Dear Crabby, How Do I Deal with Salesmen?

Dear Crabby,

I am usually pretty good at relating to people, but it all goes haywire when people come to my door trying to sell me something. Is there a good way to handle this? What have you found that works really well?

Sincerely, Jane TooNice

Dear Ms. TooNice,
I absolutely do have a good way of handling this! As soon as I open the door and they say they are here to sell me something, I say “No, thank you!” and I slam the door. The “thank you” part was added courtesy of Mrs. Crabby. I do not like the invasion of privacy when someone is on my front porch or in my yard. I don’t even like it when they call me on the phone to try to sell me something. I will tell you this though; I have been duped a couple times and will never forget it. I remember one time, the Electrolux vacuum salesman stopped in and asked if I wanted to buy a new vacuum. I gave him my famous “No, thank you,” and ceremoniously slammed the door. However, about a week later, I came home to find a brand new Electrolux vacuum sitting in my living room. I about had a conniption fit and thought that this guy must have tried to pull a fast one on me. That was when Mrs. Crabby started telling me how wonderful this vacuum was and that the nice salesman demonstrated it for her and said we could have it for just twelve easy payments of $49.99! Before I could say anything, she added, “And he said that you two had already spoken and that he wanted to express his gratitude to you for the sale.” I had to take more than a few deep breaths before we finished that conversation.  Nevertheless, I will say although I didn’t appreciate the sales technique, the vacuum was one of the best we ever had! The second incident was a couple years ago when my daughter asked me to help out at her house. She was supposed to get new carpeting, but when the installers were coming out to measure, she ended up having another appointment and could not be there. She asked if I would come sit at her house for a couple hours while these guys came and did their job. So, I did. When the doorbell rang and I opened it, there were two guys there, so I greeted them and asked if they wanted to come into the living room and get started. They replied yes and stepped in. We began chatting about the weather and current events and what not. After about 45 minutes, I finally said, “Shouldn’t you guys be getting started?” They looked really puzzled and said, “Started on what?” It was then that I realized that I had made a mistake. Getting a bit hot under the collar, I quickly asked who they were. They replied “We are Jehovah’s Witnesses!” I couldn’t believe it! I politely asked them to leave, and a few minutes later, the carpet guys showed up. So, I guess we all get put in uncomfortable situations at some point or another. We just need to learn to roll with it. Learn to relax and treat everyone as an equal; it will take the edge off. Good luck, and let me know how it turns out.

Sincerely, Dear Crabby

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Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at

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