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Another Demographic That Needs to Learn “No Means No”

You probably already know where I’m going here.

I’m talking about those super aggressive men and women who hawk Dead Sea skin care products at mall kiosks and, as I discovered two weeks ago, also in Lahaina, Hawaii.

What, weren’t you thinking of them, too?

I have encountered these people many times, and my normal M.O. is to walk past them as close to the outer wall of the mall and away from the kiosk as possible so they don’t even see me. When I am in the unfortunate position of having to pass by them in closer proximity than I prefer, I have no problem turning down their offers of free samples and invitations to come over and discuss my skin.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy free things or having conversations or trying new products; I just don’t like their tactics. A couple of them have even become unreasonably rude to me in the past after I did nothing other than politely turn them down without slowing my pace.

When we were strolling down Front Street in Lahaina, I heard the familiar “Hey friend, would you like a free sample?” as we approached their storefront. I said, “No thank you!”

As we kept walking, she called after me, “Why not? It’s free!” I replied, “Not interested, thanks!”

After we were out of earshot Jim asked me why I didn’t just take the sample. “Because I didn’t want it!” I said. Taking those tiny free packets feels like bad juju to me.

Later that day we passed another such store and the routine was repeated almost word for word, with one addition after I declined: “Wait, friend…come into the store. I have something for under your eyes!”


Look. I know these people have a job to do. I know their sales tactics rely on their ability to suss out the type of people who have a hard time saying “no” as well as those who have insecurities. But I’m not their friend and the eye comment made me ragey, not because I’m feeling bad about my eyes (which are FINE) but because that is a low blow to try and get a customer. In my head, I was immediately rushing towards her to sweep the leg, and in a lot of ways I wish I could have done just that for real, without getting arrested.

I’m home from Maui now and have no intention of going to the mall for a while, since my holiday shopping is complete. It looks like I’m going to have to rely on my actual friends to make actual skin product recommendations, if I ask them. And I’m fine with that.