Oh, door-to-door solicitors, you provide me so much entertainment!
Yesterday I was hurriedly putting away groceries when I heard/saw someone on my porch. "Knock-knock," she said, through my open window. I wasn't expecting anyone, but I thought it was one of my neighbors or something, so I opened the door. I didn't recognize the girl on the porch, so I thought, oh, she must want to look at the trailer. In anticipation of Tyson's graduation our trailer in the USU Mobile Home Park has a "For Sale" sign in the window, complete with a glowing description of the best trailer ever (no mention of the salmon-colored living room walls), and an exorbitant price tag sure to scare off most buyers ($7,500, haha). When we bought the trailer, we calculated that it would be a good deal for us (compared to rent) if we could live in it for two years and sell it for $10 when we were done. It would be nice to get three or four thousand out of it, but the park is closing in 2011, so we'll take what we can get.
All that is beside the point, though. Back to the story. The first words the girl said were, "Are you the lady of the house?" What the? The lady of the house?
But I said, "Yes."
"Wow! You don't look anywhere near old enough to own a house! How old are you?"
I know that she was trying to flatter me, and trying to establish some camaraderie before her sales pitch, but I nearly burst out laughing!
First of all, this is a trailer, not a house. Girl, if you can't tell the difference, I feel bad for you. It has a hitch attached to it, cleverly disguised as a planter box. It has a bathtub that is only 9 inches deep (so bathtub, water, and occupant won't fall through the floor and land on the cement pad three feet below). There is a price tag on it that says $7,500 -- half as much as a new car. Who exactly can't afford to own a "house" at that price?
Second, I am 29 years old. Plenty old enough to own a house, I think. Most people my age have owned homes for half a decade. So her attempt to flatter me instead had me thinking about my current lot in life. Hey, why am I almost thirty years old and living in a trailer on a college campus? (Oh yeah, because I snagged myself a handsome, smart, younger man, that's why -- okay, so my lot in life isn't so bad.)
"I'm 29," I said. That sent her stammering.
"Oh! Well! You look younger!"
Can it, sister. Get to your pitch. "My name's Ann, nice to meet you," she said, extending her hand. The other hand had been hiding behind her back throughout our exchange. When it emerged, it was holding some sort of card. "I'm trying to win a trip..."
That's when I cut her off and said, "I'm not interested. Have a nice day!" I had groceries to put in the freezer, a baby who needed to go down for a nap, laundry waiting to be folded, jobs to apply for in Tyson's name, and a writing project from work. I didn't have time to help this girl win a trip. I also didn't have money to spend on the magazine subscriptions that would enable her to do so.
Why on earth is that the sales pitch they use? Like I, or any other customer, should buy things so you, another full-grown adult, should win a trip? Don't you think I want to go on a trip? I've worked in marketing for many years, and pretty much the cardinal rule of a sales pitch is letting the potential customer know what's in it for her. Not what's in it for the person doing the selling. Motivate people with fear ("If you don't buy this pest control, bugs are going to overtake your house!). Appeal to their vanity ("Own a home in the most exclusive neighborhood in St. George!"). Speak to their stomachs ("POPcorn! CANdy! PEAnuts! ICE COLD DRINKS!"). Tell them they're getting a great deal ("A full-year subscription costs less than one issue at the newsstand!"). But don't try to tell them that the best thing they'll get by buying this product is a sense of satisfaction for sending you, the salesperson, on a trip.
At least she backed down gracefully, not at all like the last one. In my seventh month of pregnancy, I arrived home on my lunch break to find a girl talking to Tyson on our porch. "I'm just harassing your husband," she said, as I got out of my car. Hmmm.
"I told her she'd have to talk to you, because you read magazines and I don't," Tyson said.
"I'm trying to win a trip..." she began, as Tyson went into the house.
"I'm not interested," I said, cutting her off, "And you might want to find somewhere else to go, because door-to-door solicitations aren't allowed on campus."
"Sorry, bitch!" she said, in a way that didn't really sound like she was sorry, you know? I stood there stunned as she turned and walked toward my neighbor's house. Geez! I feel bad for you, girl, that you somehow got roped into such a crummy job, trying to win "trips" and all. Going door-to-door must really suck, but where do you get off calling a pregnant woman a b*tch just because she doesn't want to buy your magazines?
Like I said, solicitations aren't allowed on campus, so when I told Tyson what had happened, he called the campus police. "We loooove rounding up solicitors!" they said. When I left to go back to work, there were two campus police cars entering the park. Wow, there's another crummy job, if the most exciting thing they get to do is round up solicitors.
I know someday I'll be "old enough" to own a house, and I won't have the protection of rules against door-to-door solicitation, so I might as well enjoy it while it lasts, right? As yesterday's visitor left my doorstep, I thought about ratting her out to the campus police, but I decided to let her go on her way. After all, I had groceries to put in the freezer, a baby who needed to go down for a nap, laundry waiting to be folded, jobs to apply for in Tyson's name, and a writing project from work. I didn't have time to ruin anyone's day.