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Sunday, Mar. 1, 2015

Salesmen stealth mode

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I will start out by saying that I believe door-to-door salesmen are some of the bravest and most self-confident people that exist. To choose a career knowing they will be rejected, ignored and avoided says a lot for their courage and passion. I completely respect their efforts to make a living and they should be proud of themselves.

However, that being said, I will do everything in my power to escape them, and now have trained my kids to do the same. Our house goes into to "Salesman Stealth Mode" whenever a salesman is seen roaming the neighborhood. I don't know what my problem is. I don't know why I can't just greet them with a friendly smile and say "no thank you." Instead, I cower and hide; all so I don't have to face the dreaded sales pitch.

Trust me, I have tried over the years to stand up and say "no" but those darn guys have a comeback for every kind of rejection and just wear you down by the end of it. Plus, they have a knack of always showing up early in the morning when I'm still waltzing around in my pj's with bed head and drinking coffee. I try hard to stand my ground but they just keep trying to reel me in. Eventually, I use the "I'll have to talk to my husband" line or "can you come back another time, we're getting ready to leave" line. (Knowing I'll be conveniently gone when they come back.)

So I have resorted to "Salesmen Stealth Mode," if I can pull it off. Once in a while the salesmen catch me before I know they're there, like the time I was on the roof cleaning the second story windows and heard someone yelling at me from the ground ... "Could I just have a minute of your time?" I'm on the roof balancing cleaning supplies between my knees ... um ... NO, you cannot have minute of my time.

The kids have been the biggest problem with "Salesmen Stealth Mode." Before kids came along, I could hide in the kitchen or upstairs until the doorbell stopped ringing. But what I didn't realize is that kids are born with some weird fascination with doorbells. Like a dog to a bone, kids appear out of nowhere to answer ringing doorbells.

In our house, if the doorbell rings, my girls will literally race to the front door to see who it is. They can be out of sight for hours, but with the chime of that doorbell, "poof"; they instantly appear at the front door, all fighting to reach the door handle first.

Many a time when my big girls were little, I would spot a salesman at the neighbors' and would be hiding out in the kitchen thinking all was safe, when as soon as the doorbell rang, two little girls would run to the door, whip it open and I would hear the dreaded "Is your Mommy home?" The girls yell "Mooommmy!!" I'm BUSTED! Then I'd have to face the consequences.

After each incident like that, I would talk to them about how we don't answer the door for strangers, especially salesmen and it's best to come hide with mommy, and be REALLY quiet! Sometimes I even bribed them with fruit snacks to stay in the kitchen with me. Ridiculous ... I know.

Over the years, the older girls have improved but we're still working on the 4 year old. She's getting the hang of it, though. Now the girls know that if I yell "SALESMAN!" we all quickly take cover. If we have time, we close and lock all doors, rip curtains shut, turn off all loud electronics and find a room far away from the front door and sit quietly until the ringing stops ... "Salesmen Stealth Mode." If it's a surprise attack, we all find the nearest wall or room out of sight from the front windows or door and stand still as a statue until the ringing halts.

A couple weeks ago the girls came walking out of their rooms unaware of the health insurance stranger knocking at the front door. As they came down the stairs, they saw me standing flat against the living room wall drinking my coffee in silence. Their faces look confused until I mouthed "s a l e s m a n" and pointed to the front door beside me. "Ohhhh", they whispered and then retreated back upstairs to their rooms, dragging their confused littlest sister with them. See...they're learning. Trained from the best.

My husband is a different story. Confronting and shooting down an eager salesman doesn't bother him one iota. In fact, I think he secretly gets a kick out of it. Unfortunately for me, though, he's rarely home when these unwelcome visitors arrive.

This week, we've had another sales creature on the loose in our neighborhood. Even during the thunderstorms, he and his partner trudged on, house to house begging to come in and make their commission for the day. I got the surprise attack and was forced to answer the door, but fortunately I really was getting ready to leave and didn't have time to hear their spiel. They said "okay, well we'll come back later", much to my displeasure.

Now I've been on "Stealth" alert, wondering when they'll make their return and making sure I'm prepared for it. I've warned the kids and kept the curtains half closed and front door shut. Maybe, just maybe we'll escape this round of attacks. We're ready!


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Jennifer Morgan
Motherhood Moments
-- Jennifer Morgan is the mother of three girls and lives in McCook.