I had thought that sociological changes would have rendered the art and practice of door-to-door sales and solicitation obsolete. I am surprised (and disappointed) by the number of folks who still ring my chimes.
We recently replaced our front door, and now have no outer storm door, through which I can talk at unwanted callers. If I open the door too wide, the stupid dog takes off to water all the light posts. I must seem a strange paranoid sight, suspiciously peering out, and talking through a six-inch gap.
I was just dozing off for my 6PM nap recently, when the front door was thumped on strenuously. When I peeked out, I saw an 18-year-old male. Ignoring his immediate verbal presentation, I saw a belt-mounted ID badge for UNICEF. Did I also see confusion and disappointment as I closed the door? Put on a mask and costume, and I’ll put a dime in your collection box, as I do with the rest of the kids collecting at Halloween.
The doorbell recently rang at 3 PM. After I shut the mouthy dog up, and stepped onto the porch, a middle-aged male handed me a coupon from Culligan, which would have him inspect my water softener for “Only $14.95.” I’m also sure I’d be inveighed to replace my antique, which is paid for and works just fine, Thank You, and rent one from him at $29.95/Mo.
In a time and culture where both parents often work, I found 3 in the afternoon a strange time to be calling. Wouldn’t he have done better, coming around early in the evening?
The one with the best line, and the best delivery, was a 20-something male who showed up in the middle of a Sunday afternoon. He was dressed in a very official-looking uniform, with a very official-looking laminated badge – which didn’t actually identify his employer.
When I opened the door, he informed me that he was from, “the inspection division.” (Of what?) He was there to, “ensure the integrity of my home,” (My home’s integrity is better than yours!) and he would “just leave my shoes, here on the front mat” – and also looked so confused and disappointed, standing there in his socks, as I shut the door.
Governments of any level, phone, email, or send letters to inform of any such “inspections”, and damned few of them pay people to work on Sundays. I don’t know what his game was, but the look on his face told me that I was one of the few who didn’t just unquestioningly let him in, to later wonder where the laptop, or family silver went.
It is not my job to make uninvited solicitors happy. I don’t always try to make things hard for them….sometimes it just turns out that way. Early of a recent evening, the doorbell rang. I played Rock, Scissors, Biscuit with the dog – and lost. When I gapped the door the regulation six inches, he was still barking in one ear as I tried to hear what the female of a well-dressed 20ish couple was saying.
Jehovah’s Witnesses?? No, I managed to make out that she would like me to step out, so that we could talk about my telephone bill. Was I ‘J. Smith?’ Kicking the dog back, I stepped out. I didn’t confirm or deny that I was J. Smith. I’m not the one the phone is registered to. “Why do we need to talk about my phone bill?”
I’d already spotted ID badges, but she informed me that they were from Bell Telephone. They just wanted to be sure that I was happy with the company and their service….was I? “Well, it’s better now. I had to call the repair department, and they sent a tech around this morning to do some repairs.”
That caused some consternation. “But he got here with no problem?” “A couple of years ago, when we had a different problem with your service, the tech arrived a day earlier than promised. Scheduling said this one would be here the standard ‘between noon and 5PM’; he called at 10 AM, said he’d be here at 11, and showed up ten minutes later. What if we’d been at a doctor’s appointment?”
Hmmm…no comment. She referred to a clipboard. “I see here that you have only a land line with us. I assume you get your cable and internet from Rogers.” “No, and No! Directly above you, on the porch roof, is my Shaw satellite dish, from which I don’t get cable.” “I’m too short. I didn’t see it.” Not even from the sidewalk, where you should be?? “I’ll boost you up so that you can see it.” “No thanks!”
This is not going well – for her….I think it is. “Bell is installing new fibre-optic cables, and we’d like to know if you’d like to pay to upgrade your service. Are you J. Smith?” “No, I’m not. That would be my wife.” “Oh, could we speak to her?” “No, she’s upstairs in bed.” “Oh, I hope we didn’t wake her by ringing the bell.” “No, you set the dog off, and he woke the whole neighborhood.” “Ohhh…”
The guy with her never said a word. One of them was probably training the other, though I’m not sure which was which. I told them I was already being charged too much for the amount we use their services, and shut the door before one or both of them broke down and cried. 😀