Thursday, August 7, 2008

Poor Me Being Mean to Poor Salesmen

I don’t like to be mean to people. Who wants to be a mean person? Well, some of you probably like it and you like it a lot (admit it), but I don’t. It makes me sad to have any type of mean anywhere near me. SO, I really hate that I have been forced into impoliteness by salesmen. First it was the phone calls. I gave up on trying to explain why I meant, “No thank you” when that never ever stopped the conversation for even one second, so now I just say, “No thanks,” and immediately hang up. I like to feel like I am still being nice by saying the polite “No thanks,” still, I am hanging up on a person.

But now, it is the door salesmen, and I have noting against door salesmen because I have a few nephews out selling pest control every summer and it is the most miserable job ever for them and I always wish people would be nice and invite them in and buy all the pest control they could dream of. I would prefer if salesmen would get to the point. Really, I’d be much more likely to buy. It’s all the humming and hawing and “How are you doing?” And “Have you ever wanted to travel?” or “Do you think education is important?” That makes me feel I am being lured into a trap when I just want them to tell me what they are selling.

In fact, recently we were outside in the front when a meat salesmen came upon us. He told me he was selling meat. I said I usually just bought whatever was on sale cheap at the grocery store. He said, “I know how it is, trying to save a few pennies.” And he bid me farewell. I was so pleased about him being straightforward and then saying, “OK” when I said no, that I almost rushed after him to stock up on meat.

But here is the real trouble. I decided recently – all annoyance of salesmen pressure aside – that I really don’t feel comfortable opening my door to some strange man – particularly when it is just me and my little kids here. The thing is, it is very awkward to come to the door, see someone right there, and then say, “Sorry, not opening up!” (We have a window right by our door, so there is no sneaking to see who’s there). But, I decided awkward was better than unsafe, so I determined to do it.

The next time a salesman came to the door, I took a deep breath, knowing this would be tricky for me, then simply said, “I’m sorry, I don’t open the door for strangers.” But then, you wouldn’t believe . . . at least I didn’t believe it . . . he went on to talk as if there was no door there! “Oh, OK, well, my name is ____. I’m just going around the neighborhood to see if ____.” I wasn’t sure what to do. You have to practically yell to hear through our door anyway, and I found it unbelievably awkward to be standing there having this yelling conversation through the door. I can’t explain it. You’ll have to try it. It just makes you feel really really silly. So, I thought that was odd, but the next three salesmen have done the exact same thing!! Don’t they feel silly too? Don’t they want to just call it quits when a poor woman says she does not feel safe opening her door? The worst was when our little window AC unit was on. It is unbelievably loud so I honestly could not hear a word the man said. He would ask a question and then look very confused when I apparently gave an answer that made absolutely no sense. I desperately wanted to say “Shew shew!! I can’t hear you and I told you I don’t want to open the door! You are reducing me to tears with all of this awkwardness!” SO, yesterday when someone came (we must live in a door to door sales mecca), I said, “Sorry, I don’t open the door for strangers,” and immediately walked away. I could sense a frustrated look of “What the heck!” From behind me, but what else is there to do?? Is there a better way? I hate that I have to be a meany. Who knows, maybe I’d like what they were selling if I weren’t so intent on shewing them all away.

11 comments:

Tia Juana said...

Believe me or not, I don't particularly like being mean to people. Sometimes I dream of being more so but my experience and husband have brought me to the realization that you catch more bees with honey. Anyway, I have been exactly in your shoes. We get mulch people in our neighborhood. Used to get a lot of book people but mostly its now mulch. I have actually done exactly what you have done - announced my disinterest and then walked away. And I've done it on more than one occassion. I think if you do it with your usual politeness - reference here your "no THANKS!" - and then explain you don't open the door I think they really do understand. It has to be part of the job and I am sure that you are not the first. Think about all those missionaries who get guns pulled on them. Unless you are packing your firearm and aiming it out your little peek-a-boo window then I tend to think you are fine and you are totally entitled to walk away. If you can't walk away in your very own house then this world is going to end soon.

Also, try putting up a little cute "No Solicitors Please" sign. Then you don't have to say anything - you can just aim your firearm at the sign and then walk away!

Rhonda said...

I really can't believe that they would stand there talking to you through the door- that is super awkward!

