Numerous times over the past few years I've had friends tell me that I should give up my lucrative newspaper career (as if!) and work from home selling catalog merchandise, like Pampered Chef, or Creative Memories. I'm a little disappointed that nobody has ever asked me to host a sex toy party, though. Maybe I just strike people as too virginal and pure of thought for such carnal things. Number one, I'm not all that sociable, and the thought of opening up my home for hostess parties makes my stomach lurch. Number two, I'd rather work consistent manual labor than attempt to make a living by selling things because the truth is, as a sales person, I absolutely SUCK. My heart palpitates just thinking about the dreaded duty of collecting money. That's the key reason to why I refuse to organize any more homeschool field trips or have any part of an activity that involves monetary transaction because it makes me feel awkward and uncomfortable to harangue deadbeats to pay up.
My peddlerphobia started back in my high school days. As a sophomore with one open elective, I decided to get in touch with the natural Infidel within and take a Wildlife Management course with the F.F.A (Future Farmers Of America) program. Mainly because we got to cut school sometimes to go fishing as part of the 'rigorous' curriculum. As a preppie wannabe complete with Girbaud jeans and Polo shirts, I distinctly stood out among all the Bubba rednecks and cowboys in the class. I didn't own a pair of boots, hated NASCAR, and I coudln't even line dance or sing "Achy Breaky Heart". It was the ultimate slacker class for me and the only thing I clearly remember from that year in AG involved more chewing tobacco techniques than you could shake a shiny spittoon at.
Every single school organization holds fundraisers and F.F.A proved to be no exception. However, they did things a little bit differently. While the Choir, Band, and Drill Team sold candy, gift wrap, and overpriced cheap novelty crap directly imported from China, for their Fall Fundraiser, we sold sausage. Yes, sausage. Swallowing my pride and extreme embarrassment, I took that glossy colored sausage brochure up and down our block. Often, I tailed right behind the more successful candy selling students who were unloading their chocolate at a clipped pace. At first, I felt encouraged, and cheerfully chirped out, "Hi! Would you like to buy some sausage to support F.F.A?" To which, people either laughed or gave a wrinkly nosed, emphatic, "NO!", really quickly, and shut the door. What??!!?? They acted like nobody's ever sold them sausage at their house before. I tried another sales maneuver by using my very best Oliver face and voice. With sad, hollowed eyes, I hit the next potential customer by saying, "Please sir, would you care to buy a bit o sausage?". Still no luck. I finally gave up at the end of our very long street when a guy asked me if the sausage was any good. I told him that the brochure described the product as "farm fresh and delicious". Still doubtful, he asked again, "Yeah, but have you actually tried it?" Feeling irritated, I sighed heavily, and not a little snarkily told him, "Well sir, If I had the product available to me, I would have toured the neighborhood with my Mom's electric skillet strung around my neck dispensing free, hot samples. Just like the sample lady at Kroger's. Then would you deign to honor me and revel joyfully in my sausage"? The man mumbled something about me being a "smart ass teenager", and slammed the door. Don't despair, all was not lost. My Mom bought a bunch of sausage out of pity, and it really did taste good. At Christmastime, while the other groups sold poinsettias and pecan logs, we peddled cases of fruit. Another wildly UNsuccessful venture.
Question Of The Day: What's the weirdest thing you've ever been involved with selling? I defy you to top being a door to door sausage saleswoman.