The Anemia Made Me Do It

So this woman I barely know, whose daughter was my daughter’s daycare buddy for a year in 2006, calls me out of the blue a few months ago and leaves me a message that sounded semi-urgent.


“Hi Debbie, it’s Betsy. Can you call me back?”


So I do, even though we’ve never spoken socially on the phone before, even though I meant to delete her number because I haven’t used it for THREE YEARS, even though she and I now live 20 miles away from each other and never talk. Not like we ever did when we lived two blocks from each other for that matter.


“Hi Betsy, it’s Deb. How are you?”


She gets right to it. “Great! Hey listen. Can you come to a meeting tonight to learn about some stuff?”


Oh crap. I know what this means. Multi-level-marketing. Pyramid scheme. Never gonna talk to this person again.


Still, and legitimately, I can’t make it. I have another event.


“Sorry!” I say. “Can’t make it tonight. What are you doing?


Now she wants off the phone. “Something you really need to hear about. I’ll call you for the next meeting.”


And that’s it.


But not so fast.


Over the course of the next few months, I receive random phone calls from Betsy, each time asking me to a “meeting” the next night. Thankfully, I can’t make any of them, because if I could, I’d have a hell of a time saying no. It’s my thing and I am so working on it.


See, I’m in the course right now of learning to set boundaries and the like, but I’m not there yet, which sucks because I got another phone call tonight. My caller ID told me it was Betsy, so I didn’t answer, but after listening to her message — another urgent, but this time also irritable, voice mail, I knew I had to call her back and say NO. I AM NOT INTERESTED. BETSY. DAMN YOU AND YOUR SATELLITE VIDEO PHONE* OR WHATEVER THE HELL IT IS.


I’m all set to do this too. NO! I’m too busy as it is! NO! I’m working on building my own business. NO! I don’t have the extra time or energy to devote to YOUR SATELLITE VIDEO PHONE BUSINESS. Or WHATEVER THE HELL IT IS.


I’ve got conviction, see. I’m all riled up. I can do this.


I place the call. After 1,507 rings, a harried Betsy answers.


“Hi Betsy. It’s Debbie, returning your call.


Oh hi. Can you come to a meeting tomorrow night?”


No, nope I can’t. What is this for?” (So far, so good!)


“I want to put you in front of the information.”


Put me in front of it? What is it? A 250-lb. man named Leadpipe Joe?

“What information?”


“It’s something you really need to be here for. The information.”


I take a deep sigh. I can DO THIS. “You know, Betsy. I’m working on my own stuff right now, and am not interested in taking the time for this.”


“You really need to hear the information.”


My resolve is weakening. I blurt out, “I just found out I have anemia! I’m too weak. I don’t have the energy!”


Well see then. This information is good for people like you who are struggling.


Oh shit. Now I’m struggling. Great. Tell the multi-level marketer that you are weak and sick and could probably use her freaking satellite video phone to connect with loved ones before you die from lack of iron.


“I’m already doing my own thing. Twittering. Blogging. Writing. Editing. No time. No time.”

Boy, all that twittering and blogging sounds real important. Maybe if I didn’t do those things so much, I could operate a successful pyramid scheme. Also, now I am no longer speaking in complete sentences. I am totally flailing. I am one blighted “no” away from owning a satellite video phone business.


People like you should really be open to this information I have. Technology is moving so fast. You don’t want to be left out.”


I have no idea what she is talking about…but it does sound kind of satellite video phoney.


“I can’t do it. The anemia.”

(I swear I said this. I need help.)


She’s kinda pissy now. “OK, I’ll call you again in six months. I have to go, my daughter needs me.”


And that was that.


So six months from now? I either learn to give a proper “no”** or you all better be prepared to buy stock in my satellite video phone scam.


*The video phone? Heard through the grapevine that it was her last business venture.


**I am currently accepting all “how to say no” tips.


P.S. I also wanted to tell you that San Diego Momma was nominated for an Influence SD “Best in Lifestyle” blog award. And so were a lot of other people I like, including Mama Mary Show. But kinda cool, right?


22 Responses to “The Anemia Made Me Do It”

  1. amber says:

    hahaha…what a great story, made me laugh out loud!

  2. I’ll take the call for you the next time I’m feeling stabby. Guarantee she’ll never call again. :D

  3. Mo says:

    Sorry to hear about the anaemia. Have you been taking iron supplements? If they work you could go to Betsy’s meeting.

