I met this umbrella salesman yesterday

And I was really impressed by his routine. He was standing outside downtown Berkeley Bart–at the top of the escalator–sheets of rain surrounding him. He asked each person as they exited if they needed an umbrella, paying more attention to those without. It was my turn.

“Do you need an umbrella?”

I looked at him seriously. It was true, I did not have an umbrella. I had been fearing for my hairdo and my health.

“How much?” I was suspicious. Umbrellas always wind up lost or broken.

“Five dollars. They’re eight at Walgreen’s.” I knew I could get a three dollar umbrella at Walgreens. But five bucks wasn’t bad, and the three dollar umbrella was pretty lousy. I wondered if I had enough cash.

He could tell I wasn’t convinced, and handed me the umbrella that was providing his shelter from the heaven’s vicious onslaught. I shook it to determine it’s sturdiness. Convincing. It was black, and it made a nice dome over my head. Sold!

Immediately, I regretted my initial reluctance. As a fellow sales representative, I had to admire his persevereness. And why hadn’t I realized right off the bat that I’d rather support this poor soul trying to make a buck than those assholes at Walgreen’s headquarters?

He even opened my umbrella and held it over my head while I searched my bag for quarters and wished me well on my way.

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