Sant Jordi’s day in Catalonia is a closed-end business model

A few years ago, I wanted to help my 16-year-old daughter to sell roses during the Sant Jordi’s day in Catalonia. She and a girl friend had set up a booth at the heart of the city and had a compelling market offering. For each rose purchased, the buyer would also get a €10 discount per person for up to 4 people at theatre shows. In addition, roses were sold as “social roses” because a fraction of the benefit was redirected to the humanitarian organisation “Save the children”.


Grabber: “Hello, may I beg for your time and ask you 3 questions?” [educated people should say YES]

  1. Raise interest: “Would you be interested in winning 40€” [only the fools would say NO]
  2. Build relationship: “Do you know someone who would be interested in theater shows” [open question to avoid a NO if the person I am talking to happens not to like theater shows].
  3. Create emotional link: “Would you like to make a good action today and help resourceless children”? [expecting another YES]

Once I had collected all my YESES, following the theory that says that people are more likely to say another YES if that have already said YES several times before, I thought that selling the package rose + theater discount + save the children, would be a piece of cake.

So I tried my luck with a dozen passersby. Do you know how many roses I sold?


In fact, I did not even get pass the first question.

I retreated humiliated and watched the process trying to understand customers’ behaviour.

A man that I instantaneously disliked came to the booth and asked for a rose. He wanted a rose because, at Sant Jordi’s day in Catalonia, men ought to offer a rose to the women they love and women ought to reciprocate with a book.

My daughter explained that in addition to the rose, he was entitled to a discount at the theater.
The half-wit replied that he only wanted a rose because, at Sant Jordi, men ought to offer a rose to the women they love and women ought to reciprocate with a book.
My daughter went on explaining that with the rose, he was helping the association “save the children” but the nervous little sod interrupted her briskly and said that he was only interested in the rose because at Sant Jordi’s day, men ought to offer a rose to the women they love and… you already know the story.

In Catalonia, at Sant Jordi’s day, if you are a man, you are programmed to buy a rose.

The lesson learned from that experience is that if your customer wants to buy a rose, do not try to sell him theatre show tickets, sell him a rose.

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