Years ago when I worked at a shoe store, I was on my break and decided to walk over to Fred Meyer. A guy called to me asking if I knew how to get to a place downtown. I said, “No, sorry.” He said, “Wait a second!” He ran over to me and said, “Do you want to buy some magazines?”
I was immediately put off by his deception. “No.”
“I don’t have money for magazines.”
“Don’t you have an ATM card like all other white girls?”
He was white. I had no idea why he threw race into this conversation.
“So when are you going to take me out for dinner?” he asked. Wow.
“OK, I’ll take you to Taco Bell.”
“I hate Taco Bell.”
“You’re very beautiful.”
My religion has scared off plenty of guys, so I said, “I’m also Mormon.” He said, “Well that’s OK!”
Crap. Maybe the first time that didn’t work.
I can’t remember how I finally got out of there, but he freaked me out. As soon as I got into the store, I saw a teacher from my school and asked her to drive me back to work. I didn’t want him to see where I worked. I told my manager about it and the next day, he started walking towards our store. I hid in the back while I listened to her get rid of him. I was terrified he was there because he knew I worked there.
Weeks later, I heard about a girl who worked at Baskin Robbins. She had the same kind of experience, only when she told the guy no to going out with him, he spat in her face.
Thus began my unkind feelings for any magazine salesmen who don’t come right out and tell me what they want. The script in this area is that they are out trying to get people to “vote” for them and if they get a certain amount of points from their public speaking class, they win a trip.
First of all, I don’t get to go on any trips. Why should I care if they win anything?
Second, if they are supposedly trying to make a good impression, why do they dress like they recently got out of the slammer?
Third, they all do the same thing. They start with a corny joke, tell you about their public speaking class and how they are trying to overcome their weaknesses, then ask, “How am I doing so far?” This is when I glare, “Fine.” I figure if I’m not somewhat civil, they might hurt me later. Then they finally get to, “Now’s the part you ask how you vote for me?” I don’t feel like wasting 5 minutes of my life, so now I just blurt out, “Are you selling magazines?” One guy said, “Yes, ma’am. I am.” I said, “You know, you might sell more magazines if you just told people right away that’s what you’re doing.”
One day two guys came to my door while I had three crying toddlers in my house. I thought the knock on the door was this little girls’ mother and this time I just said, “NO. I don’t have time for this.” and closed the door. They looked like they kind of understood, although disappointed.
A month ago and politely repeated “no thank you” to two young men at my door and tried not to roll my eyes.
Tonight I had two more young men come to the door, both of them dressed poorly and with those ridiculous ear gauges. Frankly, they looked scary. Our apartments don’t allow soliciting in the first place, so it only makes me more nervous if you come to my door looking like a freak or possible serial killer. I asked who it was and couldn’t understand the answer. Our peep hole got paint on it or something, so I couldn’t see who it was either. As soon as I opened the door, I wanted to kick myself.
One guy did all the talking. Allow me to paraphrase.
Him: Hi! *points at our funny door mat and laughs*
Him: We’re out trying to get points for our public speaking class and learn speaking skills. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. (I added that last part)
Me: *sigh* Uh huh.
Him: I need to work on not stuttering, spitting when I talk etc. I didn’t spit on you, did I?
Me: Hahaha. No.
Him: Oh that’s good. How am I doing so far?
Me: Fine. Are you selling magazines?
Him: No, this is literature sales. *hands me print out with magazines on it*
Me: Sorry, I can’t buy anything.
Him: It’s not very expensive.
Me: I can’t.
Him: What are the last four letters in American?
Him: It’s AmeriCAN, not AmeriCAN’T.
Me: *trying for the third time to hand it back to him* No thanks. Can’t do it
They might be scammers or maybe they fell for a scam themselves, but I feel lucky tonight that these guys didn’t kick my door in. I can’t wait to have a house with windows out front so I can see who’s out there.