I was in a large pharmacy the other day, walking slowly, doing "the Parkinson's shuffle". It's not hard to be caught by an over zealous female sales assistant, who works on commission. I find it sometimes difficult to escape their aggressive hard sale techniques without buying something I really didn't need. All I wanted was a simple face cream for daytime. The lady began talking with great enthusiasm, telling me she was good at her job and knew exactly what I needed. Barely pausing for breath she prattled on trying to sell me an expensive product, claiming it would remove lines and wrinkles, rejuvenate and hydrate a mature woman's face, protect the skin from harmful UV rays, fading sun spots and blemishes and take years off making me look younger with a special anti-aging ingredient.
I politely let her finish the well rehearsed sales pitch, but with little patience left and standing there in pain, I told her I wasn't particularly bothered about looking younger. I was more interested in getting through each day, and asked if the face cream that appeared to do everything, also cured Parkinson's, because if it did, I would take two please. Now be rest assured, a line like that will bring any conversation abruptly to an end!
Finally I had rendered her speechless, and for a few awkward seconds, silence reigned between us. She looked me in the eyes, then glancing at the fancy packaged glass jar in her hands, she quickly put it back on the shelf. Taking hold of my arm she gently led me to the next aisle where all the less expensive familiar named products filled the shelves. With a distinct change of tone in her voice, showing genuine concern, making commission clearly no longer an issue, a caring and empathetic woman emerged before me. Handing me a simple tube of face cream, she told me the ingredients were more or less the same and the cream would do nicely, costing a fraction of the price. She wished me well and told me I was too young to have Parkinson's. "Your 50 years old, right?" she said eyeing me closely hazarding a guess. Astonished she had guessed correctly I replied "How did you know that?" Smiling warmly and with great confidence she said "I told you I'm good at my job!".