Advertising gurus will tell you that a great salesperson can sell things to people that people know they don’t need.
So young advertising executives could certainly have learned a lot from the man selling pens on a bus in Guatemala.
He boarded the bus at the terminal like so many other vendors and soon after began his pitch, like so many others, to a busy, uncomfortable bus full of impatient and uninterested locals and a few equally uninterested ‘viajeros’.
We three already had pens. They worked. We didn’t need another.
Then he began.
He regaled the audience with promises of grandeur, should anyone buy his pen. He extolled the virtues of his writing implements ‘hasta el cielo’.
He paraded the aisle, clicking his pens. Yes, they clicked, a sign of quality, superior to that of other vendors. He handed out his pens, his sacred quills, that we might be blessed while they graced our hands.
He guaranteed literary brilliance should anyone buys his pens. He anointed the next Miguel de Cervantes, Ruben Dario, Gabriella Mistral and Isabel Allende, with but the mere surrender of a few Quetzal.
He swooned the audience. Roused their attention and held it. The disgruntled, bored, impatient locals and weary, jaded travellers hung on his every word.
He laughed, he joked, he performed. He displayed his pens as the glamorous models display the prizes on a game show. He touched our emotions, he set our hearts aloft, he enriched our souls.
Well, I think he did. I didn’t completely understand his Spanish.
The locals did, however. They fixed their gaze upon him, they were transfixed with his pitch, his words, his performance and the hypnotic clicking of his pens.
He was magnificent.
I knew I didn’t need a pen. I had many and they all worked.
I bought three.
Image: Rachelle Blake.