They're back! - the door-to-door salesmen from hell

Well, not actually from hell; that’s just what the estate agents call it ‘North Hell’ they often say, but really it’s not even a suburb and the climate is quite different.

Anyway, they’re back! - the door-to-door salesmen from… SEEBoard (one of the throng of energy companies here)

**Salesperson: **Good evening sir, we’re carrying out checks on households in the area; we wondered if you had been informed that you can obtain a rebate on your gas and electricity bills if you take your own meter readings…
**Mangetout: **Is that correct?
**S: **Yes, by phoning through your gas and electric meter readings to us, we’ll give you 5% of the bill back.
**M: **Well, I must say, this is kinder than I had imagined possible, particularly in view of the fact that I don’t purchase my gas or electricity from your company…
**S: **Well, um, you’d actually have to change to supply from us
**M: **Ah, well thanks, but no thanks.
(there follows a further minute of polite disentanglement and withdrawal and the salesman disappears into the frosty night)

So once again, I’d like to say, for the benefit of anyone who might chance to be listening: Just tell me honestly what it does, what it costs and why you think it is good, don’t try to trick me into buying something, I’m not stupid.


Telephone salesman comes to the door, sprouts something about me never bein able to get cheaper call that what he is selling.

Me: Oh yes I can.
Him: Oh, no you can’t.
Me: Oh yes I can.
Him: Oh, no you can’t.
(This goes on for a bit while I think I’m trapped in a Monty Python sketch).
Me: So what are your rates then.
Him: Something or other I really can’t remember the details, but let’s say it was 2.5 cents per minute.
Me: Then that would be 2.5 cents per minute more than it costs me right now.
Him: Huh?
Me: I work for a telephone company and I get free calls, so please push off !
Him: Mumble, mumble (and pushes off).

If they came to my door, I think I would say, “Oh, I’m glad your here! Say, have you ever given serious thought to becoming an Amway distributor? Come on in and lets talk about for a few hours…”

I always say, “Come on in, I need to tell you how Jesus changed my life.”

Those poor guys. Does anyone ever buy things from a door to door salesman? I’ll buy the candies from school kids, just 'cause it takes guts to do that. But, not an unsolicited in person sales call. Sorry

Note that the vairant to NoClueBoy’s approach “Oh Good, you’re just in time to help with the goat sacrifice to Lucifer” works well for those pesky door-to-door witnessers. :wink:

I really gotta start doing that…

Amen. Ah-Men. Ahhh- bloody-MEN.

Twice a year, I have to deal with the magazine salesmen.

They work for some outfit that carts them all over south Texas in buses, and lets them out, en masse, to swarm all over the place trying to sell you magazine subscriptions.

But they aren’t REALLY trying to sell you magazine subscriptions, oh, no, no, no.

They’re trying to earn POINTS, you see. And each and every one of the sonsabitches is only two or three points away from winning a complete scholarship, or a trip to Hawaii, or a new car. Every one of them.

And how do they earn points? By accumulating VOTES.

And how do they accumulate votes? Votes for what? Well, there’s this list of extremely popular periodicals…

… and then they try to sell you magazine subscriptions.

Y’know what? Unless I actually want what you’re selling… or you’re selling something at a substantial discount from regular retail… you are WASTING MY TIME, Charlie!

…and the only thing MORE likely to piss me off than wasting my time is wasting my time ON MY OWN FRONT PORCH, playing your damn dog-and-pony-show about how you aren’t really trying to sell me magazine subscriptions, you just need me to vote for my favorite periodicals by signing up for paid subscriptions!!!

I’ve rather frightened the last two people to try this. I felt kind of bad about it afterwards. After all, they don’t know about the last two dozen people who showed up at my house and annoyed me during dinner to play the exact same scripted pile of horse hockey. They were just doing what their bosses told them to do.

…but I have reached a point in my life where I realize life is finite. I only have a certain amount of time left before I die… and I find I would rather be rude to two people per year than spend twenty minutes per year of my life listening to some idiotic sales pitch that leads up to me not buying any damn magazines anyway…

So, all you would-be magazine salesmen:

The time you save WILL be your own.

I feel your pain Mangetout.

