Monday, June 23, 2008

Life Imitating Art (sort of)

I received my latest Brain, Child in the mail a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed reading this article about the dangers of Direct Marketing (pyramid schemes) companies. A close family member used to work for Herbal Life (not as a seller, but in corporate) so I was aware of their dubious practices, but nonetheless was shocked by how easily people can be duped into buying thousands of dollars worth of products and then trying to con their friends and family into doing the same.

And then I get a call from my cousin, M., who was more like a sister to me growing up. She leaves me a message that leads me to believe she needs to discuss something important, possibly her 81 year old mother, my favorite aunt. So I dial her right back to see how I can help. M. proceeds to chit chat with me about my son and then states that she and her husband have an opportunity that they would like to share with us. The red sirens and flashing lights go off in my head - it's some kind of money-making scheme! Her and her husband are always selling something and allegedly "making good money" doing it. I have yet to see evidence of their financial wealth. And if things were going so well with product X, why have they now switched to product Y? But back to the story...

She asks what night this week would be good for a visit. As I talk to her there are contractors out front jack hammering away our front steps, my 22 month old feverish son is tugging on my dress, and I am experiencing menstrual cramps that feel more like the jackhammers are in my uterus. So needless to say, I'm not in the mood for company. I put her off, claiming all that's going on (minus the cramps) plus a weekend trip to the beach. I tell her I have to check with my partner and maybe next week will work. She again claims the opportunity is great and something they want to share with us (like we're the chosen ones). We say good-bye and I immediately get pissed off.

I'm angry that she would bother me with this nonsense and put me in an awkward position. She knows that I am hesitant to say no or hurt people's feelings. But she should also know that T. and I are not salespeople, not are we the type to be easily led (tricked) into anything. We are also lazy and hate to talk to strangers. T. doesn't even like most of the people he knows, but that's a whole other story. I'm mad at her because now I feel guilty and stressed about something that I didn't ask for. I have to call her tomorrow and refuse her visit, as nicely as possible, and still try to preserve our relationship.

Our cousinly relationship was first strained when she told me that I was going to go to hell because T. and I live together without being married. And so now I'm sure our son is also damned, since he is born out of wedlock and will not be baptized (well, if he chooses to be some day, that's on him). So now we will have this between us too. And somehow I'll end up the bad one in the family grapevine, well like that's anything new.

So, how was your Monday?

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts.