Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Door to door sales

We have had a lot of door to door solicitors lately. Each summer we have a handful but this summer it seems extreme.

This is problematic for a few reasons.

First, we have had a some bad experiences. More than once we have made purchases we later regretted.

Once, it was magazine subscriptions. I placed an order and then changed my mind. I requested the refund I thought I was "guaranteed." After a big hassle we only received part of our money back.

Another time one of my husbands students was selling Cutco knives. We spent over $300 that we didn't have on knives we didn't really need. (That was exactly door to door.)

Yet another time we had someone come by to offer us a free estimate on siding replacement. We told the young man that came to the door that the was no way we would be able to get our siding replaced anytime soon. (I had just stopped working to stay home with our daughter.) We made it clear, someone could come give us an estimate but we would not be buying anything. When the guy came to give the estimate he hadn't been given that information. He was giving us the hard sell. I'm sure the job of the person who came to the door was only to set appointments. He didn't care if we were going to buy siding or not.

Lastly, we had a Jehovah's Witness come by once. It was a young boy (maybe 12 years old.) In trying to be polite, my husband listened to what he had to say. In retrospect, he should have said we are already members of a church that we are happy with. Ever since then (and it has been a few years) this boy has been coming several times a year. He has his hand outs and says his spiel. Though it is harmless, it is still a hassle. (Not exactly a door to door sales but similar enough.)

In addition to our experiences, my husband and I both tend to be suckers. Send a young person to our door and it is hard for us to tell them no. For that reason, neither of us wants to be the one to hear the sales pitch. I try to avoid answering the door. That only deals with part of the issue. That still leaves my husband having to say no. Usually he does, but that is not guaranteed.

I came up with a family policy. We don't buy anything door to door. That is not exactly true. We will buy Girl Scout cookies and the occasional candy bar. For the most part, we don't buy door to door. We always have the option to but it is nice being able to say, "We don't buy door to door."

I am sharing this today because of a couple experiences I have had recently. The first happened a couple weeks ago when I arrived home from picking the kids up from summer school. As I pulled in the driveway, I saw a young woman waiting by my front door. I knew what was coming. She started in with her friendly banter, asking me questions, telling me what she was working toward, and explaining how she was going to earn her points. I feel sorry for those kids. They are out in the summer heat, trying to sell products to people that they don't need and usually don't want. This time was different than any other experiences I have had because this young lady had a severe speech impediment. She apologized for it and explained that this was to help her with her speech and communicatioin skills. I explained our policy and after trying a little longer, she left. This really irritated me. This company is using kids with disabilities to play on the emotions of people hoping they will buy a product because they feel sorry for these kids. I think it is dispicable.

A couple days ago we had another young woman come by and this time she had a foreign accent, which she apologized for. I again explained our policy and after trying to convince me to change my mind, she finally left. I refuse to reward companies who use these kinds of tactics. I feel sorry for these kids and would like to help them but will not help the company they are working for. I absolutely refuse to help a company profit who uses tactics as deplorable as these. I feel like they are taking advantage of these kids and their disabilities (or other disadvantages) and are trying to take advantage of me. I wish I could think of something else to do. These practices must be working, otherwise they wouldn't do it. So, I'm not falling for it, telling everyone I know about it, and sending it out into blogland hoping others will do the same.

I think it's a good policy to begin with. "We don't buy things from door to door salespeople." Period. No need to explain. These recent experiences have only validated my decision to implement that policy.

I am linking up to Works for Me Wednesday.


  1. Sigh -- it makes me CRAZY! I tell folks, "Listen. Leave me a card, if I'm interested, I will look up your product and give you a call." They don't generally bite with that. More often than not, I have to be rude, since I'm trying to wrangle all three small children, and the dog, and the phone ringing, etc. Ugh. I've considered putting up a sign - NO SOLICITORS!!

  2. I'm with Dianna. I think putting up a "No Solicitors" sign is the way to go. It's more passive because then you just don't have them knocking at your door at all. It's easy enough to buy girl scout cookies once a year in front of the grocery store so you don't have to worry about missing out on what you do really want.

  3. I've been meaning to put up a sign too. Maybe it's the down economy, but we have had lots of salespeople on the porch this summer. It's irritating. Love your policy. I might have to expand it to say, "We don't buy anything, sign anything, vote for anyone, or attend vacation bible school for anywhere that knocks on my door." Might have to make a sign that says that...

  4. We're suckers too, and I hate being mean, but if I listen I'll buy (says the lady who bought over a hundred books when her only child was only a month old...) I like your firm approach. We do the same thing. I say, sorry but I'm not interested over and over again until they finally leave. :)

  5. We always have tons of security system people making the rounds in our neighborhood. I just tell them we're renters! You're "we don't buy door to door" is a great line. I do similar on the phone when people call - "I don't buy things over the phone."

  6. All I would need to do is put up a sign that says "Do not knock, it really irritates my dog!"

  7. 'I'm a lollipop& STICK to this line that dh taught me: "I don't do business on my doorstep/ front door"; for telemarketers & home security/furnace check reps"I'm house-sitting" :)