I’m a pretty skeptical gal, especially when it comes to door-to-door salespeople. You could say that door-to-door sales are a dying art, and sometimes I kind of wish it would do just that- die. With all of the online shopping options out there, why would people still go door-to-door and try to convince you to buy something you could buy from literally anywhere, without ever having to talk to a customer service rep? Seems desperate. Also, it’s 2014, why would I, a girl basically living alone in the big city with no one to protect me but my dog, Jan, opt to answer the door for a total stranger? Seems dangerous. He could be the next Zodiac Killer! But for some reason, on a fateful sunny Thursday afternoon, I decided to let Daniel in- not quite into my home, but into my heart.
There was a knock at the door and after a bad day of waitressing I was all ready to open it, immediately say, “NOT INTERESTED!” and then slam it in the stranger’s face. Man, that would have felt so good after being nice to meanies all day. But when Daniel smiled and introduced himself as a representative of Farm Fresh to You, sunshine reflected off of his pearly whites and he spoke with a familiar honest and gentle tone I trusted- Daniel was a soft-spoken neo-hippie and I’d been to enough Phish concerts to realize he was only earnestly trying to help. So I ventured outside and we sat on my little brick wall and I listened to him. He told me he worked for an organic farm that would deliver fresh produce directly to my door, as often or as infrequently as I liked. We talked grocery store prices and quality. We began to connect on some crazy cosmic level when I told him yes I DID notice how much I spent on produce from grocery stores, and confessed that NOTHING made my blood boil like the inconsistency of the produce I buy from Trader Joe’s! I told him how I loved to cook and I was tired of wasting food that went bad before I could even get to it, and I might as well be throwing my hard-earned tips into the compost pile, too. I listened while he told me that buying fresh from a farm prolongs shelf-life of produce, and they even send out a newsletter with helpful storage tips. I was concerned that I would get a bunch of stuff I didn’t like, or wouldn’t know what to do with, or too much of one thing.
I hate radishes, but hippies love those things! What if I got a whole bunch of mustard greens in my order, what the heck would I even DO with those? I was in luck because Daniel told me the newsletter included RECIPES! He also assured me that I could tweak what came in each order, just by editing my personal preferences in my account. Don’t like Zucchini? No problem! Don’t feel like apples this week? Don’t sweat it!
I was almost ready to sign up, but wasn’t completely sold.
Ok, but wait, I’m just one person! My job gives me free lunch! I have a crazy schedule, sometimes there’s no time to cook! I was pushing him away as I have with many past lovers, but his calm and carefree demeanor lured me back in. With sincerity in his eyes he told me about all of the options for each box, and his suggestion for me and my neurotic concerns was the “No Cooking” box. “Perfect for those on the go”, the No Cooking box contained mostly fruit, and fast, easy to prepare veggies. No time? No worries, man, time isn’t real and this is YOUR account! You’re in control here! So we talked and shared a little more, I fell a little more in love, and finally I gave him my information and he was off. Now I was to wait patiently for some farm fresh hippie goodness to arrive at my door. And all for the low introductory price of just $20! I was so excited.
The following Thursday night I came home from work and there it was, gleaming in the porch-light: my first delivery from Farm Fresh to You. I smiled remembering Daniel and our first date, I mean the day we met. I couldn’t wait to see what he’d brought for me! I went into my kitchen and carefully opened the box. It was beautiful! Broccoli, fancy carrots with long green stems, apples, a lemon, oranges, celery, and also three heads of butter lettuce. Wait, what? THREE whole heads of lettuce?? I mean, I like salad, but that’s SO MUCH SALAD. The rinsing and drying and spinning of the preparation I’d have to go through gave me a panic attack. This was exactly the kind of thing I was afraid of! How could Daniel do this to me? Did he not even LISTEN to my feelings?? I THOUGHT WE HAD SOMETHING! Ugh, he’s just like all the rest! I felt dirty. I felt USED.
And then I got so wrapped up in thinking about ways to break up with Daniel that I forgot to refrigerate the produce. The next morning when I realized I now had 3 heads of WILTED butter lettuce, and broccoli that was already turning yellow, I could have cried. Daniel could take a backseat with old Trader Joe for all I cared. But then I remembered the newsletter and it’s helpful storage tips and immediately logged on. I found the perfect tip for reviving wilted greens and also learned that you do indeed need to store things properly or they will perish very quickly. After a few days I ate all of the apples, used up the lemon, and made a few salads. I was still kind of confused why they gave me so much of the same thing, and why everything wilted so quickly when I thought farm fresh produce was like, the Superman of produce, so I decide to take the web site’s advice: “Not 100% satisfied? Give us a call!” So I did, immediately after I picked a few bones on the phone with 1-800-Contacts, so I was already heated up and ready to spit fire. I got the answering machine. My flames diminished as a soothing voice on the other end cordially gave me the business hours and sounded sincerely regretful for not being able to take my call. I was calmly assured if I left a voice mail someone would get back to me. I took a deep breath, conjured up my best “Hey, man it’s all good” voice and left a message that went something like this:
“Oh hey, hi, um (big sigh) my name is Erin and, um, I just got my first delivery and I like, really really wanted to like you guys. I mean, I DO like you guys, I had a wonderful experience with my representative – Daniel, I think it was? Really great guy, at least I thought, and he made me really excited to try this out. But well, I’m just a little confused, ya know? I got so much lettuce, like SO MUCH butter lettuce, and I’m just afraid it’s going to go to waste and I know that’s not what you guys are all about and I thought well maybe it was just a mistake this time around? I dunno. Also, I’m pretty sure without the lettuce I could have gotten all that stuff cheaper at the store. I know that’s not the point here, but I just…I don’t know, can someone maybe call me back and we can just talk it out? Anyways, that would be cool. I really like what you guys are trying to do. Sorry for this long message, I just didn’t want to leave some long passive-aggressive email, ya know? Ok, I look forward to hearing from you. And I just hope you guys know, I’m not mad, I’m just a little disappointed.”
THEY NEVER CALLED ME BACK. The only contact I got was an email saying they still needed my credit card number on the account. I gave it to them because I am a sucker for giving second chances. Sure, everyone deserves a second chance. My next delivery will be here by tomorrow evening. And I swear on Trey Anastasio’s guitar and the soul of Jerry Garcia, if I’m not satisfied this time around, I will not be so cool, man. My fire will reignite and my words will leave them scarred and burned the way Daniel left my heart! The same way so many skinny hippies have burned me before! No matter what happens, I learned my lesson. Don’t open the door for strangers and keep your guard up, babydolls. You can’t trust anyone but yourself, and sometimes even she’ll make the wrong choice.
Erin Lampart is a comedian and story-teller living in Los Angeles with her cool dog, Jan. Part-time waitress and full-time dork, you can follow her on Twitter @ThatsSoLampy