Great to watch the salesmen and women at work at the moment on a pitch at the end of Oxford Street, just by Tottenham Court Road tube. They are selling bottles of perfume and a willing crowd is always gathered round them (no doubt containing some of their own stooges).
The sweet smell of snake-oil
The salesmen all wear headsets with mikes so you can hear them from some distance away. They use incentives and pressures brilliantly – the best kind of behaviour to use in the bargaining phase of any negotiation. Volume discounts are used to play to people’s natural sense of acquisitiveness. “I’m not offering you 2 for 1 ladies and gentlemen, I’m offering you 5 for 3”. And the threat that the offer will be taken away is ever-present, putting fear in the deal for the punter. “Now this offer only applies for the next 5 minutes ladies and gents, after that, I’ll have to withdraw it or I’ll put myself out of business”.

People can’t wait to hand their cash over. Of course it’s all very win/lose in terms of attitude, but you have to respect their effectiveness at getting customers to open their wallets. In these recessionary times, when it’s not easy to earn a pound note, they are an example to us all….