‘Suits you Sir!’ An exercise in managing risk

What would you do if approached by a heavy-accented Italian selling you a suit from his car’s trunk?

David Rigby
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Last week I was forced to go out in the streets in the day wearing a jacket (to keep off the very exceptional rain). I had barely left the apartment block when a car stopped and a handsome thick –Italian- accented guy leaned over and said ‘ you are looking very smart…’

The conversation usually goes:

“I am from Milano/Roma and have just been to a fashion exhibition to sell my products and I have a few executive suits left in the back of my car and I don’t want to take them on the plane with me…


…Let me show you! What size are you ?

I don’t want any money for them – but would you like to try on a jacket….”

Then you are hooked. A suit for free? Certainly the suit look good and well made. The jacket fits snugly as per Italian fashion.

“Suits you sir!” Standing the middle of the street it’s difficult to argue as you can’t see.

“Would you like another two? I really don’t want to have to take these back to Italia.”

So you now have tried on the several jackets and chosen your three free suits. – Thank you very much.

Then comes:

“I need to take a present back for my wife …. Could you make a small contribution? And I can tell you from experience that 20AED just ain’t it!”

The reason I know the script is that it has happened to me at least half a dozen times.

The very first time it happened was in Abu Dhabi four years ago. That time it was a man with a white van. I duly came away with what appeared to be three nice suits at a good price.

I got back to my hotel – and tried on the trousers! Couldn’t get into them! Being a skinflint I promptly went on a diet, and despite living in a hotel with buffet breakfast and dinner lost the required four kilos in around three weeks.

So, as in life in general:

- If you are stopped by a man with a carful of suits – it costs nothing to engage. Armed with this conversation you could have fun.

- Unless you are in need of a suit or suits don’t go any further.

- They only take cash – so no credit cards and no refunds either.

- If you usually spend a lot on individual suits you could get yourself a bargain.

Did I need them? Well one would have been enough. As it is I haven’t bought any more suits since. This is all about decision making and risk management.

- The worst that could happen is that you buy suits which are of no use to you and in effect you lost your money

- The best that can happen is that you are in dire need of good suits and these can be great value provided you negotiate properly.

Will you take the risk? I suggest you do.

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