Call me narcissist if you must but this blog is all about ME. I have another blog about my kids, whom I love and adore writing about. But I was Nicole a long time before I was mom and I don't intend to give up being Nicole overnight.

You can read all about my kids at Naptime Optional.
Or you can follow along on our Arizona adventure on my 365 project blog.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hook, line, sinker

It's common knowledge that I'm the mean one at our house.

I'm the disciplinarian when it comes to the kids.

I'm the spouse most likely to pick a fight.

And I'm the one who has no problem whatsoever saying no to salespeople. When Mike feels himself falling prey to a door to door salesman he always pulls out the "well you'll have to convince my wife" line. It probably comes from the fact that I've worked in marketing and I know all the tactics salespeople use to try to get me to buy a product and I'm secretly irritated that they are trying to use their little tricks on me. As if I'm dumb enough to fall for that line!

So you can imagine my husband's shock when he came home yesterday to discover I had spent (ehem, embarrassingly clears throat) over $100 on cleaning products from a door to door salesman.

Raise your hands if you've ever had the Advanage salespeople knock on your door. Show of hands please. Come on, keep 'em up.

Okay, for those of you still sittn' there pickn' your nose let me clue you in. Advanage is a eco-friendly cleaner sold by black inner-city kids from Illinois. Okay, maybe they're not all black and not all from Illinois-but all the ones who have ever come to my house are.

The Advanage sales crew show up in my neighborhood about 2 times a year. I always know it's them from a mile away because well, let's face it, I live in a neighborhood predominately white and Hispanic, so when I see large groups of black kids walking the streets with spray bottles hanging from their back pockets I know I'm about to get the Advanage sales pitch again.

We have lived in this neighborhood for close to 6 years now and not once have I said yes to their sales pitch, although I've heard a dozen times. They've cleaned the oil from my driveway a dozen times, cleaned the siding on my house a dozen times, told me all about the company's goal to take kids out of the inner cities and give them a way to make a living and get an education a dozen times. I know what they claim their product does and still never bought any of it. Never even been tempted. Not once.

Somehow my resolve all weakened when I opened the door to Katrina Taylor. Well, actually Adam opened the door. So then I had to talk to her.

There she is, standing on my porch, he beautiful white teeth and long dark hair and her ebony skin. She was striking to say the least. And the first thing she says to me is "Can I ask you a question?" I resign myself to hearing the sales pitch, yet again, and answer in the affirmative.

She says, "Why is everybody in this neighborhood so nice? All your neighbors have been SO nice to me today and I'm just not used to that." I was taken aback for just a moment, not quite sure if she was being serious or if this was all part of her sales pitch.

Just then the Elders walked past my house and Katrina called out to them, saying Hi, and telling them they she thought they looked very professional. I was struck with inspiration and I called out to them "Hey Elders, Katrina here wants to know why everybody in the neighborhood is so nice to her." I'm feeling a little proud of myself at this point thinking I'm giving the Missionaries the perfect chance to swoop in, tell her that everybody is nice and happy because of our faith in Jesus Christ and give her a Book of Mormon or at least a pass-along card.

Instead they gave me a blank stare, as if I was speaking Russian. One of them mumbled something along the lines of "oh, are people nice around here?" and after a short, awkward silence they said, "well, have a nice day" and walked away.

After that strange exchange the sales pitch for the cleaner began. She cleaned the oil on my driveway, like usual. And then I did something I have NEVER let any of these sales people do-I let her into my house to clean something. She cleaned the mildew in my bathroom. She cleaned a spot off my carpet. She cleaned crayon off my wall. She even wiped down my stainless steel dishwasher and told me that this cleaner would repel the fingerprints for up to 2 weeks.

But during all this cleaning that was going on she kept noticing things around my home relating to the church. She pointed to the family picture that had the words "Families can be Together Forever" printed under it and then told me how much she loved the church's teachings about the family. Then she read my sign hanging on the fridge from my Primary Sharing Time on Sunday "By following Jesus Christ we can live with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ again."

She went on an on about how she wished her family was closer. She told me that she came from a home of 7 kids with a single mom who only had a GED. She talked about how life had been hard growing up and how she has a 2 year old of her own now and decided she wanted her daughter to have a better life. So she's going to college and working hard to give her girl a better life.

There was a part of me that was trying hard not to get sucked in by her sob story. I kept telling myself that this was all part of the sales pitch. I was supposed to simultaneously feel sorry for her and be happy for her that she was trying to do something with her life and thus feel obligated to buy her cleaner. I kept telling myself this mentally, but something deeper inside me just kept telling me that she was sincere.

So I told myself I'd just buy one bottle of cleaner. But when she pulled out the price list she said if I bought 1-3 bottles she got 20% commission but if I bought the kit (3 bottles, a cleaning brush, and bottles to mix the concentrated cleaner in) then she got 60%. And if I got the kit PLUS a bottle of the glass cleaner she got 70%.

And I caved. For some reason I still don't fully understand I found myself writing out a check to her for the kit and the glass cleaner. The entire time I'm thinking to myself "my husband is going to shoot me!" And yet I kept writing out that check, handing over his hard earned money. And a lot of it, too.

And before she left I gave her my copy of the Family Answers DVD.

So now I suppose it's time for some serious spring cleaning. And a "No Soliciting" sign on my front door.


orangemily said...

We have the Green Apple cleaner and love it!

Annj said...

I guess they don't send those guys to Idaho or I have never seen them. All I have to say is you will be blessed becasue your intentions were good. The Elders on the other hand....don't get me started.

Damselfly said...

I've never heard of that cleaner company. That girl must be a natural salesperson to get you to spend so much! I've surprised myself by buying things too.

But I really do hate it when the salesperson's pitch includes how much you can help them if you buy something.

Allysha said...

Oh, Nicole. I love you for this. Good for you.