Battles of Control

The tricks we try and how they can fail.

By: Gabriela Yareliz Gonzalez

        This past Christmas season, I was in terror at the thought of the mall. It wasn’t the overload of people or the uncertainty of certain purchases; it was the group of aggressive sale merchants that linger between stores sometimes stalking you into the Anne Taylor store just so they can rub their special lotion on your hands. I’ve seen them argue with older women about how these elderly women didn’t buy their products and they insist the older women tell them which ones as if these women are liars and have to prove something so they won’t be further harassed. I’ve also seen them try to negotiate deals no matter what amount of money you have on you- it’s like Israel sent a shipment of good looking annoying people to go to every mall in America and sell their products in the hallway booths.

                So how do you get by these aggressive Israeli merchants when they’ll grab you by the hand and talk to you until you no longer know how you ended up there? Well I’ve discovered that the cell phone trick always works. When you walk by, call someone in your network (so it’s free), perfect time to get back in touch with old friends, or flip your phone open and act like you are texting (if you don’t have texting). If you are on your phone they don’t bother you.

        Someone once told me that the cell phone trick wasn’t that great because it was giving them “control”. He suggested (based on how he handles situations of social awkwardness) that one should walk by and look them straight in the eye, even if they think you’ll stop and walk past them. If they say anything say a curt “no” and walk away. This is the way you show you are in control. I myself would rather avoid any sort of misunderstanding or awkwardness (especially if you frequent the mall often and must face these people regularly). Either way, how you handle this battle of control is up to you.

        I knew I had lost all control the minute I was sitting in a chair in the middle of the mall getting my hair straightened by a good looking simpatico Israeli guy who was talking to me about the features of the beauty wonder while avoiding conversation about pricing. Sometimes we win, sometimes we fail. I mean, getting my hair straightened was better than getting two nails filed on my hand and having them be shiny for two weeks (previous trauma from nail booth). Either way, if you aren’t going to buy anything, make eye contact or don’t make eye contact, whip out your cell phone or keep it in your pocket-just walk away.

Published by Gabriela Yareliz

Gabriela is a writer, editor and attorney. She loves the art of storytelling, and she is based in NYC.

2 thoughts on “Battles of Control

  1. Interesting perspective. Did the Israeli guy leave your hair silky smooth? Am I the “someone” who refuses to give up control while at the mall?

    Very interesting article. I think you should expand and polish for publication. I’m sure a magazine or newspaper would love this topic and your perspectives on it.


    1. HAHA, yes you are the person who refuses to give up control. Yes, he left my hair “silky smooth” so now my hair is silky smooth everyday 🙂 Thanks for reading it, perhaps I will expand on it. 🙂

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