Friday, August 28, 2009

Fast Track to Success

Our doorbell just rang and when I went to answer it there were two young people, a girl and a boy around 17 or 18 years old, bouncing slightly on the balls of their feet and dresed in rather tight jeans. They made a remark or two about how odd our house was (because apparently I wanted to know their opinion) then launched into a sales pitch loaded with over-the-top pseudo confidence and slick, pre-packaged jokes designed to "loosen me up."

I've had this happen before and I knew exactly what they were doing. They were selling something, and the routines always start with an introduction to some group they're a part of (usually one I've never heard of) followed by how they're supposed to go around and "talk" to people for practice in some communication skill they're trying to develop.

Now I'm a pretty reasonable--some might even go so far as to say nice--person. But I'm not stupid. They were selling something and the only thing that kept me at the door was the entertainment of watching them try to be as smooth and winsome as the people they'd seen on television in hopes that I'd be putty in their hands. Because I'm only a housewife, right? I ought to be an easy sell.

They tried the chit chat ("What does your husband do for a living?" "How many kids do you have?" etc. etc.) they tried to high five me (no joke) but finally they hit the punch line. They were selling magazines, the typical drug of choice, and if I already had my earthly share I was welcome to buy subscriptions for someone who may not be blessed to have Snowboarder World in their life. Such as perhaps a poor homeless Sudanese refugee?

"I'm sorry but I'm not interested."

They tried more pleas and "Come on, we're on our way to a trip to Paris--I bet you've been to Paris already"

"Actually no, I haven't."

"Well we've got more points than anyone else and we're about to win that trip. You don't want to keep us from Paris do you?"

Heaven forbid. Because it's written in the rules somewhere that every kid should see Paris before they complete a semester of college. I'm sure it's there somewhere and my parents just didn't read that part of the instruction manual.

The young man tried one more line of "Pretty pleases" but I wasn't budging on this one. If I've cut out my children's piano lessons (see yesterday's post) then I'm not buying Animé Unleashed from someone on my doorstep who brags about having once met a Playboy bunny (oh, did you miss that part of the conversation? Too bad, because it was precious).

"Look, I'm not interested," I said, then added what I had hoped was a kind let-down, "My husband just started up a business and everything we have is going into that. I'm sure you'll understand, maybe you'll have the chance to do something like that for yourself someday."

To which he replied (and I quote): "I doubt it. I don't really like to work very hard."

And they turned and walked away while I picked my jaw up off the front step.

Hey, at least he's honest. I figure for the amount of time he's spent panhandling from my neighbors he probably could have got a real job and earned enough for several trips to Europe. With or without a Playboy bunny.

Good luck, Sonny, you're going to need it.

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35 comments:

Lei said...

Um, wow! truly a remarkable experience! I have a small sign on my door, right above the doorbell, that says No Solictors Please. It's worked well.

Organizing Mommy said...

Wow. You were a lot nicer than I would be. That's all I'm going to say.

Andrea McMann said...

Once when I was at a friend's house, a door-to-door saleswoman barged into his apartment, selling some kind of cleaner. She pulled out all the stops, even showing us it was eco-friendly by spraying it on her palm and licking it off!! I was so glad it wasn't my house and I could leave ASAP!!

Heart2Heart said...

Michelle,

You know lately it seems that the door to door people seem to like it when people say, politely, NO thank you! It becomes some kind of hot button where they see this as a challenge and it gets to the point where they border on being down right rude.

I don't know about you but honestly how does that get me to say "Yes?"

It doesn't. I only wish I could just make them stop! The No Solictors sign doesn't seem to deter them either, or they can't read.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Mom24 said...

Okay, here's my ignorance, I can't believe they do that in Alaska too. It DRIVES ME CRAZY! Seriously. You let them get much farther than I do. I also hate how it's never kids who live in our neighborhood, or an organization I've heard of. Total scam.

Carinne said...

At least they were trying to sell something. One of my big pet peeves are the kids coming door to door trying to fund raise for their football team to go to Hawaii or some such nonsense. Usually they are selling candy bars or magazines or something. But (and I'm totally serious) one time we had a kid coming to the door "fund raising" for their school team or something. I can't remember for what. Kendall asked him what he was selling. He replied "nothing". He was "fund raising" by asking for donations. That's all. So, he was basically begging from door to door. Kendall was floored and quite irritated. Needless to say, he received no donations from us.

