Before the heading drives you towards the unassuming Hollywood film (not a pleasant memory for those who have watched the film) let me clarify that I am referring (at the risk of being vague and critically creative) to that thin line between consumer and seller that once crossed can only annoy a consumer. It is red because it is synonymous with anger. And anger comes only in that color. Let me continue with a couple of instances.
Instance # 1 – I go to a salon for a hair cut. Now, I am a simple man (I think so) with simple demands and expectations who asks the hairstylists (there are no good old ‘barbers’ now) to give me a simple neat hair cut. The hairstylist, once he his done with narrating epic stories of his enviable range of products (I don’t pay heed to them now), tries to convince me of an unusual (for me) haircut that would get me lot of ‘compliments’ (and how I don’t believe in theory of placing self-esteem in someone else’s hands, and that too on the basis of appearance) and leave even Bollywood hunks blushing. I resist. He insists. I re-resist. He re-insists. I resist strongly. He counters convincingly. Between moving out and getting a jazzy hair cut, I choose the latter. The creases across his multi-expression face unfold. In other words, he wins. Result: I am unhappy with my now so-called ‘in vogue’ haircut.
Instance # 2 – I enter a mobile store with about a dozen over-the-counter sellers calculatingly ranging in from right and left. I buy a smartphone. They sell one. I pay. They handover the handset. Then? “Sir, why don’t you also get a V Care (I think I have got that right?!). You know it is a delicate phone. It can break and V care will help you get the handset replaced,” a young salesboy, oblivious to my hurried expressions, sporting a gluttonous grin, tries to persuade me. “I don’t need it,” I put across quite nonchalantly,” hinting, I am in no mood. Without getting superfluous about our conversation, I must tell you that he counter-argues the same point in different words in different ways. He crosses the damn thin red line. I give him a decent one. He gets the message the hard way.
Needless to say, there’s nothing I can see that will again encourage me to visit that salon or mobile store. Nothing personal. I know they are regular guys trying to make some extra bread for themselves. And I am fine with it. I understand. I do sales, I do marketing. I usually empathize with them. In both the cases, I only asked them to be subtle and try sieving a genuinely-interested (or gullible?) customer from the straight-faced one. It’s only the last straw on the proverbial camel-shaped customer that can break the back.