And no, this isn’t the start to some bad joke.
It’s how I was woken up from my nap about 30 minutes ago from a young man wanting to further his career by selling me over priced magazines. He had all his pithy lines rehearsed so as not to offend any potential customers and to get them a little friendlier. He made his spiel and got my information before I really knew what was going on. Address? Well, he’s standing on my porch so I’m pretty sure he can figure that out on his own so I may as well just tell him. He made it sound like all he had to do was to meet knew people, and the reason that it sounded like that was because he said All I have to do to win is to meet cool people so I’m thinking Yeah, I’ll help you out.
Then he asks me if he can put my name on the list and I agree because yeah, totally, add my name say you met someone cool and earn money to further your career. But no, of course that’s not all I have to do. And I was foolish for thinking it would be that easy. I should know better: when someone shows up on your doorstep trying to sell earn something – money for their career, a merit badge, or points to get into heaven – it’s never so quick and neat. They want time and money and they want it badly enough that most will use some version of the truth to get it.
So there I am, half groggy from just waking up and standing in the door with the hot sun beating down on me. I’m sweating within in minutes and I’m sure this kid with his Ed Hardy shirt and pierced lip isn’t any more comfortable in this 80-degree weather. I look at the list of magazines and see absolutely nothing that I’m ready to purchase. But the more he talks without stopping I realize that this is just going to keep on going until I buy something. So I find something that I could give as a gift and sign on for that one. And then whole payment thing comes into play: I’m not giving him cash because who knows if I’ll ever see the subscription; I’m not giving him a check because then he could potentially get access to my account; I’m saved when I hear that I can call in to give my credit card and be done with the whole thing.
And that’s when he hands me over a slip of paper to check out the addresses and confirm that it’s all correct. The 12-month subscription is $63! And I know that this doesn’t fit into my money diet but I’m feeling badly that I have already agreed to this. I go for my wallet but can’t find it the first swipe through my bag. I look around again and I see it. But I also see a way out: I tell him that I can’t find my wallet; that it must be in the car, which my boyfriend has since I’m not working today. I can tell that he’s let down but I let him walk away.
$63 is a lot of money for a year’s worth of magazines and I’m not willing to part with that much money to help this kid. I wish that I didn’t have to worry about money and could help him – and so many other people – but I’m still trying to help myself. I’m still trying to work my life out. And yes, I feel badly that he went through his entire act before I said that I couldn’t buy anything, but I got caught up in it all and he didn’t give me a chance to object before them. Ideally, he would have been straight with me from the beginning and I could have been straight with him. But instead we both stretched the truth to get what we want.
Only, I still have my $63 and he’s still out there coldcalling for his career.