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How to Break Up: The Salesman

That guy who once sold you a big-ticket item isn’t going to leave you alone, you know

Claiming your independence from some people in your life is easy. That childhood friend who wants to keep up with you on Facebook? Unfollow and delete their number. Unhappy with your barber? Go to a different shop. But other people in your life can be more difficult. For example…

The relentless salesman: Yeah, he once did you some cool favors. He got you a deal! Didn’t he? He said he did. But now he wants you to return the favor, and that favor comes in the form of letting him hassle you regularly for, well, the rest of your life. Those monthly phone calls, texts or emails from the guy who sold you your SUV, your house or even your insurance policy are annoying as hell, but how do you get these people to fuck off without completely burning the bridge if you need another favor, like getting your car fixed on the cheap?

When the talk turns (as it always, always will) to sales, take the advice of an expert at this sort of thing: Jack Gillis, a longtime consumer advocate at the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America. “As awkward as the situation may be, the best course of action is an honest, straightforward, ‘No thanks!’” he says. Follow this up with a reason that hits them right in the logic: Tell them, for example, that you can’t spend any money right now because you’re saving up for something else. It can be modest, just so long as whatever it is makes sense to what they know about you, like a second car if you have kids (unless this is the person who sold you your first car, in which case, obviously, think up a different excuse).

You also can tell the salesperson that you’re all set for whatever product they’re now trying to sell you, and mention that you will be for a while to come. Be firm about this: Even if they come calling again, if you’re consistent, they’ll get the hint quicker than you’d think.

And by the way, if you weren’t satisfied with what you bought from them, now is a good time to say so: You’ll be amazed how quickly they’ll get off your back if you’re extra specific about it. The bonus is that this way, maybe next time you need them for something, they’ll be willing to help you out even more since they’ll be anxious to earn your trust back, so either way, you win.