Promo Fail

My humble promotional consumers, so unknowing and heartfelt. It is you who makes the fruitfulness of my promotional career as a Brand Ambassador possible. If your tender palms were not outstretched towards my palms, so callused and desiccated, food would not pass through my gullet or fill my stomach and the roof over my head would resemble that of my parents’ or that of cardboard. It is you who gives me reason to strive for tomorrow; it is you who brings such joyous occasion to my hollow existence; it is you who completes me.

Truly Yours,

BA #17391392

Pssssht, yeah right.

I stumbled into the promotional world about three years ago and the experiences I have to share require more interweb-space than WordPress can handle, so perhaps another day. I’ve seen all spectrums of the human condition, some of it endearing, most if it just plain irritating. What I can discuss briefly are the handful of consumer interactions that absolutely drive me up the wall. AND I have categorized them: greedy, creepy, rude and just annoying. We all focus on the planes that crash, right? Let’s take a walk.


I am giving you something for free. There is no charge for you. No money transaction. Sometimes it’s a race with us BA’s when the client delivers more samples than the street teams can handle, so we’re handing out multiple samples at once to make sure we hit numbers. Sometimes we have strict guidelines and can only sample one unit per person, and we don’t expect the consumer to know this. However, take what we give you and go about your merry way. Don’t get greedy, hold up your other hand and feed us the line, “I have 47 grandchildren.” If you keep coming back to us with pseudo-onset amnesia, we’re going to see right through you and your stuffed pockets, so cut it out. And stop sending your children on your behalf.


My job is to deliver a brand message from the client to you, it is not to stand there and get hit on by you, creepy old dude with no game and a possible outstanding warrant. Kindly save your pick-up lines for anonymous chatroom sessions. I don’t understand how my frumpy khaki pants, tarnished sneakers and oversized branded T-shirt is a turn on to you. Perhaps it’s the fact I’m standing in one spot and have my promo-smile on that makes me, and my fellow female BA’s, an easy target for your skeaziness.

Crazy cat lady, I gave you a stick of gum, wished you a good day and closed the short chapter of our relationship. Why are you telling me all about your cats’ medical histories and how you replaced Hydrangea, your white Turkish Angora who passed eight months ago from ingesting too much yarn, with an off-white LaPerm that has Peritonitis named Stinkface, thinking Hyrangea’s twin-sister, Mosey-Posey -sometimes shortened to “Mose-Pose” when your insulin levels are low and don’t have the energy for extra syllables- wouldn’t notice when clearly Mosey-Posey did and now you need your neighbor’s stepson to build a special room divider to keep Mosey-Posey and Stinkface from clawing each other’s fur off when you doze off to QVC every night.


Don’t think you’re all slick when you dash by us and bark, “Get a job.” Do you think I’m playing imaginary-TurboTax with my imaginary 1099’s and W2’s come April or putting Monopoly money towards my rent, food, bills, etc…? Keep the stuffy arrogance to yourself, please.

Yes, I know you spotted our bountiful supply of product either in our bags/vehicle/cooler/cart/table and are taken to a happy place, but refrain from jamming your hands and snatching your own sample like a snapping turtle unless we direct you to. Respect your BA middleman.

If there so happens to be high fructose corn syrup in the ingredients list, stop telling us we’re purposely poisoning the world and no better than the Al Qaeda.

I’m sure my fellow ethnic BA’s can understand the following scenario:

I’m in Downtown Crossing yelling, “Nature’s Best dog and cat food samples, get ’em while supplies last!” A man walks up to me and says, “您好,东方。你有小眼睛和墙壁面? 你明白吗?” I say, “I don’t speak whatever language you’re speaking to me, sorry, dude.” Then man replies, “我講你的語言!” Then I give him reverse and backhanded racism and say, “I-SPEAKY-DA-ENGRISH, NO-DA-CHING-CHONG!” The man gets mad and storms away and I feel ethnically violated.

Don’t even get me started on racist ignorance.


We don’t care about your dietary needs most of the time, you know what you’re allergic to and shouldn’t be consuming; it’s ultimately your decision to read the fine print. Don’t take candy from strangers, especially when you think it contains diary, nuts, wheat, gum arabic, lecithin or sodium hexametaphosphate and you’d swell up like a hot air balloon. Same goes for giving our samples to your children. And when we rattle off our tagline and offer you a sample, a simple reply like, “No thanks!” will suffice. No need to get all offended and wide-eyed and go off on a tangent because we weren’t present the day you had your extensive allergy tests done.

When everyone is taking off their branded clothing and handing in their empty bags, and it clearly looks like we’re winding things down for the day, don’t take it to the next level of annoying and ask if there’s anything left you can have. If we’re handing out shirts, by all means, ask us politely if you can have a shirt. If we’re handing out anything other than a shirt, don’t [BLEEP]ing ask us if we have any shirts to hand out or if you can the shirts off our backs. Would you honestly wear a powder blue hoodie that said “Quaker Oatmeal Squares,” “Get Your Crunch On,” and “Tasty Crunchy Oatmeal” if you weren’t handing out small boxes of cereal? Are you that white trash?

If I am shouting at the top of my little lungs what I am giving out, I sound like a broken record and we are making eye contact, are you seriously going to ask me what I’m giving out? Clean the aloofness out of your ears! Nothing is worse than when you expend all my energy explaining my promotional purpose at that given moment and you ask me what I’m doing and what I’m here for and what I’m giving you. Drop dead.

I need to stop writing this blog before I have an aneurysm.

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