I live in a little neighborhood in Toronto. Unlike the urban sprawl of suburbia and the subdivisions, my neighborhood is near the downtown core. It's old and has character. It's a neighborhood similar to the one I grew up in.
In my neighborhood you can actually see people in the streets going about their way, if it's children walking to school (you heard me right, I said walking), moms strolling with their babies, or people hurrying to work.
In my neighborhood we know are neighbors by name. On hot summer evenings we meet outside, on our porches and have a beer (or two).
The children in my neighborhood don't need their parents to drive them to their friends, they can just walk, and on Saturday evenings the teenagers, too young to go clubbing, hang out in the streets and alleys, making a little noise when they pass under your window. I love that noise.
In my neighborhood we have a few corner stores, mom and pop shops and even a little cafe.
There are two supermarkets I can walk to, one outside, surrounded by other stores, another in a dingy malls.
I can also walk from my neighborhood to one of the trendiest places in town, a street full of restaurants (mostly Greek) and shops.
I love my neighborhood.
Occasionally, and it flows naturally from the makeup of our neighborhood, kids ring my doorbell for donations. Sometimes I ignore the ring, sometimes I go ready with some money to the door. Of course, we have salespeople too. But I can usually tell by the ring or the sound they make as they climb the four stairs leading to my front door.
Well, and this is where my story really begins, I was all alone at home the other day when I heard the door bell ring followed the screeches from the screen door hinges as someone opened it, followed by such bangs on my door I would only expect the Gestapo or KGB to use when coming in the middle of the night to haul people out, people who are never seen again.
I was certain something happened. No one, but no one would knock like that unless they had a good reason. Perhaps there was an accident and someone needed my help, perhaps the police were in search of a fugitive criminal. The thoughts ran wild in my head while I climbed the stairs to reach the door.
I did not open it.
"Yes?" I said from behind the door. I have a clear glass window on the door that allows me to see the person outside. He was no policeman but he wore a kind of uniform.
"Ma'am, I'm from the utility company," he said showing me a fancy name tag.
There's a gas leak, I thought.
"I wanted to make sure you are protected---" for sure a gas leak "---in your bill from gas price increases."
"What?" I said, confused. It didn't sound like a gas leak. In fact, he didn't really sound concerned at all, only very aggressive.
"I wanted to make sure it says on your bill---"
I looked more closely at his name tag. It belonged to a utility company, not my utility company as he alluded to. "No, thank you," I said.
"---you're protected from price increases---"
Remember that I didn't open the door? Well, that was his lucky day because if the door was open I'd probably have given him quite a beating using one of the shoes always near the door, or at least a good shouting right there. But I'm such a wimpy wuss. Instead, I said, "I'm protected," which seemed to be the only thing I could say that would make him disappear and then I walked away.
He, in turn, shouted at me something like 'are you sure?' before finally leaving.
I'm only sorry I didn't take a better look at his name or the gas company he represents. I would have complained, but not to them. They couldn't care less, I'm sure. In fact, I'm certain they teach this scare tactic to their sales people. I have no doubt.
Which brings me to today's topic - sales and marketing. It seems that sales and marketing people have lost all scruples. Unethical conduct, dehumanizing ads, subversive practices, not to mention privacy intrusions with telemarketing or door-to-door sales.
Since I don't usually rant here, I will leave the rest of my opinions on the subject to the political blog I share with a few others. I did come to the conclusion, though, that I prefer junk mail to door to door sales people, believe it or not.
Oh, and compliments of Ryan, here's a list of things you can say/do when a telemarketer calls you.