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Whew!

And it's up! And it's down! And it's back up again!

Apparently this all owes to the Russian underworld, or possibly the government or possibly that bit where the Venn diagrams overlap. Such is life. I promise, you haven't missed much--I am home again but badly jet-lagged, and a kid just showed up on the doorstep addressing me by name and asking to speak to Kevin (also by name) about educational opportunities. I'm pretty sure he was selling encyclopedias. He kept dropping the names of our neighbors. I wanted to tell him that this wasn't making me inclined to buy encyclopedias, it was freakin' me the hell out.

This is perhaps the mildest form of the creepiness of unearned intimacy, but it was REALLY off-putting. I know a seminar somewhere probably told him to use my name as much as possible and display knowledge of us all to seem like a local, but it came off as "Lock the doors, crazy stalker-puppy in town." But I never think to say these things at the time.

Seriously, though, don't ask a woman if there's any signs of when her boyfriend's home, like a car in the driveway. Don't. Do. This. It Is A Bad Idea. If you have to ask why this is a bad idea...well, I weep for society.

Will be locking all doors and sleeping with sword in easy reach tonight. If you find me dead with an encyclopedia wedged in my mouth...it's been real.

...y'know, I might call the cops anyway just to give 'em a heads-up on that...


ETA: Called the cops. The Sheriff got back to me ten minutes later to say that yeah, they're legit, they're selling something, they come in every year and the police field calls the whole time because apparently they creep people the hell out. There was a definite air that if he had his way, they would not being doing this in his town, goddamnit, but he had no authority to prevent it. So that's a good thing.

ETA2: Wrote the company most likely to be behind it a nasty note. I didn't mention that one of the questions was "So I hear Kevin has elementary age kids!" which got the "WHAT?" and the blank stare. While that's a horrifically creepy question in its own right, it does make me think less about robbery and more about the oh my god you have received the worst sales training on EARTH. (I said "They live with their mother," on the principle that at least I wouldn't have company in the wood chipper.) Still. Blargh. Ugh. Nasty jolt for an evening.

On the bright side, they finally delivered my luggage, which spent some time in New Jersey without me.

That's not a bad idea (calling the cops). It was probably just a sales technique, but there is also that vague possibility that the kid was casing the place. All in all... still kinda creepy.


Glad you are home safe, and will be staying that way.
Yes, call. The worst thing is: nothing will happen.

I've had plenty of salesmen ignore the "NO SOLICITATION" sign on my front porch and try to sell me shit, but not one has asked me how they could tell my husband was home. In fact, no one has ever asked me about my husband at all. No one has ever evinced knowledge of my husband, or named my neighbors.

Also, not one has used my name since the 2008 election when canvassers came by to get me to vote against LGBT rights, and then they obviously had the voter rolls. (I told them I was a lesbian, but I thought it was a lie in a good cause. The cutest part was when they still tried to argue with me. As I told them, you're really barking up the wrong tree here.)

I would actually call the cops. Using your name is a bit creepy -- and, if it was your first name, disrespectful as hell -- but asking when your boyfriend is home and how they might be able to tell is way the fuck out of line. Call the cops and tell them you're afraid someone is casing the joint for a potential robbery.

These organizations are almost always exploiting the kids they hire as their public face -- locking them into commission contracts that don't pay a tenth of what they're worth and abusing them with long, food-and-water-free work days -- so if you can get them shut down, it would be a good thing.

I told them I was a lesbian, but I thought it was a lie in a good cause.

<3

Fourthing the "tell the cops" notion. Also seconding having the sword around.

Gahhhhhhhh. A guy did something similar at my apartment recently, except he apparently IS one of my neighbors (reassuring!)

He saw me outside taking photos, saw me go in the back door, CAME TO THE BACK DOOR UNINVITED AND DID I NOTE THAT HE WAS A COMPLETE STRANGER, my boyfriend answered, he asked some questions ("Oh, do you live here? So who's that other guy, then? Is he the one that drives the black van?") that were creepy and intrusive, and then FIVE MINUTES LATER, he came to the FRONT door (I'd been in the bathroom during the first encounter, so I'd had no idea that it had happened yet), I answered, and he starts chatting me up and telling me that HE'S a photographer, too, and he's making a movie, and blah blah blah. I am polite but noncommital.

