My Dinner Is More Important Than Your Dreams

by admin on February 14, 2013

I just finished reading the Pushy Door to Door Salesman story and it reminded me of an incident that occurred one evening:

About 2 months ago, my husband and I were eating dinner when the doorbell rang. It was a young woman who told me she was selling magazine subscriptions in order to be entered in a contest to win a small business loan so she could open a restaurant. Now, I am not very familiar with these types of claims, but immediately doubted the legitimacy of a program that would offer business loans not on merit, but on luck of the draw.

I politely told her that we were not interested in magazine subscriptions and wished her good luck. She tried to keep talking and I said “I’m sorry, we are in the middle of dinner. Have a good night.” She said “Fine then, if your dinner is more important than my dreams…” and then walked off of my porch.

I did not reply to her bait, despite being horrified and angry at her rude reply that suggested that I was selfish. Though my husband received an earful about the insane exchange I had been an unwilling participant in. 1108-12

There seems to be a rash of stories on EHell in which the central theme is , “If you do not react to my rude comments/demands/greed in a manner I deem acceptable, you are a rude beast.”

{ 88 comments… read them below or add one }

Irenaeus G. Saintonge February 14, 2013 at 3:21 am

Getting cold-called for donations or other sorts of contributions is an awkward situation to be in at the best of times. Just off the charts if the person is not even polite about it.

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mojo February 14, 2013 at 4:21 am

What a little Princess! She won’t get far in business with that attitude.

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Carol February 14, 2013 at 5:54 am

I blame reality television for creating the idea that one can succeed in life based on a contest rather than hard work and talent.

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Sazerac February 14, 2013 at 6:38 am

“I did not reply to her bait, despite being horrified and angry at her rude reply that suggested that I was selfish.”

And right there, you called it for what it was. It was bait, pure and simple, to antagonize you into retorting and, by doing so, keeping a dialog going in which she could have eventually manipulated you into buying her product.

There’s nothing personal about it. Sales companies teach their trainees these techniques. Rude? Undoubtedly. But even if one person takes the bait, they can hook and land them.

Be proud you saw through the ruse, and sidestepped her hook. Remember the technique she employed, and use that knowledge to see through other subtle manipulations others may try to put you through. And when you do, take pleasure in knowing that you aren’t the kind of person who can fall for those ploys.

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Emmy February 14, 2013 at 7:04 am

I’d be tempted to actually tell her that my dinner is more important to me than her dreams and inform her that going to the bank would be a better way to try to secure a loan than door to door sales of magazine subscriptions. However, I guess that would be rude. I’m sure somebody is making a lot of money if several people are pushing magazine subscriptions to friends, family, and strangers to try to win a one small loan (a loan, not even a grant according to the story). It takes a very ‘special’ person who feels strangers should be happy to shell money for an item they likely don’t need or even want to help them with their dreams, then chastises them if they don’t buy into it.

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Bint February 14, 2013 at 7:09 am

“She said “Fine then, if your dinner is more important than my dreams…” ”

To which I would say, “Yes, it is,” and then shut the door on her.

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Lou February 14, 2013 at 7:27 am

Bless her little heart! I had a similar experience recently – my grandad had just died suddenly and I was upstairs dozing in the middle of the afternoon after a difficult morning. I answered an urgent-sounding knock at the door, which turned out to be a chap trying to get me to switch my energy supplier (very common and highly irritating in the UK, not sure if this happens in the US). I told him politely that I wasn’t interested and he started in with a bit more spiel, about how his firm was a new local start-up and was trying to get local customers (locally-sourced all-natural gas and organic electricity, no doubt). At this point I wished fervently I’d just ignored the door, so I interrupted and told him I’d had a death in the family and had been sleeping when he knocked, just to try and get him to go away and leave me alone. He replied along the lines of ‘Well I’m sorry about that, but I wasn’t to know, so anyway my company blah blah blah…’ At this point I’m afraid to say I lost patience – I told him once again that I wasn’t interested and started to close the door, at which point he shouted ‘Charming, just shut the door in my face, you rude (female canine).’
I just can’t fathom how people expect to build custom and a good company reputation with practices like this. If you will insist on going door-to-door for business, (a practice which surely needs to curl up and die by now) you must be prepared for a fairly high rejection rate. This chap behaved like a teenager spurned by his first love interest and made me determined never to deal with his company, whereas if he’d simply apologised for disturbing me and left me a leaflet I might have considered it.

