Snares all too familiar

Snares all too familiar

Snares all too familiar

As I went out for my usual walk in the park this morning, I recalled my first year in Bengaluru more than 14 years ago. I had been visiting a bookshop in our locality when a young girl walked up to me and asked me if I was new to the city and how I liked it.

We got chatting about this and that, and she seemed friendly. I was impressed by her cordial behaviour, more so when she asked me if she could look me up when she came to my locality, and asked for my address. She landed up the very next day. I was having my mid-morning tea and asked her to join me. After a few sips, she said, "You know, aunty, I'm really involved in a project and would like to tell you about it."

"A project?" I asked.

"It's about some fantastic products," she said.

I instantly knew what was coming! I had already met quite a few like her in Delhi. The only difference was that they did not wait for a full day before broaching the subject.

"If you are talking about XYZ products, please save your breath," I said, "because I am not interested."

She looked like an inflated balloon. Then I noticed her bulging bag which held some of the products.

"It's not that I mind people selling their ware, but I prefer a direct approach rather than all this beating about the bush," I said.

"Are you quite sure you don't want to try some of these?" she asked me... "They are fantastic! And if you join our team, it is a sure and easy way of making money."

"As I've just told you, I am not interested," I said.

She left, without even saying goodbye.

Soon afterwards, our park was invaded by a group of smart, well-dressed youngsters who tried to catch hold of the walkers, mostly ladies, and get them to join their 'movement' of making easy money. Some fell for it. Some did not. Then they got some of their 'leaders' to give the interested people a pep talk. I looked on with some amusement. The ladies who got involved told me that they had a unique method of catching clients.

"How?" I asked.

"Well," said the lady, "They have been training us for the last few weeks in how to get hold of them without their suspecting what exactly you want from them!"

Things change with time! Marketing techniques must have changed too, over the years, I told myself. Although I could walk fast even a few years ago, I was virtually limping now because of my bad knee. Suddenly a stranger stopped me and suggested what I could do to relieve the pain in my knee and what would help.

"That's really nice of you," I said gratefully.

"Then, there's a special pain balm that is far better than any in the market," she added, "Also some juices which make the pain virtually vanish."

"Ah!" I thought this sounded

"I could get you the products," she said, "and  bring them to your place."

"Are you talking about XYZ?" I asked.

"Oh no. They are a big fraud! Mine are ABC," she said.

Who says marketing techniques change?