'Room', I was talking to one of the girls, who was supposedly a "friend of my friend". She tried to pitch Herb-a-life at me. She was trying all sorts of tactics. At the time, my health was very good, and I was only a little below my ideal weight. So the "Lose weight" and "Gain weight" arguments really didn't work on me. Then she tried to pitch it at me, as some sort of "cure all". I told her my health was perfect. Her reply quite startled me, and actually ended the conversation. She replied, "That's what my Doctor said, and you know what, it got better!!!" At this point I think she realised what she said, and left real quick! Still not realising the nature of the meeting, I complained to my friend about what an idiot this woman was. After all, wasn't this supposed to be a quiet drink after work? Not an occasion to take advantage of your "friends friends" to launch sales pitches. Hmmm, baka dabido! (baka = stupid for those not acquainted with Japanese.) My next encounter with a Herb-a-life sales man was on a train. (Yes, some of these people pitch anywhere). I had just finished up at a Menswear Store called Lowes (people in Sydney might be familiar with it). I was about to start work as a programmer at Toyota. I was fortunate in that I had a few days off in between, and was on my way to the City. (Can't remember what for. It was a week day, I remember that much). Sitting opposite me was a guy with a brief case. It was in really bad shape. It couldn't get any worse and still retain the noun "case". It would have been too brief. Also, he'd bought the cheapest clothes he could find, and all of it from Lowes. I recognised all of it. The shoes were ten dollar ones, the trousers where fifteen dollars and the shirt was a ten dollar one from China. The poor guy was obese and was sweating like a water mains which had sprung a leak. His cheap Chinese shirt was drenched. He kept looking at me the entire train trip, which really started to bug me. I thought maybe he was an escapee from a local asylum. He was clutching his brief case closely to his body. Mainly to stop the contents from falling out. In his other hand was something he was chewing on. Possibly a muesli bar, or health food bar, or something. Eventually, he plucked up the courage to talk to me. "How much do you earn?", he asked me. "I earn twenty one thousand a year." (Okay, a slight lie, I was about to start earning that. As Sake said, "A little indiscretion saves a lot of explanation"). "Huh! That's Peanuts, do you know how much I earn a year?" "Not much from the way you're dressed." "Crap! I earn heaps more than you. You earn peanuts! Peanuts!" "Really? What do you do?" "I sell herb-a-life." At this point, he moved his hand, and I noticed two things. First, underneath where his hand was on his brief case was a sticker which said "Lose Weight Now, Ask me How!". The second, was his brief case couldn't be clipped shut, because it was broken. The only thing holding it shut was his hand. He reached into his brief case and rummaged around for some paper work. He pulled something out and tried to convince me to sign it. Apparently, he was trying to make me a seller under him in the Herb-a-life chain. I had to laugh at him. This made him quite irate. He kept trying to tell me I earned peanuts, but whenever I tried to get out of him exactly how much he earned, he was vague, and just insisted he earned more. This made me laugh more. If he was earning more than me, why was he dressed so shabby, and why was his brief case in tatters. We reached Central Station and he had to get off. The last I saw of him, he was pointing at me and telling the other commuters on the station that I earned peanuts. "Peanuts! You earn Peanuts!", he kept shouting at me. "Hey, Everyone! This guy earns peanuts". At this point the doors of the train shut, and I remember seeing through the window on the door, that he had lost his grip on his brief case. The lid fell open and all his papers went everywhere on the platform. I was torn between two emotions. Should I be feeling sorry for him, because he was obviously out of his depth? Do I just laugh at him for making a fool of himself by attacking me? I wasn't sure if he deserved what happened to him, or if God was trying to teach him something. One thing I was sure of though. He didn't have a brain, he had a peanut! A Peanut I tell you!