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Are You Trying To Make Me Feel Guilty? September 22, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Mindfulness.

Have you ever been asked to support a “good cause” by buying something you don’t need, want, or plan to use?

By a pushy salesperson who refuses to accept your polite  dismissal?  Someone who continues to duel and spar with you instead of  moving on to the next target?  Someone who views you as a sucker with a bullseye on your wallet?

I have.   And it always annoys me when “they” try to make me feel guilty for not buying what they are selling.

But, of course, I’m far too polite to say so. 

Instead, I say “no, thank you” in as many different languages as possible:  

“Oh, no thanks.  I don’t need one of those at the moment.”

“Well, you could give it to someone as a gift.”

“Oh, no thanks.  I’ve stopped exchanging gifts with people because all my friends have too much stuff.”

“Well, you could buy it and donate it to Goodwill.”

“Yes, I could . . . but I could also cut out the middle man and just give the cash to Goodwill.  That might be easier to track at tax time.” 

Enough!  No more Mister Nice Guy.  The gloves are OFF.  

The next time some eight-year-old tries to twist my arm to buy Girl Scout Cookies, I’m going to let her have it.

I’m going to turn the tables and shine the spotlight directly on her sales technique:

“Excuse me.  Are you trying to make ME feel guilty?”

{{Pregnant Pause}}

“Don’t you think that YOU should feel guilty for trying to sell such an unhealthy snack to people who are desperately trying to lose weight and whittle their waists?”

{{Still nothing}}

“Are you trying to give me a heart attack, diabetes, a stroke?”

{{Shakes head from side to side}}

“Well . . . what part of NO don’t you understand?”

Having done my good deed for the day, I shall flounce into the nearest Publix, head straight to the chocolate aisle, and reward myself for not giving into the temptation of saying YES just because it’s easier than saying NO.  


Stop looking at me like that.  

Are you trying to make me feel guilty?

Well, it won’t work. 

Here . . . have some C~H~O~C~O~L~A~T~E!

Aah . . . that’s better!


1. katecrimmins - September 22, 2012

Love your spunk! I am not good at saying no to kids selling things for some do-good thing but my husband is. I make him answer the door when I see young’uns walking up the sidewalk. I would rather give them the money for their cause then decide which useless piece of trash to buy!

Karen J - September 22, 2012

Yeah – If you support the ’cause’ but don’t need or want the ‘stuff’ ask if you can simply give them your $$ donation!

nrhatch - September 22, 2012

We often did that with my nieces and nephews when they were raising money by selling stuff we didn’t want to adopt.

Other times, we would buy “the cookies” for them ~ tell them to pick out THEIR favorite flavor and keep it.

nrhatch - September 22, 2012

BFF cannot say NO to a child . . . even if they are selling the most useless widget, gadget, or gizmo ever invented. And if they are selling FOOD, his response is, “You had me at Hello!”

BTW: I didn’t set out to complain about Girl Scout cookies . . . that just happened. They jumped into my imaginary line of fire.

This post was prompted by a guy. A very old and persistent guy who will not take “no” for an answer when he asks us to buy raffle tickets at the Art League. And, if we agree to buy one raffle ticket, he then tries to guilt us into buying 6 for the price of 5 . . . or 12 for the price of 10. Etc. It’s a never ending UPSELL.

Next time, I shall tell him that, unless he is raffling off a wallet stuffed with CASH, I’m not parting with mine. 😀

2. Karen J - September 22, 2012

Ooh, Nancy! Snark Attack, much? 🙂

nrhatch - September 22, 2012

Hey . . . who you calling Snarky? 😉

3. Richard W Scott - September 22, 2012

I will give to some charities if I believe that the gift is actually being used as advertised… but I am a skeptical kind o’ guy.

I will not give to people standing at highway exits with cardboard signs. I must also admit to playing a game with some street beggars (I don’t much care for begging, but sometimes…) Sometimes I’ll say no just to see the reaction. If the person smiles and moves on, I’ll like as not “just find” something I can give. Too often the person you don’t give to curses you and stomps off, growling. I never feel bad about missing THAT person.

nrhatch - September 22, 2012

More and more non-profits are in the fundraising business . . . using our heartstrings to promote the bottom line. It’s a crying shame.

Interesting approach to street begging and panhandlers, Rick ~ saying “no” can provide a window into who they are.

When they react in the negative manner you described, revealing an overwhelming “sense of entitlement” to receiving a handout (as opposed to a handup), it makes it easier to walk away.

4. kateshrewsday - September 22, 2012

I often get assailed to give a small amount monthly to some charity o other. Giving in a planned way is the ONLY way – not under pressure. Sadly so many charities have become expert marketers.

nrhatch - September 22, 2012

They really have . . . marketing moguls with PR spokespersons who pull and tug at our heartstrings with emotional appeals.

I’m with you . . . planned giving, not guilt-based impulse giving.