I feel so much the same way as you about all this. It is funny because someone just barely came to the door an hour ago, and so this exact topic has been on my mind. Like you said, I just hate that feeling of being tricked or lured into something. I would much prefer them to be up front.

I feel so bad being standoffish though because I think of our missionaries going door to door, and I always want people to be nice to them. So, I am torn on how to treat the people and I would much prefer I'd they would just skip over my house!

jami said...

i am in the same position. i don't like to be mean but i also hate the thought of opening the door to an unknown - especially because the last person i did this to (so he could supposedly give me some card) followed me right in my house - not just the entryway, but ALL THE WAY IN. after that i thought like you. nope. no more opening the door. i too feel silly, with me trying to say, "no thanks" through the door with both my boys peering in the window. i think it would be so much easier if i could just post a neon sign on my roof that says, "i'm not interested but thanks anyway."

Perla said...

did i tell you about my friend kathy wade? we get vacuum salesmen all the time. they always want to come in and do a presentation. one time she felt bad and let one in and then he wouldn't leave. she is the nicest person ever and so gentle. she started telling him she had to put her two little boys down for naps but he started pressuring her to buy the vacuum. he was acting weird so she finally said that he needed to leave. he wouldn't! she got really scared and went into the other room and called her husband, who then called the police. she then went back and was nicely telling the guy that he really needed to leave and then he told her she was a B*! luckily then her father-in-law showed up and told him the police were on the way and the guy left. creepy, huh? it is so sad to be mean to people and i know how it feels to be going door to door and it is not fun at all...but you have to protect your kids first, so it sounds like your niceness of telling them you don't open the door and then just walking away is probably best for everybody.

Liz said...

Unfortunately, we are the type who hide in our house trying to be as quiet as possible until the salesperson-stranger leaves. As soon as the doorbell rings my kids all want to go running to the door, but I give them a stern shhhhhh! and then tip toe to the door to look through the peep hole to see who it is, meanwhile hoping they are not holding a gun to the hole (some urban myth story I heard once). It's very cowardly. Now my friends are telling me not to do that because if they think no one is home they may try to break in. I'm not quite sure what the best route is. A no solicitors sign probably works, or once I saw one that simply said "Leave us alone." maybe that will get the point across.

Melissa, Ryan and Addy said...

Door to door salesman are very hard to deal with and I'm with you on not wanting to talk to people when it's just me and Addy here. I've heard to many scary stories to feel comfortable with it. That really is surprising that they would yell at you through the door. I guess whatever it takes to get a sale, huh? What I despise even more than door to door salesmen, is those guys who are in parking lots with duffel bags selling perfume or whatever. I certainly don't trust someone selling something out of a duffel bag, thank you very much!

marzee said...

Go Nancy!!!!! You are completely entitled to say, "I do not talk to strangers!" and walk away. Yes - I know that's not exactly what you've been saying - but next time you totally should - and instead of feeling totally bad - you'll be laughing at the silliness of it all. Way to go! Safety first (though seriously - I bet you could kick their butts if they tried anything - Ninja Nancy)!

Nancy said...

Oh Marzee!1 It is you again! I hope you know I still love and adore you even though I feel like we have been torn apart by my being axed from YW's!! I haven't forgotten the article that I will never send you either . . . and I will .. . at least before all is said and done here.

P.S. I might just say, "I don't take candy from strangers."

marzee said...

I miss you too - and it's only going to get worse - dagnabbit!

Enter slugs from "Flushed Away" (i love them)singing; "Lonely, I'm so lonely, ever so lonely - without you!"

And then they screech on some long note - stretching their little slimy necks with all the feeling a slug can muster; "Ahhhh eyyyyyye!"

Lover of Sweets said...

Oh I wish so badly that I could be there while you would yell "Shew shew go away!"
ha ha ha! Anywho what about just posting up a little No Soliciting note like our little Deb has on her doorbell? It's very small but written in her cute handwriting and I can't see any salesman taking offense to that and it's straight forward..they don't waste their time or yours they just move on.
Just a thought.

Mugsy said...

OK so I am so not reading all the other comments so maybe this has been posted, but I stitched a cute "no soliciting" sign when I was in Memphis for the same reason. Danger and so freakin many door bell rings with kids napping etc. It worked.

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