A Writer’s Guide to Avoiding Salesman Molestation

Today I was in Walmart when a young gentleman still ten yards away looked at me and said in an overly friendly voice, “Hello, ma’am, how are you today?”
To which I sighed and mumbled, “Aw, shit.”

It’s true the people down here in Texas are way friendlier than those in the north, but they’re not that damn friendly. I wasn’t even in his Social Zone yet, which can only mean one thing: he wants something, and that something is invariably going to take up my time and his, and we’re both going to be disappointed in the end. These salespeople work on commission, making them like pit bulls with their jaws clamped on your meaty calf.

Here’s how the rest of the conversation went, and picture me slowly pushing my cart away from him as I try my best to shake the dog loose in the nicest of ways.

Him: May I ask if you have satellite or cable TV?
Me: [glancing at the table behind him with a DirecTV sign on it & becoming instantly optimistic I can get out of this quickly] Oh, sorry, we rent our house so we can’t get satellite TV.

Him: The owners won’t let you mount a dish?

Me: Nope! Sorry.

Him: Well, that’s okay, because we can just use a tripod.

Me: Well, my husband makes all the decisions on things like this, so you’d have to talk to him. (I use this excuse all the time.)

Him: That’s not a problem, we can call him right now and talk to him.

Me: [now walking backward as I continue to push my cart away from him] Can’t. He’s at work. [shoulder shrug that says Whaddaya gonna do?]

Him: Okay, what time does he get off of work?

Me: Next…year? (Yes, I phrased it as a question.)

Him: Next–Oh, I see. Have a good day then.

Me: [apologetic smile] You too.

Was that not ridiculous? Sometimes I hate that I can’t just ignore them and walk away guilt free. I even let telemarketers go through their schpiel before telling them no. After all, I understand that it’s their job to be annoying. I can’t bring myself to say “kiss off” when they’re just trying to make a living. (Plus, what if I’m super mean to a telemarketer and they’re already in a really volatile position in their life and my rudeness and lack of respect is the last straw and they end up on a fast downward spiral until they end up going completely postal and taking out a bunch of innocent people kind of like Michael Douglas in that movie Falling Down?! I don’t want that on my record when I have my chat with Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates.)

Later I was thinking of all the things I could’ve said right off the bat to shut him down quicker, still without being rude. I mean, I’m a writer for chrissakes, I should be able to spin a tiny yarn or two to get me out of uncomfortable situations, shouldn’t I? The problem is, I’m the least witty person off the top of my head. Unless I can think about it and rehearse ahead of time, I’m useless when it comes to lying.

So, I’ve decided to come up with a few elaborate lies that will hopefully stop these people in their tracks. They’re trained on how to come back from almost anything (as you can see from the above conversation) so I need to do one of two things: say something that covers every possible base so they don’t have anything else to toss back at me, or say something so outrageous that it stuns them for at least a good two seconds so I can make my getaway.

In Part II I’m going to let you know a few that I come up with. What about you? Do you have a funny or crazy story about being molested by a salesman? Have you ever told them something crazy to get them to leave you alone? Share it in the comments!

Ciao, bellas!

14 Comments on “A Writer’s Guide to Avoiding Salesman Molestation”

  1. Whatever it is they're selling, I usually come back with “I don't have.”

    Cable and/or satellite = We don't have tv.

    vinyls siding and/or roofs, windows = we rent our house.

    Bible/religion salesman = I practice Native American faith and there's no budging,(And they actually don't want to mess with that) or depending on the religion they're trying to sell I break out my old speal from college about what the former Popes did to the Bible when the took out all those women's gospels and start going all feminist on them. They never want to debate me (because they're usually men) so they excuse themselves and write my name down in a little book to remember not to go back there.

  2. I can't wait to see what you come up with, cuz I'm the same way as you. I actually use the husband cared all. the. time. Hmmmm, what else seems to work? Sometimes I'm just direct and I say, “Sorry, I know you work off commissions, but I'll just be a waste of your time. Have a good day.” This only sometimes works. :/

  3. 1. Siding sales: My house is stucco
    2. Roofing sales: My roof is 2 years old/I'm waiting for my insurance claim.
    3. Insurance sales:Yeah, I need insurance. Let me go to my other phone where my oxygen is.
    4. Bible thumpers: Sorry, I'm an atheist, honest to God!
    5. All others: It's against my religion.

  4. I love the “next year” part! You're brave. What works for me is to push an overflowing cart with 5 kids in tow, all hanging off the cart and whooping. Then THEY give ME an apologetic smile.

  5. Ugh, salesmen are the worst! I usually say “I appreciate the offer, but am not interested.” If they continue to bug me I'll tell them “Please, don't make me get rude with you.” lol

    We were in Best Buy the other day and a satellite salesman approached me. He asked if we had cable, dish, whatever. I told him, “we don't watch tv.” He looked at me like I was crazy. haha It's true, though.

    I don't think he actually believed me, but it was easy to get away from him. lol

  6. Hi Michelle! Best Buy must have a thing going with that everywhere becuz we were approached by one of those guys too the week before. That's why I thought the “we rent and can't alter the house with a dish” thing would work becuz Brian had said that and it shut that guy down immediately. But, NOOOOOOOooooooo. MY guy had to throw a fricking TRIPOD into the sales ring. Geesh! lol

  7. Salesmen are the worst. I'm so glad to hear though, that I'm not the only one so freakin' slow with come backs to people off the top of my head. Now, while writing, I can be the most humorous smart ass there is! When they call on the phone there are 2 things I say now. #1: Plain and simple, “Sorry, I'm not interested.” #2: “What part of 'not interested' did you not understand?”

  8. It's true the people down here in Texas are way friendlier than those in the north, but they're not that damn friendly. I wasn't even in his Social Zone yet, which can only mean one thing: he wants something, and that something is paper writers invariably going to take up my time and his, and we're both going to be disappointed in the end. These salespeople work paper help on commission, making them like pit bulls with their jaws clamped on your meaty calf. paper writing internet site have got quite a few good data.

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