Strangers and Traveling Salespeople (and thanks a lot Walt Disney)

Once upon a time, there was a mother and a daughter who were at home when they heard a knocking at the door. Que the dog barking and the little girl running to the door to see who had come calling. …

Okay, enough with the fairytale mentality. So this situation actually happened to me and Sophie last week when we were sitting at home, minding our own business. The knock at the door ended up being a door-to-door salesperson who was selling – of all things – financial planning services.

First of all, do people still go door to door to sell? (I’m not talking about the Girls Scouts in this scenario.) Every once in a while, we’ll get a salesperson come to our door that wants to sell us new windows, pest control, or whole-house painting. Needless to say, all these sales people say the exact same thing, “I’ve been talking to your neighbors and they said blah blah blah …”

So when the financial planning dude said the same thing, I wanted to say back to him, “Really, you talked to my neighbors? Because every one of you say that same line. So I find it hard to believe that it’s true.” You would think if people are going to solicit door to door they would get a more creative shtick.

The second strange thing about this interaction is the fact that he is selling financial planning services. What kind of person decides to buy financial planning services from a traveling salesperson?! A stranger is the last person I’m going to trust with my financial information. Which leads me to wonder if this guy is even a real financial planner.

So finally, after I kicked the salesman off my porch, I decide to use this experience as an opportunity to talk with Sophie about not talking to strangers. I tell her that only mommy and daddy can open the door, and we especially do not open the door to strangers. She also should not talk to strangers.

She seemed to get the concept, even explaining that’s what the grandmother said to Little Red Riding Hood, and the fairies said the same to Aurora in Sleeping Beauty. Great, she gets it!

And then do you know what she says?

“But mommy, in Sleeping Beauty, the Prince was a stranger and Aurora talked to him.”

She’s right! What do I say to that?

I ended up persuading Sophie that Aurora really shouldn’t have talked to the Prince. But the story is make-believe and things that happen in Disney movies don’t always happen in real life. Okay, she said, but made sure to point out that conversing with animals in the woods is acceptable. Apparently animals are not strangers (pit bulls excluded).

So thank you very much, Walt Disney, for taking a perfect teachable moment and throwing it back in my face. Evidentially princesses are exempt from the rules of society. Or perhaps the Prince was actually hoping to make a financial planning sale. Hmmm … makes you wonder.

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