My mom and dad’s house is situated on the heavily traveled route 381/ 711. This story occurred at a time when salesmen travelled from house to house hawking their wares. This could mean anything from vacuum cleaners to encyclopedias to Bibles.
Mom answered the door to the knock. The salesman greeted her saying, “Ma’am, I think your house needs aluminum siding.” At that time our house was clad in brown Ensel brick. It was a thick tarpaper coated in grit and designed to look like brick. Although it wasn’t the most appealing to look at, it sealed the cracks of the house and kept the cold air outside.
The salesman hit all of the angles of his product; its beauty, its durability, its strength, and it would never need painted. He waved his arms saying, “Your house would look so much more beautiful encased in white siding.” (White was the only color it came in at that time.) He finished by saying, “Yes, your house really needs aluminum siding.”
Mom hesitated for a second. She was getting tired of the many sales people who stopped and said, “ If you really think that my house needs it, go ahead.”
The salesman’s face cracked a huge smile and whipped out a measuring tape, a pad, and a pen. He walked all the way around the house measuring and taking notes. He listed all of the dimensions. When he had all of his measurements, he followed Mom into the house and sat on the couch. He pulled a sheaf of paper from his briefcase and spread them on the coffee table. After transferring the measurements to those papers, he began to tally and total everything. He wrote those figures onto a printed sheet.
When he got to the bottom of the sheet, he sat back and said, “The total cost for the siding and installation will be…”
Before he could finish, my mom interrupted, “Wait, you said my house needed siding and I said, ‘If you think it needs it, go ahead’. I never said I was going to pay for it.”
The salesman couldn’t have looked more surprised if my mom had hit him in the face with a baseball bat. He managed to sputter, “What?”
My mom repeated. “I didn’t say I would pay for it.”
He snatched up his papers and pen, tossing them into the briefcase and slamming it shut. He snatched it up and headed for the door. He practically ran to his car. Yanking the door open, and disappeared inside and slammed the door. It echoed off the front of our house.
Starting the car, he spun the wheels as he backed out of our drive. He had to make an emergency stop and pull back into the drive. He had almost backed out in front of an eighteen wheeler tractor and trailer. The air horn blared at the salesman as the semi rolled past our drive.