Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Just Say No!

When a stranger wants something from you, they are always just a little too friendly.

Yesterday I sat in the car with Pixie while Dave ran into the grocery store to get some boxes for moving. My window was down and a lady pulled up next to me and started a conversation about loving Yorkies. As this is a conversation I could have all day, all was pleasant. After about ten minutes though, the tone got extra-friendly.

"You and your husband just seem so cool," the flattery began. (She had not met my husband.) "And I started working for this financial company and if you guys are looking for work, you know, after you have the baby, you should totally do it too! Because I make so much money... blah blah blah..." She went on and on, selling away for her company. I wished I could run away, but I was sitting in the passenger seat of the car with no keys.

I did not want a job and I most certainly did not want her job that she obviously gets commission for if I sign up. But since I had sat there and talked to her so long I felt bad to just blow her pushy self off.

"Uh, well, I'll take your card if you have one," I said, trying to be nice.

"Oh yes, and let me get your name, and number..." And address, and email, and life history...

Grudgingly I gave her my LA cell phone (which is about to be cancelled since I switched to AT&T) and finally she and her sales tactics peeled themselves away, but only after Dave came back and got in the car and stared at her like he wanted to leave. I was mad at myself. Why couldn't I just say no? Didn't I learn that in D.A.R.E.? It seemed so easy then. Why couldn't I say I wasn't interested without feeling ashamed and beholden, like I have to do anything anybody asks me? I was very annoyed with the situation and myself. I vowed it would be different next time.

Today in the parking lot of a different grocery store, I heard someone call out 'hi' to me in just a little too friendly of a tone.

"Hi," I said warily to the girl. I was not currently in the mood (nor am I ever in the mood) to be propositioned for anything. She launched into a shpiel about perfumes, and don't I like wearing perfume? And here, let her spray one wrist with this scent, and the other wrist with another scent, and my forearm with a third scent and blah blah blah would I like to buy two of them for just $55?

I looked her right in the eye.

"That's more than I'm looking to spend today," I said bravely.

"Then how about $40?" she countered swiftly.

"Still too much for me," I managed.

"I'll cut my commission in half and take $20! That's fair, right?"

"Very fair! I just don't want to spend the money!" I told her. I forced myself to just look into her eyes and be genuine. It was hard. Having to say no all these times in a row was wearing me down. Help!

"Okay, then how about if you just give me anything you have?" she said. "Even a dollar would help. My boss gets most of my commission, after all." She smiled winningly at me. She wasn't even homeless and now she was begging? Whaaa? I should have begged her right back. My husband has me on a strict budget and I need some expensive stuff. Give ME a dollar!

"Not today," I mustered bravely.

This does not sound like a big deal, but for me it was. I was honest. I didn't make up that I didn't have cash. I didn't pretend I don't wear perfume. I didn't avoid her eyes or run away or pretend I didn't hear her when she called out to me. I very honestly and openly just said no. And miracle! Just like my D.A.R.E. officer told me I'd be, I was proud of myself.


Robyn said...

good post. I think you need to stay away from parking lots for a while though...what is up with all that soliciting? Hard times I guess. You have given me the courage to say no to a situation I have been contemplating. Thanks.

M-A said...

i don't even make eye contact...i just say no thank you, turn my head and keep walking. those people never give up and prey on nice people. sometimes you have to be rude.

Emily said...

living in NYC you were constantly accosted by panhandlers. when the united drummers of israel would get on the subway car and proceed to pound their drums rhythmically after a long day and a splitting headache it was all i could do to not glare at them when they asked for money. sometimes if they were kids and they were good i'd give them something but most times not even make eye contact and keep walking... it might seem rude but i don't go up to them asking for money when i really need, i make due!

Courtney said...

Wow, I had no idea that Oregon grocery store parking lots were so full of beggars!!

Nice job, Jess!!

Cassidy said...

Jess, So fun to have discovered your blog! Your post reminds me of Bruin Walk -- going as fast as possible with your head down and never making eye contact. Saying no is much more mature! Your voice comes through so clearly in your posts -- it's fun to enjoy your sense of humor again. I hope all is going well getting ready for the baby. Being a mom rocks. Take care! love, Cass

OHEQ said...
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Cooper Family said...

I have the hardest time just saying no to the solicitors that stop by our house. Todd is extra good at it so if he is around I have him answer it, or I just don't answer the door, even after looking out the peep hole.

Todd Hillyard said...

i'm busting a gut! Too bad my gut really couldn't be busted and ripped off my skeleton.