The Lysol Exchange


There’s a business card in my enclosed porch that I need to get around to throwing out. It’s a plain white card bearing only the name of the company and some phone numbers. There’s also the title “Representative”, but no name to attach to it. That’s because the supply of business cards will outlast the guy who handed it to me.

As soon as I answered the door, I knew the score. Young man in a cheap suit, delivering a memorized spiel so rapidly that he didn’t seem to breathe, second dude staying behind in a simple van — commission-based wage slave, desperate to make this crap job pay off. I’d gotten sucked into a similar scheme while in college. 14 hour days, constant workshops, and absolutely no compensation. These gigs run through employees like musket balls through Pickett’s charge.

The guy introduced himself somewhere in there, and I wound up holding a can of Lysol. I set it down and tried to explain that I wasn’t going to buy whatever he might be selling (he still hadn’t gotten around to revealing that), but he was running back to the van to get something. It seems that by accepting the cleaner I’d unwittingly agreed to a product demonstration.

When he had lugged his case back to my door, I took advantage of his momentary non-talking to hastily inform him that there would be no demonstration or sale at this address. He took it in stride but asked for the Lysol back.

I shrugged and gave it back to him. I figured he needed it more than I did.

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