Chronic Illness and The Sales Pitch
I have a couple of medical issues. For this reason, I’ve joined several online groups where people experiencing a medical crisis of one kind or another gather and offer support, ideas and encouragement. We talk about our symptoms, struggles, triumphs, good and bad days, doctor visits and sometimes we even grieve the loss of one of our members. But there’s one thing we never do: Sell things.
The rules of each group clearly stipulate—the group is to be sacred ground, where each member can safely share without facing the onslaught of sales pitches found in their world outside of the group. And what if you happen to be caught ever-so-sneakily trying to push your product within the safety of the group’s virtual walls?
You see, each member knows that to make even the slightest mention of symptoms on Facebook, at the office, church and so on is equivalent to “open season.” Everyone you’ve known since grade school will come from the woodwork to sell you their product. Only their product will heal. Only their product is the purest. You’d be a fool not to try it. “What do you mean you’re not interested?” Every rebuttal they learned at the conference last month is coming your way. Maybe you thought you were friends. Wake up call: You are actually a potential customer. It is now their life’s mission to heal you with their (very expensive) product.
Not long ago, I saw a short video on Facebook about sexual consent. Not only was it creative and spot on, it also made me think about chronic illness and the sales pitch.
While it’s still hard for me to wrap my mind around the idea there are people who sincerely don’t understand consent, I see and hear it in regards to the sales pitch almost daily.
For instance, a friend recently shared about how a coworker continuously insisted she have her husband try a dehydrated juice pill. Now, in his case, a diet very high in fruits and vegetables was contraindicated, something the woman had tried to explain to her coworker over and over again. She spoke with her daughter, a doctor, about the juice pills as well as her husband’s physician. Both agreed they were not a good option in this case. However, the woman’s coworker continued to send her “evidence” to the contrary via email, text and messages. Finally, the woman was forced to file a complaint with the human resources representative where they were both employed. The coworker was livid because after all “she was only trying to help.”
So today, I gently remind you in sexual consent as well as sales pitches—“no means no.” Regardless of how amazing you feel the product or activities would be, “no means no.” You do not necessarily have to agree or understand. You must simply respect the right of another to make their own choice.
I realize most who sell these products, whatever they might be, sincerely desire to help. I also realize the products may be very helpful to some. However, the desire to be helpful doesn’t ensure the outcome. If someone repeatedly tells you the product is not helpful for him or her or they are not interested, let it be. Continuing to ask isn’t helpful. Let your relationship be a safe place where each person is given the freedom to make his or her own choices. Sometimes we damage the relationship by expecting others to handle situations the way we would, or the way we think they should.
No means no.
Get caught ever-so-sneakily dropping the sales pitch and risk banishment. For good.