I’m Not Soliciting, Ma’am…

When we moved into our first house, pregnant with our first child, smiling with the ignorance of ones about to find out how much life cost; we thought mowing the lawn and covering the swamp cooler would be our biggest issues.

Little did we know what lay in wait.

I speak of …solicitors.

The bedroom community we moved to had passed a city ordinance banning door-to-door sales. Word soon reached us, however, that the various companies who bothered everybody in that fashion threatened a lawsuit based on Freedom of Speech. The city reversed their law.

Thus opened the floodgates.

No, the city informed us residents, they couldn’t stop the salesmen.Β Yes, they also said, we could call the police if the solicitors did not respect our requests. I remember thinking the whole thing a ridiculous idea.

Ridiculous, until I had my first doorbell-ringer. And second. And third. And…. you get the idea. Annoying, relentless, annoying, etc. I’ve never liked salespeople and have hated selling things to people ever since I tried to earn wrapping paper points in elementary school by hitting up my neighbors.

But I’m a nice person. Even with phone solicitors, I try to treat people as human beings. I rarely open the door to yell at the intruders (like some neighbors have bragged), listen to a bit of a spiel then slam the door (also bragged about), or tell the poor lawn treatment guy exactly where he can get off (yep; they were proud of that one, too). For the most part, the humans respond in kind and walk off to politely bother someone else.

There are, as in any story, The Exceptions.

In that first neighborhood I lived in, as a first-time mom, just experiencing nap schedules for the first time, I posted a sign on our door (next to the No Soliciting one, thank you very much). It read: Baby Sleeping, Please Knock. I even included a tiny drawing of a slumbering baby for the less-literate visitors.

Not ten minutes after successfully putting my son to sleep, the bell rang. I barreled angrily to the door, my button having literally been pushed. There stood a woman of young adulthood years carrying some pamphlet for some thing she was selling. She started right in on her sales pitch, even through my Look of Death. And, believe me, my Look can melt metal.

I interrupted several times to tell her she’d ignored my sign. No effect. I didn’t appreciateΒ anyone waking my baby. No effect. She needed to leave; NOW. No effect. I don’t know how, but I finally convinced her to shove off. I don’t think she heard a word I said.

And so, to my complete surprise, I used our wired telephone device to call the police and complain. Besides knowing the local police didn’t have much to do during the day, I also knew that several of my neighbors had young children sleeping.

I know these people need to make a buck. I know that my lawn might need maintenance, I might want to hear about God, I may have wasps’ nests under the eaves, I should consider solar panels while there’s a tax break, and the local drill team could use funds for all those sequins. As far as I can tell, though, the only reason I need to consider a home security system is to see which home security system company is at the door AGAIN to try and sell me one.

…Which is my second-worst experience with a salesman. Good job, Jerk from Vivint. You’ve guaranteed, by insulting my intelligence and judgment with your little snide comments at the end of your sales pitch, that I will never never never never consider your company.

So, how about you guys? Are door-to-door sales a universal problem? Have you had any horrible experiences? Please tell!

No Soliciting

—————-

Sally Smith from just around the block read what I wrote last week; so did your other neighbor, Bob Gibs. Wouldn’t you like to consider my offer as well?:
Wednesday, May 29: We intelligently complained about classical literature in “Is Classic Literature All It’s Hyped up to Be?.”

Thursday, May 30: Nothing.

Friday, May 31: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Trent!

Saturday, June 1: Announced the 28th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is Summer (or Winter) Vacation.Β PLEASE ENTER! Tell your friends! Tell your enemies!

Sunday, June 2: “Maybelle Annabelle Lee,” in response to Carrot Ranch’s prompt.

Monday, June 3: An ‘inspirational’ quote by John Lithgow.

Tuesday, June 4: “Wilhelmina Winters, Ninety-Five.”

Wednesday, June 5: Today.

I also posted a bit at my motherhood site. I wrote “Why Give Teachers Presents?” and “A Chauffeur Mother’s Prayer.”

 

Photo Credit: A sign one of my relatives has on her house. πŸ™‚

44 thoughts on “I’m Not Soliciting, Ma’am…

  1. I was a solicitor for best part of 40 years. But then it has a different meaning here and I never once went door to door. We’re lucky I guess. We get the odd Jehovah, a few selling tea towels but mostly it’s phone based. I doubt the police would appear however short of pouring blood…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well told. You had me reading all the way. How rude those sales people are! But America is another country. Here in Oz, at least the part I live, we are not bothered by door-to-door salespeople. We get phone solicitations from time to time but they’re easy to ignore. Did you know, I sold World Book Encyclopaedias door to door when I was a young man but once I stopped in my early twenties I didn’t go back. Hard hard work

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I used to live in Berkeley, and there the REALLY poor people go door to door selling you magazines about being poor in Berkeley. One time, a guy knocked on our door, and for some reason we answered.

    As we tried to get him to leave, he pointed to the crucifix hanging in our tiny-ass living room. He said, “Are you Catholic?”

    I’m not, the spouse is.

    The guy responded with the most INSANE story about the phases of the moon and when God would return, then how the Pope was basically the devil. It just got so weird, so fast, and we were like, “Uhhhhhh.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Haven’t had to deal much with the door-to-door stuff, just the phone calls. But I’m old and cranky, so I just don’t answer my door or phone unless I’m expecting someone to come or call. If they were disturbing my sleeping baby, that doorbell would be disconnected in no time, even if it took a hammer to do it! Yes, they’re just trying to make a living, but I NEVER buy anything from anyone, unsolicited, so they’re wasting their time with me anyway.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I just smile and say, “I’m not interested, so you may not want to waste your time here”. Seems to work. But, unlike you, I look like someone who routinely commits violence. I’m not, though… I just RANDOMLY commit violence… looks can be deceiving…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We occasionally get sales people at the door. Their opening remarks are usually unrelated to a sales pitch. My first question to them is “are you selling anything”, as soon as they become evasive I just say “no thankyou” and close the door.

    Liked by 1 person

    • πŸ™‚ I had a lot who would start their sales pitch with, “I’m not soliciting…” and then proceed. It’s odd we use the term here in America for selling, but the online definition is “ask for or try to obtain (something) from someone.”

      Liked by 1 person

  7. That was quite rude of her!

    I don’t have much experience with door-to-door folk. The most notable ones I’ve dealt with, though, were missionaries. My personal favorite was accidentally scaring a brand new Elder–I was listening quite intently to what he had to say, but I don’t think he liked talking in front of people. Poor guy was also not from the US (his buddy Elder was, though), so he was in all sorts of new territory he wasn’t used to. The guy kind of just slipped behind his buddy and was completely hiding behind him by the time the speech was done

    I did get a free copy of the Book of Mormon at least.

    Liked by 1 person

    • πŸ˜€ I live in Utah and don’t get a lot of missionaries. πŸ˜€ Sounds like a good idea not to have yelled at the poor guy.

      I think that’s why I’m mostly polite but firm. I don’t want what they’re selling, even if I could use it, but don’t need to make their day bad by how I say so …unless they’ve ruined mine. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I used to have door to door salesmen ring the bell a long time ago. And then there was this guy who’d collect donations for some shady cause. I once remember kicking the football around in the garage when he rang the bell. I went to the gate and his eyes brightened. β€œThis year is your year. You must tell me how much you’re willing to give!” He squealed. Luckily I brushed him off by asking him to come later. The maid then told him to get lost!

    Liked by 1 person

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