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I Was Scammed at the Mall

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Are mall kiosk salespeople like Internet sharketers? I think so.

I had just left Dillard’s and was headed back to Victoria’s Secret to pick up my wife. No, really. That’s where she was. But before you get any big ideas about what she was shopping for, think of this: my daughter was with her. So yeah. I guarantee they weren’t shopping for Valentine’s Day gifts for me. (At least I hope not, because…the horror!)

All I wanted to do was get from point A to point B. Shopping for shoes in the mall was bad enough. I kind of prefer Target where all the shoes are right smack in the middle of the store, and there are only six varieties so I don’t get confused. So I’m walking with my new shoes minding my own business when this slick (read: young, cute) sales girl smiled at me and said, “May I?”

I had to stop. I mean, she smiled at me. Cute young girls haven’t smiled at me since pre-marriage days. Excluding my four-year-old. She’s cute and young, but it’s not the same, you know?

So I stopped (that was my first mistake) and let this girl tut-tut over my dry hands. There was no question about it: they were dry. And such a shame, too, good looking guy like me, she says. Next thing I know, she’s buffing my thumbnail with some kind of buffer thingy. I don’t know what it was. It was blue. And it left my thumbnail shiny.

Meanwhile, she learned that I am a writer, that I am married and have children, that I had just bought shoes, that I was at the mall for dinner with my wife and daughter, and that I had not yet bought her a Valentine’s day present.

I mean I’m so not a chatty person. That’s more than my coworkers know about me! I swear, if she had asked me for my social security number and my deepest hopes and dreams, I would have given them to her.

See, the thing is, I’m not even sure how it really happened. One minute we were just friends and the next I was a customer and had spent $40 I didn’t plan to spend on stuff my wife already has sitting on the dresser. Cuticle oil (WTF?) and some kind of lotion. She might have called it “butter” or something. Oh yeah, and salt from the Dead Sea. For scrubbing into your skin. To make it soft.

It was just so fast. And she seemed so sincere and I thought she really liked me and I believed her when she said that the softness on my hands would last for a week and the shine on my nail would last for three. I mean, why would she lie? We bonded, I tell you!

So what do you think? Are there any parallels? Discuss.

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15 Comments

  1. I was going to the mall because I saw this awesome hair straightener but at this kiosk that was on the third floor, the one at the second floor stopped me, and they seemed legit, at the time. The girl gave me time to think it over. I mean I had heard of Lionesse, I thought it must be a good product.. I was wrong… I was so wrong. The price was fair, but the product was crap! it burned my hair, and you couldn’t curl the hair to save your life. I was so angry because it said no refunds and they didn’t refund me the damn money, they exchanged for some lotions, and I WASN’T about to pay for them I’m so angry!

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  2. so I am on vacation in a hotel that connects to a mall. $149.80 later, I totally got scammed by those creeps. After reading about how terrible they are online, I decide to fake an allergic reaction. I scratched the crap out of one of my legs, went back to the mall, showed them, acted pathetic, and they gave me money back for two products. There was a third product that had oil on the box. I argued with the manager for about 5 minutes. She was claiming that the product no longer had value because the box was not in perfect condition. Meanwhile they are using the exact product as a tester on everyone else. Why couldn’t they get a new box or use mine as a tester?

    Anyway, I got all my money back because we were making a scene and I’m still running off of the adrenaline! If you get scammed just pull the allergic reaction bit. They will be so scared other customers will overhear that they’ll back down eventually :-)

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  3. My husband was scammed by one of these people at the mall last weekend. He bought a toy helicopter and paid $140 for it. I found the same one online for $55!! The receit says No Refunds! And the business name on it is “halo culture extensions”?! The worst part is that he used his credit card to pay for it. Is that even safe with these people? Now I’m worried I need to cancel the card.

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  4. DeadSeaTricked says:

    I just fell for this too! Dammit! I was trying to get from point A to point B after shopping the mall, and a nice mid-30 year old women stopped me out of nowhere. She quickly asked me about Christmas shopping and that she had this wonderful product that would make it the best unique gift for my mom. She didn’t even tell what it was yet.

    Then she shined my pinky with this sponge looking thing and I immediately think of some ways to get out of the conversation, but somehow I was hooked in there (being nice sucks sometimes!!). We ended up talking for about 20 minutes and I walked out with $90 out of my pocket for the damn products (buy 1 get one free). It was the Seacret Nail Care Collection with the emphasis on “Dead Sea”. The box came with lotion, blue bottle (acetone?), sponge, etc.

    After coming home, I was like “WTF just happened”. Got lured in and tricked. Then found out I can get the same thing for $20 a pop. Looked at the receipt and saw that there is no freakin’ refund: “No refund, exchange within 14 days”. Fail!

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  5. I fell for this too! I was at the mall with my mom and this lady pulled us to her kiosk and made us buy the dead sea nail kit. However, since we’re ladies, we actually use the stuff and it kinda works? Even though I never use the buffer or the lotion all that much. And yes we even bought the cuticle oil. We don’t even use it!

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  6. This is really funny! I never polish my nails and my husband never puts lotion on…. so that’s how he got the “shiny nails” product and the dead sea salt and lotion… hmmm….

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  7. Thou shalt not treat kiosk sales persons as they treat you.

    They bear false witness do they not? Yes indeedy-while poised for your pocket. ok. Enough grandstanding. I offer more than after the fact bible babble to the choir.

    One important point about these salespersons first. These Gollums are not our friends. Yet they must act so. Apparently, their easiest sales come from performing a script-an MO that never changes (MO-mode of orperation-you just never know) which says: I must-at all costs-be sweet and charming to you for I NEED something from you.”

