The Fate Of Democracy And The In-Store Demo

The Fate Of Democracy And The In-Store Demo

As we are being constantly reminded in words and deeds, the world gets more polarized with every passing hour.  I'm writing this on the eve of the November 8th election and I am certain that the results will be devastating for roughly half the country, to a degree never before thought possible.   The winning half will revel in the defeat of their opponents as much, if not more, than the victory itself.  People will continue to treat other people like they are not people, but moreso.  The gulf widens.

You can (and I admit I do) divide the world by political affiliation.  But I also divide the world into other binaries.  Dog people and not-dog people.  People who grew up on television, and people who didn't.   Hellman's people and Miracle Whip people.  And of course,  "Sure! I'd love a sample, tell me more about this product" at the grocery store people, and "No, thank you" while avoiding eye contact at the grocery store people.  

What happens when you're a "No, Thank You," but you have to penetrate the mind and soul of "Sure!" people?  For the first time since the pandemic, I reacquainted myself with just this dilemma.   Last week I went to Austin, Texas right at the beginning of a promotional month at Central Market Stores across the state.  The North Lamar team managed to get me a last minute demo slot for one of the days that I was there, and I was lucky enough to secure Cindy, Austin's most beloved demo specialist, to accompany me.  

The store wasn't too crowded.  I would say the crowd was a strong 65% "No, Thank You's."  I've never sought the data on this, but that feels right for a Wednesday afternoon.  We did manage to sell all of Boat Sauce that Central Market had on hand…but they also weren't well stocked for a promotion.  I learned that Cindy is a rare, native Austinite who lives in her childhood home (my dream) and who is going to be a grandmother for the second time, this week. We got some ladies from Boca Raton quite excited about Boat Sauce in a Bloody Mary. We had another sampler ask where she could find the cream cheese that we were sampling with the Boat Sauce. We directed a few people to aisle 4 for beans.

As a "No, Thank You" in my soul, getting yourself psyched up to win over the  "Sure!'s" is tricky.  It's not a fake-it-till-you-make it practice, it's a reach-deep-into-your-truth-as-you-leave-your-body-until-you-transcend-performance practice.  It's deeply uncomfortable while also improvisational and inspiring.  But, in four years and dozens of demos and markets and festivals, finding the right 5-12 word sentence that describes and sells Bobbie's Boat Sauce still eludes me. I have a few lines, and they vary depending on the event and my reading of the person I'm speaking with, but "tomato-chili sauce with aromatics, anchovy and lime, a savory-umami and not-too-spicy condiment or cooking ingredient to go with everything" is in the ballpark.  Too long! Where's the hook?  

Do YOU have that perfect description for what Bobbie's Boat Sauce is?  I would love to hear it, so I've set up this little form.  I'm feeling generous too, so I'll reward submissions with a surprise if you leave your contact info.  And don't worry, I won't give your email to a super PAC.