Why don’t I just shoo the annoying people away from my door, you might ask. Well, it’s because I am a terrible pushover. I have purchased cleaning solvents, magazine subscriptions and even artwork for my home from door-to-door salesmen.
I am especially vulnerable when it comes to young kids who tell me they are trying to win a trip to Disneyland. Never mind the fact that I have no idea who they are or if they are even telling the truth. For all I know they drive a better car than I do and have a closet full of designer clothes.
My husband is a salesman and this is one of his pet peeves. He says that sales people should tell you what they can do for you, not ask you to do something for them. This explains why he can simply close the door, whereas I tell the person to hold on while I grab my checkbook.
I guess I relate to these people a little bit because when I was 17, I worked for Karl’s Karpet cleaning. I didn’t need to knock on the door, just slip the little flier into the door handle. There were groups of us canvassing neighborhoods trying to earn some extra money, and it sure beat baby-sitting. Some kids stashed handfuls of the fliers into shrubs and bushes, but I was afraid I might get caught. At one particular home, I was folding the flier, getting ready to carefully place it in the handle when the door flung open. A middle-aged woman stood glaring at me.
“What are you doing?!”
I froze, still hunched over by her door knob. I stuttered at first but then told her I was just passing out fliers for carpet cleaning.
She shook her head at me. “Oh no, I know who you are. You’re working for the Dutch Underground!”
“The what?” I asked with a puzzled look on my face.
She grabbed the flier and quickly read it. “Karl” – that’s a Dutch name, isn’t it?” Even at my young age I knew a loon when I saw one, and took off running. She yelled something at me, probably some Dutch profanity. I went back to baby-sitting.
Speaking of carpet cleaning, I recently made the mistake of allowing a vacuum cleaner salesman into my home. A $1,600 vacuum cleaner. I don’t have much carpet left in my home; we’ve ripped most of it out and replaced it with laminate, but the carpet I do have is a bio-hazard.
I challenged the guy. He promised he could get all the stains out. I had no intention of buying the ridiculously over-priced vacuum, but I wanted to see if it could clean the potpourri of stains out of the carpet. It was 5 p.m. when he arrived. He was there for the next four hours.
The assembly of the vacuum was a spectacle in itself. The kids watched in awe as he put it together dressed in a cheap suit. Beads of sweat dripped off his brow. It was better than a Disney movie. He finally got going on the carpet and insisted that I watch the entire process. OK, some of the stains did come out, but it was heading into dinnertime now and I couldn’t sit around oohing and ahhing at all the bells and whistles his vacuum had to offer.
He then shook baking powder all over my carpet and tried to vacuum it up with my old Hoover. Then he used his $1,600 vacuum. Well, duh, his worked better, but by now I was losing my patience and the kids were whining for dinner. I told him he had to pack up his show and hit the road. He dropped the price a few times and even offered me the vacuum he had just used so he wouldn’t have to pack it up again. (Nice try.)
I called my husband, who was tired and driving home from a meeting. I told him what was going on at the house. I asked him if we could buy the vacuum cleaner at the new low price of $1,200. Let’s just say that had he known any Dutch profanity, he surely would have used it.
So when you come to visit me in my new door-less home, call first. I’ll open the garage for you.