Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sticky, sticky...

By the time our children are two or so, they've mastered the word "No" pretty well, although research says they don't fully understand the meaning until later in their childhood years. Although I'm not a fan of children saying no to things that need to be done, or their parents asking them to participate in the family, I am a fan of teaching them how to say "No" gracefully.

No doubt they will be put in situations all throughout life where they will have to respond to peer pressure, pushy people, intrusiveness, etc. but if we can teach them grace and confidence, they will be less likely to attract those kinds of people (hopefully).

For example, I had an email this week asking me how to politely say "no" to a pushy salesman. This is something some of us have to do with children hanging on our leg, so it's a perfect opportunity to teach by example. They come to your door, you open it, they state who they are and what they want, and you point at your "No Soliciting" sign on your door (get one!!) and say, "Thank you for your time, but I never buy door to door, goodbye". This may seem harsh, but it is proper etiquette to state that once at the door or on the phone, and hang up. It is rude of the telemarketer or salesman to continue. This response leaves little room for them to say anything, and more importantly, it protects should not be answering the door to strangers or salesman (whether you're a woman or man). If you are able, screen your guests before answering and teach your children not to answer the door without permission.

If you have become engaged somehow in their sales pitch, or in my email question, my reader stated that the salesman was rude enough to ask a personal question that was rude and uncalled for, you may simply say either, "I said no, thank you, goodbye" or "No thank you, goodbye" or "I'm not going to answer that question, thank you, goodbye". You are perfectly within proper etiquette bounds to say any of those things and shut and lock the door, or hang up the phone.

Our society today is focused less on customer service and more on the bottom line, which is sad commentary indeed; but we can counter this by being polite but firm, remember they've invaded your privacy...It makes me think of the Seinfeld episode where Jerry gets a phone call from a telemarketer and when they persist, he asks for their phone number and asks if he can call them at home! I couldn't resist...and I'm not condoning this behavior, but I laugh so hard every time I see this episode, it's one of my favorites.

1 comment:

Liz, Casey, Acacia and Josh said...

We used to get calls all the time (because we were a new neighborhood) and I was stuck at home, with no call recognition answering them all day long- at some point no is your only option!