Earlier this year, as spring was bursting all around us, Claire and I wandered through the continental farmers market in Cheltenham. The morning was lush. Regency architecture, sunshine, warmth, leaves coming through the trees and the smell of French bread flowing through the air.
I adore French bread and this was real, not the stuff you get from our supermarkets. The stall was definitely authentic and so were the prices – I mean steep, very steep. But hey, this was a corner of France in a foreign field in Cheltenham so I ordered 2 loaves of the Boule de Campagne.
“Of course Sir, would you like them in a bag” her English was perfect, not a hint of a French accent, which is good, I guess. She tried really hard to speak perfect English with all good intentions. But for me the transaction at that French market lost its appeal. It didn’t seem real or authentic anymore. I wanted a heavy French accent to put the gloss on the experience and to justify their glossy prices.
You can always tell when someone’s putting on a show, trying too hard and I’ve met my fair share of salespeople who are just not authentic, acting with too much gloss. In the current climate this doesn’t stack up anymore, people see straight through it.
Customers demand honesty, integrity and authenticity. Transparency comes to mind. So be yourself, get rid of any acts or fronts that you’ve been wearing over the last few years and just be yourself.
The bread did taste good though, but if I’m truthful, it would have tasted even better delivered with a heavy Gauloise Parisian accent.