I have a funny habit of paying more attention to marketing pitches than I should. The pitch can be about anything: obtaining my vote for the student union, getting me to donate to a charity, even converting me to a Mormon. It doesn't matter what -- I just can't resist stopping and listening to what they have to say. Part of the reason maybe me feeling impolite to ignore even a stranger, but it can equally be my subconscious curiosity at work.
Since most passers-by ignore salespeople, they get quite excited when someone actually stops and listen to their pitch. I'm not a marketing person, but logic tells me that the longer a subject stays and listen to your pitch, the more likely you will succeed. That is, unless I am the subject.
The problem (for the salespeople at least) is that I don't consider myself an impulsive "buyer". I will in fact go further to declare that I don't like being told what to do, so any attempt at persuading me is likely to fail or even backfire. Perhaps the only time someone can convince me is if I already had the desire to buy or carry out that very same thing they are pitching. Despite having made up my mind before they started talking, I will listen to them and will not interrupt unless I'm in a hurry. That's right, I let them talk all they want, knowing they will never reach their goal. To make matters worse, if they ask me a question, I will respond in a positive way rather than sounding bored or irritated (again, to be polite). This of course encourages the salespeople and gives them more hope. Then comes the moment of truth, where, having expressed so much interest during the conversation, I am fully expected to commit and seal the deal. As it turns out, I will tell them bluntly that I am not interested and walk away without making any promises.
This may sound like a perverse practical joke, and someone actually wrote to the newspaper suggesting everyone give salespeople the "treatment". However this has never been my intent, even though I prefer they stay off the streets and my front door. It's just that once I started listening I do get interested in the information they gave but not the sale. Maybe secretly I hoped one of these guys can really convince me to move away from my status quo, so I gave them plenty of talking time to make their attempt. This has yet to happen.