Over the weekend, I went to have a leisurely window-shopping experience in the classy, sophisticated store of Nordstrom in (insert where you live here). I have always been wary of going to high-end places as my conscious self feared that the salespeople have an “x-ray vision” that enables them to pinpoint who is or is not financially entitled to be there. But Nordstrom is different. They always treat their customers with the most reverence.
Immediately captivated with top quality pairs of jeans and casual tops of my favorite color, I jumped from one shop and department store section to another while keeping the assignment in mind. As I was looking around, a salesperson approached me and observed that I fancy the color (insert favorite color). She threw a flattering comment by saying that the color suits me and asked me what designs and styles of clothing I prefer so that she can present the available items in that color. Another salesperson approached me when I was passing by the cosmetics section. She noticed that I was wearing almost no makeup and offered to apply makeup on me for free to enhance my features. While both offers were tempting, I declined them as I knew that I will feel obliged to buy at least one item and if I didn’t, I knew that I will feel guilty about it.
Finally, I found a really nice pair of jeans on sale which I can afford. The saleslady accompanied me to Nordstrom’s spacious fitting room. It was disappointing to find out that the jeans didn’t fit right (maybe I’m getting fat), so I handed over the item. I was about to tell her that I won’t take it when she informed me that she would make a call to other branches to ask for the availability of the item. Fortunately, the item is available in another branch. They told me that they will have it brought over tomorrow and they will just contact me as soon as the item arrives. Even if it’s way more expensive than a pair of jeans at Wal-mart, I couldn’t reject the sincere gesture of the salesperson. She even sympathized with me by saying that she hates it when that happens to her (when you find something that you really want to buy and find out that due to certain reasons like stock unavailability, you can’t purchase it).
The first salesperson I encountered who complimented me was using the weapon of “liking.” This weapon can get someone to say “yes” to a person they like. A person usually likes someone who shares similar opinions and interests. As I really loved that color, I immediately liked her for complimenting me in a sincere way. The compliment also implies that we have the same taste in fashion, and I could say that I liked the salesperson because of the implied similarity even if I don’t know anything about her. When she offered to look for items of clothing bearing my favorite color, she was employing the weapon of “reciprocity.” If I accepted her offer, I would be obliged to reciprocate her heartfelt gesture. This is based on the theory or notion that the kindness of others should be repaid in some way. That’s why people make an effort so that they won’t be considered as an ingrate. The salespeople from the cosmetics and the jeans section were also using the weapon of reciprocity. Because I knew that I would feel guilty if I accept their offer and leave without buying anything, I chose to turn it down. However, for my encounter with the third salesperson, since she made the effort to inquire from the other branches, I would feel really bad if I won’t commit to buy the pants. Besides, by fitting the jeans and expressing my disappointment, it was implied that I was really interested in purchasing the item and committing to buy it. So when the salesperson informed me that she will contact me once the jeans arrive at the local branch, she was using the weapon of “commitment and consistency.” She also used the appeal of “liking” when she sympathized with me. By sharing the same sentiments, I found out that we have something in common, no matter how insignificant it is. Thus, this also influenced my decision to purchase the item.