Two gentlemen showed up at our door tonight. According to their realistic-sounding stories, they are both felons, both from inner-city Chicago neighborhoods, grew up with no families, surrounded by gangs, foster home to foster home, both have small children, both are trying to improve their lives for their sakes and for that of their children. Their politeness was unparelleled, their story well-rehearsed, their interest in my story authentic. They work for a company called, “Better Horizons”. I think. It’s unimportant in reality. They are going door-to-door selling magazine subscriptions.
The company provides them with points for subscriptions. 3 subscriptions = 200 points. Points add up to a promotion – and, “you know how good you felt about yourself when you got promoted”. They asked about my first job. They both started as “pharmacutical salesmen – not the legal kind”. They asked about my motivation to get where I am today, wherever that might be. They showed tremendous interest. I liked them.
Magazine subscriptions are sold for cash or check. The list of magazines is small. Their story was heart-wrenching and real, but I don’t have cash or checkbook. So I just apologized and made like I was heading in for dinner. Then they asked, “do you have any old laptops you’d like to get rid of? A laptop of any quality would be invaluable in our job training.” At that point I noticed that they were carrying bags with them containing 3 laptops. I was so engrossed in their story, I hadn’t really paid attention. I also remembered an IBM Thinkpad I have in the back of a closet circa 1999. And I say, “yeah, I’ve got a laptop. Come back in 2 hours and I’ll have it ready for you.”
Win win! They get computer equipment without having to commit any more felonies and I get rid of a worthless antique collecting dust in a closet.
I applaud the initiative. More power to ya, my neighborhood door-to-door felons!