For nearly 2 years I worked for one of the top 3 energy suppliers in the UK. Because of my position, it was my job to know about much of the legislation and changes in the industry. If anyone is interested, I’d be happy to share some of the things due to begin this year and in the next few, but don’t want to hijack the thread.

The easiest way we found to deal with door-knockers is to just tell them you work for the opposition - kinda like telling a Jehovah’s Witness you’re Catholic (no offense meant - just an example). They give up before they can get into their speech. Or ask them who their supplier is and berate them for not using their own company. Loads of fun that one :stuck_out_tongue: Aren’t I evil?

I had one excessively cheerful woman drag me into a whole “You can help me earn a scholarship…all I have to do is meet 2000 people before Noflember 43, 2001…” but apparently the way that the sponsoring organization tabulates how many people this woman met is by how many people bought fucking magazine subscriptions from her.

Of course, this is not put on the table until I’ve warily wasted a good five minutes on pleasantries and civil conversation because, after all, she has to “meet” people.

What really ticks me off is that I actually felt sorry for her, being disappointed by my refusal to entangle myself with a third-party distributor of periodicals for whatever insanely expensive contract it would have been.

They go away real fast if you turn the water hose on 'em.

My standard response for all solicitations - phone and door - is “I’m sorry. All dispersals at this location must be approved by the Foundation.” Usually blank stares/silence at this point.
For door-to-door salvation salesmen, my son wants to handle those. He is tres gothique, and loves to debate.

Great idea; I’ll go all AutoHink™ on them;

**Salesperson: **Good evening sir, we’re carrying out checks on households in the area; we wondered if you had been informed that you can obtain a rebate on your gas and electricity bills if you take your own meter readings…
**Mangetout: **That’s great, but calculating implementation through an encrypted construct on the structured signature together with your pipeline of programmed frequency incompletely filters a memory of static transparency, can you tell me whether you plan to begin from a conceptual framework in a static manifestation by predictive stasis, surrendering my consent of distilled selection, or by enabling location from a distilled calculation with simulated tools, abstracting your collective terms of an irreversable construct?
**Salesperson: **(runs away, screaming)

I have to remember this one.

I actually had a salesman get irritated with me because I wouldn’t let him into the house to show me how his cleaner worked. I was standing there in my bathrobe, fresh from the shower, I had already tried to tell him nicely that I was in a huge hurry and didn’t have the time. It ended with me slamming the door in his face.

[Knock, knock]
Me: Huh?
SiH: Greetings! Would you like to pur-
Door: SLAM!

Solves problem. Or just start staring at them and don’t say anything.

Perhaps this is true, rob but it isn’t nearly as much fun as wasting their time and screwing with them a little.

If I may share an amusing anecdote…

“Hello sir, I am selling magazines. Would you care to…”




“But we have a wide variety!”

“Well, do you have Skeptical Inquirer?”

“No, we don’t have that, but we do have National Enquirer. Would you like that?”


I’m probably going to get lambasted for this (noting the telemarketer threads), but someone’s got to do this…

I did door-to-door sales. Well, door-to-door canvassing and political contributions. Never did the phone work, but I was the guy knocking on the door.

To answer your question, NoClueBoy, yes, people did donate money. The goal was $120.00 a person a night (usually worked from 5-9 PM), although there were days I got $0 and days I got over $300.00. Not sure about actual salesmen, though - different slant, I guess.

Not to hijack the thread too much, but if anyone wants to know about door-to-door stuff, feel free to ask.

Skeptical Inquirer…National Enquirer, what’s the difference :slight_smile:

TDN and Magog: I don’t mind someone coming to my door to SELL me something. This is a part of life, and getting crazy about it is stupid. Besides, some things I might LIKE to buy. Band candy. Girl Scout cookies. Lawnmowing services. Really great deals on products that are then physically handed to me, instead of me trusting some stranger to ship it to me in the mail once he has my money.

Indygrrl and JayJay, I think, are representative of why these magazine people bug me. These magazine people will swear on a stack of Bibles that they are NOT there to sell you anything, but are there for charitable reasons, or to get a scholarship, or to win a trip to Aruba or whatever. They will engage you in conversation, they will burn your time, they will try to suck you in, crank up the charm…

…and then they will try to sell you magazine subscriptions.

…and some of them have the gall to get bent with me when I say, “You lied to me. You said you weren’t selling anything. Go away.”

