Well, there I was sitting at a desk near the front door of my Cape Town office, safely away from the Winter cold and rain talking away about a customer project, when in walked a women in a beret, with a huge black cotton holdall slung over her shoulder.
Unused to getting such visitors, my colleague and I looked up from our chat, to be greeted with “hello, relax, I’ve not got a bomb in my bag”.
After a stunned pause from us, she continued, trying to make pally small talk. Always on the look-out for quality people in a place where recruiting is notoriously tricky, I hoped for a sign that the first gambit was a blip. Unfortunately, it was merely a shape of things to come.
Over the next 15 seconds, I had the contents of her bag strewn across my desk. Simply describing the name of items like a fuzzy-felt game and singing teddy bear left me bemused. When everyone in the room explained they didn’t have children, we were chided for our lack of fecundity.
With that I politely sent her on her way. When I first started to work, in my cub-rep days, I remember a fella occasionally leaving behind a box full of books and toys for people to thumb through for a week. Amazingly people did buy the odd thing without any chat at all from him. Thankfully, his sghostly presence meant he never dropped a line about a bomb.
Maybe my encounter says more about the state of S African economic reality.
If door-knocking techniques interest you, one of my earliest exposures to such fun and games came from a mate of mine originally from Andover that did a Summer selling books for Southwestern. He came back from America a broken man! Here’s a fascinating insight into their world from a US forum.