Friday, February 02, 2007

Death of a Salesman

(or, "Travelling Salesmen Can't Read")

As the sun rises on a new day of work, the Space Cowboy approaches the office door. Before entering, he admires the simple sign affixed to the door that should deter any ambitious capitalists from entering:


Several days pass by when there is suddenly a knock on the door. The Space Cowboy turns around, irritated, towards the door to find a gentleman decked out in a lovely three-piece suit, and carrying a briefcase with sample items.

Salesman: "Hey there! I was wondering if I could have just a minute of your time.."

Space Cowboy: "Actually, no. We're not interested. Hence, the sign on the door."

Salesman: "I know. I've seen that on other doors but this will really only take a minute."

Space Cowboy: "You're absolutely right. Within 60 seconds, you will be out of this office, since we do not want any solicitors. Good day."

Salesman: "Look, I just want to sh..."

Space Cowboy: "I believe I said Good Day!"

Our Cowboy understands at this point that the direct message in the original sign is not clear enough for the aggressive salesmen to comprehend. Day after day, he mulls over the idea and waits for his muse to inspire him in writing the clearest of messages to post on the door. And then it hits him:

Since our original "No Solicitors" sign didn't work, here it is in plain English that might be easier for you to understand.

We will NOT buy anything that you are offering. So, just leave us alone.

Enter at your own risk.

This sign manages to work its magic for a good couple of months. But, there's always that one guy who thinks the sign doesn't apply to him. Or, it might even be that he was a child left behind who never learned to read (cue Oscar-winning musical score). And so, in walks the salesman, blissfully unaware of his imminent doom, with assorted coloring items in hand. Let the games begin.

Salesman: "Hi there. I know you're busy, but I'll only take a minute.."

Space Cowboy (smiling): "Did you see the note on the door?"

Salesman: "Umm.. yea.. well.."

Space Cowboy: "Here - let me show you the note on the door." The Cowboy walks calmly to the door and starts pointing out every word on the note as he is reading it: "We will not buy anything that you are offering. So, just leave us alone."

Salesman: "OK. Well, I spoke with a woman upstairs who had a similar note and she bought two."

At first, the Cowboy is momentarily stunned at the salesman's cahones in dismissing the recited polite version of "Please get the fuck out." But our hero is not one to be thrown by a lame pitch. No, he isn't.

Space Cowboy: "Two, eh? Well that's great for her. But you see, down here we actually mean what we say on this door. Let me show you again just so you understand. We will not buy anything that you are offering. So, just leave us alone. Good day."

With defeat clearly etched in his face, the salesman dejectedly walks out of the door, becoming the coagulated mass he was all along.

"You're the same old story, it's the same old crime, and you got some heavy dues to pay. I'm a Space Cowboy, bet you weren't ready for that."


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