Picture me as a booth babe, because I’ve spent the last week as one. My first confession is that I enjoyed the job. I didn’t ask for it, in fact I lobbied by boss heavily to let someone else do it, someone younger and more adept and also someone female. My sales pitch to my boss was that she knew more about the product than I did, which she did. Her work earned her the spot there in the booth and besides what middle age client would prefer to speak with me over her? If the mantra of the meeting was sales, why not put your best foot forward? I was overruled; my boss wanted an ‘old’ hand on the job. To boot, I had to break the bad news to her.
The main reason that I enjoyed the job was that by being a booth babe I was elevated above my other co-workers. My badge of prestige was a sports coat. Our collective dress code has subsided to the point that even the wearing of a sports coat counts as dressing up. My greatest source of pride stemmed from the complements that Anne gave me, when I first modeled my ‘dress business casual’ attire, as I marched out the door. I first proudly wore the coat and then progressively wore it more uncomfortably. It got hot to wear, especially after the constant to and fro of parading to the shops and back. I’ve been wearing a pedometer this winter to get some hand on what little exercise that I have been doing. On particular high step count days this week, I’ve crowed to Anne that I’d spent the day shopping.
My second confession is that I’m actually quite good at the job, at least in my self deluding context. I’m not the kind of booth babe that is likely to attract anyone using appearance. So, I adopted a sort of a stealth booth babe approach. My approach is sort of like fishing. The display is the bait, the fish are the customers and as the fisherman, your primary attribute should be patience. I know that this approach is contrary to the booth babe model, but sometimes you just have to run with what you got. I just hung back and let the display cast as far as it could. I was aided in the fact that in my display, I had an excellent lure. I just hung back until my prey was in the box and then pounced. I was rough at first, but with thirteen years of computer sales under my belt, I improved quickly, hit my stride and soon was running with a pretty good patter. By the end of the week, even I was buying what I was selling.
Suffice to say that being a real booth babe is a tough job. Even after experiencing my relatively benign sales environment, I don’t envy the real booth babes or their work environments. The Saint Louis Auto Show one portrayed above and her younger replacement waiting in the wings put it on the line every day at every show. I at least have the luxury to move on to something new.