Guy from Estonia

This weekend this guy rings the doorbell. He is from Estonia and will be working here this summer selling “educational children’s books”. He named the company (Southwestern Company, I think) and the way they work is they take college students and send them off to the middle of nowhere to sell these books door-to-door six days a week. They work constantly and have no time for anything else (which is why they always send them away from home: no distractions).

Apparently now they are using Estonians (northern Europe). It sounds like indentured servitude. The guy seemed sharp, nice, and honest. He wasn’t selling books, just looking to see if I knew anyone with a room available to rent for the summer. I told him I had a room. He said two other guys would be living in the same room and they could give me $400 a month. I said maybe.

Anyway, later in the day he brings the other two guys around (equally honest looking). I said it would be at least $600 for the three of them (really I didn’t want any roommates, let alone 3) which they said was too much. I told them to call me back today and I’d tell them if I was interested. When they called I said I wasn’t interested even for $600 but they seemed pretty desperate and said they’d like to stay even if it was just for a week or a month. They said they won’t be around much, will be very quiet, and aren’t interested in parties or even TV. They just need a place to shower and sleep. I said I usually stay up late watching TV and they will be going to bed early to get up early. He said they are very good sleepers and wouldn’t mind the TV.

I felt bad for them so I agreed to let them stay. I figure for 3 months how bad can it be? Susan says I’m crazy to let someone off the street stay in my house but they seemed pretty legitimate.

Now I have to get that room ready and maybe clear out some space in my junk room for the third one. I can’t imagine all three actually living in the same room.

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12 thoughts on “Guy from Estonia

  1. I interviewed with this company in Athens for a summer job between my two MBA years. They rented out a hotel and did a great job selling us on the adventure of going door-to-door. I thought about it all of two seconds (not knowing exactly what the business was going into the meeting.)

    I can see the guys living in one room. Four of us bunked in a similar size room at ND.

    Susan is right (see how I am using her name here again.) You are crazy to do it without some kind of letter of reference or credentials. Maybe they can clean your house and do yard work to trade for some of the rent?

  2. Well, they showed up today, paid for a week’s rent (to try things out) and are fast asleep. Does anybody have any kind of mattress or extra bed we could set up. Even head to toe it’s got to get crowded in that one full-size bed . . .

    I checked their credentials and they are legit, working for Southwestern. They have never seen a garbage disposal or used a dishwasher before so I think it will be fun having them stay over for a little while.

  3. This sounds like some setup for a reality TV show:

    “An unsuspecting and trusting American invites several strangers from Estonia to sleep head to foot in his guest bedroom. Wackiness ensues when one Estonian won’t change out the empty toilet paper roll and the others insist on drinking straight from the milk carton!”

  4. Kelly, have you seen my house? How could they mess it up? If they were going to steal stuff they would have done it the first day.

    Instead they didn’t get back from last night until 10:00 after leaving at 6:30. They said their goal is to work 81 hours a week.

    I must have really made an impression if even Greg posted a comment!

  5. They are just earning your trust until they can finally make the big escape with your things and ruin your walls with hammers and pick axes if you don’t have any of that stuff they probably brought their own and will move back to Estonia, change their identities, and get a better job. Believe me, I know this stuff. I see it on tv all the time. Just ask my dad. He’ll tell you that yes, I do watch tv.

  6. Yes, I still think you are crazy, but it will make for an interesting summer. I have been inclined to call and check on you more often since “the boys” moved in. Kelly’s thoughts on the hammers and pick axes might be a good thing – you’d finally have to put some work into your house, and maybe we’d finish painting the dining room. You need to have us all over for the fourth. Its a Sunday so the boys will not be working. I know we’d all like to see them! Just what does honest look like?

  7. Ted, I’m so proud of you to open your life to 3 Bosnians. I just don’t know anybody else who would even do that and it shows how giving, generous and kind you are. Also, I’m pleased that it will motivate you to clean up your house. Do they do their own dishes after they eat? You might want to make a little list for the refrigerator of “house rules” before you spoil them too much. I’m proud of you.



  8. Re: “I must have really made an impression if even Greg posted a comment!”

    I’m not sure exactly what that means, but that gave me a laugh, too.

    Greg (who often feels like a Cashin stalker and knows waaaaaaaay too much about this family from reading these blogs!) 🙂

  9. I have been to Estonia. This situation does not surprise me. The people there are very hard working. They have a beautiful country, and are proud of it. I bet they miss it. You should ask them.

  10. The Estonians

    Well, they’ve been here now for two weeks. They’re all about 20 and are majoring in technical fields. Arnie did work last year in Idaho and is showing Mides and Martin the ropes. For instance Arnie introduced them to peanut…

  11. Ted

    My wife and I have hosted young people working with Southwestern the past 3 summers…04 and 05 Estonia girls and 06 University of Texas young men and then at the end of the many Estonians drop by on their way to Flordia for their field trip, in fact one of the young ladies and her mother will be here in a few hours while on vacation in the US. I keep up several of them and am very proud of their achievements, they all know our home is open to them at any time. As of today a total 32 Estonians have spent one or more nights in our home and with Eliane’s ,pm it will be 22

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