June 09, 2010

Who's That Knocking On My Door?

Warm weather means it's that time of year... the season of door-to-door salespeople. My neighborhood is one of the few in this area that doesn't have a covenant against soliciting, so we tend to be inundated with salespeople.
When we first moved to this house, my daughters still napped. Many an afternoon they were jolted from their peaceful slumber by the doorbell. I finally wised up and put a sign by the doorbell, instructing visitors not to ring the bell between 1pm and 4pm (a mom can dream of daily three hour naps, right?). The sign rarely worked. From time to time I would point the sign out to offenders, particularly if my daughters had just settled down after a rough morning.
I try not to be rude. A job is a job. My cousin was a successful door-to-door salesman in college, selling encyclopedias... although I imagine today he wouldn't sell as many, due to the growth of the internet. When people come to my door selling vacuums, cleaning services, meat from a truck (I'm not talking Schwan's here people, I'm talking steaks out of the back of a pickup...ewwww) I try to politely say no. But there's always that one person who won't take no for an answer.
Unfortunately, my daughters are usually right on my heels when the doorbell rings. They think every visitor is here to see them, just like they think every UPS delivery is for them. (OK, they're actually right on that last one). I've had sales people try to get me to buy something by targeting the girls. Last summer two local dairies were trying to drum up customers. They stopped at our house within weeks of one another. Each of them gave me a gallon of milk for my girls and let the girls sample their chocolate milk. I'll admit... the chocolate milk tasted like a chocolate bar. It was delicious. I'm sure when each salesman saw my girls he immediately started seeing dollar signs. We go through 3-4 gallons of milk a week... imagine the commission.
My least favorite solicitors are these young adults who sell magazines. Their latest technique is to claim they're students in a communication class sent out to speak to the public. I listened to the spiel once to figure out their game. They talk and ask questions (Do you have kids? What do you do for a living?). Then the ball drops... they say to get credit for their "class" you need to sign your name next to a magazine title. So I asked "And then what?" "Well," I was told "You'll get a subscription." My answer was something along the lines of "I have a journalism degree and I never took a communication class that required me to sell magazine subscriptions. Have a good day!"
The last straw came last week. A solicitor showed up during lunch. He wanted to spray our house for bugs. He told me "a lot of your neighbors have been seeing things like this" and he whipped out a brochure full of pictures of mice and spiders. Spiders!!! Huge spiders!!!! I hate spiders with a passion... and to use that against me was offensive... show the poor, defenseless housewife pictures of icky spiders and you'll make the sale?! OK, I realize that might not have been his intention, and I wasn't actually offended... but I'm fed up with these interruptions. Now I'm on the hunt for a "No Soliciting" sign. I wonder if that will also deter the religious-types who routinely stop by?

12 comments:

Janel said...

I hang a sign that says "this house contains twins that are currently sleeping. DO NOT solicit." I imagine that putting "quads" would be even more effective.

Hang two hooks, one to actually hang the sign over the doorbell, so they'd have to move it to ring, one for inside the door to keep it during non naptime. Move it when it's not naptime.

The thing that gets me about the door to door people is that we actually have a no soliciting covenant. The salesmen don't care.

I've been known to foam at the mouth at people threatening to ring the doorbell during sleeping hours.

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

I, too, have a sign taped to the doorbell, asking people to knock instead of ringing it. You literally have to move the sign to get to the doorbell, and fortunately only one delivery person has had to endure the wrath of Mama Mandy for ignoring the sign. :)

I also try to be very polite to solicitors and telemarketers. I did "telemarketing" for a while in college, calling alumni for the Alumni Association. I had some really nice experiences, and some really unpleasant ones, but overall it was definitely a learning experience. I am always polite to begin with, but at the end of the exchange, I make it clear that I do not wish to be bothered in the future.

Can you add a "no soliciting" campaign to your campaign to change the hours of your neighborhood pool?

Quadmama said...

I actually had one delivery person apologize profusely for not seeing the sign. She saw it right after she rang and started apologizing the second I opened the door. I thanked her for being considerate enough to say sorry. As for talking to the HOA, I think they're already sick of me over the whole pool issue.

MaryAnne said...

I've also done the sign OVER the doorbell on occasion. We don't get that many solicitors, though, probably because we live in a town that's known for having frugal residents, plus the houses in our neighborhood are far apart.

Quadmama said...

When we lived in Michigan we had a looooong driveway and no one felt like walking down it only to be rejected.

Sadia said...

Lucas proposed getting a sign that says "No soliciting, except for Girl Scouts with cookies."

Maybe I'll cross-stitch one for him for Christmas.

reanbean said...

We don't get many door-to-door salespeople, but when we do it always seems to be when my kids are sleeping on when we're eating dinner. I often say "no thank you" instead of hello. I suppose I could be a bit more polite, but sometimes I just don't feel I have the time for a whole sales pitch.

Quadmama said...

Lately we've had people who, as soon as I open the door say "I'm not selling anything." Really? Then why do they proceed to give me a sales pitch?

Stephanie Barr said...

We have a no soliciting sign. Unfortunately, it isn't very effective. Being firm and pointing out the sign, however, frequently gets them to move along. Since I'm a sarcastic evil woman, that's better than my second inclination which is to demonstrate what's wrong with their product scientifically or point out the prices available on-line for the same items. It doesn't keep the salesmen from coming the first time, but they're rarely back.

I recognize they have a job, but my time is also valuable and I'm not getting paid.

If the we-want-to-convert you crowd is irksome, a tasteful pentagram hanging at the door will deter most (it's not a sign of the devil; it's a symbol of protection in many pagan religions). A statue of Buddha or a Hindi god is less effective.

Quadmama said...

I know I can always count on you for the best ideas, Stephanie!!

Sarah said...

When we moved in, we were delighted to discover a switch inside the pantry door - it turns off the door bell! It's wonderful, except in the summer when the windows/doors are open and they can see that we are home.

I like the pentagram idea. I might have to try it!

Quadmama said...

The switch is a nice idea!

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