Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Not For Tourists
At my business, we have a showroom which adjoins our offices. The separation between the two is an open doorway and a windowed wall, so nothing is hidden from our clientele. We typically have various prototypes, samples, or products for evaluation in the office area.
Regardless of how much inventory or diversity we have in our showroom, invariably people will fixate on some sample in our office, craning and straining to see the object of their desire from the doorway and being careful not to overstep the demarcation between showroom and office. Upon inquiry, we inform them that the product is not for sale. Then the interest really escalates. On occasion, we have had begging, with the customer making the case that this is, in fact, exactly what they need.
The scenario is so common that it has become an inside joke in the office. I have suggested that we take sale merchandise and factory seconds from the showroom, move them into storage, display them a few at a time in our office area, describe them as special prototypes when asked, and raise the prices.
I have often seen a similar phenomenon on the streets of New York City, where a crowd gathers around a street vendor selling from a large bag. No one can see the contents, which fuels a burning desire in many to learn what is being sold. Once they see what is offered, most will leave immediately without buying. Like the morbid curiosity associated with the rubbernecking of highway accidents.
People just love the secret, the special, the private, and the undiscovered. At least the idea of such.
There is a very popular guide book called NFT (Not For Tourists), published for a number of cities, including New York City.
Trust me, this guide is for tourists.
Virtually no one really wants to see the things that are Not For Tourists. If you really want that, travel with me on a blistering hot summer Sunday to the industrial sector of Woodside, Queens. Specifically to 37th Avenue and 54th Street .
Here, you will find the Korean Church of Eternal Life. Notices are hanging from the door, graffiti covers the front, and the church property abuts what appears to be an abandoned diner surrounded by a barbed wire fence. All is adorned by overgrown weeds. You won't find this church in your NFT guidebooks.
I don't think you will find any churchgoers either. Actually, you won't find anyone at all. It is Not For Sale. And, like Ozone Park, Willets Point, Hunts Point, and the Hole, the Korean Church of Eternal Life is Not For Tourists :(
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