The doorbell rings.
My husband leaves the hole he is repairing in the floor (where the chimney used to be) and goes to answer it. I can hear him talking to someone and I assume it is a neighbour. Elise, he calls, can you come out here? It’s a sales rep from a home security company – we had just been talking about home security, so it feels serendipitous that this nice young man has shown up on our doorstep just now and we’re prepared to stop our work for a bit and hear him out. It’s nearly dinner time, anyway.
He gives his spiel about the company and it all sounds good but we’re not familiar with it and probably seemed a bit leery. He starts name-dropping, neighbours names, when he hits one we know, he says this is the client who referred him to us. Oh, well, alright then. We feel more comfortable, we settle in to hear his pitch.
He’s offering something for free if we put his sign in our yard. It’s all a bit fuzzy, but we like free. So, how much will this cost us? That, of course, depends on what exactly we want. And thus the upsell begins, slowly, gradually. And goes on. And on. And on.
He is a really pleasant young man, though. I want to offer him coffee or snacks or something, but he’s been here for over an hour already and I don’t want to make him too comfortable. We still haven’t been able to get a single number out of him! I’m starting to wonder why we continue to entertain this but we’ve invested so much time already, surely we’re nearly to the end, the bottom line.
I think my husband must want this, he typically dispatches door-to-door sales people in 5 minutes or less, especially when they interrupt an important job like mending a hole in the floor. Or his dinner. He thinks I want this because I’m visiting politely with the guy and watching his endless promotional videos … it feels like punishment but it seems too rude not to look at the ipad when someone goes to the trouble to drag up a video and hold it in front of your face.
How much? my husband asks, for the 5th time. His patience has worn thin by now. We purpose not say a word as the rep does the math, this time we will not give him any excuse to take a rabbit trail. The final number is more than we are comfortable with, but before we can even ask about downgrading a bit, there are incentives and perks flying loosely around the room like so many mesmerizing butterflies and we are both teetering on the edge of diabetic trance as it is, so we foolishly follow them.
Two hours have gone by and we’re hungry. So gut-wrenchingly hungry. And we can smell the dinner in the crockpot as it reaches out it’s aromatic tentacles and calls to us, why did you set me up 6 hours ago if you weren’t going to eat me? Oh sweet mother-of-gulash, there is nothing I would love more than to devour you at this point! I even consider offering this charming intruder dinner just to get on with it, but I’m afraid he’ll end up sleeping on our couch and staying for breakfast if I do!
There is talk of cancellation policies, of lifetime warranties, of no-contracts, of so very many things that my head spins. 3 hours and counting!
I’m desperate to be done with it. I’m desperate for food and quiet. I’m desperate to have him out of the house.
Consumer Protection Act! I cry out. We have 10 days to change our minds after we sign a contract!
My husband perks up, he knows where I’m headed. Are you sure? We could just sign on the line and end this now … decide tomorrow if it was a good or bad idea …
The young salesman is animated. Yes, and . . . He starts in AGAIN about the policies and gobble-de-goop. No!! we both shout, We don’t want to hear any more! We’ll sign. We’ll sign.
One more video?
And in another 15 minutes it is over, it is done. We have signed some stuff, we have booked the install for the next day. We walk him to the door, we close it behind him, we both think about locking it just to be sure (But we didn’t. Really, we didn’t.) We are exhausted, our heads are spinning. We wade through the heavy mental fog that lingers everywhere and fall on our dinner, devouring it like a pair of ravenous zombies before passing out in front of the TV.
I confess that I didn’t sleep well, by 2 am I am quite certain we have made a mistake.
In the morning, I call the security company. I find myself listening to a man who keeps talking down to me and, no surprise, won’t leave me enough room to squeeze a word in edgewise as I try to tell him that what the sales rep said is not quite matching up with what he’s telling me now on the phone. My head suddenly feels clear, my path forward is obvious. I raise my voice a little and without apology I talk over him and say:
Thank you for being a jerk and making this decision so easy for me – please cancel the technician for this afternoon, we will NOT be purchasing your service. Goodbye.
Sigh of deep relief (on my part.)
I blame the heat. And the low blood sugar. It really doesn’t matter. Clearly I can still be bamboozled by charm, though I don’t capitulate for straight up jerks any more. But just to be safe, I’m not opening the door to any more sales people (unless they have cookies!)