Wednesday, April 15, 2015

M is for Mislead

Here we are to celebrate another letter of the alphabet!  I can't believe we're all the way up to M already!  Today I have a piece of flash fiction for you.

Today's word: MISLEAD

I wanted to portray someone who really hates their job, but does it because they have to. That's something I have certainly experienced, and I know a lot of other people have.

P.S.-I don't hate people that work in sales.  In fact, I know a lot of people who have or currently do.  A lot of these this story was inspired by those experiences.



Who grows up saying that they want to mislead people for a living?  No one I’ve ever met, anyway.  Statistically speaking, someone on this planet surely grew up saying that, but I’m willing to bet that it’s rare.
Ugh.  This definitely isn’t where I pictured myself.
It’s a job.  It’s just a job.  It pays the bills.  If people believe you when you tell them they can’t live without the thing you’re selling, they . . .
Darn it.  I wish I could tell myself they deserve what’s coming to them.  That might make it easier.  Unfortunately, I can’t force myself to believe it.
All I can think about is the rising sense of panic that I know all too well.  That sense of dread that arises when you realize you’ve spent too much, and that the bills are coming due, and no matter how you try to stretch things, you’re still going to come up short.  That overwhelming sense of failure.  Other people have nice things like this.  I work hard and I still can’t pull it off.  What’s wrong with me?  Where am I screwing this up?
All these people.  Some of them can afford it, but most of them can’t.  Most of them are scarcely better off than I am, and I know I could never pull off the payments for these time shares.
It’s all about the selling points.  See, you convince someone that having this will give them the freedom to take vacations more regularly, and who doesn’t want that?  Tell them how much money they would spend on hotel rooms if they don’t take advantage of this amazing deal.  Never mind that the fact that some of them are taking elaborate vacations at all is going to haunt them later on.  I know that it will, because I’ve seen their financial statements.
They just want something nice.  I can’t hate them for that.
The old man sitting before me now is considering dipping into his retirement savings to do this.  I want to scream at him to leave.  I want to tell him what a mistake that would be.  “Sir, think of this as an investment in your retirement,” I say instead.
Ugh.  I’m disgusting.
A smile breaks across his wrinkled face.  “You know what?  You’re right.  You only live once, eh?”
That’s definitely true, but some gambles just aren’t worth it.  Again, I still have the chance to get out of this.  I could tell him the ugly truth, that I’m trained to convince you that you can afford this no matter how untrue that is, but instead I reach for the paperwork.  I do it because, while I do feel dreadful, a small part of me is relieved.  This deal means I can pay my mortgage this month.  “Congratulations, Sir.  I promise you won’t regret it.”
The lie is so thick on my tongue I feel like I’ll choke on it.


  1. We've become a very ME ME ME world. I listen to the hosts on shopping shows prattling on about how many compliments you'll get when you buy this jewelry or jeggings or leather purse. Really? You NEED to be complimented? Pathetic, really.
    ~Visiting from AtoZ

  2. The only way I could work in sales is if I truly believed in my product...and even then I'd still probably suck at it :)
    Katie @TheCyborgMom

  3. That has to be the crappiest job on the planet.

  4. Sales was not for me, though both my brothers worked in sales (one still does) and were able to support themselves. I found myself on more than one occasion disabusing clients of things that the sales people (or, more commonly, the PRE-SALES people) left them believing. But for the most part the people I knew who were in sales were decent people who'd pay for dinner or drinks when you were out of town together, and who would work with you on the difficult clients. I only got sold out by one of them once.... we needn't discuss that....

    John Holton
    Blogging from A to Z 2015 Cohost
    The Sound of One Hand Typing