Our subdivision has a “No Soliciting” sign as you enter, but I’m pretty sure it’s only there for show. It’s not enforced and certainly has never stopped people from soliciting. I hate solicitors. I know I really shouldn’t, because my father was, essentially, a solicitor. Well, he was actually a door-to-door salesman…one of the last of his breed. He started selling Fuller Brush items in the Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach and Brighton Beach areas of Brooklyn NY in or around 1964. But back then you actually could sell things door-to-door. It was the norm, albeit the tail end of the norm, when it still wasn’t unusual for vegetables, milk or even seltzer (soda water) to be delivered to your door by a guy in a truck. Anyway, Dad had thousands of customers who bought combs, mops, laundry detergent, moth balls and just about every other household cleaning item you can imagine. He had some customers for over 30 years, and even had multiple generations of customers as the kids grew up and left Mom’s house (sometimes Grandma used to buy stuff too – so occasionally there had been 3 generations in a family who had bought stuff from him). He was good at it too – good enough where we lived a typical middle class life, my parents were able to buy their own home in 1976, etc. And lord knows my mother didn’t have cheap taste either, so I guess we did all right with my dad being a Fuller Brush Man (oh, and he occasionally sold Electrolux vacuums on the side). He finally retired in the summer of 1998, about 5 or 6 months before he died – the last full-timer in the New York Metropolitan area (she said, quite proudly). Nevertheless, I still hate solicitors.

But hey, it’s not 1964 or even 1998 anymore. The way I look at it, if I want an item or a service, or am interested in a particular politician or religion, I will do my homework on the ‘net, and seek it out myself. No stranger ringing my doorbell is ever going to swing me to what they’re offering.

The religious people ring the doorbell most often – usually on Saturday mornings, once or sometimes twice a month. And you know they’re going to offer to save my soul before they even say a word because they always come in groups of twos and threes and they’re always dressed in their Sunday Best. They’re usually carrying Bibles, too. Now granted, I don’t follow any religion and pretty much scorn its existence in my life (As always, if it works for you, I fully respect that and hope you enjoy yourself. But please don’t be offended and PLEASE be equally respectful when I say I have no personal interest whatsoever in religion.). So the chances of my suddenly wanting to be “saved” are, I think, only slightly worse than my chances of waking up 3 feet taller tomorrow and being drafted by the Harlem Globetrotters. But of course the doorbell ringers who are soliciting Jesus don’t know that, so ring my doorbell they do. The thing is, even if I DID believe in religion…ANY religion…what makes them think that THEIR flavor of God is so wonderful that I would stop in my tracks and suddenly want to switch from whatever faith I happened to follow? It’s my secret (well, not so secret anymore) dream to tell these people that I’m a Satanist but, of course, I never do. Probably just as well…then they’d REALLY try to save my soul.

Election years bring a plethora of doorbell ringing people who want me to vote for their respective candidate(s). It only gets worse as Election Day nears, with people at the door AND calling on the phone (yay for Caller ID, Privacy Director and being able to block calls!) AND the propaganda that gets snail mailed to us. Just like with the religious people, why do these canvassers think that just because they ring my doorbell and recommend I vote for Ima Candidate that I actually WILL? I’m going to vote for who I want and honestly, candidates who support what’s important to me like not wasting my time by answering the doorbell or the phone, or who kill trees with the paper for their mailings have a much higher chance of getting my vote.

Kids I’ve never seen before come around and ring the doorbell sometimes, selling candy, magazines, etc., door-to-door. No parents in sight…just the kids, trying to raise money for new equipment for the basketball team or for the school band to go to the Rose Bowl. It’s the year 2010, people…why are you letting your kids ring strangers’ doorbells without supervision? They’re not even in groups, mind you…just one kid, sometimes as young as 10 or 11! Are you CRAZY??? I don’t care if we live in the same community that we want to think of as “safe” – I don’t know you or your kids and you certainly don’t know me from a hole in the wall. How do you know that I, or the neighbor whose doorbell you’re going to ring next, aren’t child molesters or serial killers who just haven’t been caught? Is it really worth possibly putting your kids in harm’s way, just so the cheerleading squad can raise enough money by begging so they can get new uniforms? For crying out loud, people! Hold a car wash. Have groups of kids do odd jobs. But don’t ring my doorbell if I don’t know you!

Lawn Service people tend to either ring the doorbell or leave flyers jammed between the front door and the door jamb or simply hanging from the doorknob. Maybe they don’t notice it when they walk the 25 or 30 feet from the sidewalk, up the driveway, on the front walkway and onto the porch, but we have VERY few weeds on our well-cropped front lawn. You know why? Because we already have a lawn service. My second favorite was when a lawn service place rang the doorbell, which meant they had to walk RIGHT PAST the sign on the grass that announced our lawn had been serviced earlier that day. But the #1 best one was when we got a flyer on our door for Lawn Service FROM THE LAWN SERVICE COMPANY WITH WHICH WE CURRENTLY HAVE A CONTRACT!

Speaking of flyers, if you’re going to leave one, PLEASE spell and grammar check. Granted, if I need a small job done, like I said, I’m going to do my homework before finding someone that I think will be reliable and appropriate for the job, instead of someone who left a piece of printed 8-1/2″ x 11″ paper duct taped to our front door (so the paint could come off the door when we pull the tape off, thank-you very much). But as far as I’m concerned, your chances are even less when your flyer says MANUEL’S HANDYMAN SERVICES – NO JOB TO SMALL, YOUR GONNA LOVE OUR WORK, y’know?

Oh and telemarketers? Screw them all. Period. I don’t care that I worked as a “survey person” in a mall for 5 years – that was interrupting and bothering people while they were shopping in a public place, not while they were in the privacy of their own home. There’s a difference. A HUGE difference. And sorry, but the same goes for charities that ask for money over the phone. Never. I know it’s probably cheaper to get donations that way because you don’t have to pay for advertising but until show me some sort of “proof” that your charity exists, I’m not give you my credit card number or send you a check just because you call me, claim you’re a charity and ask for money. By the way, there’s even less chance (not that there can be a “less chance” than “no chance”) of my having any interest whatsoever when you ring my doorbell or call my house and wind up waking me up from a nap.

The Do Not Call list has helped immensely with unwanted solicitation phone calls. Hopefully one day they’ll invent a Do No Ring Doorbell list, too. Until then, “No thanks, sorry, we don’t want any and are not interested” will be my mantra when “they” ring the doorbell. Unless they’ve just woken me up, because I’m really not sure I could take responsibility for my actions. It certainly wouldn’t be pretty.

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