I had a mind once. Now I have small children.

Monday, April 26, 2010

My Bleeding Heart (or, Dinner with the Vaccuum Salesman)

It is no secret that I am a people pleaser. It is probably my biggest weakness. I have been told that I have a gift to make people feel at ease and welcome when they are around me. I think maybe a little too comfortable, as this story will show you. What I am about to tell you is a TRUE story...

One cold December evening, Bowser and I were chatting while Mario played with his cars. (This was pre-Luigi and Peach.) The doorbell rang and standing on our porch was a young man, probably 20 or so, that wanted to sell me a vacuum. I am terrible at just saying no to these people and slamming the door. Bowser came over and told the young man, sorry, we are probably not going to buy. "Wait!" said the VacMan. "Please, just let me show you our pitch. I have to do at least 1 more house then I can be done for the day." Bleeding heart that I am, "Well, sure! come on in."

VacMan bounded through the door--I truly mean BOUNDED--through the door with lots of energy and enthusiasm. He must have really wanted to finish for the day, because right in our front entryway, he started pulling pieces of vacuum out of his big box, while talking a million miles a minute about this wonderful tool for the home. I swear to you, the kid was actually sweating and panting, he was going so fast. Before I knew it, the vacuum was all put together and he was pushing past me to find an outlet. At one point I had to ask him to slow down because he was making me dizzy. Mario just sat on the floor staring at the strange, loud, appliance wielding man that had taken over his living room. Next thing I know, VacMan had spread baking soda all over the lower level of the house and was sucking it up, while still talking at about 95 words per second at the top of his lungs over the sound of the machine.

When the poor kid was done with his speech, his face was red, his shirt was damp and he was struggling to catch his breath. I almost felt bad telling him that we weren't interested in buying his fancy dirt sucker-upper. But, as amazing as his vacuum was, we just couldn't (and still can't) spend more than our mortgage payment on one small appliance. The kid sloppily packed the pieces back into the box and thanked us for our time and out the door he went. Bowser and I shared a good laugh, I made dinner and we sat down to eat.

This is where the story would end for most people. But, not for me. As I walked from the kitchen to the table, I glanced out the window and saw that VacMan was still sitting on our porch. Just sitting on our steps, like he was waiting for someone. It creeped me out a little, so I sent Bowser out to see what was up. He came back after a moment and told me VacMan was waiting for his ride. Apparently, these companies like to get a van full of young salespeople and drop them off in a neighborhood for a couple of hours. Ok, how long could it be, right? Someone must be coming to get him any minute.

Twenty minutes later, VacMan is still sitting on our porch. Keep in mind, it was winter out. It gets dark early. Also, where we live, there is usually a week or so in the beginning of December that is absolutely frigid. This was that week. My bleeding heart started tugging at me again. I couldn't just let him sit out there in the freezing cold. So, I told Bowser to go invite him in.

VacMan followed Bowser in and mumbled a thank you. He told us that his friends and his boss should be back any minute to get him. After a moment, I caught him staring at the food I was starting to put away. So, I offered him dinner. It was, after all, dinner time and he had been working all day. He chowed down that chicken and rice almost faster than I could get it on the plate for him. Since it isn't often that I ask a door-to-door salesman to dinner, I had no idea what to say. Bowser prowled around the kitchen close to the cutlery, just in case VacMan was actually a psycho killer. I tried making small talk. He said that he was in school and selling vacuums was something for him to do to make a little extra money. VacMan also kept looking at his cell phone, probably wondering where in the world his friends could possibly be.

Finally, after about an hour, his friends called and said they were on their way. I noticed then, that he was eying the cookies I had baked earlier that were sitting on the counter. I asked him if he would like a cookie and when he mentioned the other college kids he works with I ended up packing up half the batch into a ziploc baggie for him to take. Bowser just looked at me like I was insane. I also offered for him to take some of the leftover chicken with him. I don't know what got into me. I guess I was thinking back on my old college days when anything other than a pack of ramen noodles was a real treat. He took the cookies and the chicken and went out to meet his friends. He thanked me for the dinner and offered us a "great" deal on a vacuum. I figured I had already fed him for the evening, so I didn't feel quite so bad when we passed again on the vacuum.

And there you have it. I like so much to make people happy, that I will even feed the door-to-door salesman peddling vacuums. Bowser still makes fun of me and every time a solicitor comes to the door he asks if I want to invite them in for dinner. But, you know what? Maybe VacMan went on to do a good deed for someone else. Maybe right now, as we speak, he is inventing something amazing and when he makes millions he will come looking for the kind woman who offered him shelter and dinner on a cold night. Or, maybe he just tells all his friends about the crazy lady who forced her cooking on him and still didn't buy a vacuum. Either way, it made me happy to do something nice for someone.


1 comment:

  1. We had one of these guys come by our house about 3 years ago. It was two guys and they also came by in the evening, after dark. They were selling a Kirby vacuum. We didn't let them in, but they were really persistent about doing one more house as well. We didn't let them in and someone up the block must have called the police because a cop car was near their car when they left. I think they all have the same pitch: "Just one more demonstration, blah, blah, blah."