Two Lessons From One Conversation.


I love the Metropolitan Diary column, Mondays in The New York Times.  It provides wonderful stories and insights about the NYC experience and beyond.  Today it also shared a brand planning lesson. With all this marko-babble about “the conversion” in marketing today, here is a real slice of life that takes unlikes and  near-likes and starts a real conversation. Are these people selling? In a sense, yes. Peace!

Dear Diary:

About six weeks ago, I was on a very crowded subway coming home from my school, where I am in ninth grade. I was standing next to a woman wearing a head scarf and a tall man wearing a taqiyah (a Muslim skullcap).

He turned toward her, said, “Salaam alaikum,” and asked where she was from. “Iran,” she replied.

The man said he was from Palestine. Just then, another woman turned around and said, “I’m from Egypt.”

“Wow!” the man said. “We’ve got the whole family here.” They started talking about their jobs and what had brought them to the States.

The man said that he worked for an antidiscrimination organization intended to prevent prejudice against Muslims. He handed the two women leaflets about how to prevent discrimination, and I guess he noticed me watching and listening because he offered me one as well.

“Thank you very much,” I said, “but I’m Jewish.”

“Doesn’t matter,” he responded. “You have the same civil rights as we do.”

I took the leaflet just as the train got to my stop. With a “shalom” and a “salaam alaikum,” we bid each other goodbye.

Sam Mellins