A car salesman tells a poor man to go away because there’s no way he can afford anything in the dealership but learns a humbling lesson the very next day.
Cole Jackson always considered himself an amazing salesman. He had the kind of charisma that could convince people to buy anything wherever he worked. However, he also had a keen eye for spotting the best customers.
He knew who would get their checks out and who would waste his time. Naturally, his best clients were always wealthy people, and after so many years in retail, he knew how to determine almost everyone’s wealth.
After years of working in this business, he had finally landed a job at a luxury brand dealership and was keen to prove himself to the boss, Mr. Hansen. However, the new model was pretty expensive, and even the sharpest dressed people had hesitated with other sales associates.
The inside of a car dealership store. | Source: Shutterstock
“Good morning, Cole. I feel like today is a wonderful day to sell cars, right?” Mr. Hansen asked him as they were getting ready to open the store.
“Yes, Mr. Hansen. I hope people with deep pockets come to the store today,” Cole replied.
“Of course, just remember that you can’t judge a book by its cover. You never know how much money a person has right away,” his boss added and walked away.
Cole smirked. He was confident in his ability to tell who had money and who didn’t even need to be at the store. But this day would not be easy for him. After a few hours, he had managed a few sales, but none of his clients were interested in the new model.
A smiling man and a woman shaking hands | Source: Pexels
Suddenly, a disheveled-looking man walked into the store. Everyone else was busy, and it was up to Cole to greet him. *I can’t believe someone like that came into this dealership," he thought. There’s no way this man had enough money even for the cheapest car on the lot.
“Hello, sir. How can I help you today? Are you looking for something specific?” Cole greeted politely, hiding his annoyance.
“Yes. Can I see the new model everyone’s been raving about?” the man asked.
“Of course, follow me,” Cole said, a little taken aback by this request. They walked towards the brand new exhibit for this specific model, and the man continued to ask questions about it.
Smiling man in a printed shirt. | Source: Unsplash
Obviously, the poor man knew about cars, but there’s no way he could afford them. However, Cole behaved as the best salesman possible, answering everything but knowing that this man would not buy anything today.
As he talked to the poor man, Cole noticed that several new customers had arrived, but his colleagues greeted them. Some of these clients were sharply dressed. He thought he should be the one attending to them instead of wasting his time with this man. But the man continued asking question after question, and Cole was getting tired of it.
“Do you think I could test drive it?” the man suddenly asked.
A row of luxurious cars | Source: Pixabay
Cole was perplexed and didn’t know what to say for a second. He hated the idea of this poorly-dressed man driving this model, and frankly, it wouldn’t lead to a sale. So, he cut to the chase.
“Look, man. This car is worth more than $200,000. There’s no way you can afford it. You might have already lost me several commissions with other customers. I’m going to ask you to leave because this is a huge waste of time for me,” Cole said, unable to hide his frustration.
“How do you know that I can’t afford this car?” the man asked.
“Sir, I have been in this business for a decade. I know wealth when I see it. You have dressed just a step above the homeless man that hangs out by the falafel cart in the corner. Come back when you have money and better clothes. Go away, now,” Cole finished as he escorted the man out the door.
An outstretched arm | Source: Pexels
After the man left, Mr. Hansen came to check in with Cole and asked about the latest customer. “No, sir. It was just some guy that knew a little bit about cars and wasted my time asking about the new model,” Cole replied.
“Well, you never know, Cole. Remember what I told you earlier,” Mr. Hansen said and walked away. Cole scoffed internally and continued his workday. He greeted other customers, but no one in the store had managed to sell the new model by closing time.
Luckily, tomorrow was a brand new day, and Cole felt that if he hadn’t wasted so much time with that bum, he might have been able to catch a high roller. That’s why he was shocked when the poor man showed up again.
A man and a woman looking over a report. | Source: Pexels
Cole stayed back, hoping that one of his fellow salespeople would greet him. Suddenly, Mr. Hansen ran towards the man and hugged him. “John! How nice to see you!” his boss exclaimed to the man.
“Hey, Eric. It’s been a while. You know I came here yesterday and wanted to buy the new model. But your employee standards have really lowered, man,” John explained as Cole approached them slowly.
“What do you mean?” Mr. Hansen asked.
“Well, that young man over there told me to stop wasting his time and get out,” the man said while pointing at Cole.
“Is that true, Cole?” Mr. Hansen questioned him.
A man in a suit | Source: Unsplash
“Yes, sir. But this man asked all kinds of questions about the new model, and he definitely cannot afford it,” Cole explained.
“Really?” Mr. Hansen started. “Cole, John is my brother, and he has ten times more money than I do. So, he can afford every single car in this dealership in cash right now.”
Cole turned white as soon as Mr. Hansen finished his words. He couldn’t believe that someone so badly dressed would be such a wealthy person. “Why didn't you say anything, sir?” Cole asked the man.
“Why would I? You made your judgment as soon as you saw me. So, I decided to test how good of a salesperson you were. I could tell you didn’t want to help me and just played along,” John answered. Cole could only gape at him.
“Now, Eric. Let’s get me on that new car. I have 200 thousand dollars burning a hole in this bag, and I need to spend them,” John continued.
A frustrated man holding his head with both hands. | Source: Pexels
“Mr. Hansen. I’m so sorry. I didn’t think,” Cole tried to reason when Mr. Hansen called him to his office.
“I’m sorry too, Cole. I thought you would be good for this job, but this was just unacceptable. You’re fired,” his boss said, and Cole had to walk away from his dream sales job. But he never judged someone else again.
What can we learn from this story?
1. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Just as Mr. Hansen explained, you can’t judge a person by the clothes they are wearing.
2. Be good to everyone. A good salesman or anyone that deals with other people should know that everyone deserves respect and good service.
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Any resemblance in this story to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
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