The One Time I Got Scammed By A Help Wanted Ad
It was awkward. And pretty dangerous. I don't think I've ever been as uncomfortable before or since.
This had to be nine kinds of wrong.
Before my wife, Cathy, suggested I give radio a try, there was this one time I was "between adventures". I was looking through the Help Wanted ads. One took me to the west side of the city, the warehouse district. One of the warehouse was where a company had set up, selling knock-off cologne and perfume. It was a step up from those fundraisers in school, where you sell candy bars, popcorn, fruit, or candles or something. Those are great fundraising projects. This was kind of like that. Only it was selling door to door. Like selling vacuum cleaners, home security, or, pest control services.
The first day was the interview. And, a quick rundown of the business. Now, maybe you and I are alike. A little skeptical and cynical about where we buy what we buy. I don't care how quality a thing is, I'm not gonna spend a whole lotta money on anything from a door-to-door salesman. Growing up, Dad had a sticker in the front door window, "No Solicitors". I'm not gonna buy a home security system or pest control service from somebody coming to my front door. There are some things you track down through Google, or through a friend.
But, when I was younger, in between adventures, and eager for my next paycheck, I was curious. The second day, I went there, they hustled a few of us into a van. We were driven from Chicago to Rockford, IL and let loose on the streets to sell knock off cologne and perfume door to door, business to business. The motivation was, You can do this! If you can do this in a completely unfamiliar territory - then you can do anything for our company! I'm not sure why I let myself get hustled and driven off like that. I did give it a try. My partner and I were kicked out of a number of places. We got a lot of angry No's.
I admire sales people that can canvass a territory, or cold call. I think it depends on the product, just as much as the person and the sales technique.
I broke off a couple of times and called Cathy. I made a few other phone calls to try and line something else up.
Of all the things that could have happened; instead of getting kicked out of the places we tried, and the people on the street we accosted - we could have been arrested. This could have been a lot more dangerous than it turned out to be. We did manage to regroup and get head back to the warehouse on the west side of the city. I jumped in my car and headed home. I never went back.
I finally found a job in a mailroom. Cathy heard about broadcasting school. She told me I had a
face personality for radio. Finishing that, I had an internship, and then a part-time job for a Country station in Chicago. My first on-air job was in (wait for it) Rockford. I was the man on the street or stunt man for the morning show. I had a blast standing out on s street corner with a microphone, or walking up to complete strangers and asking them questions.
So, when somebody comes to my door, I smile. I tell them, Thanks, but no thanks. Good luck.
I don't leave my garage door open. I make sure all the doors and windows are locked. I say a prayer every morning and every night for protection of the most valuable people and pets under the roof.
Here's a Stephen King story of another color.