Don't Call Me; I'll Annoy You

I had one of those calls today. You know the kind—the salesperson has just the product that you need even though you don’t know you need it. My usual response is to interrupt them and say, “I’m not interested and please take me off your call list.” But this time, it was different; at least, I felt like it needed to be different. This solicitation call was at the church building, and it was a product to help with our church outreach. I just couldn’t be rude and hang up—I am the preacher for crying out loud. I couldn’t even say that I wasn’t interested; what church isn’t interested in outreach.

What I said was, “If you will fax me or email me information, I will take a look at it; I just don’t take phone solicitation here.” The salesperson said, “I understand perfectly, but our product…,” and she went over the exact same sales pitch she had given before. I repeated two more times that I wasn’t interested in talking about it at the moment but that I would look at any information she would sent me. Two more times, she cheerily said, “I understand perfectly, but our product…” What I wanted to say was, “Do you really intend to annoy me until I buy your product?” What I said was, “If you don’t want to send me information, then this call is over; please take us off your list.” Then I hung up and I was really miffed for awhile. I don’t know why pushy, artificially familiar and annoyingly persistent sales pitches annoy me so much, but they do.

And then I remember some of the ways I have talked with people about Jesus. I took some training once in a one particular evangelism method, and we were taught some of the exact foot-in-the door retorts my good friend and best buddy was using on me this afternoon. I remember sitting down with people and literally arguing over baptism, as if I were going to annoy them into the baptistery. I heard a salesman say (jokingly) onetime that “the key to sales was sincerity; one you learn how to fake that, you have it made.”

Now, if a friend would have shared with me information about a great new product and arranged for me to sit down with them and this salesperson to discuss it, then I would have been willing to listen— especially if they would have bought lunch. Maybe there is a lesson in there somewhere about sharing faith in relationships as opposed to seeing evangelism as a sales gimmick.

Or maybe this is just a chance to let me vent about that annoying call!