Last week while I was at our Ananda East LA center, a woman walked to our front door and began to knock. Like most of Southern California we are closed to the public due to the pandemic so I was surprised at her presence. I opened the door and asked her from a distance how I could help her. I noticed she was holding a box that said “DoTerra” on it.
I know about DoTerra essential oils because Dharmadevi has used them. In fact there was a group of people who were into the DoTerra essences at the first Ananda LA ashram many years ago. More important to this story, I also knew DoTerra uses an MLM (multi-level marketing) business model. All this to say, my “beware of the door-to-door salesperson” alarm went off as I thought she was trying to sell me essential oils.
What made our interaction more confusing was she only spoke Spanish. And to top it off, we were talking through masks at a distance outside with traffic noise in the background.
Since I’m not fluent yet (I’m affirming) in Spanish, I responded to her inquiry with my best Spanglish. What I’ve learned is Spanglish doesn’t often intersect with real Spanish as much as the Spanglish speaker would like. I said:
“Lo siento, pandémico…closed.”
She turned away and I closed the door. I wasn’t rude. I simply thought she was quite an eager saleswoman pounding the pavement during a pandemic! Though I admired her seeming fearless sales drive, I didn’t think she had any interest in what we were offering through Ananda.
Then Dharmadevi made the bright suggestion to ask Aaron who serves in our Spanish ministry to speak with her.
To my great embarrassment, this woman turned out to be someone who is part of our Spanish ministry. Aaron introduced me to her saying, “This is Narayan, one of the directors of Ananda LA.”
I reused my best Spanglish saying to her, “Lo Siento, Señora, I thought you were a DoTerra salesperson!” As Aaron translated for me, we laughed heartily together.
What did I learn from this experience?
- I have to learn to speak Spanish!
- God has a keen sense of humor
- DoTerra salespeople are not selling door to door during the pandemic