Saturday, July 16, 2011
Door to Door Salesman
We were just finishing up meal devotions at noon earlier this week when the doorbell rang. On the front porch stood a young, short, wiry, black man wearing plaid shorts and a mismatched plaid shirt. I saw his black bag with some product in it, realized he was selling something, and knew my answer would be "no". He had so much energy and talked so fast, though, the kids and I couldn't help but watch as he went through his spiel for the overpriced cleaning solution he was selling. He cleaned a window, a piece of carpet on the front porch, rust on the patio, and mildew on the fence all the while giving his sales pitch. As a sort of stall tactic and to ease the "no", I decided to ask him about himself. I found out that JV (as his friends call him) was 26, grew up in Chicago and moved to Atlanta when his neighborhood in Chicago became too dangerous. He went to a job training school in Texas and became a welder. While at the job training school he met a girl and became the father of two children. He decided welding was not for him because he liked to be around people so he took this sales job based in Atlanta going door to door. His team takes the Greyhound bus from city to city for usually a two week period of time; he just came from Detroit and was heading to Cincinnati from Grand Rapids. JV told me his selling quota is 12 bottles of cleaning solution a day, but gave me a mischievous smile and said he's a pretty good salesman and can sometimes sell 14-15/day. If he sells 10 a day he considers it a good day because then he makes $100/day.
To make a long story short, my plan backfired, and, well, I found myself with an overpriced bottle of cleaning solution. I spent the rest of the afternoon regretting my purchase and lack of backbone.
Fast forward a few days. I am sitting on the couch reading emails when Lydia comes and sits on the arm of the couch. She leans in towards me and starts to play with my hair.
"Did you buy that cleaning stuff the other day because you felt sorry for him?"
"Um, maybe, uh, yeah."
She smiles shyly and then gives me a huge hug and a kiss on the cheek before running off to play.
And suddenly I regretted my purchase just a little bit less.