Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Pushy Salesman vs. My Husband

North Carolina has been in drought and recently received a good rain about a week ago. On that day, Brandon and I noticed there were some gutter issues around our home since the last time Brandon perilously perched on a ladder to extradite the gutter gunk.

Yeah I know that's hot. We have deep meaningful conversations.

Fast forward to early this week and, well, what do you know? Up our front steps comes a gutter guy canvasing the neighborhood. He's going door to door asking for follow up appointments to issue free quotes for gutter systems.

Now normally I just politely let these types know we are not in the market for whatever elixir they're selling. But, since we had just talked about gutters and was in a generous mood, I thought why not.

And so the salesman shows up tonight. He takes Brandon all around the exterior of the house, describing the various pitfalls of common gutters and the many virtues of his system. After measuring and what not he finally gets us sitting at the kitchen table and gives us his sales pitch.

He pulls out a suitcase a sample of the system so we can become intimate. He uses a flip chart, complete with cues for the presenter on the opposite page. He shows us a DVD reiterating all the points he just made.

Dirt. Pine needles. Leaves. Mosquitoes. Ladders. Roof damage. Uninsured cleaners can sue. OK, I get it. In fact, it appears to be a great gutter system. But, of course, since this is the first person we spoke to we need to look at other options. That's just the way we do things in our family.

Let me illustrate. Brandon and I love Honda cars. Our first car together was a 2003 Civic. We knew that is what we wanted but we felt like we needed to go around to give Toyota and Nissan a chance. After researching on the Internet, Consumer Reports, and any other resource we could find, we finally purchased only after many months and when the timing was right. For us. It is our purchase, on our terms. We had nearly the same experience with our Odyssey. We gave other makes a chance as well, but Honda set the bar in our minds.

And so after about 15 minutes of pitching, we try to explain our purchasing behavior to the sales guy.
"It really sounds like a good system, but I'm going to need to do more research," Brandon says.

He didn't understand. "Well that is why the company sends me, to make sure you have all the information," the sales guy retorts.

"No I need to feel comfortable and I don't make impulse purchases," Brandon clarifies.

He wants our signature tonight. And he keeps pressuring us. He lays it on thicker. And then it gets embarrassing. He proceeds to casually explain that the company has already invested $400 in making this sale what with the canvaser that came to the door, the phone representative that confirmed the appointment, and finally his in-home visit. He implies that we have wasted all their time because we weren't signing a contract tonight.

"That's not the door-to-door guy's fault, he did his job. That isn't your fault, you explained the system and we are interested in the product. But it is definitely not our fault for inviting you into our home. We just need to make a decision on our own terms," Brandon explains.

He then ask Brandon what line of work he is in, "Computers?" Brandon confirms. So the man proceeds to persuade Brandon by comparing his plight in "terms" Brandon can understand:

"You go to a customers home fix their computer. Give them the cost of the repair and they then let you know they are no longer interested in the repair because they did not like the price. 9 out of 10 people make the purchase. Usually that one remaining can't afford it. Let me tell you this, you are not going to get a better offer."

After this I was about to stand up and just tell this guy to leave and don't let the door hit you on the way out.

However, before I could do that, my awesome, hot husband stands up and says "First of all, I wouldn't be in a person's home fixing their computers. That isn't what I do. Second, you have insulted me and I want you to leave."

The sales guy immediately becomes passive and back peddles. "Wait, what? What do you mean?"

"You implied that I am not purchasing from you tonight because I cannot afford the price. I would like you to leave."

I wanted to make out with him right then and there. I was so proud of him for the way he handled this salesman. In the words of Elizabeth Bennett, "had he behaved in a more gentleman like manner" I may have been more eager to buy the gutters. I guess next Fall I'll have to watch Brandon climb the ladder yet again.


  1. Let's give some credit to the negotiation class. In which we paid dearly for.

  2. I love the way you tell this story Tassi. You should be a story writer. I felt like I was right there, getting just a frustrated with the salesman.!

  3. I would love to take the credit for the eloquent manner in which this story is told. I contributed the words and Brandon did the editing. He makes everything sound good.

  4. Too stinkin' funny!
    I wish I could have been a fly on the wall.
    Oh, and, "I wanted to make out with him then and there." THAT'S SO AWESOME!

    Over the holidays Alex and I had to sit through a sales pitch in which the oh-so-brilliant salesman made the oh-so-brilliant mistake of excluding me from the "money talk." He said something like, "You go ahead and day dream for a minute while we crunch some numbers, guy style."
    Um, HELLO! I'm sorry, did I just fall into a quantum leap in which I was transported to the 1950's? I wanted to throw my Coke in his face and leave. Had Alex pulled a Brandon type "I don't think so" at that point I'm pretty sure I would have thrown him down on the table too. :)

    What a great post!

  5. Bug...I hate door-to-door sales people. I about peed my pants when you said ..."and right there, I wanted to make out with him." You crack me up! 'Atta boy, Brandon, way to stand up for yourself! This was an entertaining story!

  6. YEAH Brandon. I love it.

  7. Love your stories!!

  8. Ok, I just read that story again...when you read it to us the other day I thought you actually told him to leave and "don't let the door hit you on the way out" you should have!

  9. I abhor door-to-door salesmen. The nerve! Atta boy, Brandon. :o) And Tass, you kill me with your narrative skills!

  10. That is a great story Tassi. Way to go Brandon for telling that guy to leave.