I heard a rattling coming from the back of the house, checking for and finding both girls I shrugged it off. Then the dog started making frantic sounds, I checked the clock and looked toward the back of the house, “Too early for Sean,” I thought.
“What’s that sound mama? What’s that sound?” Briar asked, wrenching herself from the tractor beam pull of Wonder Pets.
“I’m not sure honey. Stay here, I’ll be right back.” I locked the two doors on that side of the house and walked toward the rattle. I had left the storm door open when we’d come home from the sitter’s house. It was locked and standing on the other side was a tall man, dressed in black dress pants and a short sleeved, dress shirt. A laminated badge hung from his neck identifying him as “Cody.” I walked down the steps, he looked me in the eye and rapped once more as I approached. Ok, that’s rude, I thought.
“Can I help you?” I asked.
He looked at me, looked at the door and then back to me with a glare.
“Ah, yes, I’m here to see if you received your discount on your last National Grid bill.” He asked as he tapped his clipboard.
“I have no idea,” I answered honestly.
“Ah, ok, ma’am. Did someone come by three months ago with a pink form for you?” His eyebrows furrowed worriedly as he asked this.
I thought back to switching energy carriers. I didn’t recall anything about additional paperwork and I knew no one had been by.
“No, nothing like that.” I shook my head.
“Oh, dear. Can you get a bill? If you show me your last bill I can just check that for you.”
I just wanted him to go away. “Umm, let me go grab it.” I started up the steps.
He cleared his throat and put his hand on the door handle, jiggling it to find it was locked. “Can you get this? Can I come in?”
I looked at the door confused. It wasn’t as if it were raining outside. I looked at him and then back at Ella who was waiting on the step. “You know what? The dog’ll lose it. I really can’t.” He looked incredibly annoyed. It seemed perfectly logical that a woman home alone would suggest to a male door-to-door whatever would get this, be used to it even.
“Why don’t you meet me around the other side of the house?” I said, unable to curb my need to keep everyone happy.
As I raced to the other part of the house, grabbing the energy bill on my way, I silently seethed, “Can you get this?” WTF? Why would I let you into my house?
I got to the screen door as he walked up the steps. I stepped part way out, blocking the entry behind me.
He proceeded to tsk tsk tsk about the absence of my discount.
“Not a problem. I can take care of this for you and make sure you get the discount you signed up for.”
He was writing on a form, covering the majority with his arm. I craned my neck to look. He pivoted. Then he asked me my name, which I told him.
“That’s not what it says here,” he said, indicating the bill.
“Well, that was my maiden name.”
“So they have it different on file?” He asked not looking up.
“I don’t know. I just know that’s not a name I have on anything else.”
Then he looked up at me and smiled, a smile I can only describe as lecherous, as if suggesting I was fabricating a marriage.
“So you just got married?” Leaning in, his musky scent assaulted me, seeping into my nose and mouth.
I reeled back. “No actually.” He stepped toward me, smiling and licking his lips. “I, umm, I’ve been married for four years.” I trailed off. Standing so close that his dress shirt touched my arm he leaned down and said, “So why don’t they have your married name?”
I stepped back and started closing the door, just my head poked out. “All I know is I pay my bill online and my last name is not what they have on the sheet.”
He leaned back. “All right then. I just wouldn’t want this to get lost. I’d hate for you to miss the discount.”
“Fine, put down whatever you need to.”
Plowing forward he made like a commercial closer and spoke dizzyingly fast, saying that there were no sign up fees, no early cancellation penalties and no more high charges.
“Sign here, check here and initialize here indicating you understand you are getting a discount and,” an even sleazier smile as he moved his face closer, “that I was kind and courteous.” His eyes met mine and I shuddered, literally shuddered. “Now you have three days to cancel this, though why anyone’d cancel a discount I have no idea. But law states we’ve gotta hold this for three days so if you make the poor decision to cancel, you can.”
“Ok, great.” I went to look at the clipboard and he whisked it away, “You’ll get a pink copy,” he said.
As he handed me my pink sheet I flipped it over to read the fine print on the back.
“None of that applies to you, cause you aren’t a company.” Then he held his hand out to me and leaned in like he might kiss me.
“Thank you for signing up with IDT for energy savings and you tell my supervisor I was a nice guy, ok?” He squeezed my hand and smiled.
“You bet.” I turned, locked the door behind me and scanned the pink sheet. I’d never signed up before and the sheet said as much. The whole thing had been a shady way of hurrying unsuspecting folks through. I looked up the number, 1-877-887-6866, and waited on hold for ten minutes before reaching an operator.
“A guy just came to my door, I’d like to cancel the Switch and Save program.” I said.
“Uh, ma’am, did you sign the form?” Her question was loaded with the insinuation that I shouldn’t have signed if I was just going to cancel.
“I sure did. I have three days, taking the option. Thanks.”
After a bit of huffing she gave me a cancellation number and I was free, except for the little disclaimer she gave that seemed to leave this open for a sequel:
“Ok, ma’am, you may still receive a welcome letter, but you just disregard that form. You’re still cancelled.”