No Thanks- Just Browsing

There was a time when browsing meant walking past a whole bunch of store fronts in a shopping mall. Or going into a brick and mortar and walking through the various departments and aisles trying to see if anything was interesting and cheap enough to warrant purchase. A sales attendant would approach and more often politely ask, “may I help you?” And you’d more often than not reply, “no thank you- just browsing”. And then the commission-earning sales person would quickly turn away defeated or dejected or maybe even ticked off that you somehow just wasted their precious time.

Browsing, of course, today takes on an entirely different meaning. You don’t have to put on a coat, or rubbers (don’t go there) or scarf or hat in lousy weather. Or give up watching a precious ball game. You sit at your computer and click on the Internet Connection icon and presto- you scan through just about any website in the world. I’ve noticed that there are sites that now detect that you are visiting and within seconds pounce with a pop-up message encouraging you to strike up a conversation with their sales or support staff. I click on the little X at the right top and the pop-up goes away.

Of course, there are times when I don’t just want to browse at a store. I want and expect a salesperson to help me spend money. In these instances, I’ve already mentally made up my mind to buy the item from that place on that day. It is up to the salesperson to be the one to ruin the completion of the sale- not me.
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Funny how words in the English language take on a different purpose from generation to generation. Take, for instance, the word “overture”. It is used quite often as an expression to start the ball rolling in negotiations. Everyone seems to be chasing rainbows and looking to cut a deal. “Let’s make an overture” usually means “let’s indicate interest to the other party so that we can make an offer that they will not refuse.”

There was a time when “overture” served an entirely different purpose. It was mostly used to describe the beginning portion of a musical performance. It was intended to provide a nurturing effect in getting everyone to their seats, relaxed and prepared to watch a movie or concert. In the 1950’s and 60’s, when movie musicals were still very popular, a film would contain several songs that would be familiar to the audience before they even went to the theater. If you went to see a blockbuster film such as “Oklahoma”, “Carousel”, “South Pacific”, “West Side Story”, “The Music Man” or even a drama with a moving score such as “Exodus”, you’d expect to be entertained with short segments from many of the popular musical numbers.
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