My Salesman Dilemma

At each entrance to my neighborhood there are signs posted declaring, “No Soliciting Allowed!”

Of course, we all know those signs become invisible to salespeople. Maybe they don’t know what the word soliciting means, or maybe they think their product isn’t considered a soliciting product. I don’t know, but what I do know is that the signs haven’t been effective at all.

So when I answered my doorbell and saw a chipper young man I’d never seen before standing in my vestibule, I’m sure my face expressed the questions that were on my mind. Who are you? What are you selling? But before I could say anything, he started talking and went on, I believe, without breathing for several minutes. I was more fascinated that he wasn’t breathing than by what he was saying. He apparently believed in his product so much, he wasn’t even going to think about giving up telling me about it until he’d actually shown me how great it really was.

When I finally realized he was, Skip, a salesman selling XYZ vacuum cleaners and shampooers, I very kindly, but firmly, told him I wasn’t interested. I had a perfectly wonderful vacuum cleaner and a shampooer that went with it and I was very happy with them both. That didn’t work. He started his “non-breathing” thing again. I tried telling him, nicely, that our neighborhood didn’t allow solicitors and he might get in trouble, but that didn’t work either. He kept talking. I hate to be mean to people, but this guy wasn’t getting my message, so I backed up a bit so I could gently shut the door in his face.

The door wouldn’t shut. I looked down. I couldn’t believe he’d actually used the old foot in the door trick! I had to admire his tenacity. I told Skip I was not in the market for a vacuum cleaner or shampooer and nothing he said or did would change my mind. He said that was okay, he just wanted to show me. He said there was nooo obligation and he’d vacuum and shampoo an entire room for me at no charge just to show me how wonderful his product was.

At this point I realized he was wearing me down and the only way I was going to get rid of him was by letting him demonstrate his product. So I finally said okay he could demonstrate his product in my living room. He looked beyond me eying my fairly cluttered room with furniture everywhere and probably thought he’d do a small area and then, through his eloquence, sell me his cleaner and shampooer.

I, on the other hand, thought, I might as well get my whole living room vacuumed and shampooed while I had the chance to get it done. Effortlessly and free. So I told him okay. He said it would be a few minutes for him to get all his equipment together and he’d be right with me.

While he was outside, I dashed around and stacked my 5 piece sectional sofa in the adjoining music room along with the coffee table, area rug, two torchier lamps, a folding room screen, an antique chair, two side tables, and an antique brass temple brazier, and two floor cushions.

When he came in the front door with all his equipment, his eyes popped at the sight of the empty carpeted room. Well, he’d said a whole room. So he started vacuuming, telling me and gesturing all the time how well it was cleaning. I was reminded of when my son was small and he would call for me to watch him. “Look mommy, look!” And of course, I’d replied, “Yes, that’s really wonderful.”

When the room was all done, it really did look wonderful and I was happy I wasn’t the one who’d had to do all that work, for a change. I did feel a little guilty that I didn’t buy the vacuum cleaner or the shampooer, but after all, I had told Skip that all along. I wished him much success and told him he was very persuasive and a good salesman, but that I was just not in the market for his product. I think we both felt good when he left.

I’d love to hear about your salesperson experiences.

Coco Ihle is the author of SHE HAD TO KNOW, an atmospheric traditional mystery set mainly in Scotland.

Join her here each 11th of the month.


Filed under musings

20 responses to “My Salesman Dilemma

  1. Thanks so much, Chuck and Heidi! Thanks for your comment, too!

  2. The only time I had such persistent “sales” people was when some Jehova Witnesses came to my apartment and not taking my rejection, walked right past me into my living room, talking the whole time. I was trying without any success to impress upon them the futility of their endeavor when a very eccentric sculptor friend of mine arrived. He immediately understood and in a flash he held out a string of small bells and began to jingle them while walking, shaman-like, around the room. The two missionaries froze, took in the scene and ran out the door. I don’t know why my friend had those bells with him, but they did the trick.