And then he leaves and my boyfriend tells me that he'd just come to the back door and has EVIDENTLY BEEN CASING THE PLACE ENOUGH TO KNOW WHO DRIVES WHAT, which freaked me the fuck out. I park my car in the garage (it's a townhouse apartment), so nobody can generally tell when I'm home, but my boyfriend and Shadow Roommate (Kira's dad, who lives here about .05 percent of the time, since his job keeps him on the road) park in the guest parking, so Creeper Dude had evidently been keeping an eye on them.

I called the apartment office, and the lady I spoke to there said that she couldn't say much, but that not only had I not been the first person to call about him, but that he'd creeped out the office staff, too. And that there wasn't much they could do. AWESOME.

If he approaches me again, I'm going to tell him to back the hell off or I'll call the police. And then call the police.

tl;dr version: When my daughter's not home from school, I live here alone, and apparently it's obvious when my boyfriend isn't here. UN-FUCKING-COOL!!!

-- A :(

P.S. I kind of love your Sheriff ;)

Yeah... 'pleads the fifth', but that kinda is how some people I knew (*cough*) did case houses to rob -- though they only did that to make sure NO ONE was home, NOT just to see if only the woman was home.

But I trust the Sheriff is right if they are familiar, and tired, with it.

Out of curiosity--and you can continue to plead the fifth!--do you know if dogs were a substantial deterrent? I've got the Hound of the Baskervilles here, who managed to get out and love on him, thereby rather reducing the menace, but there was another barking dog in the house, and just on the off chance that the Sheriff was wrong, do you know if that sort of thing helped?

The moment a salesperson of any sort starts using my first name, the sale is out the door. It's creepy, rude and off-putting as hell. When I worked real estate, the big chain I was with told us to do this and I outright refused. I don't know *anyone* who likes this and I have no idea how trainers got the idea this was sound business practice.

I am always known by my middle name. While that has its inconveniences, it does tell me instantly that anybody who addresses my by my first name has got my name of a list and doesn't know me. At which point they go on the permanent losers list.

I know a seminar somewhere probably told him to use my name as much as possible and display knowledge of us all to seem like a local


I've never understood the "use people's names as much as possible, they like hearing their names" thing; even when I was a cashier and wore a nametag I was always like "...the fuck do you know my name" every time someone thought they were being super friendly and wonderful by calling me by it.

As far as I know, it's supposed to make people feel like they're recognized regulars, familiar faces. However, that kind of familiarity's got to be earned; faking it is creepy and I don't know why salespeople still use that tactic.

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"You're about a size 10 dress, right? And your skin is relatively clear? Do you moisturize often? Why? Oh, no reason."

I hate it when people call me by my name without permission, because they tend to use a nickname that is verboten ('jazzy') and it ALWAYS sets my teeth on edge.

My absolute least favourite nickname is "Jas" or "Jazzy" because of a creepy ex-friend of my dad's who used to call me that. **shudders**

I have been reading your posts for a while and lurking quietly-- I came for the gardening and stayed because you write interesting wonderful things, so hi!
Anyway, your post reminded me of something I saw at my school. The people who send these creepy salespeople out recruited some of them from my college, and I overheard a training session in our student union, and they were teaching them to ask those questions, and it was really freaking creepy. I felt kind of bad for the poor salespeople, and bad for the homeowners they would be approaching, because seriously, that is not how you do that. Eew.

I think the organization is Southwestern Company--I sent 'em a nasty note about their salespeople. I doubt it'll matter, but ye gods, that's even worse if it's institutionalized and not some poor schmuck who thinks he's being ingratiating.

"Is your boyfriend home?"
"No, but my lover is, he's a karate instructor.."

I wish trainers of salespeople would get it through their thick heads that they hurt themselves by telling sales people to pull this crap.

I think I need a big "no soliciting" sign that if you try it, not only will I not buy then and there, I will never consider using your company for anything. Ever. And tell everyone I know to do the same.

Though that's probably too much text and just saying "Solicitors will be fed to the Shoggoth" might be more effective.

"Solicitors will be fed to the Shoggoth"

I... I think I need to make that sign for the house I live in. Then be slightly sad that we never actually get any solicitors here. (The house may, in fact, be creepy enough on it's own to discourage random strangers walking up.)

Good God, that's creepy. Who teaches their salespeople that?? Ugh!

Glad you made it back home safe and that you and your luggage were happily reunited. Sorry we missed you while you were in our stomping grounds though! We were kind of dead tired on Thursday.

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You don't know me, but your icon is absolutely wonderful.

....oh, my God, how horrifically inappropriate. I'd be calling the Criminal Minds team immediately. *shudder*

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