I was coming home on the train one evening when, out of nowhere, a girl appears and starts asking everyone on the carriage for any change they could spare.
Here were her exact words:
“Excuse me sir/ma’am. Sorry to disturb you, but would you happen to have any spare change? Just looking for a place to stay and need some money to save up. If you don’t, that’s okay!”
<person gives loose change>
“Thank you sir/ma’am. Really appreciate it. I feel bad doing this.”
At this point, I’m thinking to myself, “No you don’t! You know exactly what you’re doing!”
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask
She then proceeded to ask every single other person for loose change. Not worried at all that others are starting to catch on to the fact she may just be looking to see how much many she can get from as many people as possible.
Now, while she was going up and down the carriage, her partner in crime (some other dude who was right across from me), was counting loose change for what seemed like a good 10 minutes. (It sounded like $100 worth of coins to me.)
I suspected these guys had been doing the same thing for each carriage on the entire train line.
What amazed me was how deadly of a combo they were.
Have A “Partner In Crime”
The girl was the one out asking for the money (the salesperson), while the guy was counting the change (the manager).
This guy didn’t speak a word to anyone on the carriage.
(If you’re thinking this is like something from the movies – like with a pimp and his hoe – I wouldn’t have blamed you.)
I don’t know what the exact arrangement was, all I know was that these guys were resourceful. There was clearly no shame or embarrassment in the ask (even though the girl said she was “sorry for asking”), which meant she was able to do what most people wouldn’t dare to do out of social “etiquette”.
This is similar to how salespeople have to learn how to push through potentially awkward situations and “ask for the sale” (although in this case, it might seem a bit more extreme). But it’s easier to do when you know you got someone to back you up.
Ask for The Sale, Respectfully
Believe it or not – I’ve seen this occur many times on Melbourne train lines. In fact, I’ve noticed an “evolution” in these guys’ approach to getting money from people.
In the past, they would be rude and blunt. Forceful and agressive. Now, they’ve learned how to be “nice” and elicit empathetic emotions from regular train-goers (even if it’s not all that convincing). The fact that you’re put on the spot in front of others, and have a small amount of time to make a decision, means that these guys are very socially savvy. They know what works.
It’s quite fascinating!
The one final bit was that, since I knew what these guys were doing, I actually pretended to sleep to see if the girl would actually go as far as wake me up to get what she wanted.
Guess what? She did.
Nevertheless, these guys taught (reminded) me that if you really want something – you will most often do whatever it takes to get it (the art of the hustle). Excuses become non-existent (right or wrong – I have no idea what those bogans were really collecting money for), and all that matters is that you know what you want.
Have you ever pushed through potentially awkward situations to get what you want? Comment below!
Also published on Medium.