Similar to burning your hand on an iron, I know that stopping at one of these demos has its consequences. There are no free rides. If you eat from the hand that feeds you, then you’ll have to pretend that you’re there for more than free food. As I navigate past these stations, I have to keep reminding myself of this. It’s the modern day Medusa. If I look, I’ll want. If I want, I’ll either have to advance the dialogue or make things awkward, more than likely the latter.
I know that demo employees are there to be personable and provide information. In theory, they are not the problem. I am. I wouldn’t look for advice at my local drug deal. I’m honestly just there to get my drugs (I’m drug free, mom). In the same way, I don’t want to pretend that I’m interested in buying the cracker with spread, unless, of course, it’s the best thing in the world. If that happens to be the case, then I would probably buy it anyway. Chances are, it’s not. Chances are, it’s good enough to walk away from. And I hate being seen as that guy who goes from station to station getting fat, even though I know deep down that I am that guy.
Ultimately, the interaction comes down to this:
Demo person: “Hi, would you like to try ______ today?”
Demo person: [Charlie brown teacher speak]
Me: (Thinking about how I can bail out)
Me: “Wow, that’s really good.” (obligatory)
Demo person: [Charlie Brown teacher speak]
Me: “Great, I’ll definitely keep that in mind.” (No, I won’t)
I have never spent time with a prostitute, but I imagine I’d walk away with the same feelings of insincerity and guilt that I feel after pretending to be interested in a demo product. [And this is what’s great about my blog. I’m the only one in the world who can correlate demo people with prostitution] I know I shouldn’t feel guilty, but I do. I doubt normal people build up a battering ram of insincerity before walking up and grabbing a cracker to begin with, however, I recognize the Intermittent Explosive Device of social awkwardness way before I turn the corner. Like the plenitude of internet spam, I prescribe to the theory that the best offense is a great defense. I value sincerity, which is why I’m not great with the concept of insincerity. Ultimately, that has shaped my platform of small talk. It’s a weakness that sometimes limits the finer things in life, advanced food demos being one of them.
My name is Justin. (Hi, Justin.) I have Post Traumatic Sample Disorder.