In previous weeks we’ve talked about the Leave Me Alone (Lemelo) party’s stance on regulation and legislation. Great topics, sure, but the number one hassle in American life is people trying to sell you crap. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing, somebody is always hawking something. My favorites are urinal advertisements. How low must your company’s self esteem be to think having the ol’ corporate logo pissed on all day is good for business?
By definition solicitors do not leave us alone; therefore, they are our sworn enemies. However, there are some variations here so bear with me:
– Children: Any kid who knocks on my door is guaranteed a sale. I bought an orange from the little boy down the street for no other reason than he had the stones to sell it to me.
– Adults Selling Your Kids’ Crap: You need to get out of the lunch room and back to your cubicle. More importantly, you need to be teaching your kid how to work; otherwise, Sierra will always expect someone else to take care of her business. We’re raising adults, not children. They know how to be kids — they need us to show them how to be grown-ups.
– Telemarketers: You personally get a pass because you’re getting paid ten bucks an hour to do a shitty job, but your entire industry needs to be outlawed. There is no way that you can both cold call me and leave me alone; therefore, the Lemeloes want you stopped. Also, you prey on old people. Don’t deny it — everybody knows that the elderly are so grateful to be talking to someone that they’ll listen to your Hoveround pitch.
– Direct Mail Marketing: Junk mail subsidizes the US Postal Service, so I guess I shouldn’t complain. Without the USPS I couldn’t send you Why It Matters goodies for an affordable price, and my dentist couldn’t send me those postcards with the giant cartoon tooth reminding me that it’s time for a cleaning.
But some companies push it way too far. I especially hate the snakes who go to great lengths to make their junk mail look like a real letter. Is there anything better than a real letter? Yes, hundreds of things, but it’s pretty damned cool to find some real mail tucked between the power bill and the Honeybaked Ham catalog.
One afternoon I found an actual letter in with my bills. Hooray! I opened it only to find an ad for Bell Brothers Heating and Air. This happened again a few weeks later, so I called them.
“Hey, will you please take me off your mailing list? I just installed a new HVAC system, so I’m not in the market.”
“Sure, no problem.”
A month passed and I got another fake letter from Bell Brothers. Maybe it takes a month to cycle through, I thought, so I rolled with it. The next month I got another one.
“Seriously, stop sending me fake letters. I don’t like it.”
“Sorry, no problem.”
And another one the next month. And the next month. The phone calls all went the same way. I started sending their junk mail back with “Leave me alone!” written in big, red, psychotic letters. No change. Finally I called the Better Business Bureau, who immediately jumped into action by emailing me each month and asking: “Have they stopped? If not we’ll contact them and ask them to stop.” Thanks, guys. You’re doing the Lord’s work.
After over a year of fake letters I finally found someone at Bell Brothers who understood that they’d pushed me beyond psychosis and that I’d die from carbon monoxide poisoning before I’d pay them $99 for a furnace checkup. She said she’d get it squared away and she did. I can only assume that she was fired shortly thereafter for gross competence.
Now I get apoplectic if I even see a Bell Brothers logo on a truck, shirt, hat, or minor league fence. Why is it their right to harass the sanity out of me but not my right to be left alone?
Petitions: All I want from the grocery store are a few staples and a sixer of whatever is on sale, but always perched at the exit is somebody with a petition. It doesn’t matter whether I agree with you about stopping the war or panda on panda crime, I’m not signing your petition. Please get out of my way and stop making me lie about whether I’m a California resident or a registered voter. You know what? Because you made me feel guilty for no good reason I’m now pro panda on panda crime. I won’t stop until every preschool is amply supplied with panda snuff films.
Religious Zealots: This is a tough one for me. I want to be left alone, but I want these whackadoos to be left alone, too. Their religions teach that their savior (Jesus, Jehovah, Gary Coleman) needs them to canvas the neighborhood, spreading the good word as they go. It’s kind of like the kid with the orange — I have a hard time slamming doors in earnest faces.
So the Lemeloes as a party would never call for restricting these nice people’s religious freedoms; however, I would like to talk to them directly for a moment: Don’t you think it’s rather strange that your all-powerful master of time, space, and dimension needs field agents? I’d think that the guy who invented the subatomic particle and the D-cup wouldn’t need a white-shirted teenager on a bicycle to spread the word. That’s just me, though. Anyway, I support your right to believe in magic, so will you please reciprocate by supporting my right to not have uncomfortable conversations with you at my front door? Thanks.
The Other Kind Of Religious Zealots, and I Include the Obnoxious Varieties Of Atheist and Vegetarian In This: Just because you’re entitled to an opinion doesn’t mean it’s right, and it definitely doesn’t mean you get to hit me with it like Ike beating Tina after a bad set. If you’re trying to sell any of the following, stop immediately:
– You’re Christian, great: You’ve already won. You’re on the money, in the Pledge, and every politician pretends to agree with you in order to pander for your vote. Stop yelling about how you’re a downtrodden minority that is under attack. You’re the majority and you are giving me a headache.
– Atheists: Not believing in something usually equates to not giving a fuck. I don’t believe in Sasquatch, so I don’t engage in a lot of heated Bigfoot arguments. Stop trying to trump believers with your impeccable logic. If logic had anything to do with it they wouldn’t believe in the first place.
– Vegetarians: It’s food, not dogma. Enjoy your meal. You look like an asshole when you preach to the omnivores, and all you motivate is a lot of spiteful bacon ingestion. The KFC sandwich with chicken for bread has to be retaliation for some loudmouthed vegan at a Thanksgiving dinner.
– Everybody Else (except the Buddhists, you guys are okay): We fully support your right to exist and to worship as you please provided — you guessed it — you leave us alone. Killing and injuring isn’t an expression of religious freedom — it’s a crime. We understand the difference and so do you. The Lemeloes fully support bringing criminals to justice, but we’re against batshit lunatics with names that rhyme with “Rochelle Walkman” harassing Americans based on their religion.
So there you have it. The Lemeloes are remarkably anti-solicitation. Who would’ve thought? Tune in next week for the exciting conclusion to The Rise Of the Planet of the Lemeloes. Or…is it?