If you live in an older neighborhood there’s a parasite you have to worry about and it’s not termites.
We’re talking the door-to-door canvas crews for firms that either want to to insulate your house to the latest standards, install solar power panels, or sell you natural gas and electricity over PG&E’s backbone.
They all have one common opening line — “Do you want to lower your PG&E bill?”
I’m sure they already know the answer given that I have yet to meet anyone who says their PG&E bill isn’t high enough which is why they voluntarily send in withdrawals from their 10-year-old’s college fund because they’re embarrassed about how little they pay to keep the lights running.
Trying to get rid of the salesmen is an exercise in futility.
The dozen or so times I’ve had such sales crews knock on my door in the last six or so years, I’ve politely told them I’m not interested.
Saying so triggers something that has been hammered into their brains. Instead of taking no for an answer they shift into Energizer Bunny-on-Red Bull-laced-with-steroids-acting-like-a-chicken-running-around-with-its-head-cut-off mode, break into an even bigger smile than Cruella wears as she closes in on a Dalmatian puppy, and deliver what they think will be the hook.
“How much do you pay a month to PG&E?”
I answer its less than $60 a month except for three months each winter where it doubles or triples. I again repeat I’m not interested knowing darn well that my monthly utility bill doesn’t make me an optimum candidate by far to invest $2,000 to $20,000 in order so knock even 50 percent off my combined power bill.
Then thinking they are armed with insider knowledge the breathlessly reveal that PG&E is going to raise their rates again.
Duh, and the sun rises in the east. Tell me something I don’t know.
For the third or maybe fourth time I firmly but still politely repeat I’m not interested.
Then they ask “the” question — “Don’t you want to save money?” — as if I were a dolt.
At this point I, like an idiot, tell them I do not run air conditioning except perhaps six days a year and go out of my way not to use energy as much as possible for a wide variety of reasons I’m not in the mood to elaborate on.
They act as if I’m making things up to get rid of them. I’m not lying to them but I do want to get rid of them. Again I say thanks but no thanks.
Then they throw down the gauntlet.
“I can show you how to save money,” they say. “PG&E is raising rates.”
I look at him as if he’s daft, think for a second, I remind myself the guy is only trying to make a living then I tell him “I’m really not interested.”
Unfortunately he reads this as a sign that I am interested and starts telling me about how my neighbors are rolling in the dough since they took his company up on its offer.
I make one last ditch effort to politely get rid of him by trying to explain the facts of my life to him. I purposely bought a California style flat-top that has a slight pitch to the roof, no attic, and therefore no insulation as the underside of my roof is an open beam ceiling which is one of the big reasons I bought the house. I purposely try to adapt to the cold and heat as the seasons change as I find it more comfortable and healthier. I bought oversized ceiling fans for every room to accent the cross ventilation I get with the open floor plan and wise use of the windows. I also bought the house for its east-west orientation and have no less than 20 trees with key plantings such as a California pepper tree. In other words I thought long and hard before I bought a house to make sure it addressed my aversion to air conditioning and even heating to a degree while embracing my preference for fresh circulating air and enjoyment of the natural cooling trees provide.
I end by saying for the sixth or so time I’m not interested.
That prompts him to do his Stepford salesman pitch yet one more time. “I can save you money.”
I decide then and there what I’m going to save is time — mine that he’s wasting and his that he’s throwing away making a sales pitch to someone who clearly has no interest and isn’t about to budge no matter how much you trash PG&E or tell him why it makes sense to go into debt for 15 years for a monthly household expense that is less than the cost of his cell service.
The guy on Tuesday finally took the hint when I said with a rising edge to my voice, “I am not interested. You need to leave now.”
That hasn’t always been the case in previous encounters with those hawking the virtues of their product or service they claim will insulate me for eternity against the PG&E dogma that is essentially “we exist so therefore we raise rates.”
One guy had me so irked due to his insinuation I wasn’t being smart that I deployed the nuclear option — I demanded to see a copy of the City of Manteca business license that is required of door-to-door salesmen.
We had an unpleasant exchange of words as I walked him down my driveway. And, no, he couldn’t produce a copy of the business license.
This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at email@example.com or 209.249.3519.