I don’t know why but sometimes people feel the need to tell you all the reasons they can’t do something. I did some work for a political candidate a while back calling people who have helped a campaign in the past. Many people who I spoke to were unable to help out and that's fine. However, several people had to justify why they couldn't help. They launched into a whole long saga about why they couldn't volunteer telling me how busy they were, or how sick they were, or even in one case saying that they are preparing for a colonoscopy so it would be impossible for them to help out. It seems as if they can’t just say no and get on with it.
Some of the reasons are really quite amusing. The colonoscopy thing was so funny I had to get off the phone to prevent laughing at the person. I was calling to gauge their interest for volunteering and then work on scheduling a future date, but I couldn’t even get that out because I was so stunned by what they said. All one really needs to say is I could say was no thank you and good bye.
I suppose some people actually feel guilty for letting you down. Maybe deep down inside they really want to help but are overwhelmed with the idea of changing their daily routine and putting one more thing on their plate. Maybe their diatribe is really rationalizing it for themselves more than anything else, because they inwardly feel guilty they can't help. Perhaps that’s why they just can’t leave it at just saying no. But saying things like I have to sell my car, or my heating system needs to be fixed is really quite silly and only makes the person on the other end roll their eyes and laugh.