I’ve heard from three more readers with steak-seller stories to share.
They responded to a column I wrote last month recounting my scamlike experience with a young man who pulled in my driveway to sell frozen steaks from the back of his dark brown pickup truck.
John Bowen, who lives in Mecklenburg County, said he bought steaks from a door-to-door steak seller in early July. When he cooked the filets for dinner, “mine was so tough I couldn’t eat it,” he said.
His son’s steak had gristle in the middle, so they fed it to the family dog.
He said he called a phone number on the price list that came with the boxes of steaks and pork he had purchased. He told the person he spoke with that the quality of the meat was bad, and he wanted to know if he could get a refund. They agreed to exchange his remaining cuts of meat for something else, he said.
The salesman returned to his house, and Bowen traded them for chicken and shrimp.
Lake Park resident Willie Mae Bowman wrote in an email that a steak salesman in a brown truck came to her house.
“(He) tried his best to get us to purchase the products he spread out over our steps,” Bowman wrote. “We told him we were not interested to begin with, and he still spread out the meat. When we said ‘No,’ he got all mad and jerked the boxes back together and said he had to get to church, he was late, and we were missing a great bargain.”
Another email came from a Weddington resident who asked that her name not be used. She was working in her home office when the doorbell rang, and her dogs began barking furiously.
The salesman stood patiently at the door while her husband corralled the dogs.
When her husband went outside, he found a second person walking in their backyard, she said.
“My husband told him to get back in his vehicle,” she wrote. “When the salesman was told that we were not interested in purchasing his product and was asked to leave, he left.”
They immediately reported the incident to law enforcement, she said.
Janice Hart of the Better Business Bureau of the Southern Piedmont said sharing my experience with buying steaks would be a reminder to people that this is the season for door-to-door sales.
She said the tactics the salesman used are all common and are designed to gain your trust so you will buy his products. “However, while you may have been misled (in the quality of your purchase), you haven’t really been scammed because you paid for a product and you received it,” Hart said.
The lesson in all of this? Be careful.