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DGS February 14, 2013 at 7:27 am

What a rude beast she is! I wouldn’t take that too personally. She probably got a lot of rejections that day.

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Lo February 14, 2013 at 7:40 am

how did you keep a straight face?

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Leighanna February 14, 2013 at 8:08 am

I blame reality television for a lot of things. The number one thing for me is quite a few people that I come in contact with, on a day to day basis, can’t seem to function without creating drama when it is not necessary. And Carol’s comment is a close second.

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Wendy Geoghan February 14, 2013 at 8:10 am

We’ve had several similar “sales people” try this type of tactic. My solution was a small “No Soliciting” sign mounted under our doorbell. I still have to point it out to some people. That does shut them up.

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Jewel February 14, 2013 at 8:18 am

Not answering the door when you don’t recognize the person avoids situations like this completely.

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The Elf February 14, 2013 at 8:19 am

“Yes, it is. Thank you for understanding.” (Closes door).

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Barb February 14, 2013 at 8:21 am

“Why, yes. Yes, it is.”

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Joni February 14, 2013 at 8:27 am

Those door-to-door magazine sales are almost always a scam. Good for you in being skeptical.

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Margo February 14, 2013 at 8:32 am

It would have been very tempting (if not e-hell approved) to have replied “*Of course* my dinner is more important to me than your dreams. Why would you expect a stranger to be at all interested in your dreams?”

If you take a job which involves cold calling you have to recognise that the majority of people you meet / speak to in that capacity are going to see you as a nuisance to be got rid off as quickly as possible. If you can’t be professionally polite when you get a polite brush off you are in the wrong job.

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essie February 14, 2013 at 8:45 am

Carol, I disagree. There have always been people who thought they shouldn’t have to work for anything, that success should be handed to them on a silver platter. That’s why so many people buy lottery tickets.

In the past, that was called “laziness” and it was seen as a fault or character defect. Reality television hasn’t created this concept; the only thing it’s done is make this “laziness” seem glamorous and desirable.

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CaffeineKatie February 14, 2013 at 8:53 am

I’m betting she was a scam artist, and that there is no contest. Kudos for refusing to give in to her attempt to guilt you into allowing yourself to be a victim!

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Daquiri40 February 14, 2013 at 8:56 am

Snort!

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sv February 14, 2013 at 8:57 am

Your dinner IS more important than her dreams. Her dreams are her dreams, and your dinner is your dinner. Yet another person who believes that whatever she wants is the MOST IMPORTANT THING EVER TO EVERYBODY IN THE WHOLE WORLD!!

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Jane February 14, 2013 at 8:59 am

@Carol – Exactly!

What a princess, seriously. Not to mention the whole thing sounded like a scam and a half.

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Adelaide February 14, 2013 at 8:59 am

A carpet cleaner came to my door once with a similar comment. When I told him that we already had someone to clean the carpets, he kept talking over me about how he was in a contest to win a trip to New York City, and how it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as if I should (or would) care about it. I said “have a good day” several times as I walked back inside my house.

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WildIrishRose February 14, 2013 at 9:16 am

I think Carol might have something there.

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Anonymous February 14, 2013 at 9:27 am

I’ve never heard of any place doing a magazine subscription selling contest to win a small business loan. So, I think the OP was right to decline that sales pitch, because it could have been a scam.

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Mae February 14, 2013 at 9:41 am

Yes, my dinner is more important than your dreams.

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Pen^3 February 14, 2013 at 10:06 am

I’ve had similar things happen to me.

Once, I was running to catch a train on the way to work. A person asking for donations literally blocked my way as the doors to the carriage were closing and used the line, “excuse me, but I’m sure you realise that is more important than catching a train.” I got his superior’s name and wrote her an email explaining just how this is the perfect way to not get donations.

