Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Blonde Grifter



I have had my share of door to door salespeople over the years and even written about a few of them, but they never cease to amaze me. While home on lunch, my doorbell rang and I found myself face to face with a young blonde woman wearing jeans and a purple tank top. She had a few pamphlets in her hand and the word “love” ornately tattooed over her left breast. She informed me that she was visiting people in the neighborhood in order to combat her fear of public speaking.

This treatment apparently required her to ask each resident what they did for a living and based on their answers she was awarded “points” toward her college education. I attempted to interrupt her spiel and ascertain how this unnamed organization quantified the points-to-scholarship transaction but she was already off to the races:

Her – What kind of super-awesome job do you have?
Me – I work with computers.
Her – Wow. You must be really smart.
Me – Not really, but my urine is clean and I am punctual.
Her – Oh… Well either way that gets me 3,000 points! Can you do a backflip?
Me – What?
Her – A backflip. If you can do one I get another 3,000 points!
Me – Sorry, no.
Her – It is just as well, I can’t do one either. Well my daddy taught me to always get to the point when I speak to men, so I wanted to see if you would be interested in helping me get more points by purchasing a magazine subscription for kids with cancer who live in a hospital.

At this point she hands me a glossy trifold brochure with various magazines on it (Car and Driver, Ebony, Cosmo, etc) and informs me that the cheapest subscription is $40.

Me – So….these benefit children or are delivered to children?
Her – They are for kids with cancer, the small old guy down the road couldn’t afford a whole subscription so he just made a donation so you could do that.
Me – I am going to have to pass….but can I keep the brochure?
Her – We are not allowed to do that.

And with that, she took the brochure and was gone. The entire conversation had been so schizophrenic and incomprehensible that I checked to make sure she hadn’t lifted my wallet at some point. So far, I have been unable to locate a conglomerate that awards scholarships based upon an arbitrarily assigned points system.  I still don’t know if I was supposed to help stricken children with the proceeds from a magazine subscription or if there are large amounts of underage children in hospitals who desperately needed monthly issues of Cosmo.

With the way she delivered the “my daddy taught me to be straightforward with men” line I must admit that I was half-expected it to be followed by something other than an offer of a periodical. Imagine my surprise when, that very evening, I was recalling the encounter for a group of friends and one of them echoed my experience except their caller was a young Caucasian male with gauged earrings and the magazine subscription was to assist with a Cancun trip. The young man had even inquired if they had already been visited by “a blonde girl.”

Say what you will about the morality of grifters, but it takes gumption to stare someone in the eye and efficiently scroll through the emotional Rolodex of a prospective mark. Did I have a soft-spot for glossophobia sufferers? Would I be moved by a young woman’s quest for higher education? Was I a connoisseur of cleavage art? When all else fails, what self-respecting person could resist providing some measure of comfort to innocent children afflicted with a terrible disease?

That being said, we obviously called the police and I hope no one gives them a cent. There is little that sinks to the level of extracting money from people under the false pretense of assisting children suffering from cancer. The most disheartening aspect of this is that many of these door-to-door con-artists possess the skill set to make a legitimate living. They could transition into used car sales with nothing more substantial than a wardrobe change and a business card.

1 comment:

  1. In communist Cuba - this could NOT happen !

    ReplyDelete