One fine evening, I found myself strolling along in the bookstore, breathing in the books and smiling more than was strictly necessary, reading a page there and a page here. Mentally noting which ones to buy and keeping a stash of potentials etc. A friendly person came up to me and asked me to suggest a book for her to read. My eyes popped a bit at first, but I asked her what kind she likes. She looked at the shelf nearby and said, “Fantasy. But I am really looking for a change. So, I was hoping you will be able to help me out with some titles you like.”
Ask me something like that and I can get a bit carried away. I set aside the stash I had in my hand, flipped to my notes and got to work.
My suggestions included picks from historical fiction, non-fiction, biographies, autobiographies, business, literature, Indian authors, short stories and would have gone on. I mean I had really opened my heart up. I had my phone open and was reading her titles I had noted down earlier and was giving her the tour. I must’ve talked for 3 minutes straight before I realized that her eyes had a slightly glazed expression making her look like a Krispy Kreme doughnut. She didn’t look all that interested in what I was saying. I paused for a second and she asked me what I did. I gave her an answer and asked her what she did.
She looked at me and said she runs a business. She had one of those young, enthusiastic smiles and apart from not being interested in the list of books I suggested, seemed nice enough. So, I gushed, “Wow….that is lovely. What kind of business do you run?”
“I run a skin care business. I could suggest some things for your face right away to make you glow.”
I didn’t think my face needed any work in the glowing department given that I was standing under some harsh lights in a bookstore. I told her that I don’t really use too many skin care products. I bristled a bit. I hadn’t suggested a doughnut shop for her after all, why should she offer me help on glow or lack thereof?
Conversation languished for a bit after this. I was keen to get to my books and she was keen to get my face to glow. She talked of this and that, told me she had moved to the US recently and invited me to her home. I thanked her for the invite, encouraged her on her business prospects and moved on.
“You didn’t give her your number did you?” asked the husband later with an amused smile playing on his lips
“No…but I sent her an email so she would have my mail id. Why?”
“The Amway Pistachio flavor, that’s why.” said the h.
“What? No way she was Amway! I mean she was so friendly, and she even invited me to her home for a cup of tea.” said I.
“Oh and how many people you see for the first time in shopping aisles do you invite for tea to your home?”
The husband had a point, and I stopped midway through my retort to mull things over. The more I mulled, the more apparent it was that I had in fact been taken.
I’ve lost my touch I tell you. Scalded cats used to take training sessions from me before getting scalded I mean. So, they would know what to do when scalded. I would go shopping or browsing and I could spot folks from Amway a mile away. The moment I spotted them, I would hide in nooks or clamber up shelves to avoid them. Then, reeking with pride, I would gush about the best techniques to avoid them.
But like creatures of prey, these folks evolve. I was used to looking out for apparently friendly folks who ask me if I am from Chennai based on the fact that I hollered to the errant child trying to topple themselves down from somewhere in Tamil. I would then put on a stern face and say ‘No!’ and move away. Or they would ask for some advice on products that I knew they weren’t buying just to get the conv. ball rolling and I would know.
Maybe of late, I have not lingered at store aisles long enough but I haven’t seen the Amway sales specialist in a long time. I feel bad for them. If their best business prospects are picking up folks on random store aisles by sacrificing their week-ends, the business can’t be a very enjoyable one can it?