shutterstock_134659892.jpgI work from home and my office is in my upstairs. We live in a newer neighborhood that is governed by a Home Owners Association (HOA) that prides itself in their covenant enforcement. One of those enforcements being a strict “no soliciting” rule for the entire neighborhood. I was elated with joy when we moved here when I read this in the covenants because we were coming from an on-post housing community where this just never was an issue. I should have not gotten that excited. Truth is, there really is no way for them to patrol the entire neighborhood 24/7. They can put up as many signs as they want but do you think that’s going to keep the “pest control” – or as I call them bug patrol – guy from hitting up a street full of new housing? No way! Especially since there is big money to be had in door-to-door sales. The World Federation of Direct Selling Associations reports that in 2012 the direct selling industry in the United States was up 5.9% from 2011 and accounted for $31,630 million dollars in sales.


It never fails. At least three times a week someone rings my doorbell to try to sell me something. Of course, I’m always right in the middle of a project or on a conference call and I have crazy dogs who, until the person goes away, will continue to bark. What do I have to do? Get up and let the dogs out the back until they leave or open the door and try oh so hard to ask them to leave. Either way, it’s a pain every time (ok, I won’t lie, sometimes it’s a nice excuse to take a break from a monotonous call).


What do you do to get rid of a solicitor?


Absolutely hands down the easiest way is to not answer the door and ignore them. Remember, those dogs I told you about? I value my door and it remaining in one piece. This makes it hard to ignore a door bell.


I’ve heard the typical ways of saying “no” like hanging up a sign that simply says “no soliciting” or even the creative signs that say “no soliciting, we know who we are voting for and we won’t buy anything.” I have a childless friend who went so far as to putting up a “baby sleeping” sign next to her doorbell. She said it actually works.


Typically I open the door and politely tell them that I work from home and I am on a conference call or I’m “on the clock.” Most of the time that thwarts them off.


Have you ever said yes?


It’s not that I am 100% against purchasing anything from a door-to-door sales person if I actually need it or it’s actually of value. I’m a Kirby vacuum cleaner owner from over ten years ago even though my Dyson really does more of the trick, that thing is still kickin’. When we first moved in the bug patrol guy made a bee line (pun intended) for our garage while my husband and I were out there cleaning. We heard his spiel and we bit. We needed pest control and he had a good deal. I also will not deny that if a Girl Scout knocks on this door then I’m going to answer conference call or not – priorities, people.


Are you ever curious to know what it is that they’re selling enough to answer the door?


I’ve also had some bad run in’s with door-to-door like the time I was young and new to our neighborhood in Georgia. I naively opened the door to a solicitor and ended up purchasing (what was I thinking?!) some steaks out of the back of a meat truck. They were not cheap but they were “guaranteed” and I was so proud of myself for getting these great steaks for my husband. Of course we never got a call back from the company who sold them to us when we realized they weren’t really as great as the pictures on the box or as the man selling them claimed.


Do you feel guilty when you ignore the or say no?


Did I mention I’m not good at “no?” It’s not that I can’t say it, it’s the guilt that I feel afterwards. Ok, it’s short-lived guilt but it’s still guilt. I always imagine this person living day to day on the monies they make from a vacuum, a magazine, or a steak and I let them play a nice little ditty on my heart strings. I’ve learned to be more aggressive in my “no”, but it is still not my favorite thing to do. Maybe I need one of those “baby sleeping” signs after all.


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How much are you paid to write this?