pressure selling
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by Eric Suhem



The kids sat at their lemonade stand as a blistering sun glared down on the suburban neighborhood. Further down the sidewalk, a woman dressed in bizarre fabrics was manipulating mysterious charts on a rickety table. On the other side of the street was a group of salesmen in black suits, carrying briefcases, marching in lockstep.

The men in black suits approached the lemonade stand. “What’s going on here?” the head salesman asked the two little children.

“We’re selling lemonade mister, only 25 cents!” said the little boy. “Would you like some?” The little girl offered him a Styrofoam cup filled with water and powdered lemonade mix.

“Do you know that our organization can deliver high volumes of lemonade with low overhead? We offer much more convenience to the customer, and our developing system of drones guarantees fast delivery,” said the head salesman. The two children looked up at the small black buzzing electronic aircraft filling the sky.

“Mommy!” screamed the little girl. The children’s mother ran out from the house near the lemonade stand.

“Look kids, here’s a synopsis of our business plan, guaranteed to put your little operation out of business,” said the head salesman, pushing a brochure toward the two moppets.

“What’s going on here?” demanded the children’s mother.

“We are here to interest you in a lemonade investment!” the salesmen announced, closing in as their ties pulsated on starched white shirts. They angled lemonade sales prospectuses tantalizingly toward the kids’ mom.

“Get those away from me!” she replied, meeting the pamphlets in their sweaty hands with an icy stare. The children quickly moved out from behind the lemonade stand and kicked the head salesman in the shins, cutting his ankles, the blood seeping through and soaking his black designer socks.

Deciding that the current sales opportunity was not optimal, the salesmen moved down the sidewalk to the strangely dressed woman, stopping abruptly in front of her little table. “Who are you, and what are you selling?” the head salesman demanded.

“I am a practitioner of the mystical arts, and I have come to examine the spirituality of the street,” she said, laying out cards adorned with esoteric symbols. “I’m selling hope, and ideas for a new world.”

“What does that have to do with lemonade?” bellowed the head salesman.

“Everything,” she said.

 The salesmen looked at their spreadsheets and calculated the economic advantages of making an investment in hope and ideas for a new world. “We don’t see an upside to this transaction,” concluded the head salesman dismissively. “Furthermore, we view you as a competitor with a potentially negative impact on our neighborhood market share.” A couple of the other salesmen kicked out the legs of her table, the tarot cards fluttering to the pavement.

As the salesmen walked away, one of them, an unassuming fellow named Morris, stayed behind to pick up the tarot cards. “Let me help you with those,” he said.

“I see you have a kind heart, and are a gentle soul,” said the woman, adding, “I was a high-powered sales executive until my brain chemistry took a detour, and I was able to see things I hadn’t before, a third eye if you will. Now I follow a ray of sunshine through the corridors of the universe, leading to a new idea of peace. I want to bring this vision to the people of the world.”

Morris looked at her and decided that he wanted to contribute something positive to the spirituality of the street. He bought some lemonade from the children, and helped the woman reorganize her table of mystery. He didn’t know what else to do, so he picked up a piece of litter, threw it in the garbage, and went home.




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