I stopped to talk with him.
“Do you sell very many of these?” I asked him.
“No, not really. Not many. It’s been pretty slow.”
“OK, well do you market them anywhere, or it just here?”
“No, just here. Just on the street. Usually it’s better in the summer, with the tourists.”
I genuinely wanted to help him think about better strategies than standing on the street with no signage to describe his business or who he is.
“Well maybe you want one of these?” He pointed to some earrings. “These are nice!”
“No, I’m not going to buy any, but I wanted to stop to talk.”
“Maybe these? These are nice. I get these scarves imported. They are real cashmere.”
“Well, which one do you think is the nicest?”
“I guess that bright red one at the end.”
“Well, OK. Thank you. That helps. Have a nice day.”
The man ended the conversation with ME. That had never happened before.
And even though he still asked me the same questions he had asked countless times before, this felt different. It felt like progress.
I wished him well, and I walked away. And I didn’t feel as annoyed. I approached it a different way. I approached with a desire to learn what was going on for him.
The man showed some vulnerability. I got to hear what he sounded like in a normal conversation. I picked up on more of his accent. His emotions and story started to come through. He was no longer just that annoying guy on the street. He became something else to me.
A human being.
Have you ever experienced anything like this? How did it work out/not work out for you? I hope this helped in a small way.
Stay awake out there,
P.S. Let me know if you liked this storytelling approach. Maybe I’ll experiment with it more often in other issues!