A better one was when an obvious drug user came up to me on the street and asked me for money “for just one more hit.” I said that I had nothing on me and wished him a nice day. He responded, as I walked off, with “well, have a nice life, you b****.” Wow.

A person’s reaction when something they want is declined to them is one of the best measures of their character. If you get catty or abusive? It makes me glad I said no and even less likely to change my mind. If you thank me for my time politely? There is a much higher chance that I will meet your request anyway. The important thing to remember is that it is a request, not a demand. People who think that a person declining a request is in the wrong do not understand this distinction. And well done to the OP who did not fall for the nasty and low bait.

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Sally February 14, 2013 at 10:12 am

Reminds me of what happened to me several years ago. My doorbell rang and a man was standing outside. He told me that he was collecting for a holiday meal for the homeless at one of the large shelters in town. I know that this is a reputable charity and have seen ads in the local newspaper on this very thing, every year since. However, I said that I could not give at that time and before I shut the door he shouted out to me, “I hope that you need help someday and can’t get it!” or something to that effect. I didn’t respond, but it made me extremely angry. He had no right to assume that I don’t contribute. As it is, I contribute personally to many organizations of my choice throughout the year and when someone has that attitude it certainly doesn’t make me want to contribute to them. As a matter of fact, I am more likely to contribute to any organization except that one. Not a good way to gain sympathy, in my opinion.

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Justin February 14, 2013 at 10:28 am

The reality is that from the OP’s perspective her dinner is more important than the other person’s dreams. As a general rule people’s dreams are only important to them and the people who already care about the person, not strangers.

I’ve gotten so tired of pushy salespeople I have a stock reply: “I understand that you are selling X, I also run a business and what I sell is my time. If you would like to purchase an hour of my time my rate is $x.xx and during that hour we can discuss whatever you choose including your sales pitch. However, I am unwilling to give you my product, time, for free just as I am sure you are unwilling to give me your product, X, for free.”

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Yvaine February 14, 2013 at 10:36 am

There’s not really any contest for a small business loan. Many of these companies are shady, and they’re scamming both the salespeople and the customers. I don’t think she’s an entitled princess, just someone who is being misled and manipulated. The sooner she’s out of that business, the better.

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Rap February 14, 2013 at 10:37 am

Ugh I hate the magazine sellers. It seemed like the apartment complex I lived at was getting hit every other week and I got to the point where if I am not expecting someone, I just don’t answer the door.

Only, on one occasion, to have someone shout “I can hear your tv, I know you’re inside”. I looked thru the peephole, it’s clearly a twentysomething selling magazines. So I respond with “I know you’re out there and I’m not interested and not opening the door and if you don’t leave in the next five seconds you’ll be explaining to the cops why you wanted me to open the door so bad.”

Funny how that got him going.

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Yvaine February 14, 2013 at 10:37 am

(Even the dreams thing is probably a script she’s been told to say. And yes, it’s rude, but there’s some scary brainwashing in these companies.)

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spyderqueen February 14, 2013 at 10:39 am

I admit, I would have replied “it is,” before closing the door.

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Goldie February 14, 2013 at 10:43 am

I had almost that exact thing happen to me 13 years ago! We lived in an apartment then, and were saving to buy a house. Someone rang our doorbell one day, I answered the door and there was this high-school kid. First, he said that there was a contest at his school, and whoever got the most signatures would get to go on a European trip. I said “of course, tell me where to sign”. That was when the magazine catalog came out. He started telling me about each of the magazines. Confused, I asked: “so do I need to subscribe?” He said yes. I told him, “Oh in this case, I’m sorry, I can’t. We’re saving to buy a house” and this teenager says to me, “THOSE ARE JUST MAGAZINES. THOSE ARE NOT DIAMOND RINGS”. That ended our conversation very quickly.

Three years ago, after I moved into my most recent house, we had another magazine subscription snafu. This time, two middle-school kids from across the street came to talk to my parents while I was at work. My parents were 60 when they came to the US, their English is not very fluent, and of course they use our native language when speaking to one another. These two boys apparently came by and asked if my parents wanted to buy “American magazines”. WHAT?! My parents of course told the kids that they were just visiting and that kids should speak to the homeowner (me), never happened.

