conversation with a Jehovah’s witness

I opened the front door this morning, and there were two Jehovah’s witnesses at the door. William was the one doing all the talking, and his little son was amusing himself on the front steps. Paul – built like a nightclub bouncer but friendly enough – stayed a few steps back, so as not to be too intimidating.

I’ve often been stopped on the street by people collecting money for charities: they have their spiel, their laminated glossy cards, and their sign-up book, and they do a pretty good job at presenting: it’s a bit amateurish, but must work well enough that the charities keep doing it.

I only spoke to him for a few minutes, taking a polite “I already go to a church” angle, but it was fascinating to watch him work. He had carefully stacked the magazines, upside down for him, the right way up for me, so that “Awake” magazine was the copy of Watchtower underneath. He’d chosen a copy of the magazine on the topic of abortion, and flicked through a few of the pages while talking about what the article was covering – I could clearly see both pages of the magazine while he was flicking. The man was a master at working with literature at a front door: no easy task when you’re in someone else’s space.

When I said I wasn’t interested in that magazine, he immediately reshuffled the literature to bring one of several copies of his plan B leaflet from his stack, and talked about the important questions – having moved back to a lesser proposal, I felt that taking this brochure was the polite thing to do: clearly, this is a really polished, user-centred performance.

There was no mention of a return visit, but I’m looking forward to seeing how this pans out.

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