Titanium said...

It's sort of like trying to buy exercise in a bottle... allowing kids to go out and beg door-to-door is just reprehensible and futile. They don't learn the value of hard work and if they aren't actually working.

I can vouch for the fact that it happens in Alaska- way too often.

Marielle said...

Oh man that's priceless! Around here with two very hyper large, barking dogs and three smalls kids I just look through the window and shoo them off with my hand.

Marielle said...

oh man that is priceless!

Around here with two large, hyper barking dogs wanting to pounce and three small kids (the oldest of which would willingly talk a salesperson's ear off) I just look through the window and shoo them off with my hand. Maybe one day I'll sit my oldest and let him ask all the questions he'd like to some poor unsuspecting salesperson.

Renae said...

Ya, it's pretty annoying when kids are trying to raise money to go on a vacation. I'd like to take my family on a vacation first, if you don't mind!

Tamara said...

Ahhh, Man! Is it that time again? That was a pretty funny story of your experience. Maybe I will leave the dog out front and they will skip my house.

MommaMindy said...

That same magazine company sent reps to my door while we lived in Minnesota and now they found me in Washington! The jive was the same. Once, I spent the whole time staring at the girl's tongue piercing. Another year, I told the young man he should be preaching to people door to door to tell them how to get to Heaven instead of wasting his time selling magazines. Thinking up my next strategy so I'll be ready the next time my doorbell rings.

Patricia Linehan said...

Since we live on a somewhat hidden cul de sac we don't get too many, but I have seemed to attract the two most-friendly Jehovah's Witness ladies I've ever met and one foreign language speaker selling a humongo set of kids' workbooks (because apparently my kids are dumb without her work books). :)

Lis Garrett said...

Oh geez! I have this happen occasionally. The last time was right after I had arrived home from taking my sick son and youngest daughter to the pediatrician's office. As soon as I pulled into the drive, they were right behind me. I think someone must have tipped them off to the fact I had kids, and they were just waiting for me to return. Luckily for me, my daughter began crying and I used that as an excuse to shoo my "visitors" away. I can't stand door-to-door solicitors.

mannequin said...

hehehe. "I don't like to work very hard". hehehehe. Oh dear.
Same thing happened here a couple of weeks ago except our salesman was not as illustrative as yours.

writefromkaren said...

And that, I'm afraid, is the mentality of most of our youth (heck, most people) nowadays.

Forget work! Let's squeeze blood from a turnip! It's much easier. Especially when we supply sob stories.

Grr.

Lori said...

How did my brother make it from CA to your doorstep?

Patois said...

I'm sorry, but that's the kind of dipstick I want to call the manager about.

Ina in Alaska said...

I just don't open the door and let the 3 dogs bark like fools. Bye Bye possible intruders and home invaders. All it takes is for you to open the door then you are too vulnerable.

I do answer the door for the neighbor children who are doing school fundraisers, tho.

Jolanthe said...

We had some here the other day too and after I said "I'm not interested" the boy kept responding, "Oh, but I am."

I am not kidding when I say I told them 7 times "I'm not interested" and he would not SHUT UP!!

It just is irritating. Period.

Rachel C. said...

That's pretty funny! I hate those school fundraiser things because I don't want to buy their junk, but then I don't want to not support the students and the schools. The only thing I consider buying from a door to door sales person is girl scout cookies, but they never come to my door!

Jennifer said...

We used to have the same thing in our current neighborhood, down here in FL. After several people reported being harassed by them, the local cop who lives in our neighborhood looked into it and discovered it is a scam.

These kids usually get dropped off in a neighborhood by a 'friend' and are being picked up at an undisclosed time by this 'friend' whose name they never share.

People who have ordered the magazines reported never receiving them and their checks being cashed by an individual rather than the company.

The officer in our neighborhood indicated the kids knew they were propagating a scam and charged them with trespassing. Haven't seen a single magazine peddler since then!

Fiauna said...

Ha ha ha! I love it. I always tell those people to go get a real job like I did when I was their age.

branda50 said...

That is a funny story...We have apartments in the front part of our house....We use the very back door so we very rarely if ever have salesmen...
Try answering the door with a telephone in your hand...Just tell them you are dealing with something important and you can't hang-up....