Seriously, what is it with magazine drives that makes people say those things? My kids participated in magazine drives too, but it was just me getting subscriptions to what I needed, at a discount. I brought the catalog to work with me once, to see if anyone was interested (no one was), but I certainly didn’t go around insulting people in the hopes that it’d make them buy subscriptions from me (has that ever worked?)

Lastly, if this woman thinks people’s dinner is not important, maybe she has no business opening a restaurant… oh the irony.

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Library Diva February 14, 2013 at 10:44 am

All you can really do with a response like that is laugh at it. I always wonder what people think they’re gaining by lashing out like that. Do you suppose many people chase her down and say “Wait, random stranger, though this is a peaceful time at the end of my day to spend with my family and though we’re all pretty hungry and supper’s getting cold, of course I care more about your half-baked scheme to win some kind of contest than all that. Come back, and allow me to throw away my money subscribing to a bunch of magazines that will go straight into the recycling bin, all so you can have your dream!”

It’s like the men who ask if you’re a lesbian, or frigid, when you rebuff their advances. Do many women say “of course I’m not, let’s go back to my place and I’ll prove it to you?”

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Redneck Gravy February 14, 2013 at 10:52 am

Just had a similar exchange two nights ago with a young man selling magazines…

His comment, “well there are 250 of us out here, try to be nice to the next kid”

No is a complete sentence. No thank you, is the end of a complete polite sentence!

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Gee February 14, 2013 at 10:59 am

Lady, I am not responsible for your dreams. Maybe part of the reason why they haven’t come true is because you’re expecting a handout?

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Stacey Frith-Smith February 14, 2013 at 11:23 am

It is annoying to experience someone’s sense of entitlement and it is worse if the person acting like such a special snowflake has no standing in your life upon which a pretext to do so could possibly exist. “My dreams..”- really? Close the door, OP, and save your breath. Sour grapes, indeed. (But you could post a “no soliciting” sign to prevent a recurrence. Any attempt at sales or solicitation at your front door should require no more than the point of a finger to the sign. Close the door and you’re done. If you have a neighborhood watch, you could expand the endeavor to however many blocks are willing to cooperate and post. Once the culture of your neighborhood has changed so that it is no longer a tempting target for vans full of solicitors to be dropped off in, you may find that you won’t have to deal with this issue again for a time.)

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Amber February 14, 2013 at 11:25 am

Ah, yes, the magazine subscription people.

Don’t ever ever EVER buy a subscription from someone, usually in their late teens, who comes to your door. The people who employ these poor kids are usually exploiting the kids. They’re often taken very, very far away from their home town with no money or transportation to reduce the ability to quit, share a small hotel with many others, are fed terrible food (think Taco Bell) maybe twice a day by their keepers, are dropped off in neighborhoods for hours at a time, sometimes without water in high summer, and are not paid until a certain amount of time passes – I’ve heard of one group that doesn’t pay for six weeks! The incentives that trap these kids are money for college, often never received, and the possibility of winning trips – and of course, no one ever knows the employees who win these trips. Finally, they are coached to be pushy and rude, to make people feel guilty, to do everything they can to get a sell.

And…some of these companies are complete shams. I’ve known more than one person who took pity on the teen at the door and ordered a magazine, only to never receive it in the mail. And the contact number suddenly is out of service.

Pity the kids who got duped into essentially indentured servitude, give them a bottle of water if it’s hot outside and close the door.

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Calli Arcale February 14, 2013 at 11:58 am

Yeek. Alas, I have run into people like that too. I’ve even had two who refused to leave, such that I had to order them off my property! What on earth do they think they’ll gain? They should already know there’s no chance of sale at this property; continued efforts at that point are a waste of their own time. So you can at least rest secure in the knowledge that someone like that will do poorly.

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Ergala February 14, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Thankfully the only real solicitors we have here are vacuum cleaner ones and religious ones and I can shut them down fast. However, I deal with this on the phone. We have a fire fighter association that calls daily about a fundraiser they are doing. I ask to not be called again and they still call. I no longer answer the phone when I see their number.