5. jannatwrites - September 22, 2012

I don’t like it when they are positioned at all grocery store entrances and get you coming and going. I also feel guilty when the cashier asks if I want to donate $2 to help cure juvenile diabetes (or a number of other diseases…they are always raising money for something.) Haven’t resorted to giving them a piece of my mind yet – can’t afford to give that away 🙂

nrhatch - September 22, 2012

Yes! The bell ringers at the grocery store . . . and the donations at the check out counter.

I usually tell them “I gave at the office.” 😉

6. Irene - September 22, 2012

If it’s on the phone I don’t even let them finish their speech. “No, I’m not interested” and I hang up”. After 25 years of that shit, I’ve hardended to their feelings.
Salesmen/women expect rude and negative reactions. They also enjoy throwing it back in our faces. Hey, you’re being pushy, I can be pushy right back. Deal with it! If the heats too hot, get out of the kitchen!

nrhatch - September 22, 2012

I L~O~V~E my answering machine . . . and caller I.D. If I don’t recognize the number, I don’t pick up. “They” usually don’t bother trying to leave a message. Instead, they hang up and I keep doing what I was doing before they called. 😀

7. suzicate - September 22, 2012

Chocolate? Ah yes, I think I will!

nrhatch - September 22, 2012

I’ll join you. Chocolate is the perfect reward . . . for getting through another day. 😀

8. Patricia Caviglia - September 22, 2012

I usually say “No, thanks.” I find that cutting out the explanation (I already donated; I don’t need it, etc) doesn’t allow room for any comebacks by salespeople.

nrhatch - September 22, 2012

You go, girl! You must be a master at avoiding marketing manipulation. 😀

9. Three Well Beings - September 23, 2012

OK…here’s a guilty secret! I have become so weary of being approached as I walk into or out of the grocery stores, and after years of saying “no” in as many ways as I can, I discovered one day that approaching the store on my cell phone I was ignored! So now I just pretend to be on the phone…it’s the chicken way out, but it works! 🙂 It doesn’t help at the check stand to be asked each and every time I purchase something if I want to donate to something. I just say no and I don’t feel guilty. I would love to know what they really do with the money they collect!

nrhatch - September 23, 2012

Ooh . . . tricky phone trick, Debra. I like your style! Smile, wave, and keep on trucking.

I’ve wondered the same ~ whether check out stand donations really go to the non-profit in question . . . and whether the non-profit makes good use of the funds (or uses the money to bankroll fundraising, PR, and marketing efforts).

Wow! How did I get so cynical? :mrgreen:

10. wightrabbit - September 23, 2012

Haha! Yeh, right, Nancy! Gave me a much needed giggle, though! 🙂

nrhatch - September 23, 2012

Oh, good, Jacqueline! Spreading giggles is the BEST! 😆

11. sufilight - September 23, 2012

LOL! Little girls asking me to buy cookies are hard to turn down, but, I now say no because I won’t eat them. I donate to causes that are dear to my heart such as Operation Smile.

nrhatch - September 23, 2012

The Girl Scouts should sell something other than cookies . . . chocolate would do for a start! 😉

I like the mission statement of Operation Smile ~ transforming faces . . . and lives. (Or something like that).

12. sweetdaysundertheoaks - September 23, 2012

I guess there is something to be said for being isolated in a rural area! I have no problem saying no to people wanting to sell me stuff I don’t want to buy for whatever reason. We don’t have a home phone.. 🙂

nrhatch - September 23, 2012

😀 With no home phone, you and CH can avoid all the annoying political phone calls too!

The only door-to-door salepeople we had in MD were two adorable little girls who came selling pizza kits for their school each fall. The first time we ordered a kit with the makings of 3 pizzas for $15, we did it just to be nice. When we tasted the pizza a few weeks later, we wished we’d ordered more. Really good pies!

13. bluebee - September 24, 2012

I reckon selling GS cookies is up there on the stress scale with call-centre jobs 😉

nrhatch - September 24, 2012

Well . . . selling cookies might be a tad easier than making cold calls to sell cemetary plots. 😉

14. Sandra Bell Kirchman - September 24, 2012

In a small community, we aren’t bothered too much with door-to-door salespeople. Often the ones who come are the ones we want to support (boy scouts bottle drive, school activities, etc.).

However, telemarketers drive me absolutely nuts! The reason: even if you are successful in saying no the first time, you still have to answer the phone. I don’t remember telephone numbers so I can’t tell if the call is from someone I know and want to talk to.

