Yesterday was the first time in months that I’ve opened the door and been greeted by a door-to-door salesperson. Maybe it’s just the area I live in, maybe I’m not home at the right time of day, but it seems to me that door-knockers are a dying breed. The girl (she can’t have been more than nineteen) launched desperately into her rave about the starving children in Africa, and I let her get it all out before explaining that I wasn’t going to sign up. She didn’t seem put out, or upset. She just smiled gratefully and said “Thanks for being so nice about it”.
Which made me think. Who but the truly desperate would sign up to have doors slammed in their faces and abuse thrown at their retreating backs? It’s a hell of a job, and I’m sure telemarketing isn’t any better. At least with door-to-door you’re walking around outside instead of crammed into a dingy office.
So if we the consumers don’t want to receive telemarketing or door-to-door sales, and the people on the other end aren’t enjoying the process any better, why is it still happening? Why hasn’t someone overhauled the system?
As sympathetic as I feel towards that one salesgirl, I still strongly object to being harassed by cold callers wanting me to change my electricity company, feed an entire village by donating a dollar a week, or to spend just two (really 15) minutes answering a series of increasingly personal questions.
I blame the companies who outsource their marketing instead of getting creative, and I blame the marketing companies who continue to insist that assaulting customers in their own homes is the best way to sell a product.
And next time a telemarketer calls me? I’ll be wishing them good health and much happiness before hanging up. Because this new-found good-will only goes so far.
To read about the consumer watchdog taking legal action against energy companies over their door-to-door salespeople, read the news article Watchdog vs Energy Companies.
Have your say
Have you ever been harassed by salespeople? Does it drive you to yelling or do you listen with a sympathetic ear? Or have you ever worked in sales? Share your story in the comments below.