The first recorded case of Door To Door Sales took place near The Harbor of Sag. It was the late summer of 1730 and the town of Sag Harbor had just been settled. The Algonquins sent a band of young Indian girls, dressed in their best outfits, door to door to sell Apios americana, also known as the potato bean, to the townspeople. They cut their deal then promised to deliver the goods in four to six weeks.
Fast forward a few hundred years and I am sitting in my big chair in Southampton. My dogs are spread out on the floor like fallen soldiers and we are all watching “Seinfeld.” George Costanza is just getting ready to do something stupid, which is common for his character, when I hear a knock on my door. I calm down my dogs and am introduced to two young girls selling cookies to raise money for an “alleged” Scout Summer Camping Trip.
Now, I have been scammed before. Just last week I got an email from a guy in Nigeria who came into a lot of money and needed to send it to the United States to avoid taxes. If I would just send him $27,765.28 though Western Union to cover the upfront fees, he would send me the entire inheritance and I could use the money as I see fit for the next 20 years. So I went to the bank to make a cash withdrawal. The bank only had $4,281.98 in cash so I sent that amount. I decided I would send the rest the next day when I could get to New York City, where banks keep more cash. To my surprise, that very same night, the local news ran a story on this Nigerian Scam. Seems this same guy had offered the same deal to lots of different people. I emailed him several times after that but never got a response.
Fresh off this bad experience, I was not going to get taken by some young girls claiming to be legitimate cookie salespeople. I decided I would ask them a few questions.
My first was the most obvious, “If you live in this paradise known as The Hamptons, why would you want to go someplace else on a camping trip?” They both just looked at me with blank stares. It is obvious that they had no reasonable answer to the question. I followed up with, “What merit badge are you working on?”
Well the little one looks at me with and sheepishly said, “The Sales Badge.” That answer made sense to me.
I decided to take it up to the George Costanza level.
“What are you really going to do with the money; use it to fund some Political Super PAC? What side are you on—The right or the left?”
Finally the taller one blurted out, “We were on the left side of the street but no one was home so now we are on the right side.”
Satisfied that my inquisition had yielded sufficient evidence that they were probably not scammers, I agreed to buy a box of their precious cookies.
But as I was reaching for my wallet, I began having second thoughts. Was I really convinced they were who they represented to be? This made me retract my offer of purchase and ask just a few more questions, this time in rapid succession.
“How many calories does a Thin Mint have?”
“How many cookies are there in a box of Peanut Butter Cookies?”
“What was the name of Richard Nixon’s Dog?”
That one kind of got off track a little bit.
Anyhow, they could not answer a single question. Sure they tried to fool me. I couldn’t remember the darn dog’s name either but I knew it wasn’t SPOT like they suggested. So I told them to leave my porch before I called the cops for illegally operating a commercial business in a residential area. When they were walking down the sidewalk I heard the little one say something under her breath.
Satisfied I had avoided being scammed again, I returned to “Seinfeld” and my dogs. George was just then realizing that whatever it is he had done was stupid and everyone was making fun of him. Just about that time, I get another knock on the door. This time it is the father of one of the cookie scammers. I think he used to play linebacker for the Giants.
By the way, if you are in my neighborhood, stop by and have a few cookies, I have 864 boxes left.
My advice, “Beware Nigerian Internet Offers and Young Girls Selling Cookies.”