Jul 13, 2011

the traveling book salesman

I am good at selling things.  Not like a used car salesman, but I worked in retail all through high school and most of college, and I learned a thing or two about selling nice-but-not-necessary stuff.  I am not the friend you take shopping when you are on a budget because my sales mentality kicks in, and I will most definitely help you buy an entire outfit, accessories and all, when all you needed was a pair of pants.  You'll look great, though. :-)

Because I have been there, done that, I am also easily persuaded by a nice, polite salesperson, especially a sunburned, sweaty someone standing at my front door.  Last summer's sweaty salesperson was pitching educational books, and obviously, I was sucked in.  I felt terrible for this girl.  She was a college student far away from home (like across the country far away), and she was walking in July in South Carolina.  She was way too bubbly and adorable for 100 degrees and 100% humidity.  I'm sure I don't need to explain how easily I was swept up in educational books. 

I would have loved these books as a child.

I'm sure they'll give Cara a huge advantage when she starts school.

Learning will be fun!  Heck yeah!

I even bought a second set (at half price, of course) for my pregnant friend.  Bubbly, sweaty girl hit the jackpot when she knocked on my door.

But, don't worry, we've had no retail regret.  Cara actually does love the books, and I definitely think they have helped her learn her shapes, colors, and numbers.  We keep them in the living room so that Cara can show off her brilliance when we have guests.  People are always impressed by the toddler who identifies ovals and semicircles.  (cue evil laugh)

All of this made me feel particularly bad for the young (very young) gentleman who showed up at 9:30 last night. Yes, you read that right, 9:30 last night.  We have a huge picture window in our living room, and we hadn't closed the curtains yet because we are lazy.  As usual, I was asleep on the couch while PJ watched a movie.  We were so obviously home and available that I guess Mr. Young and Sweaty couldn't resist knocking on our door.  And, because we were brought up with southern manners, we let him in, sat him on the couch, and gave him a glass of ice water.  Bless his heart, he told us that he had been having a bit of difficulty selling his books because this is the third year in a row that this company has sent people to our little town. 

I hope it was obvious from the beginning of his little visit that we were not planning to buy any more books, especially when we showed him the ones we bought last year, but he was nothing if not enthusiastic.  We got the sales pitch plus a little of his life story.  He was from Massachusetts...what evil person sent this boy from Massachusetts on his bike to South Carolina in July??  The heat index yesterday was 112.  That's pretty unbearable for people who have grown up here; I'd call that cruel and unusual for someone who grew up in Massachusetts.

That poor boy stayed and chatted with us for half an hour.  This is partly our fault, especially because I kept asking him questions like "do you have to ride your bike all the way across town to get home tonight?" and "how exactly did you get this job?"  I felt pretty bad sending him out into the dark on his bike with no sale, but I kept asking myself why I should feel bad.  He signed up for this gig, and he seemed to enjoy it (or he was really good at faking it).  I just hope, for his sake and for his sales, that he doesn't knock on any other doors at 9:30 at night.


  1. You are a far better person then I! Perhaps it's your Southern upbringing, versus mine as a Jersey girl (now being a resident for 10 years). I don't answer my phone after 8:30, let alone the door.

  2. Dropped in from FTLOB's comment love day and enjoyed this post! I would love it if solicitors around here sold books (instead of knocking on my door after 7 p.m. trying to get me to change my internet services.) Hate when they catch me trying to pretend I'm not home, though, haha. We also have big windows beside the front door that give us away!


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