Saturday, May 16, 2009

Leave Me Alone, I Just Want to Do My Shopping!

Last week I had a couple of days off of work. On Thursday, I planned to attend Track and Field day at my daughter's school. The event was canceled, so I had some time on my hands. I decided to go ahead and go to Wal-Mart to buy groceries.

As I walked up to the store, I noticed a man standing to the side of the door. When I got closer, he stopped me and asked if he could ask me a question. I thought that maybe he needed directions or help with something, so I stopped to see what he wanted.

He proceeded to explain that he was asking people to take a short survey, and it would only take a few minutes. I wasn't in a hurry, so I thought, what the heck. The guy looked to be in his late forties. He looked a little scruffy, but he was dressed in decent, clean clothes. He made some small talk, then he motioned for me to follow him over to a bench.

I was starting to get suspicious. If this was just a short survey, then why couldn't he just ask me the questions then I could be on my way? I reluctantly sat down, wanting to hurry and get this over with. He explained that he was trying to earn points so he could win $5,000. He said he wanted to use the money to pay for grad school (yeah, right).

After he made his little spiel, he pulled out a paper with magazine titles. He asked me to show him a magazine that I was interested in. I told him I was not interested in a magazine. He insisted that I pick one. He said he would show me a price and I could decide if I wanted to buy it or not. By now, I was really getting ticked. I told him that he had said he wanted to give me a survey, and he didn't say anything about buying magazines. He laughed and said, "Yeah, that's because I didn't tell you that in the beginning." I told him again that I was NOT looking to buy a magazine. He quickly put the paper away and abruptly said, "Okay, thank you for your time."

I left to go in the store, and I was beyond mad. I actually felt violated. Here was this creepy man hanging outside my local Wal-Mart trying to scam people into buying magazines. There are always groups at the entrance to the store trying to raise money for charity, but never anything like this! I went straight to the customer service desk to complain. The girl at the desk told me she would check into it.

I did my shopping, and when I left I looked to see if the man was still there. Thankfully, he was gone. I still can't believe in our quiet little town someone has the nerve to hang out and try to solicit Wal-Mart shoppers. I was really mad at myself for stopping to talk to him. Usually, I'm pretty good about avoiding this kind of thing, but I just wasn't expecting it here in my hometown.


  1. I can see how that would be truly maddening, and kind of scary as well. Does this guy really think he'll be able to get people to buy magazines from him by pulling them in like that?

    Ugh! Good for you reporting him to customer service!

  2. I'm glad you reported that guy to customer service. People like that shouldn't be allowed to solicit their patrons!

  3. We get these kids who are claiming to be selling candy bars for their "baseball team" in the area. Okay, I KNOW they don't live here (just take my word for it, okay?), so I asked them "What team?" and then I act like I care. Then I ask the league name, who is your coach, what position do you play, etc. Soon you realize there is no baseball team. I refuse to buy from anyone on the street or in front of stores anymore. I especially don't trust the ones that ask for money donations. Sell something--don't beg. How slimy that was for you! I'm glad you reported him!

  4. These people have come to my house twice. Each time it was a teen/early 20's person claiming they needed to speak with people out in public for "a class." The first time I said ok. Then out comes the magazine list. "Pick one" the girl said. When I asked her why she said that's the one I could buy a subscription to. She got really mad when I said no. I told her if she didn't leave I would call the police and then I shut the door. The second time (years later, different house) the guy who came by wasn't as skilled as the first girl. I already knew the spiel and had the door closed about 15 seconds after the conversation started.

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  6. It's good that Wal-Mart appeared to take action - I would have thought that people are not allowed to sell things at their entrance without their permission.

    I can relate to how you felt. After many experiences like this, I now always either pretend I didn't hear and walk on, or, if this is unavoidable, I say, "Sorry, I'm in a hurry." The other week, I had someone shout after me in the street after I said this (not abuse, he was just trying to get my attention further!)

    It's even worse when they come to your door and try to get you to buy things, especially if they are for your children. I caved in once and bought some over-priced books for my daughter! I've decided that I'm not going to do that again!

    Best wishes,


  7. I hate that kind of crap. In one of the grocery stores I go to, they have a bank inside and make the bank employees wander the store and solicit shoppers. Either enough people complained that now they just walk around or the employees got tired of the attitude they got and just decided to walk around. I feel I should be able to shop without being solicited. It really makes me mad.

    The mall near me also has people who are paid to stop people for surveys. They are legitimate surveys and they may pay you a few dollars, but it's annoying. I learned how to get by them without them asking me years ago when I worked in that mall.

    A) do NOT make eye contact
    B) walk quickly like you are on a mission
    C) if need be, pretend you are looking for something in your purse
    d) take a companion and talk like you are in a very intense conversation


  8. It is scary when things like this happen in our small towns! Glad to hear that you reported him!

  9. Thanks for all the comments. You would think they would start to get the hint when people like us fight their creepy sales tactics! I don't know if it's desperation or ignorance.