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Sales pressure from the next cubicle? Just say ‘No!’

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in Business Etiquette,Workplace Communication

Earlier this week, I stumbled across JobSchmob.com, a website that is ripe with content for this column. If you ever want to put your own job issues in perspective, check it out.

One post especially caught my attention: A user by the name of Ayashi, an employee at a Network Operations Center, describes her co-worker from hell. While his complaining, bragging, discussing his personal life and asking for money would land him on any “Worst Communicator” list, it’s his insistence on selling stuff to her that blows me away. Of the things he tried to sell her, in her own words:

  • His son's shoes (I don't have a child)
  • A bondi-blue iMac mouse he said was a collector's item that I could "flip" for "thousands" (Why didn't he?)
  • A broken tablet with a huge crack on it that doesn't appear to have functioning internet capabilities, covered in oil stains, for $200
  • A guest room, in his house, with his family occupying it

While this is an extreme case, types of solicitation happen in the workplace every day. Forms for Girl Scout cookies, wrapping paper, candy and candles are lobbed at you almost daily. While the victim in this story chose to just deal with it, you should handle unwanted solicitations directly.

Avoid the excuses, and instead, offer a polite, but firm “No, thank you.” If the person pushes, say “I’m not interested. Please, don’t ask me again.” It may seem harsh, but directness is key to ending the behavior.

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