Another one we get is one asking for money to give Native American reservations in Arizona heating oil because they have harsh winters. Yes you read that right….harsh winters in Arizona. I live in a state where we get 4 or 5 feet dumped on us in 3 days. Don’t talk to me about harsh winters. To add to it, the person sounds like they are from India and sometimes China. I no longer try to be polite. I give them a quick geography lesson and tell them that if they want to scam people they should really do better research on the area they are claiming to help.

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Helen February 14, 2013 at 12:08 pm

I’m pretty certain that’s a last ditch sales effort that some people misguidedly employ. I’ve heard it used before by canvassers who “raise money” for various causes (the quotes are added because most of the funds go to the person collecting money).

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Tyler February 14, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Coming from someone who has been scammed by these magazine “salespeople” before, I have no qualms about politely telling them I’m not interested and closing the door despite any protests. If anyone ever approaches you in an attempt to sell magazine subscriptions for a prize of some sort (be it a trip to Europe or a business loan), claiming that the subscriptions are for charity (typically the Armed Forces or children’s hospitals) while being very heavy-handed with sales tactics, DO NOT give in, because these people are usually working for some sort of shady operation.

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Abby February 14, 2013 at 12:27 pm

You didn’t give her what she wanted, so she had to take a parting shot before stomping off. Nice. You should have waited until she was several steps away, then called out, Wait! Once she turned around and got her hopes up that her passive aggressiveness was about to be rewarded, slam the door. OK, that wouldn’t be a good etiquette move but it would be funny.

Why would some random stranger’s dream take precedence over, well, anything? Particularly someone who was rude and pushy?

I agree with other posters that this saleswoman won’t get very far either in this contest or running a business if that’s how she acts when she doesn’t get her way.

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Ashley February 14, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Let’s see how far she gets in life with that attitude.

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Goodness February 14, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Oh, but Carol, selling-subscriptions hucksters have been around since long before reality television. Iremember them at least as far back as the 60s. The sad part is that it’s the young people doing all the work (however gauche they may be) who are usually getting ripped-off the worst, and from what I’ve read, are sometimes abused by their crew leaders.

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LadyPhoenix February 14, 2013 at 1:04 pm

With an attidue like that, I highly doubt she won the “contest” if it actually happened

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manybellsdown February 14, 2013 at 1:52 pm

I play a lot of online games, and boy do you see this nonsense everywhere. “I like your . Can I have it?” or “Please buy me this game item that costs real life money.” My answer is always a simple, direct “No.” To which I generally get the reply “OMG U DONT HAVE 2 BE SO RUDE!” If I had a nickel for every time I’ve been reported to game administrators for not complying with these demands, I could afford a lot more games.

It’s utterly horrifying to see this with alleged adults in real life. At least online I can comfort myself by believing they’re just children in need of supervision.

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Tricia February 14, 2013 at 2:32 pm

A simple solution is to never answer the door. That’s what I do :) I’m never, ever bothered.

I find it strange that a lot of people that I know think it is an obligation to answer every phone call received and to answer the door whenever the doorbell rings.

Please do not think it is rude to ignore the doorbell if you are in the middle of dinner. Please do not think it is rude to not answer your phone if you are busy, not in the mood to talk, or only answer the phone when you are wearing green. The point is, it doesn’t matter what the reason – you are free to answer YOUR phone or YOUR door whenever you please.

I feel that if we all realize our part in this, there will be less and less of these types of stories.

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lakey February 14, 2013 at 2:37 pm

I had taken a day off from work to attend a relative’s funeral. Just as I was getting ready to leave for the funeral I got a call from someone selling magazines. I told her that I couldn’t talk to her because I was going to a funeral. She told me that it wouldn’t take very long and tried to continue the spiel.

My response to telemarketers is to first tell them politely, “Sorry, but I’m not interested.” The polite ones thank you for your time and say good-bye. The ones that keep talking after I have said no, I hang up on. Some of these people are trained to not take no for an answer and the only way to get away from them is to hang up.

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ciotog February 14, 2013 at 2:42 pm

These magazine selling folks are usually perpetrating scams, anyway.

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