Does one need to hit the road to sell books on French life? Not when your MOM is busy pounding the pavement! Read on... (photo taken in Briançon). Note: the next word goes out in the new year. Meilleurs Voeux! Bonne Année!
le baratin (bara-tehn)
sweet talk, smooth talk
baratiner = to sweet-talk somebody, to chat someone up
baratineur, baratineuse = smooth talker
Pour vendre des livres il faut avoir l'art de baratiner!
To sell books, one must know the art of sweet talk!
A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse
The Pick-Up Artist
You know what they say about a good salesman: He or she could vendre de la glace aux esquimaux! This is especially true of my dear mom, Jules, who is busy selling my book on French life to lovers of Spanish! For the past ten days, Jules has made it her mission to convert the tourists who flock to her little neighborhood along the Bay of Banderos, in Mexico.
Dressed in her trademark linen poncho (her latest one, in white, was a Christmas gift from her husband John), a red turtleneck (to match her red Converse tennis shoes), white pants and her trusty fedora, Mom sets out to beat the previous day's sales record.
Like any saleswoman worth her salt, Mom knows that one of the best ways to market a product is to get out there and pound the pavement! In Mom's charismatic presence, travelers are forgetting for a moment that they are in Puerto Vallarta... when they begin to perceive the hum of the accordion as Mom dances up and down the boardwalk at the marina, picking up yet another potential bookbuyer with her sweet baratin. "Bonjour, Monsieur!...."
Every salesman has a challenge to overcome. In this case, that would be the absence of a tangible product to peddle! This doesn't discourage Mom one bit and, minus an actual copy of Blossoming in Provence, Jules manages to sell the goods "sight unseen", via verbal promissory notes extracted from the innocent tourists. "You will buy my daughter's book when you get home, won't you?! Merci, Madame!..."
Having worn a trail along the docks, Mom heads to The Coffee Cup, where more unsuspecting travelers are having their first cuppa, unaware of the lively scene about to take place.
This is when Jules fires up the computer (The Coffee Cup has three or four of them, reserved for customers), and logs on to Amazon.com.
"Oh, Kristi!" Mom slaps her hands to her heart. "You are at number 31 in Hot New Releases!"
A few of the customers look over, in curiosity. For the sake of drama, Mom grabs onto the sleeve of the customer beside her. "Look! That's my daughter," Mom exclaims, pointing to the screen. "This is the book she published in 21 days--and now it is topping the bestseller charts!" (Like any saleswoman worth her salt, a little bit of exaggeration--or what, in all due respect, we might call "artist's license"--is par for the course!)
And so it is that my dear mom has spent the past ten days--betting that the Hispanophiles who visit Puerto Vallarta are really Francophiles in waiting. Win or lose, she is certainly selling books in the process!
See a photo of Mom, her husband John, and me in Puerto Vallarta. Click here and don't miss the story!
If you haven't yet... please click here to purchase your copy of Blossoming in Provence. Many thanks for your support--and for giving my dear mom a day off work today :-)
vendre de la glace aux esquimaux = to sell snow to Eskimos
le baratin = smooth talk
Bonjour, Monsieur! = Hello, sir!
Bonjour, Madame = Hello, Ma'am
An interesting sculpture in front of the town hall, in Jonquières (Vaucluse)
Dreaming of coming to France in 2012? Check out these posts for some fun ideas on what to do once you get here:
- What to do in Paris?
- What to do in the Loire Valley?
- What to do in Aix-en-Provence?
- What to do in Lyon?
- What to do in the Luberon?
And check out Where to Rent a Car in France?
Exercises in French Phonics bestseller on French pronunciation and how to pronouce French words correctly! (click here)
Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi