Tales from the campaign trail (Whatever happened to just saying no?)
Lately, I have been working with a local campaign to increase the candidate’s visibility to the public. So, yes, this includes lots of phone calls asking property owners if we could please put a sign up on their property, since in my state, it is illegal to place signs on the right of way. I get all kinds of answers, but eventually they all boil down to a yes or a no. However, getting to that point can become rather comical! Yes is simple. No is where the comedy comes in…if you have sense of humor. You see, there are probably a million ways to say no, and I have heard about nine hundred thousand of them. So, for your enjoyment I now list the over used, the off the wall, and the just plain confusing answers I have received during the last couple of weeks.
By far the most common:
“Can I get your phone number? I’ll call you back.” Often something is tacked on like: “Could you fax me a request?” and “Could you call
back later and speak with so and so?” I usually never hear another word from these people, but who knows they may have been abducted by aliens.
“Sure” I say. When I call back later and ask to speak with so and so, he “had a family emergency” and another day “left early”. I finally reached Mr. so and so at his office, only to be informed by his secretary that “he said he’ll pass on the sign.” I was glad I got an answer, I was getting worried that he had been a victim of a triple dose of Murphy’s Law!!
I spoke with another local business owner and he was happy to put a sign out. “Sure,” he said, “go ahead and put the sign up. Let me tell you where to put it…”
I put the sign up the next day. Two days later the sign is replaced by a four by five foot sign for my candidate’s opponent. I called back to ask if I could have my sign back (campaign signs are expensive!) this how the conversation went:
Me: “Sir, I noticed that the sign I put up was taken down. I
was just wondering if I could come by and pick it up so I could place it
Mr. Doe: WHAT!!! The sign is GONE? I didn’t take it down!!!
Me: Well, it was replaced by someone else’s sign, so I assumed you did not want it.
Mr. Doe: WHAT!! I don’t know anything about this! Give me your phone number I’ll call you back.
I have not, and do not expect to hear from Mr. Doe. My candidate’s opponent’s signs still stand in front of his business. He really pulled one over on me. If only I could get my sign back…oh well!
Some people are really creative at saying no, but he really took the cake!
Other people are not so skilled with the “call back” excuse. They really crack me up. Here is an example:
The lady who answers the phone is very nice, and I explain my reason for calling. She tells me to hold on a minute while she asks her boss about putting up a sign. I hear her say in the background “There is a lady on the phone from some campaign. She wants to know if she can put up a sign. What should I tell her?” “Tell her no” is the reply. Back to me on the phone she says “The owner has already left for today. Can I get your number? I’m sure she’d be more than happy to call you back.” I had to smile at that one. What is so hard about plain ole no?
Another businessman told me he couldn’t put a sign up because “My grass ain’t cut, but call back next week and it might be!” I told my sister the only way that will happen is if I buy him some goats!
Last but not least, my favorite:
“Well, ma’am I’m all in for him, but I can’t put up a yard sign. Somebody might think I’m supporting him.”
Wait, wait…come again?