Where There Were No Doors

Follow your bliss and doors will open where there were no doors before - Joseph Campbell

Monday, May 16, 2005

I used to be suave

A few months ago I switched phone companies. The new lot promised lower bills. The actual savings, it turns out, are marginal unless you use the phone a good deal more than I do.

On Friday a sales rep from the new phone company knocked on my door. It was a horrible experience.

Two months ago some guy knocked on my door and tried to sell me the same phone service. The one I am already signed up to. And then last month another guy from the company also knocked and tried to sell me the service. And then last Friday, a saleswoman tried again.

The first time this occurred my flatmate answered the door and spent five minutes listening to the salesman's patter before I overheard what was going on and shouted something like "We already use your service ya daft bugger! But if you ever interrupt our evening with a sales call again we'll bloody well stop." He went away with a hasty apology.

The next time this occurred I came close to cancelling my subscription, but it was only my promise that "I'll quit your service next time!" that kept the poor guy stood on my doorstep for the duration of my very satisfying rant. I explained in great detail to the increasingly shell-shocked salesman (with more ferocity than was perhaps warranted) that one of the big reasons I signed up for his service was the promise that they'd filter out sales calls (of which I was getting "too damn many"). I explained exactly how much I hated commercial advertising. I explained how intrusive I found it when it appeared on billboards in the streets; how unbearable I found it when people phoned to advertise at me; and asked him could he possibly imagine - therefore - just how intrusive I found people banging on my front door to spin me a sales pitch?

Particularly for a service I already use primarily for it's "we'll cut down those intrusive sales calls" claims.

The salesman apologised profusely. He'd been backing away from the door throughout my diatribe, so that he was at the garden gate as he was explaining how his list of target houses apparently didn't include some sort of filter on current subscribers. I vowed to cancel the service if anything similar ever happened again.

And then it did. A saleswoman showed up on Friday.

So did I cancel the service? Did I rant and rave about intrusive marketing? Yeah right. She was gorgeous!

The trouble is... there was a time when I used to be suave. Debonaire even... sometimes with a dash of charming. Well, relatively. At least I'm pretty sure I was. Of course, it wasn't for very long... a strange burst of unearthly self-confidence that hit me in my late teens and then evaporated just as quickly in my late twenties.

Naturally it would be very easy for you to glance suggestively at the container-loads of drugs I was doing at the time and idly wonder whether or not they had anything to do with it. And you would have a point. Up to a point. But you wouldn't be taking the chain of causality back nearly far enough. In fact you'd actually be missing the point. Even though you had, as I said, a point. Up to a point.

The container-loads were themselves merely a symptom. And not even the most obvious one. But that's a tale in and of itself.

Back to Friday's short conversation with the woman from the phone company however, which demonstrated two things very clearly. Firstly is how quickly my objections to intrusive advertising evaporate when it involves a beautiful woman knocking on my front door. Secondly is the fact that whatever suaveness I once possessed is lying bloodied and beaten in an alley somewhere.

The thing is; answering the door half-asleep and unshaven, in jeans and a t-shirt that looks like it's been been rolled up in a ball for a month and bare feet at just after 1pm is by no means an unrecoverable situation. At least, not if you've got a modicum of cool or suaveness about you.

With me though... well, you know those conversations that actually make you physically wince as you recall them years later? I'm fairly certain this was one of them. Opening with (in a completely involuntarily stoner drawl) "whoaaa... you're lovely..." is about as charmless as it gets.

In my defence, I was taken completely off-guard. She was one of those women you describe as "slender" rather than "slim" or "thin". Pale, nordic features and jet black hair flecked with red and purple strands. Stunning green eyes expressing a world-weary "I hate this job" contradiction to the sales smile on her lips (that instantly had me empathising with her as well as finding her drop-dead gorgeous).

She was visibly taken aback by my gormless opening gambit, and whatever bridges I'd set alight were well and truly burnt by my following line... "Oh no; you're not a Christian are you?"

I have no idea why I said that. She hadn't told me who she was yet, but she was clearly not a Jehovah's Witness. I had simply decided to blather nonsense at the poor woman because of the fact that she'd been born pretty. Don't get me wrong; I don't buy into all that "the loneliness of being gorgeous" bullshit (we all have crosses to bear, but that one's made out of styrofoam); but if even a tenth of the men this woman meets get reduced to the pathetic mess of random syllables and vowel sounds that became of me... well, I can see how that would be a bit annoying all right.

Thankfully she took my horrified silence as the cue to begin her patter... "Ummm; I'm actually from [name of phone service] and was wondering if you'd be interested in subscribing..."

Her voice had a vaguely East European accent, but she'd clearly been in London for a long time. I was entranced. I'd have listened to her explain the most mundane of details about my phone service for as long as she was willing. Except at just that moment, the door behind me blew shut... the sharp corner of the doorknob digging into my lower back.

I leapt forward hissing "Bastid bloody thing!" Which needless to say gave her a bit of a fright. And it was to the rapidly retreating woman from the phone company that I explained that I was already signed up, but thanks for asking.


Anonymous Tango-Mango said...

Try http://www.tpsonline.org.uk/ for getting rid of sales calls.

Herendeth the advert^m^m^m^m^m^mlink


16/5/05 21:35  
Blogger L said...

ha ha! I tend to suffer from foot-in-mouth in front of really gorgeous guys, so I can relate.

Now about those annoying salesmen: just move to America-- we can shoot anyone we want over here

17/5/05 01:07  
Anonymous iotar said...

Ah, we had them over our side of the road a few months back. It took three visits before the simple message that I'm not interested in telephones sunk in. I thought the whole world knew that I don't dig phones.

I think the salesperson was female, I think she might have had a slight Eastern European accent - but it didn't have that siren-like effect on me. Partly because on the last occasion she attempted to get me to subscribe she interrupted my viewing of a Space 1999 movie.

18/5/05 12:31  
Anonymous pixeldiva said...

Aww bless.

That's very sweet.

Hilarious mind, but sweet.

Sorry. I know I shouldn't find it funny, but I do.

I'd find it just as funny if it happened to me, but I've got a plain enough fizzog that it's not likely to, which is probably a good thing.

18/5/05 13:01  

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