Sales Tactics – or: Optimizing Marges

Carl and Gerlinde (XXXII)

Well, it had not precisely been a surprise for Carl that Gerlinde made him join her on her visits to several boutiques – since, for once, he actually was taking a stroll through the city. After all, the times when he did that were few and far between!

The stationer’s shop they just happened to be passing was probably just an insignificant detour on the confusing route of their complex and interwoven fortune threats – but suddenly Gerlinde remembered that, in fact, she needed a new notebook for her shopping lists!

This came as quite a surprise for the salesman, who, regardless of his youth, did not have a single hair on his head. Also, he had already started locking up when Gerlinde only just managed to squeeze through the door because of her notebook. …

”Would you like a big size?” he still asked with quite a friendly attitude. Apparently, there was quite a number and variety of those notebooks in his storage area.
”No“, even to Carl, Gerlinde sounded surprisingly short and concise when she replied.

”Did you have something valuable in mind – for instance as a gift?“

”No“!

”Well, in that case, I am assuming you mean a rather ordinary notebook. Is that what you want?“, the friendly salesman said as he tried to get an idea about what Gerlinde actually wanted  …

”Yes“, replied Gerlinde, after which she at least added that the notebook was meant for shopping lists. So perhaps it should not be too big – as she said this, her eyes roamed around the shop for an indefinite time.

”Well, yes”, the salesman said, moving towards the back of the store rather determinedly.

He returned with three different notebooks, all of which, however, Gerlinde immediately classified unsatisfactory with a headshake.

”Far too big and voluminous”, she observed.

”Of course, we also have smaller models”, the salesman remarked enthusiastically, before swiftly disappearing back to the inner sanctum of the shop.

Meanwhile, Carl took advantage of the opportunity to look for what low-price biros they had on offer! For him, a short glimpse was usually enough to tell him if closer inspection was called for …

”Now – I am sure the right one will be among these here”, the salesman said with a hopeful smile on his pale face when putting four different notebooks of quarto format onto the sales counter.

But these notebooks, too, caused Gerlinde only irritation – which she demonstrated by again shaking her beautifully styled head: “No – no, these are far too big!“ she said again. Carl seemed to notice a certain amount of impatience in her voice.

”So – these are still too big?” – the still friendly young man in his light-blue shirt and well-ironed dark pair of trousers said.

”Well”, he murmured thoughtfully while rubbing his carefully shaved chin with his right hand, “in that case, there remains basically only one last option”. Gerlinde could not understand any more than this, because the murmuring young man again disappeared from her view.

Carl meanwhile was busy inspecting an assortment of coloured biros which had a good touch to them and also produced very nice writing …

”Madam, I am sure this will be what you have been looking for”, an excited salesman’s voice droned from the opposite side a few moments later. Then the salesman came with long strides, optimistically waving a minuscule notebook of the brand URSUS in front of his somewhat red nose …

”Yes – yes”, Gerlinde cried, sounding rather releaved, “that is exactly the sort of notebook I wanted to buy again!”

”How nice, madam. Now, at long last, we actually found the right thing”, the friendly salesman said. He was visibly relieved and had a self-contented smile on his face.

”Yes – thank God”, Gerlinde piped, “didn’t I say from the start that yours is the right place?” The salesman nodded his agreement and asked,

”Would you like a small plastic bag?”

”Yes, that would be nice …“, Gerlinde breathed.

”That is 1euro and  20 cents, Madam!”,

”1 euro and 20 cents“, Gerlinde thought aloud, then looked at Carl who was still standing near the biros, saying:

”You know what – let me have two of these small notebooks. After all, we are not really talking costs that will break my neck, are we?”

”With pleasure, madam”, the still friendly salesman said, before again hurrying away…

When he returned full of optimism and bearing the second small URSUS, Carl spontaneously asked: “can you tell me what the least expensive biro costs at your place?”

”Now, wait a minute”, the diligent salesman said. He put the second notebook on top of the first and hurried to meet Carl, “this here is the least expensive one, it costs 60 cents!“

”Good, I will take it”, Carl announced his quick decision. Almost intimidated by this quick purchase decision, the baffled salesman took a new silver-sparking biro out of the case holding four and quickly returned to the sales counter with an air of triumph.

”Carl, we have some biros at home! I bought them a short time ago”, Gerlinde suddenly interjected.

”Are you sure?”, Carl hesitated, wrinkling his forehead.

”Yes”, said Gerlinde in a short-tempered way while giving him a very meaningful glance.

”But still, I can certainly buy one to be on the safe side, can’t I?”, Carl nonchalantly remarked, returning her glance with a bold one …

”Carl – I said we have enough biros at home!”, Gerlinde repeated a little more sternly.

”How strange that I never seem to have seen any of those”, Carl grumbled while shaking his head several times. “But still, I am sure we can take this one here along, as well!”

”Carl, that will not be necessary. I got you a complete five-pack of coloured biros; buying another one would really be wasting money now… “, Gerlinde intoned.

”Well, if that is how you feel about it”, Carl sounded a little unnerved by now.

Turning to the still friendly salesman, he said,

”Maybe we will not get a biro, after all. You heard how this planned monstrosity sale was just forbidden me… “

”Now aren’t you one dumb dummy”, Gerlinde complained with upturned eyebrows, taking her two small notebooks and shaking her head.

”That will be 2 euros and 40 cents, madam”, the smiling salesman said to Gerlinde as she started taking out her purse.

And his reply to Carl came with regret in his voice: “well, sir, it is certainly a pity. You could have gotten four biros for this kind of money”!

”Yes, that is just too bad”, Carl replied. He grinned and ducked his head.

”Hm – hm – hm“, Gerlinde testily grumbled, showing her expensively crowned teeth, like a lion preparing for the final kill.

”You see, madam, in modern times, we men do have to stick together a little bit”, the still friendly salesman said with a grin while accepting the 2 euros and 40 cents from Gerlinde. Then he smiled at Carl with a twinkle in his eyes; Carl gave an agreeable nod back and, for a short moment, had the greatly relieving feeling of belonging to a secret men’s guild.…

KH
(Translated by EG)

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