Barron Park neighborhood residents have been puzzling over mysterious meat salesmen in blue trucks who have been knocking on their doors recently.
Mid-to-late last week, the salesmen from the company Prime Selection, Inc., claimed to have overstock to unload after selling the meats to neighbors whom they specified by name. But several residents said that when they checked, their neighbors hadn't bought any.
Lynnie Melena, Barron Park Association president, said a salesperson stopped by her home.
"When we declined, they said they were actually wanting to give it away. We declined again, and they drove off," she said.
Prime Selection offers beef, poultry, seafood, wild game and other meats and has offices in San Diego, Los Angeles and San Jose, according to its website.
Some residents said this was not their first encounter with door-to-door meat vendors. In the past few months salespeople have shown up in the Duveneck-St Francis and Old Palo Alto neighborhoods.
But high-pressure sales tactics, only one brochure, no business cards and the previously mentioned non-existent customers have residents leery, they said.
Francoise Lang said a salesman became upset last week after she told him her husband said she should not buy from them. He began to "argue" with her, demanding to know why, she said.
"It wasn't a pleasant experience as I felt I couldn't just say 'no' and had to justify myself," Lang said.
A few years ago she experienced the same thing, she said.
Vanessa Leighton, who is a vegetarian, said the salesmen also approached her a few months ago when she lived in Old Palo Alto.
"Same story ... extra meat, delivering to others in the neighborhood," she said.
Pepa Richardson, also a vegetarian, said salesmen approached her a few months ago, too.
"I told them we were vegetarians, and that shut him up, and he left," she said.
Palo Alto's city ordinance does not allow door-to-door solicitation without a permit, and Prime Selection does not have the permit, Code Enforcement Officer Heather Johnson said Monday. She had not received any complaints, but said she would contact the company.
Prime Selection President Glen Dimino said the tactics residents are describing are "wrong" and that the company does not condone vendors trying to build their customer bases using such techniques. There is no reason for a vendor to misrepresent the product, Dimino said, adding that he stands behind his products' quality.
The company does sell to outside vendors who purchase from the processing plant, he said. The vendors buy the product by the pallet to resell. Those vendors can also carry products from other companies on their truck. The contractors are responsible for all licenses and permits and obeying laws, he said.
The company also leases its trucks to vendors. The salespeople would not have Prime Selection brochures or business cards, since they often represent many other company products, he said.
If residents are having a problem with a vendor who is delivering meat in a Prime Selection truck, they should note the truck number and the telephone number that is painted on the vehicle and call Prime Selection, he said.
"If there are more than two complaints about a contractor, we won't lease the vehicle to them. You want your representatives to be honest. Residents can call us to complain," he said.
Dimino said that about 90 percent of meat vendors sell other companies' products from an unmarked car or truck.