Salesman vs. hatchetman

Published 5:05 pm Wednesday, March 4, 2009

It was about 6 p.m. last week when the phone rang. Greg picked it up and I heard him say, “Yes, hold on just a minute.” He then handed me the phone. I heard a voice prattling on the other end.

“…and we’re working with the sheriff’s association to…”

“No, thank you,” I replied, and then hung up the phone.

I turned to look at Greg.

“You just wanted me to be the one to say ‘no,’ didn’t you?”

Greg smiled.

“Yes,” he replied. “Every family needs a hatchet man.”

In my house, that person is I. It’s not by choice but necessity. I learned this shortly after Greg and I married and I started receiving a popular home magazine in the mail.

“I didn’t subscribe to this,” I said.

“Oh,” Greg said. “Someone called and I thought your might want it.”

He was wrong. Not only did I not want the magazine, I about died when I learned he paid about triple the going rate to subscribe.

Ordering this magazine seemed to land us on some sort of telemarketing/door-to-door salesman list. Not only were they calling and offering to sell us everything from magazines and auto club memberships, we suddenly had people showing up at our house offering all sorts of things. Door-to-door salesmen stopped by with food, furniture, trees and shrubs — you name it.

It wasn’t unusual for me to come home and find Greg in the front yard eyeing some salesperson’s wares. I began to think they were waiting until I left the house to stop by, figuring their chances were better if I wasn’t there.

I figured the conversation went something like this: “Psst, buddy. If you see the red SUV there, don’t stop. She won’t buy anything. If the white truck is there by itself, you’ve made your sales goal for the month!”

Because of this problem, we instituted a new rule in our house. I now handle all the sales people’s calls, whether it’s on the phone or in person.

Thus, the term “hatchet man.”

And so far, this plan has worked.

Amazingly, we’ve noticed a large decrease in the number of sales calls we’re receiving. Somehow, though, we’ve managed to survive without the furniture that’s “direct from North Carolina,” and the steaks “that you can’t find at the grocery store.”

Chop. Chop. I think I hear a hatchet in the background.