the traveling salesman


I feel for you.

I do.

Schlepping around town, door to door, on foot. Knocking on stranger’s doors. My sympathy is evident. You take that kindness, that slight been of empathy, and exploit it for yourself. Your gain. When you open the door in the least bit, these marketers push through.

It’s rare that anyone knocks on my door, unannounced. I should know by now, if I’m not expecting someone, I should just let my scary (by appearance to people who don’t know her) dog scare them off and not bother with politeness. The only person that comes calling is someone looking to make a profit.

A few weeks ago a nice, eager guy promised us “No commitment” and “No pressure” for an estimate for new siding. Our 1950’s ranch has mustard yellow aluminum siding, which I’ve grown to like but does look old.  He informed me it was expected, nay, encouraged for us to get at least “3-4 estimates before deciding” and that their estimate would last at least two years.

Seemed like a good idea. We are looking to move in a year or two, and maybe a facelift could up our sales price on the house.

So, imagine our surprise, when the day of the “free estimate” turns into a high-pressure sales pitch. I shoulda known, the guy pushed his way in, took his shoes off, put his jacket up, and made himself very comfortable. My husband and I watched silently as he pulled out a large-screen iPad and proceeded with a Power-Point Presentation. He was on a roll for a very long five minutes before my husband spoke up, “You don’t need to sell the company, we don’t have time, just give us the estimate…”

“Yeah I can tell you guys don’t want to beat around the bush” he agreed, nodding, and yet, he managed to still promote and pump up his company for 30 minutes before even touching on OUR property and OUR siding.

Then came the intense, hard sell. I really should have looked up the reviews of this company beforehand, because it all came clear to me as I watched the salesman try his hardest to get us to sign a contract in that moment; even though they are “no pressure” his job was to get us to sign that day. From the guy who scheduled the estimate to the person in front of me, they were all following a script and I was foolish enough to fall for it.

So we rejected the “pay us 21k today to save 4k in the future” pitch, we watched Willy Loman walk away, and I promised my husband to never fall for a doorman salesman.

Then, today. I’m in my room, snuggling H and trying to put him to sleep, and my dog starts going crazy. I sit up, confused. I’m not expecting anyone… I think, but still, I go look. I see a young man in a nice polo. Big bright eyes. Hopeful expression.

I open the door to him saying We were doing work in the neighborhood and I couldn’t help but notice your siding is very old.., and I felt this sinking Deja Vu and I feel alarms going off, my inner critic warning it’s a trap! but since I am hardwired to please and incapable of blunt, honest rudeness even though I’ve lived in New York for nearly a decade I let him go on and on, denying any schedule or appointment but still the guy was relentless and finally he got it, I wasn’t biting, so he left and I felt relief but also shame. Shame because I could have saved myself (and him) 5 minutes by just saying “Not Interested” the moment I saw his brochure.

From now on I’m going to stop people from the beginning and offer a little white lie. I’m a renter! The landlord? Oh, his number is (a variation on my own) but he’s out of town but you can call him! Thanks so much! Bye!

It’s a cop-out. It’s weak. But, it’s better than the alternative. I can nicely turn them away and they can go bother some other lonely housewife.



    1. Yeah we’ve had the meat people too. I can pass for a young early twenties person so I might try to lie and say I’m a nanny too lol.


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