Colossus is watching youOver on Rob’s blog, there’s an interesting entry involving door-to-door alarm system sales, social engineering, and business practices that carry the whiff of both scam and scum. He also provides a further link to a consumer complaint site with an active comment section on the very company being represented. Not good – but then, look at things on the ground floor, i.e. the hiring level:

This is an in home presentation sales position. No experience required, training provided. We provide some leads/appointments for you but prospecting is also required.

The fact that the address one is asked to contact in this Craigslist ad is [dude’s name]adt at gmail doesn’t instill me with much hope either – if dude doesn’t even have a company e-mail address, I start to wonder if the shadowy outlines of multi-level marketing aren’t becoming visible. In other words, if I respond to that ad, interview successfully and get hired, will I then be expected to – in addition to pounding the pavement – place my own ad and recruit my own “downline” like dude did here?

I betcha I would.

Then again, I’m at the point in my job hunt where looking at online job listings, Craigslist or otherwise, is more of a stress-relieving exercise in belly laughs than anything. There was a Craigslist ad seeking a “personal assistant” for a “busy businessman” who could type, file, take calls, schedule meetings and have “a little fun after five” (!!), and then there’s a opening for an “Assistant Bank Manater” – now, of course, this is an obvious typo, and looking at where the keys are on the keyboard, it’s easy to deduce that they’re actually trying to hire an Assistant Bank Manatee.

Before I move on to a specimen of door-to-door sales-being war stories from my own files, I recommend Rob’s blog to you – in between other topics, he addresses a lot of security and social engineering-related topics that are a bit eye-opening. It’s worth a look.

Out here in the boonies where I live now, door-to-door sales just aren’t a force to be reckoned with – not unless you can find someone willing to walk half a mile between stops in the middle of the summer. (Good luck. Most manatees, assistant or otherwise, are aquatic and will not survive this environment, and therefore do not need to apply.) The closest we have is door-to-door religion peddlers; I have even less patience for someone trying to cleanse my soul by these means than I do for someone trying to cleanse my tile floor. For a fee, naturally, whichever way you go. My dog usually handles these calls quite successfully:

Xena answers your calls Xena answers your calls

One time when I wound up with a door-to-door religion peddler who braved the canine security system, I simply answered the door with Othello and my shoulder and referred to him (the big black cat, that is) as my familiar. For some reason that conversation drew to a very swift conclusion. The power of kitty compels you!

Now, my apartment in Green Bay was a whole different story. We had people trying to sell us magazines, makeup, and everything in between. Sometimes these so-called “people” also happened to be our own so-called “neighbors”. But one Sunday, when I was home folding laundry and catching up on Deep Space Nine episodes on tape, back when there were new Deep Space Nine episodes and back when people recorded stuff on tape, the person at the door was a total stranger.

That’s okay too. As it happened, he was trying to sell some catch-all cleaning product which could supposedly get anything out of anything. He even said it’d clean concrete floors; the great thing about my apartment in Wisconsin was that it had an actual basement with the same square footage as the ground level floor or the upstairs floor. Not that this guy knew that – but I decided I’d be helpful and educate him.

“Did you say this would get stuff out of concrete and not even leave a stain?” I asked, parroting what he’d just said to me almost word-for-word. “The underground basement level in these apartments has concrete floors.”

He nodded eagerly, probably thinking “Bingo! I’ve got one!”

“Will it get…blood out?” I asked.

He just nodded this time, a little bit less certain of how the pitch was going.

“How much is in that bucket?” I asked, indicating the gigantinormous plastic bucket of sample product he was hauling around. “Do you have another bucket like that with you? I’ll take them both right now. Because I need a lot.” I smiled and wiggled my eyebrows madly. All friendly-like.

He gave me a funny look and said, “Uh…sure. Let me go get it. Out of my car.” And took his sample bucket with him – kind of odd, I thought, since surely he was about to make a sale.

Even more strange was the fact that he never came back. Was it something I said?

I probably should’ve told him I’d flooded the basement with water to accomodate my pet, and now had assistant manatee poop to clean up. I mean, holy crap, this stuff could get anything out of anything.

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Earl Green ()

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