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. 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 appreciate 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!
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. 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. 🙂