Thursday, December 3, 2009

Door To Door

I feel dirty. For a gardener, that's really something. Dirty is usually the norm, cleanliness being a fleeting and difficult condition aspired to with all the sincerity of a Holiday dieter. But it is no tangible dirt that makes me unclean this day; it is a soiled soul that won't be rinsed of its deeds; it is a stained conscience scrubbed raw in futility. In a cold sweat, I beg forgiveness, knowing none will be, none could be granted.

I have gone door-to-door.

One by one, I have darkened the doorstep of a neighborhood's innocent homes. I have crept, snuck, slithered about a cheery place leaving behind me a spoor of business cards and advertisements for the garden service which is my employer, hung around doorknobs and handles in the universally-recognized fashion of unsolicited marketing. Like junk mail, but creepier since an actual human being had the gall to tread each walk and step with the incriminating documents in hand. Like a door-to-door salesman who has nothing really to offer, who just shows up one day to point out that a random service exists, in case maybe you forgot how to use a phone book or search engine. It's not even a coupon for our garden service, it's just a piece of paper that seems to say: 'here we are, you clearly need help with your yard, so just this once, we're going to grant you the privilege of hiring us, it's your own damn loss if you fail to do so'.
I am put in this position because the economy and season have thrown our business on tough times, so we have taken to advertising in desperation. It is my humble opinion that advertising might have had its place a little earlier in this business plan. As it stands, it seems a Hail-Mary clause: Well shoot, what happens if we run out of money and no one knows we exist? Well then, and only then, we'll send out our crack team of gardeners/ninja marketers to flood random neighborhoods with business cards. Don't worry about incentives, people will be so impressed with the font of our cards and our well-spaced phone number that they will call and beg to pay for whatever it is we do.
One of the main reasons I like being a gardener is that I can usually convince myself that I am doing some kind of good; I am doing something which, even if it doesn't make someone blissfully happy, it might make them a little less angry at everything. Distributing door-hangers affords me no such reassurance. In fact, it goes a little bit in the opposite direction; I'm pretty sure that when people come home from a long day of work to find that piece of paper hanging from their doorknob they get a little angrier at the world, holding out maybe long enough to see if it's a coupon from a pizza place; but no, it's just some jerk saying their garden looks like crap and that means they're paying full price for pizza tonight.

Ugh, I can't stand it. I've got to go take another shower.

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