Monday, December 19, 2011

I'm Not the Reincarnated Billy Mays; My Informercial Sucked; I Had Another PTSD Flashback Last Night

My infomercial was not the resounding success I had hoped it might be. It appears as though I may have to find my bliss in the form of a calling in life elsewhere. I think the informercial was viewed by a grand total of  six readers. My talent in writing informercials is obviously not as great as I had hoped it would be, even allowing for my neophyte status. Some people have what it takes to sell things, whether in person or over the Internet, while others do not. I should have remembered my prior experience with selling things before I jumped headfirst into the blog version of the informercial business.

In the two years I attended Catholic school, I was forced to take up sales as a hobby. Catholic schools run on shoestring budgets and rely on various fundrainsing campaigns to provide even some of the necessities for running their school. My parents refused to make it their problem by  taking our over-priced loot to work and guilting their co-workers into buying the stuff, so Matthew and I had to sell the merchandise ourselves. Even in my day it wasn't safe to send kindergartners and second graders out to go door-to-door through neighborhoods, so my parents took turns walking with us, but they wouldn't approach the doors with us. They stood back as we walked up, either individually or together, depending upon what approach we were trying at the time. People would routinely buy things from my brother but had no trouble whatsoever turning me down. Sometimes he would ring a doorbell of a home where I had just walked away empty-handed,, and the lady of the house would buy three or four items from him. He was sometimes in contention for the top prizes. Maybe it was my scruffy little ragamuffin look that did me in. I looked so undernourished, and had curly hair that went in all directions. They probably felt like they'd already donated to the Salvation Army or to the poor in some other capacity, where my brother had the solid middle class look about him. The people probably felt they were contributing to a solid middle-class organization when they made purchases from him.

There were incentives attached to these sales campaigns. Limousine trips to pizza parlors with game rooms often went to the top sellers. I remember my brother being a participant in the pizza parlour/ limo thing more  than once. There were miscellanous items from which one could choose if he or she sold a certain number of items. Matthew earned various sporting equipment and a CD by the group that recorded the song "Who Let the Dogs Out?". The very minimal prize, the one to those who sold just enough to pacify the parent-teacher organization moguls, was usually a movie in the cafeteria with popcorn and soda. Almost every  time I was the only child in my class who did not sell enough items and therefore  get to watch the movie and partake of the popcorn and soda. More than once I was the only child in the entire school. After the final fundraiser of the year, the minimum prize was always a pool party at the attached  high school's Olympic-sized pool. I missed that part in kindergarten. When I was in second grade, after my Uncle Ralph heard abiut my being the only child in school to miss the previous moive/popcorn/soda party, he bought enough of my greeting card packages that I was allowed to attend the pool party that year.  It made my Uncle Ralph angry because I was the rehearsal pianist for all the school choirs my kindergarten year and was the actual accompanist for the choirs my second grade years, for which the school compensated me in no way, yet they routinely denied me the basic fundraising incentive parties because of my handicap when it came to selling things.

That handicap is still very much a part of me. If I continue through college and get through law school, I will not be one of those attorneys who advertises his or her 1-800 numbers between segments of TV judge show programs and Jerry Springer portions. Those lawyers whose commercials claim, "If you've been denied your Social Security benefits, , , '  or,  "If you've been injured in an accident and an insurance company want syou to settle, don't sign anything without first calling us," have something in the way of sales skills that I do not nor will I ever possess. I could not successfully sell Jello in  Utah  or eyedrops to troops stationed in Kuwait even on pay day. My law practice will be an utter failure if I have to sell my services to anyone. I'm not sure why I though my calling could be in making informercials. I'lll find something else. God alone knows what it might be.

I had another PTSD flashback - night terror last night. It makes me scared to go to sleep tonight.  Maybe I'll stay up all night trying to think of something I might be good at.


  1. <3 I remember having programs like that in school.. I never sold a single thing.

    I'm sorry to hear that you had a flashback. I'll be sending my prayers and some sort of stuffed animal your way (for hugs). It will of course be an e-stuffed animal... these ones could use your love (it's from one of my favorite mini games and I just want to hug them all, so please don't be offended).

    I hope your christmas break is going well, and that you get to relax

  2. Amy, we must be similar in that it is not in our DNA to want to sell something to someone that the person neither needs nor wants just for our own betterment. Despite the opinions of my Catholic School teachers,administrators, and PTO officials, I see this as an area of moral superiority as opposed to a character flaw.

    1. It would be helpful to have that skill in my current job, but fortunately it's not required. Whew! I like your way of thinking :)