Sometimes it pays to simply talk to people, and be chatty. While I’m not always that way, on occasion I can break out into small talk with people for no reason other than just to strike up a conversation. Despite no agenda, I recently had an instance where small talk could actually have a payoff.
I was at a quick-casual place I go on occasion to pick up lunch, and ended up placing my order with a cashier who clearly recognized me from prior visits. Not sure it’s a good thing to be going to a place often enough to be recognized instantly, but it is what it is! Anyway, as I was paying, I made a comment about the crazy weather that had just passed through the area. I mentioned that there was some hail, and that we were lucky that the worst part of the storm just missed us.
As I said that, she described how she wouldn’t have cared anyway, as her car is 13 years old and not exactly glamorous. The personal finance enthusiast in me came out, and I told her that she’s smart for driving an older car instead of buying a new one – and that she would come out ahead for doing that. Before going on about it, I quickly remembered that not everyone is as into these things, so I stopped talking.
Well, she didn’t. She responded by saying that she and her husband wanted to get a car for their daughter who is now driving – just something good enough to go back and forth to school. But, it apparently took a lot of convincing to get their daughter to not get a brand name car, and to at least consider a lesser car while being happy just to have one.
Immediately, I thought of my Dad. He has an older car with just over 200,000 miles, and he has talked about figuring out a way to get rid of it. I mentioned Craigslist and helping him with that, but nothing has been done just yet. Anyway, I quickly told the lady about my Dad’s car, and she expressed interest in finding out more. But, she said she had to be clear that they weren’t looking to spend much on the kid’s car.
No problem, I said. I would take a picture with my phone, and show her the next time I dropped by for lunch.
Now, who knows if anything will come of this. However, just by starting a quick conversation and making small talk, I might be able to help a family member sell a car.
Goes to show how simply being friendly can pay off, even if money isn’t the original intent.
My Questions for You
Do you ever make small talk like this, with people who are basically strangers?
Have you ever gotten anywhere with small talk?
Do you think that the ability to be a good conversationalist can be a profitable attribute?