Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Booby Prize

I like to think the best of people. I’m not suspicious, and kind of take people at face value until they prove themselves unworthy of my respect.

John says I’m gullible.

Last week I got a phone call—I’d won a chef for a night! Woo-hoo! Chef Ray reminded me that I’d filled out a card at a Taste of Home Cooking Show (lots of vendor tables and I’d filled out lots of cards) and my name had been drawn! The show was a few months back, so my BS-O-Meter should have twanged, but no. He told me to invite a few other couples and he’d bring his own cookware and food, and would see me on Friday night. I often haul my own cookware along when I rent a beach house, so again, the BS-O-Meter remained in hiding.

When Chef Ray began hauling in, unpacking and arranging pots, pans and other equipment, the truth began to sink in. This was a salesman demonstrating cookware. Now, I love to cook and at least one of the other guests loves to, also, so I thought, okay, so he demonstrates his cookware. Unethical to represent it as a chef-for-a-night prize, and I was hideously embarrassed that I’d invited friends without warning them this was a sales pitch, but I’m basically a kind person who doesn’t throw people out of her house even when the situation warrants it, and I hoped my friends would accept my sincere apologies afterward.

He’d promised we eat about an hour after the guests arrived at six. After an hour of oohing and ahhing, still no food cooked in his fancy-shmancy cookware. Lunch was a distant memory. I dealt with my creeping annoyance by plotting ways to mock the whole night on my blog.

Finally he started cooking. At eight I was getting a little light-headed but the food was ready—and then he held it hostage in those heat-holding pans of his while he witnessed to us about what Jesus had done for him. Finally the BS-O-Meter sets off alarms.

Don’t get me wrong. I am a Christian. I have been known to tell someone my faith story. But I’ve never told someone she won a prize as a way to get into someone’s house to sell them something. I’ve never used a sales call as a vehicle to witness to someone else’s guests.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me in front of my friends, shame on you even more! Bad enough I was clueless, but I invited friends to my home to be held hostage by this guy and his outrageously overpriced cookware (electric skillet $580, small set of cookware $1400). Seriously. Want the big set? $2300.

To my friends who politely sat through that evening, please forgive me! I’ll cook for you soon and will not try to sell you anything, I promise.

And to everyone else, tune up the BS-O-Meter. Chef Ray is out there.


  1. Gaaack - you poor thing! What a wretched thing for "Chef Ray" to do -- I certainly hope no one bought a danged thing from him!

  2. I have to wonder what your parting shots were. I'm betting "Thanks for a wonderful evening." wasn't one of them.