What’s worse is it is often a prerecorded sales pitch so I don’t have the satisfaction of venting. The fact that once, long ago, I was down on my luck and did some telemarketing prevents me from being too cold or rude to these people. It’s a Catch-22 that drives me nuts!

nrhatch - September 24, 2012

I set my phone for 2 rings, then the answering machine invites callers to leave a message. If they start talking, I can hear who it is and decide if it’s a good time to talk. If the caller hangs up, I smile . . . knowing I didn’t want to talk to them anyway. 😀

15. spilledinkguy - September 24, 2012

Hahaha… maybe that Girl Scout will be so surprised she’ll just drop the goods and run! Well… probably not… but it seems like the kind of thing to keep an eye out for, anyway.

nrhatch - September 24, 2012

I shall keep my eyes peeled . . . in case our little Girl Scout peels off without her loot! 😯

16. Perfecting Motherhood - September 25, 2012

I only give money to selected charities and I feel bad about not supporting school fundraisers, but I’d rather give money than buy the crap they try to sell. Don’t you hate the sticky address labels or the postcards charities send you to make you give them money? I hate the guilt trip, it really turns me off but I’m sure it works for most people.

nrhatch - September 25, 2012

I never send money because they send me address labels, calendars, postcards, or notepads. I send money IF (and only IF) the charity’s mission appeals to me and they don’t spend too much on fundraising.

The more often I get an appeal from a given charity, the faster I cross them OFF my donation list.

Karen J - September 25, 2012

It’s not so much that any of these tactics work for “most people”, but that they work for “enough” people! A very good response rate for direct mail is 3%. I don’t know what expectations are for cold call campaigns, but I’m sure it’s in that neighborhood, too.
I never know what to do with the incredible excess of address labels! And any place that sends them with typos, gets round-filed immediately and forever.
I’d rather a postcard than a 6-piece mailing, though. Those seem to be mostly “We’ll be in your ‘hood on (date). If you have clothing or household goods to donate, please let us know”

Perfecting Motherhood - September 26, 2012

I’m a marketer and I know for a fact that the guilt card works very well on a number of people, and it works better than a plain letter. That’s why so many companies use it. People feel bad about tossing so many address labels, or using them without “paying” for them.

Another tactic that works well too is the use of graphic images or stories, especially when it comes to animal cruelty. While it turns off people like me (since I know what they’re doing), a lot of people feel awful and compelled to donate when they’re exposed to the graphic image card.

As a marketer, I’ve seen it all and I personally don’t like it. I prefer some communication piece that tries to educate me about the organization and the good they do, and why I should donate. But most people don’t read and only spend a few seconds on pictures and colorful items, so that’s the materials that keep getting used…

nrhatch - September 26, 2012

Yes, Karen! I much prefer a postcard saying when they’ll be in the area to the 6-piece mailing which shows a lack of environmental awareness.

And Milka, I’m with you. I’d like to receive a one page memo highlighting the actual work they’ve done (i.e., their FFF ~ focus for funds) not emotional appeals designed to tug on my heartstrings.

17. 2e0mca - September 25, 2012

A mix of Charities and Power companies try that one over here. The charities usually get a polite No – though I will look them up on the web if I think the charity is worthy of support. The power companies get short shrift and if they are too rude will get referred to the regulator.

St. Johns Ambulance appeared on my doorstep in a blizzard! I just had to give that guy something 😉

nrhatch - September 25, 2012

I understand, Martin. I would have had to, at least, give him a cup of hot cocoa or tea! 😉

I keep charitable requests in a stack. If I get too many from the same charity, ALL their requests are tossed into the bin. Then, I pick and choose which charities to support from the remainder based on their mission statements and charitable ratings (i.e., how they USE their funds).

18. Pocket Perspectives - September 28, 2012

I get so tired of saying “no” and then hanging up. Now, there are calendars arriving,many, many calendars. I pick and choose among the causes and do have several that are dear to my heart. There must be HUGE marketing campaigns/companies involved with so many charities…what an unfortunate use of the donations. At some point, I think Girl Scouts is going to have to take a closer look at the contradiction of encouraging healthy young women, lifestyle choices etc and making money from promoting and selling unhealthy foods.

nrhatch - September 28, 2012

Oh, I know what you mean about the calendars rolling in fast and furious. Perhaps the GS could sell healthier snacks . . . or pedometers and jumpropes?

Pocket Perspectives - September 28, 2012

perfect…pedometers and jumpropes….seriously, that’s a great idea!

nrhatch - September 29, 2012

Ooh . . . what about exercise, yoga, and meditation DVD’s?

Karen J - September 30, 2012

Along with the cookies! Mustn’t forget the cookies! 😉

nrhatch - September 30, 2012

Maybe every 3 boxes of cookies should come with a pedometer? 😉

Karen J - September 30, 2012

… but only if you really want one! Nobody wants to have 6 GS-branded pedometers in the junk drawer, either.

Gakkk! There I go again, trying to “responsible for” everybody else’s stuff again! (Don’t we all? :))

Maybe, “Cookies, and/or a pedometer, and/or a jumprope?”

nrhatch - September 30, 2012
Karen J - September 30, 2012

WooHoo! Thanks for the link, Nancy! Huggs!

nrhatch - September 30, 2012

De Nada . . . that thing is COOL! Everyone is going to want one. 😀

Karen J - September 30, 2012

Really – GS Thin Mints are just about the only cookies I buy all year – three boxes last pretty much ’til they come around again.

nrhatch - September 30, 2012

That shows real cookie restraint, Karen! BFF (a/k/a “cookie monster”) eats way more cookies than that every year. 😀

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