You’d think that after watching the “I Love Lucy” episode, “Sales Resistance”, where Lucy gets taken advantage of by salesmen and totally learns her lesson the hard way that I’d be invulnerable to salespeople.
In my defense, though, I was taken completely off guard.
See, I don’t do well when put on the spot, told to make an instant decision. That’s why door-to-door salespeople have a pretty good chance of getting me to buy something if they stop at my door.
I really should put up a “No Solicitors” sign.
So what happened? Well, it was early one morning – at about 8 a.m. I actually had showered and done my hair by then, which NEVER happens. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have opened the door. Curse my strange energy that morning!
At the time I’m writing this, it’s 9 a.m. and I still haven’t showered due to busybody children.
So, someone knocked and I answered.
Mistake #1: I answered the door.
There stood a college-age guy with a smile and a backpack. He introduced himself, saying that my neighbors had recommended me to him because I had children.
Curse those neighbors, I don’t even know them! They must be getting even with me for having a loud 3-year-old.
I had a bit of a hard time understanding him thanks to his European accent. He told me that he was selling educational children’s books.
I was immediately interested.
Mistake #2: I let myself look interested.
He asked if he could come inside and show me a sample of what he was carrying. The alarms in my head went off – I don’t let just any guy off the streets into my house. He picked up his backpack and made to come inside. I kept the door closed behind me and asked if he could just show me on the porch. He did, reluctantly. Apparently it’s a sales tactic to get inside the house. He showed me a catalog and a sample book, and I really DID love the books. They were fact books for kids with lots of pictures. There were about 12 in the series including a book with removable stickers. I asked how much? He immediately went into his speal.
“$160 BUT this is a wonderful deal considering how many books you’re getting AND the stickers are removable (isn’t that amazing?) AND if you consider how much you spend on video games this is a worthy purchase AND do you have a place that we can sit down and talk about this?”
Um. I really didn’t want to spend almost $200 on books. Even if I did think they were awesome. But he was so nice and smiling that I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.
And he told me Americans are SOOO nice here, letting him talk to them and come inside…
Still, I told him I was busy and couldn’t buy anything. I asked him if he had a card. No, of course not – this is something that can only be bought now or never. I hesitated.
Mistake #3: I hesitated.
He knew he had me. The rest is a blur. I started thinking that maybe $200 wasn’t so much AND it wasn’t anything I could buy online. Plus, my neighbors had made orders and had written recommendations on a paper he showed me.
AND I could make payments. My neighbor had given him half up front.
He picked up his backpack again. I told him I’d go find my checkbook, and he followed me inside. I felt defeated. I couldn’t be a mean American and make him stay outside, plus it was raining. And he was doing all this on a bike.
Mistake #4: I let him inside.
I just really really hoped he wasn’t an axe murderer. Or maybe a hatchet murderer. He could probably fit a hatchet in that backpack.
But he had that nice accent and kept smiling and making small talk all the time, telling me where he was from and showing me his homeland on a map he carried with him (I don’t remember where it was now but I’d never heard of it).
So, with a sinking feeling, I found my checkbook. I asked him what would I do if I changed my mind? “Oh there’s a number to call. But that would be a lot of paperwork, so it would be better not to order if I’m going to change my mind later…”
But I felt like I was in too deep then. Even though I was having buyer’s remorse already. I mean, he didn’t even have the books with him at the time – he was going to deliver them at the end of the summer. Okay… He took my check, said farewell, and was gone.
Mistake #5: When I felt like I was in too deep, I didn’t follow my gut feeling and tell him I’d changed my mind.
He was gone. I was out $90 (apparently there was a delivery fee, too), holding a receipt and wondering what had happened. I mean, how did I know he’d bring the books back by? What was I thinking, spending that much on a set of books? I’m a deal-finder! I could probably find something comparable on ebay!
I considered chasing him down on his bike, but I couldn’t do that of course.
I tried to build the books up in my mind for awhile, thinking that there wasn’t anything like that at the store or online. But I knew that I could find something like that if I really tried.
I had fallen for the old, “You can’t buy it online and there’s nothing comparable on the market” line. Oh me.
The next day I emailed the company and canceled the order. I felt bad, but I would have felt worse later when my daughter and son abused those books. Either that or I would have had to keep them up high where they could never touch them, the $200 set of educational books. And what’s the point of that?
I DID eventually get my money back, so it wasn’t a scam, thankfully. But I learned my lesson.
Well, sort of.
A couple of weeks later, a meat saleslady came by and tried to sell me “really cheap high quality meat”. It wasn’t cheap. She was SO pushy, I kept telling her no, we didn’t have room in our freezer or need meat. She actually asked to come in and look at my freezer so she could prove that she could fit them inside. But I wasn’t real firm and so had to sit through her whole sales pitch. She showed me the meat. She asked me why I couldn’t buy any. I can’t let these people waste my time!
I know that salespeople HAVE to be pushy. They wouldn’t sell anything if they weren’t. But wow. I could never do that! I just hope that I can remember the educational books episode later on when someone tries to sell me something. That was a pain.
And you know what? I went to a used book sale a few weeks ago and found some really nice fact books about animals for 25 cents each.
So what are your experiences with salespeople?
P.S. You HAVE to watch this episode of I Love Lucy, “Sales Resistance”. It’s sooo funny and my favorite. :) There’s a little advertisement at the beginning but then you can watch the whole episode.