I answered the phone about a month ago and the caller (telemarketer) asked for me....I just simple said she wasn't home at the time...They said ok they'll call another time...(oh great)...Now my answer is she doesn't live her anymore....

Annie said...

My husband is much nicer than I am. We have a no soliciting sign on our door. But, every once in a while, someone tries to solicite. When they do I point out the sign. The last time the 'seller' said, "I'm not selling anything. I just need your signature on this petition." I said, "No thank you" and promptly closed the door. As for the young man at your door. He better hope to win the lottery or find a companion who has some type of income if he doesn't plan on working hard. Obviously, his selling techniques aren't working.

Amanda P. said...

That's hilarious. I really don't like those guys. One time one of them asked me for a drink of water. I got him a glass (because I'm nice like that.) He lookes at me absolutely APPAULED... "You don't have any bottled water?"

Haha! That was about 4 years ago and his sense of entitlement still makes me giggle. I wonder what he's doing these days...

Serena said...

Whaaaaaat? Agh!

Alicia said...

One day I was sitting at my computer in the middle of subscribing to Family Fun, and one of these guys showed up. Since he was pretty cool and I was literally signing up anyway I decided to go for it. Well 6 weeks later no magazine, had to call my bank and get my money back. Went online, signed up myself, and got my subscription a week later.

I constantly get them still, and I say "Look I signed up once, it was a scam, I never got my magazines." Their response is always "Oh no, this isn't a scam." I reply by saying "How do you know? Have you purchased magazines from yourself, and if by some strange chance you did, have you actually gotten them?" Then I just close the door in their face. Polite, maybe not. Needed, absolutely! They'll never stop otherwise!

MommyK said...

My mom was recently scammed by one of those magazine sellers, and realized it AFTER she wrote the check. So she put a stop payment on it, which costs money. It makes me angry.

I usually don't answer the door. Before we were married, some kids came around right at dinner time and my H didn't answer the door because he was eating. He heard the kids say, "Hey, I see him in there eating dinner! Keep knocking!" Seriously! Had it been me, I would have answered the door then and yelled at them for purposely disrupting my dinner.

Amber Lynae said...

Seriously, these kids have been to my house. It sounds like the same ones (and I live in Virginia. I guess maybe they are all similar). And they were annoying. They don't seem to understand that no thank you is a way of saying, please leave. And I love how they always visit during little princesses nap time. Which wakes her up and takes away the only time I had to relax.

Kirby3131 said...

I was just talking with m mother about when I had my first job - I was 13 and was NOT getting paid because I couldn't legally get a paycheck until I turned 14, but I wanted to start a few months early.

I'm surprised the kid was able to make it up your driveway and ring the doorbell. LOL

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

Oh gosh, I HATE it when these kids come around. I get mad at them for their sense of entitlement (I DESERVE a trip to Paris!), and I get mad at the magazine company for tricking these kids into thinking they're going to get something for all of their door knocking. I hate it all. The latest was a kid who said he could win a scholarship for college. I'm all for kids trying to pay for college, but it made me mad that the company had this kid out schlepping stupid magazines in the hopes that he might somehow WIN some money. Hey jerks, how about you pay the kids a wage for their labor, instead of playing shell games with them? Grrr.

Stephanie said...

Oh, that is BAD. I'm sure you were doubly glad you didn't buy anything when he said that last line at the end of your conversation.

P.S. I can't stand door-to-door salesman. I have been known to not answer my front door when they come a-calling.

stephanie@metropolitanmama.net

jubilee said...

The next to the last person that tried the whole "help me win a trip" line also offered a sticker for our door that was to ward off his opponents in the "game." The last person, was one of his opponents. Funny how a "no thanks, your friend has been here already" worked just fine. No sticker needed and I didn't have to buy anything to get it either.

Seems the kids that go around doing that these days are polite until they know you are serious about not wanting anything. Then all the courtesy goes out the window.

All these fundraisers are so annoying that I won't even buy from the fundraisers at my children's school. Sorry, no rinky dink plastic toy today.

Amanda said...

Ok, so I just had kids from the same sales group come to my door. Except these girls were claiming the "points" they earned would help them pay for their college books at WSU (nevermind that classes started two weeks ago). Oh, and the money also went to support the troops and toward four different types of cancer research and diabetes research. They were pulling out all the stops to guilt me into purchasing a magazine, I tell you.