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The store was really busy, which was a good sign. “Look how many other people have decided to shop for cell phones here.” I thought. “I must be making a good decision.” This crowd mentality, by the way, is why your store is either packed or dead – customers like a full parking lot. It makes them feel smart.

I was approached with the loathsome line of, “How can I help you?” Not knowing what plans they offered or the cost of their equipment and the extra services available on their cool little phone, I really didn’t know how he could help me. I wanted him to tell me how he could help me, but apparently I got to decide. So I fumbled, “Well, I’m with another carrier…”

“You have my condolences,” he smirked. Basically, he called me an idiot. No matter what he said, what I heard was, “I’m so sorry you’re so stupid.”

I’m actually quite happy with my current carrier and was only trying to purchase one of their cool little phones. If he had asked why I was looking at a different carrier, he would have been able to capitalize on his company’s multimillion dollar ad campaign and the viral word of mouth associated with his nifty device. He would have overcome my biggest objection in the first 30 seconds and could have used that wedge to drive me closer to his company. Instead, I got my stupid self right outta there.

Ms. Jones doesn’t like playground bully tactics. It didn’t work in high school and it doesn’t work in sales: you can’t put others down to make yourself look good. Be careful how you badmouth your competition. It just might backfire.

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