the pitch

So a couple of unrelated events happened in the last 24 that got me thinking:

I am at home last night minding my own business (working, actually) when a guy from Environment Oregon stopped by. Barely taking a breath (I watched for it but never saw one) he proceeded to natter on about the environment and then he.pushed.his clipboard.over the threshold.and into my face.and waved it around. I told him I wasn’t interested and still, he kept wiggling his list of signatures in my face.

I appreciate the fact that he’s on commission (those signatures seemed almost a matter of life and death), but come on… That was a little much. I very much contemplated taking the clipboard, locking the door and calling his employer, but instead repeated that I wasn’t interested and firmly shut the door. A shame, because I actually thought Environment Oregon was fairly reputable. Apparently, I was wrong.

Today, I went for a deep tissue massage (hey-hey) and to see the chiro and while I was waiting, had a funny conversation with the receptionist. That crazy girl admitted that she looks in everyone’s grocery cart at the store to see what they are buying. That struck me as really funny, and we laughed when I told her if I ever saw her anywhere around New Seasons that she was to just walk away immediately, ha.

In the middle of our conversation, a couple of sales reps from Quill Office Supplies came in. Without apologizing for the interruption or asking if it was a good time to talk, they disrupted our chat to move in on the receptionist and to give her their pitch. We talked about the Quill sales reps after I came back from my appointment (they’d stayed for a while and she was aggravated by their strong sales pitch) and I told her she was too polite. She said she didn’t know what to do to avoid those situations so I pointed her to Staples to buy a “no solicitors, ever” sign for their door.

And how many people have YOU heard complaining about the Greenpeace kids who hang out in downtown Portland? The receptionist started talking about the downtown Greenpeace folks and their aggressive behavior this morning, but lately I hear complaints about them from everyone. And I am all for Greenpeace, trust; but when I’m in downtown Portland I’m always going somewhere and I don’t have time to talk. I, like many other people, will and have actually crossed a street to avoid the Greenpeace cadre that lurks outside Chinatown like an eco-friendly gang of tweakers.

I know of many, many people who made sales their lifetime work. It’s often an honest and perfectly acceptable way to make a living. But there’s a fine line between salesmanship and aggressive, annoying behavior. For me, that line was crossed not once but twice in the last day by Environment Oregon and Quill Office Supplies.

I am v. open to your suggestions for best ways to handle overly aggressive or rude salespeople, readers. So far, my no thank you’s and my more abrupt I’m not interested's just don’t seem to be doing the job.