Monday, 1 November 2010

On Expectations Of Civility

Do you know the 3-second rule? The if food hits the floor it's safe to eat if you pick it up in 3 seconds or less?

I have the same rule in conversations. Mine is the 3 sentence politeness rule. I use this rule with sales people at my door or cold-calling my home. If you do not get the polite hint that I do not want to talk to you, I get rude, and fast.

I absolutely agree that people should be polite to each other in every day interactions, but what sets me off are the people that take advantage of it. They take your politeness as an excuse to inconvenience you, waste your time, part you with your money and generally treat you like a door mat and walk all over you.

On Saturday, a man rang our doorbell. I opened the door and pointed to the No Soliciting sign prominently displayed by our door (it does work, most of the time BTW). He opened with "I saw that sir, but I am not soliciting." Right away I knew this person has trouble with english definitions.

He then launched into this spiel about how our water heater was old and as a customer of Reliance we are entitled to a "free" upgrade to a new higher efficiency model. When he paused, I told him we were not a Reliance customer, said no thanks and closed the door on him.

Get this, he knocked on the door to argue with me. Guy cannot take a hint. I interrupted his little spiel that we had to be a Reliance customer "because everyone in the neighborhood is" and told him that he had 5 seconds to "get the fuck off my property or I will call the cops". I told you I get rude in a hurry.

He responded with casting aspersions on my character, that I will not succeed in life because I'm rude and impolite and he kept repeating "you don't have to be rude to me, I'm just trying to do my job." I'm sorry to admit that my response to that was "well your job sucks asshole!"

What I should have said was, "well your job involves harassment, intimidation and rudeness itself, don't be surprised when it gets thrown back at you." I wasn't thinking clearly enough as I was at peak temper.

I do not have patience for this shit. My fuse is short. If you want politeness, don't corner me in my own home and try to "solicit" me for crap I do not want. Now you may have your own approach to dealing with these circumstances. My neighbour lies until the person goes away, politely. As in, "I'm sorry but we just installed a new water heater last month". My point is, I am entirely within my rights to be rude and obnoxious when you are taking advantage of social norms for your economic benefit.

Now the part I left out:

This guy works for National Home Services. He claimed we was representing Reliance with their full knowledge and that it was their offer to replace my water heater. In short, it was a fraud and he was scamming people.

So after quickly researching this online, we called the police and gave a complete description of this asshole. My wife is very good at remembering details. I never heard, but I can hope the police found him, and politely took him back to the local precinct for some honest questioning.


Mike said...

I ran into the same folks up here in Ottawa about a year ago, but they misrepresented them selves as representing Enbridge or Direct Energy.

Not only did I tell them to get off my property, I chased the scammers off wielding a chair over my head. I eventually did call the cops.

These prigs DID defraud a neighbour only a few weeks before and they were desperately trying to get a refund.

I reported National to the BBB, but they said it was not their thing (!!!!!) and then I complained to the Ontario Ministry of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, or whatever they call it now.

Hell even the 5th Estate did an expose on their methods.

I hope they all die in fire.

Catelli said...


I like the idea of a chair, I'll have to keep a metal one handy and go all Macho Man Randy Savage on him if he ever comes back.

Ken Breadner said...

Those fuckwads used to come by here once a week--on a couple of occasions, twice in a weekend. My patience with these people is less than zero at this point. If I'm home alone, the front door does not open. Period. If my wife is home, I let her get it, on account of she won't commit a felony...

Catelli said...

Nothing like a siege mentality in your own home huh? Personally I think door-to-door selling should be banned. If I'm not allowed to sleep on the front step of your business, you're not allowed to conduct business on my front step.