The afternoon was warm and balmy. We walked down the oceanfront street, shops beckoning with beautiful wares. A young woman, cute hat atop her pretty, long brown hair, reached out to hand me samples of skin products.
I usually say ‘no’ and keep walking, which I started to do again. But she was insistent and I took the samples, dropping them into my bag.
“You have such pretty eyes,” she said (oh, does that appeal to my ego??). “Let me give you something for them.”
“Only if I can keep walking,” I said, thinking she would hand me another sample and Don and I would be on our way.
“Yes, just a minute. Come here.” And with that she drew me (and by default, my sweet husband) into the store, lathered some cream under my eye and told me to let it set. Then she did the same to Don. Well … not a good time to walk out!
“Wallah,” Leah said a few minutes later. “You have a great result. Look how the wrinkles have lessened. You too Mr. Don.” And they had. Between her lovely Israeli accent and fast speech it wasn’t always easy to keep up with what she said.
Then she offered us a “treatment” as part of the package, and Chloe took over. She showed us another product, much, much more costly, and how it would take years off our (‘beautiful, handsome’) faces. We told her we didn’t want to purchase it.
“But isn’t your health, your face worth doing something for yourself? You’ve spent your lives helping others. Now what about you?”
Oh, is that ever a lie of the devil! Chloe wasn’t happy when we told her it simply wasn’t how we wanted to spend our money. But she was still gracious and we left.
Those of you who know me know I’m not averse to shopping! But I don’t appreciate being grabbed by a hook (the samples, the compliments) and then getting a pressured sales job for something that’s way out of my price point and out of line with my budget and priorities.
These women were GOOD–fast talkers, persuasive, lovely, complimentary, constantly buttering up in order to appeal to ego, insecurity, whatever. Don and I talked about the experience later and were able to laugh together. We also realized that, had we succumbed, we would have felt sick with guilt and remorse afterward.
The experience reminded me of bygone days in Puerto Vallarta, a timeshare salesperson on every corner. If they could get our attention we were hooked for 30-90 minutes. If we tried to be polite and say “no thanks”, they had us. We learned to say nothing and keep walking.
It’s a typical “bait and switch”. Bait the individual with samples, with compliments, then once you’ve made eye contact, draw them into your spiehl (how is that spelled anyway?).
Satan does this–he promises happiness, fun, success. “Do it my way,” he whispers. “It’s time to take care of yourself instead of everyone else.” But his lies often come at a very high price. Health problems, addictions, debt, family dysfunctions … when true peace and joy and love are found at the feet of Jesus.
I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (Jesus)John 10:10b
And while we all make wrong or unwise decisions along the way, we also have the privilege of returning to the Father to receive forgiveness and cleansing.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.I John 1:9
I want to be wise, to recognize the ‘bait and switch’ maneuvers of the world, the flesh and the devil, and find my peace, my security, my hope, in the only person who gives freely, without reservation, and in truth. No lies, no bait and switch, no high cost of sin. Just walking in truth.
Have you experienced ‘bait and switch’? I’d like to hear about it, whether it’s in a sales environment, your walk with God, or something else.