If you want to sell me something, tell me so, and tell me what you’re selling. If I’m interested, I will listen. If not, I will save my time, and yours, by saying “No thanks,” and you can go on to make another sale somewhere else.

My sole exception to this rule is Jehovah’s Witnesses, whom I feel an irrational predjudice against. Well, not entirely irrational. They had a bad habit of waking me up WAY too early on weekends when I lived in this particular neighborhood, years ago.

At the time, I didn’t have a thing against any religious group, creed, belief system, or much of anyone else.

I still don’t.

Except Jehovah’s Witnesses.

You see, these Jehovah’s Witnesses used to Witness the hell out of this one neighborhood. Once or twice a month, I could count on one or two of them knocking on my door, wanting to come in and discuss “The Watchtower” with me.

This wouldn’t have been so bad, except that they INVARIABLY showed up around eight a.m. or so… on a Saturday or Sunday morning.

I was in college at the time, unemployed, and independently wealthy from the royalties on my patents on various evil rubber sex toys, and the idea of being awake and ambulatory at eight a.m. on ANY day for ANY reason was durn near against MY religion.

…so like a sucker, I’d shrug into a bathrobe, stagger blindly into the living room, and open the door, expecting to find my old man there, telling me to get dressed, your grandfather’s had a stroke or something…

…and be confronted by two clean-cut young men in white shirts and ties who want to give me literature and can they come in and discuss The Watchtower with me?
Now, I’m not fond of a lot of the churchy folks to begin with, and I’m especially suspicious of the ones that come HUNTING ME DOWN. Nearly all religions preach humility, and for a quality so highly valued, you sure don’t see a lot of it in many of these folks, and I don’t much like being treated high-handedly or looked down the nose at, on the off chance that I don’t happen to subscribe to a particular godfest, okay?

…and in time, I came to resent these people. I quit being polite. I got rather curt with them. “No thank you, I already have a religion,” followed by closing the door in their faces because if you DON’T close the door in their faces, they’ll KEEP TALKING, the basturds won’t LET you get away gracefully and politely…

In fact, some of them seem to THRIVE on being verbally abused, cursed at, sprayed down with garden hoses, and generally badly treated. Years later, my wife told me that this is PART of Witnessing – being kicked in the butt by the Infidels. This is part of how Witnesses earn their way into Heaven! The more dirt you throw at them, the more exalted they’ll be when they get there… the sweeter it is when they manage to CONVERT someone… the jollier it is, altogether. In short, being spat upon is PART OF THEIR RELIGION.

And it didn’t stop them. They kept coming back.

…and this culminated in an ugly incident one Saturday morning.

You see, the previous Friday night, we’d been into Coca-Cola… and Civilization.

Civilization, the old Avalon Hill board game. Seven players. Each player takes the part of a Stone Age tribe, and you have to build a Classical Civilization, based on trade, warfare, and individual achievements like music, architecture, metalworking, agriculture, and so on. Ever played it? It’s a kick, and educational, too…

…but a seven-player game rarely takes less than eight hours.

We’d just finished up. We’d been rolling dice and moving mice for about fifteen hours… and that sonofabitch Bobo had done his usual trick of cornering the goddamn salt market, ALL over the Mediterreanean, and the other players LET HIM DO IT, every damn game, and I’d had HELL keeping the Minoans out of Thrace, and Troll had been spreading plagues, iconoclasm, and heresy left and right – he’d managed to delay the Greeks’ entry into the Late Iron Age for two whole turns… and the Creature kept wanting to expand up out of Egypt (he stomped on the Egyptian player early – he’d started out in Africa and, as Zimbabwe, had squeezed the Egyptian player out of the game singlehanded, but was still dumb enough to trade Bobo salt for ochre)…

…we were WEIRD. It was seven-thirty in the morning, and we were stonkered on caffeine, nicotine, ancient history, and fatigue poisons – an ugly mix. One by one, we began getting up, putting away the board and tokens, and clearing away the mess.

Since it was my house, I decided to go to bed. I stripped down to my skivvies, and dived into the Legendary Waterbed, about which there’s another thread around here somewhere.

