Hump Day: Is door-to-door selling even worthwhile anymore?

Hump Day 2 croppedHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Moncton Times & Transcript

The worst job in the world must be doing door-to-door sales. During a period of unemployment many years ago, I tried selling newspaper subscriptions that way. I made it to two houses before giving up. To say that it wasn’t for me is an understatement.

In days gone by, selling door-to-door was an accepted way of doing business. Actually, it wasn’t that long ago that vacuum cleaner sales people would still show up from time to time. When I was a kid, I clearly remember the ‘fish man’ and ‘meat man’ showing up at my grandparents’ house in rural Prince Edward Island. My grandparents always bought something from the trucks. No one even blinked an eye.

Today, it seems that there only a few who still go door-to-door: sport teams doing bottle drives, students raising money for schools, telecommunications companies, home security companies, the odd charity or two and evangelical religious groups. The only ones I give the time of day to are sport teams and students. Unless it’s someone I know personally, I won’t give to a charity going door-to-door. That’s what the Internet is for.

I did my fair share of school and minor hockey fundraising as a kid. I know it’s a necessary evil. And yes, school fundraisers were happening 35 years ago, too. It’s nothing new. Every year, we sold either bars or chocolate-covered almonds. If you were lucky, you had relatives who bought most of them – or a father with a sweet tooth who ate them all and had to cough up the cash.

While teams, students and charities may get a pass, the rest of them just aren’t welcome to invite themselves onto my property and interrupt me. Lately, I’ve been finding myself getting more and more annoyed when I hear the ‘ding dong’ and look outside to see no vehicle in the driveway. And needless to say, the dog is barking her brains out, which is enough to drive a person insane at the best of times.

door to door salesThe other day marked the first of likely five times this year that I’ll be solicited to either change my telephone and Internet provider or sign up for some home security company.

While I don’t envy the people who have the awful job of hearing ‘No!’ a lot more than they hear ‘Yes!’ I also really don’t appreciate the intrusion. If I wanted to change Internet providers or have cameras wired up to every corner of my house, I’d do it. I don’t need someone bothering me at the door to make me aware of my options.

Trust me, the 50 or so flyers I receive every year in the mail from telecommunications companies remind me on a regular basis that I have Internet, home telephone and cable television options.

The first sales person of the season arrived last week when I was in the middle of dealing with a printer that was acting up amidst looming deadlines when I heard ‘ding dong’ and the dog’s little white head exploded. By the time I made it to the door, I was practically livid anyway with the joys of a printer that decided to act up at a crucial time in the workday, only to find a representative wearing a corporate jacket who was wondering if I’d like to switch Internet companies.

Now, normally I’m reasonably polite because I went through this years ago and can relate to how awful it can be. But today was another story. I opened the door, kept the little white dog with the exploding head away with one foot, and simply answered with, “I’m sorry, I’m not interested,” even before he said a word. Then, like the poor chap was trained, he tried to save the sale. I fully admit, I wasn’t the friendliest person in the world at that moment.

He opened his mouth.“But sir…” He certainly wasn’t reading me well. I slammed the door, locked it and walked away. I felt horrible, but I just didn’t have time for a debate. I felt for the guy. I know he’s just trying to earn a buck, but I didn’t invite him into my world. He chose to impose himself. I work from home. I was busy. Good-bye!

It probably won’t be the last time I end up slamming a door on someone this year, nor will it be the last time I’ll feel guilty. But really, haven’t we all had enough of these unwanted intrusions? I have a telephone and I have the Internet. If I want to do business with you, I promise to contact you!

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