I was shopping in the main square of Athens the other day,
and something rather disturbing happened to me. It really made me wonder about
the absolutely morally demeaning sales tactics of the people I encountered. And
I thought it would make an interesting blog post, so here I am.
Let me start from the beginning.
I was in town running some errands. I had a day off work, so
I thought I’d wander around and do some window shopping. I really didn’t feel
like going home, as I spend the majority of my life at home (I’m a freelancer).
I walked past a marketing stall, and the lovely woman behind
it asked me if I’d like to be in a TV commercial advertising some beauty
products. EEK! No thanks, I thought, but I’m flattered nonetheless. The
lovely woman, with a genuinely sweet smile on her face, asked me why:
“Is it because you’re short on time?”
“No, I just don’t speak Greek that well so I don’t think it
“You speak Greek fabulously, don’t be silly,” she said.
I laughed and said thank you, and we got into a conversation
about where I was from, yada yada yada.
You may think I was being being sucked into this, but I knew exactly what was
going on. But I had time on my hands, and I didn’t want to go home, so I
thought I would play this out and see what happened. Who knows? I might get a story out of it! I thought. (I did, as you
The conversation on the side of the road ended in her
telling me how lovely and white my skin was, and that I must really take care
of my skin. “Well,” I said, “I don’t do much at all. I just keep chemical products
off my face.” Again, I said thank you for the compliment.
This led to the sales woman telling me about the beauty
treatments the salon she works for offers. She said she would give me a voucher
for 300 Euros off any treatment I liked, but asked if I would be willing to
follow her a few meters down the road, to the building the salon is in, in order
to register all my information and speak with a consultant about which
treatment to get.
My stomach started to gurgle as I smelled something fishy. I
asked, “Okay, I get 300 Euro off, but how much is the treatment to begin with?”
She told me that all prices differed from treatment to
treatment and the best way to see what was available and what they cost was to
come to the salon.
Okay, I thought. I have a bit of time on my hands, let’s see
where this leads. I wouldn’t mind being pampered a bit.
We got to the salon and entered a very very sterile and florescent green waiting room. It was almost like
a hospital and I realised that this place was more than just a salon, but
somewhere where you could get things like electrolysis done. I internally
groaned. I despise this kind of shit. I’m happy with my body the way it is. But
ho-hum. I was there. And it was a nice cool place to get some relief from the
heat for a few minutes.
The consultant took down my details, and told me what treatments
I could get the discount on. I opted to go for a facial. But then she described
that it wasn’t a typical facial, but a very unique procedure in which my pores would
be chemically treated to allow moisturizer to soak into my skin properly. Or
something to that effect. I’m not sure I understood all the technical words in
And this is where it got ugly.
She began to scrutinize my face, with a rather revolted look
on her face. She told me that I had a lot of open pores, unattractive red
blotches, and pimples, and asked me if I’d been to see a doctor about it. That
a woman my age shouldn’t have skin problems this severe. (SKIN PROBLEMS? SEVERE? What a crock of shit. We get a period every
month and the hormones from the period cause pimples. And it was stinking hot
outside, of course I was red!)
A doctor? I squealed
inside my head. Did she think I was a moron? The only reason she could see any
blemishes on my face was because she had a horrid florescent light shining directly
into it. None of that stuff is even visible in the daylight.
She then said that their treatment would fix all this stuff
up, and it would only cost me ... wait for it ... TWO THOUSAND EUROS after the
discount. Of course, the woman’s face was caked in so much makeup I couldn’t even
tell if she had a nose.
I scoffed, stood up, and said, “Sorry, I’m not interested,
but thanks for your time.” (Yeah, I can’t help but be polite.) Didn’t last long
though, because the consultant jumped out of her seat and stood in front of the
door, and with a very fake smile said ...
“But don’t you want your husband to love you?”
I imagine it was the horrified look on my face than inspired
her to move out of my way. I couldn’t get out of that place fast enough.
When I finally got out of the building, of course, I went
into a clothes shop and looked at my face in a mirror. I held a T-shirt up to
my torso so I didn’t look like an idiot. Sure, my face had a few blemishes, but
who cares? Why the fuck are we so conditioned to think our appearance matters
so much? Now, I felt guilty for even considering
the woman was right about my face. And I bought the lovely T-shirt I was
At least someone
made a sale out of me that day.
Has anyone ever challenged your self-esteem like this? Tell me your story.