Posted by: Rob | September 28, 2009

Opening Gambit

“Do you like good food?”

The door to door marketing genius that came up with that opening line was, I’ll admit, a genius. There is no way to answer this question other than,

“Why, yes! Of course I like good food!”

Or is there?

I had an advantage, though, for I’d been on the receiving end of this question at least once before. So I knew where it was going.

It was Saturday afternoon. Warm; almost uncharacteristically so for late September around here. I was applying scratch coat mortar to the south side of the house in preparation for the application of the final, finishing touch: manufactured stone. The current batch of mortar had turned out a bit soupy. This made it a little bit difficult to apply as it wanted to roll off the metal lath back into my pan. It was, in short, trying my patience.

Hearing a vehicle, I glanced out at the street just as a full size white Chevy or GMC went by. I did not recognize it.

Minutes passed and then I heard the muffled sounds of an automotive radio or stereo. Looking up again I saw the same van parked in front of the neighbours’ house across the street.

I had time to apply one or two more trowels of mortar before I was interrupted.

He came around the corner of the house and hailed me.

“How are you doing today?”

“Good,” I said.

Motioning at the house to which I was applying mortar, he asked, “Do you live here? Is this your house?”

He was short, barely over five feet tall, I think. Asian, of the East Indian persuasion. He had relatively short hair and was dressed in dark pants and a black polo shirt. I couldn’t make out the logo. The strong smell of curry preceded him.

“Yeah,” I replied.

“Beautiful! I was making a delivery out here and……do you like good food?”

“I don’t buy food……”

“You don’t buy food!?!” I could sense his readiness to harpoon my seemingly lame response, leaving me open for his killer sales pitch. I mean, who doesn’t buy food, right? We all have to eat to live, right?

“……off the street.” I finished.

Immediately downcast. “Oh, okay. Thanks for your time.”

He started to walk away, but made one last attempt at recovery.

“These people?” Head motion at the next door neighbours. “They are not home?”

“They’re away,” I confirmed.

And then he was gone.

I turned back to working the mortar.


  1. nicely handled. not sure how i’d answer, but it might be along the lines of “no, i was raised in a trailer park and have developed a genetic allergy to good food… i can only eat at McDonalds and Burger King, or i get boils… Tried Subway last week and got a really big one on my backside. Wanna see it?”

  2. I dunno. I feel kind of sad for him. Another underdog with dust kicked all over him. I’d have bought something.

  3. good recovery Rob, that was quick thinking… i will use it the next time i am solicited by a call girl in moscow, in context of course. my favy to how are you doing today is ‘have you seen snow white… are you familiar with the seven dwarfs… are you familiar with the one called grumpy?… well **** off then

  4. My Dad is the absolute rudest with these people; It is a thing of beauty to witness. His artistry is only surpassed by that of my Grandfather, his Dad. My Grandfather argued with them before letting them go and called them flim-flam artists and conmen.

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