    Remember, any other tack will stop the sale. Any other behaviour will end the mirage. So, make them WORK for what they must (attempt) to get. Yes, I AM suggesting you PLAY WITH THEM verbally, get over it! Are they not doing the same? They can’t do anything about your behaviour and so the exercise becomes a harmless assertive behaviour lesson of immeasureable benefit to you.

    “May I”?
    [Nudge hand out of forked tongue person’s reach] WHY?

    “Well… I’d like to show you something.”
    [still holding hand away] BUT I DON’T NEED ANYTHING TODAY.

    “Well, this is a lovely lotion and”……

    [interrupt loudly to stop their sentence] LOTION? BUT I NEVER BUY ANYTHING I DON’T NEED. WAIT….. ARE YOU *SUGGESTING* I NEED LOTION ON MY SKIN? HAVE WE MET?

    A hint: Treat every sentence as if you don’t understand it. Question everything as if they speak Mandarin and you’ve never learned Chinese.

    Many of us are taught in childhood to be tactful, polite and non aggressive (women it seems at all costs) when talking to and dealing with others in our lives which can allow our assertive skills to fall out of use. Living life with no assertiveness alarm bell leaves us prey to pushy-and worse-deceitful sales persons with personal agendas.

    Try out the above with these ‘Gollums’ and thier precious–since again they cannot act out and their opinion of you is of no consequence.
    Then you’ll quickly become more nimble and can use this tact on those who are pushy but must be kept as loved ones/friends/parents.
    Yes, parents ARE a separate catagory–You bet! ;)

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  8. Hey, I had my nail shined too. But most manage to look past the salespersons good looks. Maybe go for her phone number next time, O sorry your married

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  9. i hate going to malls, shops even hairdressers
    I got duped many years ago by a nice looking hairdresser, got this and that, my hair all tipped up and paid 40 dollars all up, might sound cheap but this happened at some poor country in europe.

    Lol now i married to one but she is more dupe when it comes to shopping

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  10. Hahaha. You guys crack me up. I’m glad I’m not the only dupe out there.

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  11. I was got by them too. I’m in OH and that very same scenario happened to me (except it was a guy instead of a girl). I was just running into the mall for two stops. Ending up spending money on that crap that didn’t work nearly the same when I got it home. That kiosk must train all of their employees across the country to run that same game on all potential customers.

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  12. I’m 48 too…got the dead sea question and handshake from the pretty girl. She was from “Isreal”… very hot. I didn’t buy anything though. First time in about 20 years a woman other than my wife showed any interest in me. DIDN’T get a PENNY FROM ME. DON”T BE A SUCKER GUYS, she goes to lunch with her other hot girlfriends and laughs at you !

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  13. Lol, good one Joe! I was hit up Christmas of 2007, I had just come back from spending several years in New Zealand. Same thing happened, she put my hands in that green crap and proceeded to massage them. She told me about how good the products were and how much the ladies would like to see a guy that doesn’t have major calist on his paws. Long story short is that she was hot, but not hot enough to get to my wallet. I shut her down with the “I’ll go to this other store real quick and I’ll be right back.”Lol, I walked away a little goofy as I was walking I rubbed my hands together. Then it hit me (WTF) my man paws have lost their manlieness, I work for a living I can’t have hands softer than the girls I’ll never get laid that way. Lol, needless to say I never did go back to that stand.

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  14. Yep, been there done that. I consider myself a pretty savvy internet person. I can spot a scam. I have to say that I have never taken any of those “marketing” websites seriously. But like those sites and the girl in the mall you were focused somewhere else. Meeting your wife and daughter, getting through the other shoppers. You probably had a “deer in the headlights” look on your face. Like I said been there done that. So I will tell you that about 2 years ago I too was in the mall and was stopped by one of these “cute” young ladies. This time they were selling curling irons. I have a ton of these things sitting in a drawer that I barely use. Besides, most of the time I wear my hair curly, kinda wash and wear. Well, to make a long story short and after she did a demonstration on my hair. Basically she misted it with water and ran the iron through it. Hint, All curling irons will give the same results. I paid $125.00 for a $40.00 curling iron. I found the same iron on ebay for the lesser price a few days later. Was there a return policy, well not exactly. There was an exchange policy if the iron failed to work. So here I was with another overpriced curling iron that I didn’t need and feeling rather silly as I looked at my curly hair. Why did I stop? What this young girl did give me for the 20 minutes I stood at the kiosk was a kind of therapy. She was sweet, unencumbered by what was going on in the world. She provide a place where everything was about my “happiness”. I was so pretty, my husband was going to love my hair, my hair was going to be healthier. Yada, Yada, Yada. This is what sharketers do as well. They feed into our dreams and hopes of “instantly” overcoming whatever is keeping us down. Lack of money, lack of sex drive, lack of health, not looking like the next super model. I have learned my lesson. If I have to go to the mall I park closest to the store I need to shop in. If I decide to browse I pass the kiosks like a linebacker making his way down the field. As for the therapy, with so much bad news I now take news in smaller dosages. No more news stations in the car. I keep the news websites down to 2 per day, sports and weather don’t count. And, before I go out to the mall I get a big sloppy kiss from my dog. He could care less what my hair looks like.

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  15. OMG that was funny as hell. I hear you man, believe me….at 48 pushing 49 this year I am RIGHT there with you. I am wise enough to know that now and do my best to stay away from the mall at any costs. Especially unescorted.

    Thank you for a wonderful laugh. BTW, I would go back to that girl and get something (anything?) special for Valentine’s Day. You can never be too careful so only bring a limited amount of cash ;)

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