I’d been there maybe fifteen minutes… just enough time to get REALLY comfortable… when there was a knock on the door. Troll and Bobo were still there, but at that time, we weren’t living together, and they weren’t comfortable answering my door… so I got up, still dressed in nothing but Fruit-Of-The-Looms, and answered the door, fully expecting that it was the Creature or someone, having forgotten his keys or some durn thing…

…and, in the pale morning light, I found myself face to face with a fat lady in a flowered dress and her two small children. They all seemed quite surprised to be confronted with a sudden hairy near-naked man who stank of old cigarettes and the dust of ancient history. Precisely what they DID expect to find at my house at eight a.m. on a Saturday morning, I couldn’t tell you.

We all stood there and stared at each other for a moment.

And then my eyes focused. I saw what it was she was clutching to her breast.


I screamed. Well, perhaps howled is a better term. I wasn’t afraid, of course… I wasn’t even really… “angry”.

But I’d been comfortable, dammit, and about to drift off to sleep, and I’d taken THIRD place in the dratted game, thanks to Troll’s plague and Bobo and his goddamn salt-based economy, and I’d been on the VERY EDGE of drifting off to dreamland, and it was EIGHT goddamn A.M. on a SATURDAY morning, and HERE THE BASTURDS WERE, ALL OVER AGAIN!

So I screamed. Loud. Guttural. Absolutely fraggin’ berserk.

Troll and Bobo looked up.

The woman screamed, too.

Her children turned tail and ran.

She stood there, mouth hanging open, brain locked up on her from sheer shock.

It occurred to me that it would be nice if SHE would run away, too, like her children had. It would certainly be convenient. How could I make this happen? Perhaps if I did something that seemed threatening…

I glanced at the umbrella holder next to the door.

In it were two umbrellas, a cane, a large rubber double-ended dildo, and a sword. A real sword, genuine Toledo steel, left over from RenFaire. I grabbed it, waved it around, and screamed again.

She screamed again, too, spun around, and took off running across my front yard.

…now I don’t really know why I did what I did next. I was still kind of asleep, you’ll remember, and I’d been up all night, and I sure as anything wasn’t really thinking straight.

I do know, though, that I decided that she might stop running. I didn’t want her to stop running. I wanted her to keep running clear to Oklahoma, if at all possible. The only way I could think of to make her keep running was the thing I had done to make her start running in the first place.

So I took off running, too. I slammed through the screen door, I screamed some more, and began waving the sword, like a loony about to make Viking salad out of some luckless soul.

The children had stopped running at the sidewalk. When the mostly naked hairy man erupted from the bushes in pursuit of Mama, waving a sword and shrieking like a banshee with kidney stones, they took OFF, with Mama right behind, and the crazy hairy man in hot pursuit.

I screamed again.

Mama screamed again.

The kids, not to be left out, screamed REAL loud.

Well, I didn’t want the cycle to stop anytime soon. I screamed again. Mama screamed again, and the kids screamed again, and we all charged through the neighborhood and across the street at the end of the block.

Well, as you’ll imagine, this was kind of noisy.

Some people poked their heads out of windows. A few front doors opened. People were looking to see what was happening.

…and it occurred to me that this particular course of action might have consequences that I had not foreseen.

I stopped running.

By now, the kids had reached a car, and were tugging at the handle and crying and screaming for Mama, Mama, the car is locked!

Mama hadn’t looked over her shoulder, and was still booking, all three hundred pounds of her. They all leaped into the car, all in a twinkling.

I roared at them and waved my sword, as they peeled out and drove away.

I stood there in the middle of someone’s front yard in my underwear, holding a broadsword.

People looked at me.

Fortunately, at the time, I was well equipped to save face – I had hair down past my shoulders, and a beard out to here. I scowled around me. A couple of people closed their front doors.

Feeling dangerous and foolish, I walked back to my house. Troll and Bobo solemnly applauded as I stuck the sword back in the umbrella stand and went to bed.

I understand the cops drove up and down the street a few minutes later, but nothing ever came of it.

…and for the rest of the time I lived at that address… the Jehovah’s Witnesses NEVER bothered us again.

Wonder if this would work on magazine salesmen?

solemnly salutes Wang-Ka and retires from the thread

Ain’t nothin’ gonna beat that.

Well, he could have grabbed the large rubber double-ended dildo instead of the sword…