Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Just a Moment of Your Time

Okay, first thing's first.


I've been lax in my bloggery of late.  


Bad blogger.


Now that that's out of the way, on with the rant.


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I don’t shop on my doorstep.  Ever.

And not only am I not buying, but I’m not listening either.  I don’t care what the product is.  I don’t care how great the offer is.  I don’t care if you’re giving it away for free or paying me to take it off your hands.  We’re not doing business at my front door. 
          I’m having a little trouble getting this idea across.  The first polite “no, thanks” doesn’t get much notice at all.  And even when I interrupt Sales Pitch X with a much more stoic “I’m not interested,” I still don’t get much traction.  Usually, the point doesn’t sink home until the door closes mid-sentence. 

Now, part of my frustration comes from the fact that I don’t hold the salesmen at my door responsible.  Door-to-door sales is a tough gig.  They work exclusively for commission, and if they don’t sell they don’t get paid.  That kind of pressure encourages hard sales don’t-take-no-for-an-answer tactics. 

Traditionally, the employer shoulders the bulk of risk surrounding sales.  Salesmen had to sell, sure, but even after a rough week with no commission, that basic salary was still there to meet the bills.  Door-to-door salesmen are working without a net.  No sales means no pay.

The businesses they sell for are saving some money on cheap labor, but the folks really cleaning up are the middlemen.  Promotion agencies hire out teams of salesmen to strip mine towns one street at a time.  Since they only pay commission, they run virtually no risk, passing all that worry down to the salesmen. 
          It’s a bad deal, but when jobs are scarce, a bad deal looks a lot better than no deal at all.  Turnover’s high, but when you don’t pay salaries, who cares, right?  Scared, hungry salesmen work harder and sell more, and if people get annoyed by dinner-time doorbells, so be it. 

Personally, I like to decide what and when to buy.  I can find out what options are available through conventional advertising, and once I’m interested I can find the details I need.  I might even ask someone in sales about an offer’s finer points, but I’ll be the one to initiate that conversation, thank you very much.  No need to swing by my house on the off chance that I’m ready today.  I’ll let you know.   

There’s nothing about this sales model that I like.  It’s short-sighted and takes advantage of a workforce trying to make ends meet.  It’s intrusive and aggressive, annoying the public en masse and alienating potential customers.  I don’t want to do anything to encourage this business model, so I don’t participate.  

Nothing personal, I just don’t think it’s a good way to do business.