  4. De says:

    Geez, she’s good at not giving any information out about the information, isn’t she?

  5. Laurie Ann says:

    Next time Betsy calls, tell her you’re happy being in the dark and that, in fact, too much information has caused your anemia. Then tell her that you are actually thinking of restarting the Luddite movement to oppose all this valuable information which surely will take away our jobs and make the world dependent on robots or something equally conspiracy theorist-esque.

    Then ask Betsy why she can’t give a person advance notice. It’s always “tomorrow night.” Oh, and then suddenly her kid needs her? That Betsy.

  6. Man, what is WITH this woman? Get you “in front of the information??”
    Your anemia is making you far too polite. I have the same problem.

  7. Kizz says:

    I actually like Laurie Ann’s approach a lot! I’d go with, “I’m currently battling an anxiety disorder and the way you keep this information shrouded in mystery is really impeding my progress. These calls where you promise information but don’t provide it are making me really nervous and I ca….AAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!” then drop the phone, juggle it a minute and hang up. It’s not a proper no but it’s enough crazy that she might keep her fucking information to herself!

  8. This is funny.

    Maybe you can start calling Betsy every couple of weeks to fill her in on the dangers of untreated anemia? Tell her you feel compelled to share what you have learned. Tell her you have IMPORTANT information that she NEEDS to know. I have a feeling if you do that once or twice you won’t hear from her again. ;-)

  9. The best way to say no? “No.” End of discussion. No excuses or reasons why the answer is no. Just a simple “no” and finish the conversation. You’ll be amazed at how well this works. Also? Put a little confidence behind it so the person being turned down will not have the balls to ask further questions.

  10. Mama Mary says:

    Parallel lives…
    I am by no means the person to give you advice on this. I am still being hit up by the friend trying to sell me insurance… Good gawd I wish I could just say a firm no.
    And thanks for the shoutout sister. What are we going to wear? And where are we pre-partying? xoxo

  11. That woman is with Amway and I can prove it. She used all the right code words. Just keep saying NO. Or better yet, slam it back at her by going on the assault by inviting HER to YOUR Mary Kay/Tupperware/Home Interiors party. Of course, you risk her saying, “yes” and there you are, stuck pretending to sell the stuff for her benefit anyway. Scratch my whole evil scheme.

  12. Stefanie says:

    Would you quit saying “No” and say “Yes” next time because I am LOSING MY SHIT over here desperate to know what in the hell this chic is selling. Please go. I’ll go with you. I promise.

  13. Deborah says:

    Oh boy, I wish I had her number. I’m just in that sort of mood this week. Reminds me of when my husband’s ex was going to Landmark Forum (you know, the cult)and called me to apologize for all the hurtful things she’s said about me and before I could say “what hurtful things?” she’d invited me to a meeting, to which I could not say no…they called me for months afterwards to “join” them. This was apparently part of the evil ex’s plan.

  14. foolery says:

    Watch out for the “is there any reason we couldn’t get together for coffee and discuss this?” question. I recommend: “Yes. Yes there is. But I am not at liberty to say why. Doctor’s orders. And lawyers’ orders, too. Big, grouchy lawyers.”

  15. […] I’ve been thinking lately about boundaries, I thought I’d explore the serious side. As a woman who never learned to set personal […]

  16. blognut says:

    So… I recently read a whole book on this and the beauty of saying no to something you don’t want to do is that you don’t have to make up or provide any reason for saying no. You can just say, “No, thank you. I know you’ll understand and respect that.”

    Heh. I’m really good at telling other people what to say, just don’t ask me to do it myself!

  17. P.A. says:

    Oh my gosh, you are hilarious! Looking forward to reading more!

  18. Elizabeth says:

    Oh, I love this! I had something similar happen to me and I wanted to hide. I knew right off the bat when my friend said she wanted to meet with me to discuss some exciting new opportunities. Sigh.

  19. Stephanie says:

    How to say no: “No.”

    Sounds simplistic but I swear it’s not. It took a long time for me to learn and with people like this, you have to be 100% unmistakably clear.

  20. rimarama says:

    Ha ha! Forget about learning how to say “no.” – you just need better excuses in your repertoire. (“Gastrointestinal virus” usually works like a charm because no one wants to ask for details :)

  21. […] I’ve been thinking lately about boundaries, I thought I’d explore the serious side. As a woman who never learned to set personal […]

  22. Me says:

    I love when I laugh out loud when reading something! Funny stuff!

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