16 June 2010

If I could change your mind

I'd just gotten home with the daughter this afternoon when the doorbell rang. It was a nice day, so I had the windows open, unfortunately. The way the front entry is set up, anyone standing at the front door can see in the dining room windows, doubly so when they're open. And the daughter and I were chatting amiably and audibly when I saw a man with a clipboard peering in the window.

I have a policy of not opening the door to people I don't know. It's just not safe. Most of the time I just ignore the doorbell unless I know who is there, but it was quite clear today that I was in the house. So, doing the polite thing, I went to the window and asked the man his business.

Oh, he wanted to introduce me to a new carpet cleaning process...

I politely but firmly told him I wasn't interested and that I already had a carpet cleaning guy...

Oh, everybody says that, and you can keep him. He's got mouths to feed, no doubt, said the salesman, but I just want to tell you about our method.

And he went on and on.

No thank you, I told him.

Well, can I just come in and have a peek at your carpets? he asked.

And I explained that I don't let strangers into my house.

Well, a 90-year-old woman told me the same thing, and I said why did you let me in. Because I trust you, she told me, he said. So how about it?

Pleasantly, I replied that I'm not as nice as the old woman of his acquaintance, and I was sorry but I don't let strangers into my house. At which his mien changed completely, and he dropped the funny voices and the comedy act and he wished me good day in a very terse way.

You pwnd him, the son hissed from the hallway.

But I don't want to pwn people in this fashion. I understand that times are tough, and people are trying to feed themselves and their families. I respect their initiative and their drive. But I don't want to be badgered. I want to say no thank you, and I want these sellers to offer me the respect of gracefully ending our encounter by accepting my refusal and leaving. I prefer to be polite, and I don't want to have to metaphorically slam the door in their faces or hang up on them or become unpleasant to force them to go away.

So, sales people, be so kind as to remember that I didn't invite you to my door, I don't owe you a sale, and if I am courteous to you, please return that courtesy by leaving when I ask you to do so.

Go listen to some music: "If I Could Change Your Mind" from the album Eve by The Alan Parsons Project.

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