Thursday, May 01, 2008

I should not be allowed to answer the door.

I've known for quite a few years that I would be better off not answering my door when the door bell rings. The first time I realized it, I was 21 years old and in grad school at ASU. It was nighttime and late enough to be dark out. I lived alone in an apartment where I knew nobody. When the knock came on my door that night I should have hid and waited for the person to leave. Instead, being the optimistic and naïve girl I was, I opened the door to a young, aggressive looking man who was selling oil changes. Yes, oil changes. At my apartment in the dark. I look back and realize answering the door that night was probably more dangerous than riding around Ho Chi Min city on the back of a scooter with a Vietnamese woman I didn't know, which I had done only a year earlier.

The guy kind of shouldered his way into the entry of my apartment and proceeded to sell me a card with four oil changes for the price of two. He was violating my personal space, standing just a few inches from me. His body language said that he wanted to get closer. His demeanor made me so nervous that I grabbed my credit card as fast as I could and paid him for the oil changes, hoping he'd get out of my apartment. As soon as the door shut behind him, I ran to my phone and called my credit card company. I was afraid to tell them what had happened (because I thought I should have been assertive enough to ask him to leave) so instead I reported my credit card stolen. When scary oil change guy got back to his oil change shop to run my credit card number, it was denied. I knew he could get in trouble for running a stolen card number, and I kind of hoped he would.

The second incident that comes to mind happened about six months ago. A young British man named Charles showed up on my porch with a huge load of books. He was selling for the Southwestern Book Company. Please, do not buy books from these people. Charles was a polite guy, plus he was attractive and seemed smart (or maybe his accent just fooled me). He talked me into buying about $126 worth of books from him, although the books would have to be delivered at a later date. After he left, I realized that we were close to the end of the month and if that check got cashed, I'd have to transfer money from my savings account into my checking account to cover it and still be able to buy groceries. I hate transferring money because it proves to me that I've spent too much that month. I do my best to avoid it. So, I got on the phone and called Southwestern to ask them to cancel my order. They couldn't do it. Their sales people (including Charles) are independent distributors, which means you have to deal directly with the sales people. Charles, unfortunately, did not have a phone number or an address, so I couldn't get in touch with him. The whole transaction ended up being a big mess. My check was cashed, although not until the beginning of the next month. I posted Scott out near the driveway at the appointed book delivery time and had him tell Charles to get our money back and get lost, that we didn't want the books. I knew he couldn't sweet talk Scott into changing his mind. A few months later I got my $126 back but it was a HUGE hassle. Never again.

I hear that when a woman reaches fifty years old, she finally figures out who she is and what she needs and she no longer desires to cater to the needs of others just to please them. I know I've got twenty years to pass before I get there, but I'm looking forward to it. In the meantime, I'll try not to answer my door.


Michael said...

I am totally the same way! I had a guy come to my front door asking me to help save some lake. I said "I totally agree, the lake needs to be saved, but I don't have time to talk right now, if you have a website I can check out the information I will go there." He gave me a pamphlet and went on his way.

I'm far too nice too. Apparently crime in the area is predicated on a homeowners kindness. We heard about an incident from just the other day. So from now on we will NOT be kind and lie through our teeth till they go away.

3boys247 said...

Ben is the same way. He will talk forever with the guys at the door. One time they elbowed there way in to show him a vaccum, HELLOOO, WE HAVE MOSTLY HARDWOOD FLOORS. We do not need a new, overpriced vacuum and you may not come in to show me how it works. Ben answers every survey, accepts new quotes for auto insurance. Today, one of the insurance people called to chat again with Ben about his quote and I told them I was the babysitter.

I usually just say, "thanks but we aren't interested." Or if the mormons come by to chat, I tell them "we are doing just fine, thanks anyway."

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