  3. Art

    Back in the dark ages, when I was in college, I tried to sell WearEver Aluminum Cookware in order to help finance my education and my beer purchases. My landlady gave me some leads around the neighborhood of people I could see that she knew and I could use her as a recommendation.
    My first visit was to a young lady in graduate school who was very nice, and very attractive. I gave my spiel as I had been trained to do by my sales coach and it so happens she was developing her hope/dowry/glory chest. She was drawn into my young innocent, appealing, and cute manner and purchased $600.00 worth of cookware from me. She had to give me a ten percent deposit with the rest to be paid over a several year time period, with a substantial interest added to it.
    I was delighted. My first sales call ever, my first sale, what a piece of cake, and the sixty dollars in my pocket was my commission. I’m about to get rich here in my first night out. I raced to my next prospect on my list and rang the porch doorbell.
    A man’s voice inside the house said over a television background to some person, “someone’s at the door, are we expecting anybody?” “Nobody I know!” came a hollered female voice. “Well get the door”, he said. After a few long minutes an elderly lady in an apron opened the door and said “yes”. I jumped into my charming look and gave my pitch about my landlady, my college bills, and my products. She cut me off with “I don’t know your landlady and we don’t need anythin!” I said”but…” and she said “Henry, I told this boy to leave and he is not listening to me!” Immediately I said “I’m sorry and I’m leaving, bye” as Henry filled the doorway. That was my one and only night in door-to-door sales, ever.

    • How disillusioned you must have felt, Art. Believe me, I’ve had some letdowns like that myself in sales. I’m glad to know you survived unscathed. Thanks for entertaining me with your experiences and for commenting.

  4. jonna ellis holston

    I think you rocked this, Coco.

  5. My salesman demonstrated his wood cleaning fluid on the gate and stripped off the varnish.

  6. Suzanne Baginskie

    My husband and I were victims at a time share showing in Las Vegas. We did the two hour seminar. Afterward, a salesman took us to a small room and grilled us for another hour. We firmly said “No.” He left and the next person was suppose to give us the free dinner and a show ticket for attending. Instead, he sent in an even stronger person who started all over again. These well-versed salesmen were like vultures out for the kill. My husband and I rose and told him we needed to leave. He shook his head and finally gave us the certificate. We went downstairs and all the buses were gone. We were the only customers left. They called back a bus and we returned to the hotel. Needless to say, we will never visit another time share. Ever.

    • Wow, Suzanne!! What a horrible experience. Those salespeople really took things too far! I can’t blame you for your feelings about timeshares now! Victims is the proper word!
      Thanks so much for sharing your experience and for your comment!

  7. Pat Gordon

    Hi Coco,

    Out of your kindness to listen to this young, persistent salesman, you now have a sparkling clean carpet. Great story.


  8. Natasha Holland

    Last month a person selling alarm systems rang the doorbell of my house at 9:45 pm!!! I though it was a neighbor in distress since he was waving his both hands at me throught the laundry room window. Thanks God, my four dogs were barking so ferousously behind my back that he finally had to leave! Considering getting a gun for more “weighty arguments” with such abnoctious salespeople!!!!

    • How scary, Natasha!!! And much too late for a sales call!!!! And having him appear at the laundry room door instead of the front door!!! It’s great you have four dogs! That’s a deterrent if there ever was one! Glad you’re okay!!! Thanks for reading and commenting on your experience.

  9. Years ago my hubby was graciously trying to get rid of some sales folks when I came storming in from garage in camo with gun powder streaks on my face “complaining” about my reloader jamming. Funny they left rather quickly never did find out what they were selling!

    • Hahahahahaha!!! I can just picture you doing that, Salustra!!! For the folks who don’t know, this gal is in law enforcement!!!! Hahahaha!!! Thanks for the laugh and for sharing this!!! Hahaha!!!!

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