1 Sep 2008
I have come to believe that both the telephone and the front door bell are somehow connected to my elbow. Every time I bend my elbow at suppertime to initiate my eating ritual either the phone rings or the doorbell.
Now, I would not mind so much if the person on the phone or at the front door is offering something to enhance my dining experience. But usually, it is somebody wanting something from me usually in the form of a dollar sign. Some will even settle for all the change in my pocket.
This past week was no exception. All week long, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and Yours Truly were bombarded with telephone calls of a political nature. They were all recorded messages, which, in my opinion, is the worst kind of phone calls to receive especially when you are sitting down for a scrumptious supper.
We have a long-standing rule in our house, whoever disturbs our supper with a pre-recorded phone call shall never get our vote come election time, let the chads hang as they will.
But this week it was the doorbell. We no sooner sat down for supper and I bent my elbow for that first delicious bite, then the doorbell rang. My fork dropped to the plate as fast as my heart dropped to the floor. Of course, it always could be Ed McMahon telling me I won $1 million from the Publisher’s Clearing House. A person can hope can’t he?
As it turned out the person at the door was not selling anything. “I promise you,” she said with an engaging smile. Then the young woman went on to explain, “All I want is your opinion. You see, I get points for every opinion I get and it helps toward my college education.”
My wife then said, “How long will this take?”
“Oh,” this person who was not selling anything said, “this will only take a few moments.”
I have learned throughout the years that one person’s “few moments,” is another person’s lifetime. But being a gracious host we believed her and invited her in.
That was our first mistake.
She walked in, made herself at home and chattered from the moment she crossed our threshold until she left the house a few moments later. Now, to be very technical about this her part only took a few moments. She was not exactly lying to us but she was not exactly telling us the truth.
No sooner had she seated herself and asked us the first several questions when a knock came at the door.
She sprang to her feet, ran to the door and said, “That must be my associate.” She opened the door, invited him to come in and proceeded to introduce him to us.
I noticed when he came in he was carrying a huge box which turned out to be a vacuum cleaner.
Before we knew it this bubbly young woman turned us over to her young associate who preceded unpacking his box and at the same time began his sales pit. Excuse me, this was not a sales pitch it was a just a demonstration to elicit our opinion about their product.
Sure, and I have a lovely piece of swampland for sale.
You can always tell a salesperson by the fact that they always say, without exception, “I’m not selling anything today.”
Of course, their definition of “not selling,” may not be exactly the same definition a normal person would assign to that phrase. This demonstrator, just wanted us to tell him what we thought of his marvelous vacuum cleaner, which he was not selling today.
Thinking we could speed up the process a little, both of us agreed that it was a marvelous vacuum cleaner and did a superb job on the carpet in our living room. Unfortunately, words like this are similar to saying, “sick um,” to a dog.
“Of course,” he said rather thoughtfully looking up at the ceiling, “if you would like this vacuum cleaner I could let you have it for $3300, which you must admit it is a great price.”
To myself I thought, sure it’s a great price for him.
As firmly and as politely as we could, we refused this generous offer. Then he said to us, “Let me step outside for a moment if you don’t mind.”
In a few moments, he came in and said, “I just talked to my supervisor and he said because you have been so nice and your comments have been so helpful he is willing to drop it down to $500.”
With friends like that who needs bill collectors?
When we declined this generous offer he said, “Aren’t you a minister?” I answered in the affirmative. “Then you know the Good Book says ‘Cleanliness is next to godliness.’” And with that, he smiled one of those greasy car salesman smiles.
I assumed that by “Good Book,” he was referring to the Bible, as if that would have any bearing upon my decision about his vacuum cleaner.
For a moment, I was tempted to quote a verse that really came from the Bible. "…all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." (Revelation 21:8 KJV).
Don’t quote the Bible to me unless what you are quoting is really from the Bible.
Rev. James L. Snyder