Super Salesman

By Bill Lee

Minding my own business, sitting in my den reading the newspaper on a summer afternoon, the silence was interrupted with a too-familiar knock on the back door. It was not the customary cadence of a knock that I might have expected; this one was played out rhythmically. And before the knock could be answered, the door bell rang, twice.  I detected either a sense of urgency or most likely, I thought, someone acting a little too impatiently.  But leaving my reading, I answered the call but not as expediently as the caller might have wished.
I have the traditional door with two locks, and a storm door, usually latched.  I am not paranoiac about a home invasion, but it makes me feel a little more comfortable should all precautions be taken.  I opened the inner door and facing me was the latched storm door and the visitor, uninvited.  He was not visibly threatening and actually was rather well dressed, casually and wearing a white starched shirt with both sleeves partially rolled up and revealing on his left arm a rather impressive gold linked bracelet pushed up on his upper arm.  He was relatively young with ample and youthful dark brown hair matching his rather full lush eyebrows. His owl-like horn rimmed glasses made him look rather academic.
He was no novice door-to-door salesman.  He knew the correct salesman protocol well and practiced it diligently.  He did not come within reaching distance of the door but stood away on the farthest part of the stoop.  He was smiling as if we were acquaintances and after addressing me by my name he had already observed posted on the door, he began his sales pitch, one evidently well rehearsed.  He maintained eye contact with me as I stood behind the storm door rather impassively.
I rather admire those individuals who can make a “cold” call and do it well; he was good.  It is not important to go into the details of his pitch; he was selling a product, but I was not interested.
My first inclination was politely to inform him before he got to the second sentence of his presentation that he was wasting my time; he was wasting his time.   And if this did not work, I would emphatically yet simply close the door and the conversation would be terminated and least with me.
It was not as easy as I thought to follow my plan.  His delivery was fast paced and while his product was of no interest to me, I was somewhat intrigued by his self confidence, his utmost assurance in what he was trained to do:  make a sale or at least create an opportunity to pursue the encounter more fully.
As he was reeling off the product’s essential facts, he indicated that he was working locally and while continuing to inform me of the virtues of his offering, he presented a business card for me to see.  He was following the script even in this.
He did not draw nearer to the door, but simply held out the card nearer to the closed door for me to view.
Wisely he had the important details printed n large letters so that I had no difficulty in reading them even from behind the closed door.
But alas, all this was to no avail.  During his breathless delivery, I held up my hand to a stop position which he recognized and gave him the bad news.
Thanks, but no thanks.  The door was closed and I returned to read my newspaper.  He probably was not too disappointed in his “failure” since he was most likely accustomed to being turned down, in this case politely.  He left, not with a mask of disappointment but with a smile.
Like a true professional.
Bill Lee
PO Box 128
Hamer, SC 29547

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