Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Adventures in Direct Sales

So, this blog has been a long time coming. Some of you have various levels of knowledge about my mysterious "new job." I'm doing direct sales. I sell an air purifier and a home cleaning system. It's not a door-to-door thing, though I *can* do that if I want to, which I don't. People make appointments with our marketing department, and I go try to sell them stuff. I've been doing it full time for a month now, which is why I've been so unavailable and spacey. The way the job works is that I'm basically "on call" from around 11 AM to 8PM, six days a week. Sometimes I'll randomly have a full day free, but I never know when a call is coming. That's why I can't commit to any other activities during those hours, unless it's something that I can just bail out of midway through if a call comes in. It's stressful and busy, but also a lot of fun. The money is good, and I get to meet some really awesome people and drive all over the southern half of the province, which I usually love.

Of course, along with the awesome comes the terrible. Like when I get a call from the boss at 7PM saying "I need you to go to North Battleford right away." For those of you not in the know, North Battleford is about an hour and a half out of Saskatoon. So, leaving at 7 PM, getting there around 8:30, doing a two-hour sales meeting, and then driving home in the dark on a stretch of highway very densely populated by deer and coyotes, which increases the driving time because I have to actually do the speed makes for a long night. Not a problem if I know it's coming and can plan for it, but on no notice whatsoever, it's a bit of a hassle.

Or when I go to a presentation at a home where the owner (a single man) gives me a creepy vibe right out of the gate. For example, I went to the home of one guy who spooked me a bit and had framed pictures of his Pomeranian all around the house. Not that there's anything wrong with being devoted to one's pets, but the combination of the creepy level of puppy love and the bad feeling I got the second the guy opened the door meant that I would not have been shocked at all to find out that this guy had a pit in his basement into which he lowered lotion in a basket. I was prepared to just bail out, but I noticed that there were a bunch of other people there. It turned out that this guy lived on the main floor of his house, and had converted the basement and second floor into rental suites for students. The other people were about four of his tenants. I figured that I'd be safe with a bunch of witnesses, so I got started. Halfway through my presentation, the renters all went out for supper, leaving me alone with the creepy dude and the dog. The guy sat right next to me on the couch, uncomfortably close, and said in what I assume he thought was a seductive tone, "so, they let a pretty little thing like you go to strangers' houses all alone?"

Yeah, I bailed as fast as I could.

Better yet is when I get sent to a bad neighborhood. First of all, no one who lives in Pleasant Hill (the "hood" around here) is going to buy a $3000 system like ours. It's just not going to happen. My boss, however, is new to Saskatoon and doesn't quite get this. Then you factor in that most apartments in this city don't have visitor parking. So when I go to an apartment in the bad neighborhood and have to park three or four blocks away, then walk that distance lugging twenty pounds of equipment, I'm not very safe. That being the reason I'm in a bit of pain these days-I'm pretty sure I actually sprained my ankle the other day when, in the exact scenario described above, I was attacked by three girls who figured I was "looking at them". I didn't get as bad a beating as I was expecting, just a twisted ankle, banged up knee and a few scrapes on my hands and elbows from falling over while trying to get away.

Then there was the lady who chased me out of her house. Seriously, a 70-75 year old woman yelled and swore at me and was grabbing a frying pan to chase me with.

So, the last month has been crazy. I just figured it was time to fill y'all in.

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