An ultra-irritating sales prick knocked on our door at least three times Tuesday. I was working in the basement the first time, and the den the second. Each time I interrupted my activities only to see the prick departing by the time I got to the door.

Persistent fucker, but not patient.

He's the latest tool of AT&T's annual up-sell ritual, working on commission.

We subscribe to their DSL. So they already know we have crap internet. They know where we live and how much time we spend online. From their perspective, they've got us over a barrel. No doubt he had our information right there on his clipboard.

Like a lot of small-time criminals who take jobs hustling, this guy tried to engage me in small talk. "You travel a lot?" he asked, pointing to our RV.

That was weird, considering my opening "what are you selling?" should have directed him to the point, and strongly indicated the futility of cold-sell sales tactics learned in his marketing seminar.

To make it clear, I said, "I'm not interested in small talk. I'm sure you're a nice person. What are you selling?"

"I am a nice person," he chimed.

Oh shit.

No you dit int.

What's especially irksome about this encounter is that it takes place where I live. Eventually, tragedy and outrage will put an end to this routine. Some slightly crazy, or sociopathic freak will get a canvassing job for AT&T, fail to take no for an answer, and then reprise an unpleasant encounter in the form of retaliatory vandalism, or aggravated battery. If the customer is a pretty girl, he'll come back later for something else. With access to her usage records, he knows when she'll be home, and what time she's likely to be asleep.

How many times must I participate in this ritual? I tell them I'm not interested, and they keep sending people to bother me. They fill the mailbox with flyers (on non-recycled glossy paper).

They're a communications company. They have our information. Why do they risk pissing us off to the point of angry-column writing?

Because they can.

Comcast is not competitive. We have no other option for DSL service, as of now. I hope that changes soon. If there were competition for wired internet, AT&T might provide a competitive product, and then fucking leave us alone.

You travel a lot?

**shudder**