Making Small Talk Valuable

by TTMK on May 6, 2013 · 5 comments

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?

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter May 8, 2013 at 8:16 am

This is funny because I recently had a similar experience! I babysit on the side for extra money, and I took the kids to the park just yesterday when I was watching them. There were two parents there at two different times with their kids that I was chatting with, and they were both asking me if I wanted more babysitting work after seeing me with my two charges. It does pay to be friendly! I hope this might lead to a sale of your dad’s car!

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TTMK May 8, 2013 at 11:35 pm

Just goes to show that it can pay to be friendly!

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Jose May 8, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Your conversation wiht the cashier leaves me scratching my head in wonder. My youngest kids, who are 18 and 20 are grateful to have a car, any car! Her kid seems to feel she is so special that she should get a car better than her mom’s? She needs a serious reality check.

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TTMK May 8, 2013 at 11:18 pm

Once someone has to work hard for money, especially when younger, it can get a person a reality check!

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Untemplater May 13, 2013 at 12:38 am

That’s a pretty cool story, especially if things work out. I’m not natural at small talk especially with strangers. But your example goes to show that being friendly and small talk can lead to great connections.

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