The guy on the phone said he got my name and unlisted number from Merry, who up until that moment had been a good friend of mine.
“I am presently enrolled in a marketing class at the university,” he explained, “and must be completing five practice sales presentations for my assignment.”
I’m the one who slams the door on missionaries, declines all Tupperware party invitations and stays clear of anyone selling Amway products. Maybe it was his peculiar accent and desperate need to have “just five people” listen to him in order to pass the class that made me give in. Merry had given him my name, after all.
Warning him in advance that I wouldn’t buy anything, I agreed to let him stop by after he assured me he wouldn’t try to sell anything.
“Oh, no, Lady. I am only needing your signature to confirm I did the practice.”
Maybe I could manage to be out when he came.
“I am parking just around the corner. I will be arriving at your house in one minute,” he said before hanging up.
Profiler that I am, I did think of terrorist warnings when I opened the door and saw him. He didn’t have bombs in his suitcase, though. Just sharp knives.
He whipped out a black velvet cloth, draped it over my coffee table and began to carefully lay out each weapon. I began to sweat.
“You know, I don’t need any knives, so this is wasting your time and mine,” I said.
“Oh no, I am just needing to present a short sales talk for my class.” He picked up an enormous butcher knife. “Please feel this piece of cutlery,” he ordered, stressing the “cut” syllable. I quickly took the knife out of his hands. He talked about the tempered steel and pointed out features of a few of the other knives. He could have just used the word “sharp.”
He took a penny out of his pocket and with great drama cut through it with one of the special scissors. “I will bet you do not have a knife or scissors capable of doing that,” he said.
He didn’t laugh when I told him that as much as I always try to cut expenses, I’d never tried slicing pennies.
I politely asked him to leave, but he kept on talking about knives. When I mentioned calling the police, he started packing up his arsenal. He paused on the way out and asked, “Since you were not buying my knives, will you be kind enough to give me names and phone numbers of ten friends so I will not be failing in this class?”
I slammed the door.
The next time I meet an Amway distributor, I’m going to mention my friend who wants to try their laundry detergent. Any missionary who knocks on my door is going to get Merry’s name and address, too.