In this modern day, I feel there is no reason why a stranger has to come to my door. If he is selling something, he can do so via phone, e-mail, ad in paper. I have a "No Solicitors" sign, which door-to-door merchants routinely ignore. Generally, then, I ignore them.
Yesterday, when a young man knocked at the door, I told my sons that I wasn't going to answer, and I went into another room. My older son couldn't resist, though--he felt it could be an emergency. So he went to the door and told the person there that I was busy. The man insisted; he instructed my son to tell me that he was from G.E. and he "needed to explain something."
Wondering if this could have something to do with my electricity, I finally went to the door (although Com Ed is my provider). The man had a shirt that said "G.E. Security" and a matching lanyard that was supposed to make him look official. He said we had been "selected" to receive a free home security system. All we had to do was display a yard sign so that when our neighbors asked about it, we would tell them how great it was. He handed me a brochure about the system and then he talked and talked. It seemed to me this wouldn't be the way a company would establish their test market.
He occasionally asked me condescending questions (although he was a good twenty years my junior). "Do you understand?" he said. "Do you get what I'm saying?"
"No," I told him. "Because I haven't figured out yet how you're going to try to make me pay for this."
"No, no. You don't get it," he said, looking cross. And then he launched again into the explanation of why this was totally free, why we'd be fools to pass it up. I tried to give him his brochure back and he wouldn't take it. He used words as a wall that he was putting up against me. "What size door frame do you have? Two-and-a-half inches, or five inches?"
"I don't know."
"I can tell you right now," he said, trying to move past me. "Do you want me to take off my shoes?"
"I don't want you to come in at all," I said. "And I won't make any decision about this until my husband gets home."
This did not send him away. "That's fine, but I'll just explain it all to you," he insisted. And he talked more. How great this was because it was wireless. It would even call the firemen for me while I wasn't home. It would save my dog's life if I weren't there to do it. "Do you just have the one dog?" he asked.
Later I realized that he was asking a lot of personal questions, security-related questions, in his patter. I couldn't imagine that a thief would go to quite this much trouble to case a joint, but I did think that he was an aggressive and terrible salesman.
"I'm going to give this back to you," I told him, shoving the brochure into his hand.
My husband appeared, looking suspicious.
The young man tried to introduce himself. "Are you a solicitor?" my husband asked, pointing at our sign.
"No, sir. I'm not soliciting." He went into a bit of his spiel, but Jeff was tired and having none of it.
"It seems to me like you're a solicitor, and I'd like you to leave my porch," he said.
"May I ask why?" He actually said that! He wanted to stay and talk about his "free" product. He was tenacious. I do not think he was from G.E. I never did quite figure out his agenda, but I found him sinister and suspicious.
And this is why, I told my children later, we do not answer the door to strangers. The fact that we have a door does not give every random guy on the make the right to knock on it and monopolize our time.
Does this sound familiar to anyone?