a breakfast serial

One bite-sized story every morning to uplift, motivate, or provoke thought.

Death of a Salesman 2

< by Brennan >

The iconic door-to-door salesman — an archetype of American resilience and determination. Death of a Salesman, written as an homage to this iconic figure. Boardwalk Empire, that religious zealot played by Michael Shannon, choosing a simple life of door-to-door sales to atone for his sins.

And then we have me. Door-to-door sales specialist for Melani Bros. in my hometown of Newport News. Tasked with going door-to-door to ask if people were interested in free assessments on potential home improvements, specifically windows and sun rooms. Selling nothing, totally free to do.

Keep in mind: The economy is in the tank at this point. It is summer, so people are thinking more about leaving their homes than renovating them. It’s hot, humid, and I am not even well-versed in what I am seeing. But — perseverance.

Then it happened: I was welcomed with open arms. “Melani Bros.?! Great, come on in. Honey, the man from Melani Bros. is here!” Suddenly, a hero. These people seemed like they had been waiting for Melani Bros. to come and offer them exactly this free assessment.

“We’ve been waiting for you for a long time, Melani Bros.”

“Oh, really? Great, I am glad I can help.”

Suddenly, a chill in the room.

“We’ve been waiting for 4 months.” Hero to villain.

“Oh, really? Um, how can I help?”

“We needed repairs on our windows. Months ago. And we’ve been waiting.” They family circle was tightening. At some point, the children had joined the party, not sure when.

“I am … so sorry about that. I can definitely look into remedying this. Can’t I, for you?”

Have you ever had that moment where you go from total certainty in your situation to thinking this might be the last situation you are going to experience?

“No, I think we’re okay.” A pause of eternal silence and fear.

“You can go now.”

I ran from that house, the only time I really felt like I needed to flee.

And they didn’t even sign up for the free assessment.

1 Comment»

  Larry Who wrote @

So, did you shake off your bad experience and knock on the neighbor’s door?


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