Salesmanship, when capitalism invades the heart

8 Jun

Wait, didn’t we have a sea day yesterday? Oh, right, we skipped one port!

Fine, what’s one more day of boredom at sea, among imagined friends?

Both Pancho and I start work after noon, and I still cannot sleep beyond nine, and can’t do anything in my cabin without waking him up. So I return once more to the crew bar, a place that is so beautifully sterile, and void of charm that it almost seems artistic. With three hours of spare time at hand I flip through my notes, where I come across the teachings of fleet manager Kosmos.

Crew Bar aboard the ABC RypMeOff

The Crew Bar aboard the ABC RypMeOff is the uninspiring place where I get most of my weriting done.

Three days ago, after a session with photo trainer Vito Kosmos introduced us to a program of sales techniques. That twenty-step program was supposedly developed by some wildly successful US business man, who retired, and now sells his marketing strategies for top dollars to capitalist companies like ABC Cruises.

Some of that guff is just everyday marketing blubber: sit down for the negotiations, look your victim in the eyes, always carry a pen, never give up, never surrender; that sort of thing. I am proud to say that I only snoozed off four times during Kosmos’ presentation, and nearly every time I was able to convince him that I was internalising the tremendous strategies that I just heard from that sleazy businessman in the digital tape recorder. Boy, the way I lied during that training session even made myself believe that I could become a salesman.

The snoozy peace was not meant to last, though. After some standard disclaimers and a demand to spend your spare time thinking up a hundred different reasons to close a deal, Mr. Business got into the more shameful sales techniques, and used an example so appalling that I damn near vomited over Kosmos’ uniform. I’m just gonna blurb it out, so you can form your own opinion.

A bar aboard the ABC RypMeOff

The various bars and coffee shops aboard the ABC RypMeOff are usually filled with bored people. Even if there is awesome landscape outside.

This is the creed of salesmanship: “treat the buyer as the buyer, until the buyer becomes the buyer.” What he says is markedly little – always treat every costumer as a buyer, not as a potential buyer. He is no browser, but rather a serious buyer, and it’s your pushy way that makes him so. The idea is simple enough, because it increases the conviction of the salesman. What is so baffling is Mr. Business’ example and application for everyday life.

Hold on to your butts; this is what Market Man actually said: “for years, even before we married I regularly convinced my wife that she loved me.” On the one side that is a genius way of employing psychology in matters of the heart. But if you employ any measure of compassion to this statement, you quickly gain the urge to regurgitate your last meal, and then some.

Apparently when they had just met his wife felt beyond loath for Mr. Business, her future husband. Probably because he stalked and annoyed the crap out of her, as he does with his costumers. But Market Man did not let a little spite and hatred get in his way, and he turned the literal tide by telling HER how much she loved HIM, despite obvious evidence to the contrary. In the end she married him, but not without him having to get up first every morning, and convincing her how much SHE wanted this relationship to work.

Globe Monument at the North Cape, Norway

Everything is a product, even this barren landscape.

If you have to spend a significant portion of your day convincing your partner that he or she wants you, there is something horribly wrong with you. And with your partner, I might add! Admittedly, my practical experience in that matter is comparatively small, but I can’t see myself living with a woman whose mind is so shallow that she can be talked into feeling affection towards a person that she has otherwise no interest in.

You are both living a lie, and one of you doesn’t even know it!

The rest of the lecture focused on believing in the closed deal, and making it your sole purpose in life, which is similarly degrading for a human being, but is easily overshadowed, drowned, and smashed into immeasurably tiny pieces by the fact that the wife of Market Man is treated as the car AND its buyer in one psychotic sweep of salesmanship.

However, back over in reality there are still a dozen photographers, sitting in a windowless class room aboard the ABC RypMeOff, listening to Übermanager Kosmos explaining why salesmanship is an integral aspect of cruise photography. “Create memories, and the sell them” is the actual motto of the department. On that day I decided that I won’t be complicit in this gruesome fabrication of fictitious memories.

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