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Pushy Door-To-Door Salesman

Last night at dinner time (6:15) my doorbell rang, setting off my two dogs as it normally does. I opened the door to a salesman holding material for a well-known company that provides security services. He started talking and I said, over the the barking dogs, “I’m not interested”, and started to close the door. He continued to talk and I again said I wasn’t interested and shut the door. I did not talk to him in an angry or rude voice, just stated my disinterest. A little later I was in my back yard and my next door neighbor asked what I said to the salesman. Apparently when she also voiced her disinterest the salesman said, “Well, you’re a lot more polite than your neighbor there” (indicating my house). I was rather perturbed that a stranger would say something like that to my neighbor and good friend but there wasn’t much I could do about it.

Two hours later the doorbell rang again (setting off the dogs) and low and behold, the salesman returned! I opened the door a crack (I can see through a window in the door who is there) and he said, “I came back.” Mind you, it’s dark, cold, and I’m holding back two big dogs. I said, “So I see. I told you I wasn’t interested.” He said, “But you didn’t let me explain our services…,” and continued to talk. I said, “Sir, I told you I’m not interested. And I don’t appreciate your talking to my neighbor about me.” At that, he looked rather sheepish and started to explain himself. I closed the door again.

Looking back at this, I realize I should have said, “I’m not interested, thank you.” However, how polite should one be to an uninvited salesperson? Frankly, his return later in the evening frightened me somewhat. I found another neighbor to whom he had given his card and called his company to complain. The woman I talked to was flippant and dismissed my fear. All she said was, “Don’t worry. We made our quota in your neighborhood and won’t be back.”

I realize people have to make a living but is one obliged to offer explanations to someone who is clearly not wanted? 1031-12

If you are in the US, the Better Business Bureau and even Google are your friends.  File complaints and negative reviews to your heart’s content.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Sim November 8, 2012, 6:23 am

    I had a similar encounter with a man at my grandmother’s house trying to convince her to change her electricity provider. He arrived smack bang in the middle of dinner. After three rounds of ‘We’re not interested’ ‘I can’t help you’ and ‘You’ve interrupted out dinner’ I finally got annoyed with him and told him ‘Look, nothing in this house has changed in 40 years. I’m not going to waste my time and energy trying to convince my grandma to change to your electric company. If I wanted to waste my breath I’d try to convince her to change the carpet or paint the lounge room’ and closed the door in his face. Then I went and re-heated and ate what was left of my dinner.

  • Esmeralda November 8, 2012, 7:10 am

    I think I know which company this is. In my area, they like to knock on your door and tell you they need to inspect your security system; if you say you don’t have one with them, they proceed to get pushy. I had one of these men confront my mother, who is a little cognitively impaired; he frightened her so badly, she was in tears by the time I made it to the door. He refused to leave until I started to dial the police. His company, when I called to complain, gave much the same response that you received.
    Really, I think when a stranger is at your door, refusing to leave when asked, it’s no great breach of etiquette to tell him to leave, even if a bit curtly. This salesman was wrong to talk to your neighbor about you, and seriously out of line to return to your door a second time.

  • Cherry November 8, 2012, 7:17 am

    There is nothing I hate more than someone who won’t take no for an answer in situations like this.
    There’s a guy at my university who tries to convince people to switch to the bank that has a branch on campus. Almost every time he’s there, I tell him I’m happy with my bank, and he proceeds to follow me, trying to convince me otherwise. I had to threaten to complain to the branch last time to make him go away. The salesman in the story was out of order for coming back.
    Like admin said, file complaints against the company.

  • Esther November 8, 2012, 7:26 am

    I have a question: when an uninvited solicitor calls in person or by phone, how many polite rebuffs do I owe them before (if they persist) I can resort to door closing, hang up or not so polite rebuff?

  • Jena R. November 8, 2012, 7:30 am

    Boy, if ever there was a person who should read “The Gift of Fear,” OP is it. There is a point when we need to stop worrying so much about etiquette, take the bull (or bully, as the case may be) by the horns, and say, simply “No.” Then follow through on “No” by closing the door, hanging up the phone, calling the authorities, or doing any other follow-through that aligns with the circumstances. This creep used several mechanisms which can be cited in the above-referenced book, causing OP to second-guess herself. You were manipulated into becoming concerned with what a total stranger thinks of you — a common ruse used by charlatains and rapists alike. You clearly have a viable security system in your two dogs, which is a good thing. Because, regardless of what this individual’s line of work is, he moved beyond the realm of professionalism and compromised your sense of well-being. I shudder to think what could have happened if “Rover” and “Boscoe” hadn’t been there with you.

  • Green123 November 8, 2012, 8:01 am

    No, one is not obliged to offer explanations to an unwanted caller of any kind. Your house, your rules.

    Here in the UK there is a trend for doorstep ‘chuggers’ (charity muggers) and another more annoying trend for pushy salespeople from the electricity and gas companies, who have a habit of calling at dinnertime, or when the kids are in bed, or after dark when people don’t want to open their doors. Some people in my area have ‘no cold callers, thank you’ signs on their doors, which at least some companies respect. Some communities have Neighbourhood Watch ‘No Cold Calling’ zones set up, so if if the OP is the UK s/he could try contacting her local police station, council and trading standards. But the OP should also contact the company, preferably in writing to a senior executive or manager, to express concern. Yes, this salesperson was trying to do his job, but he crossed the line between ‘enthusing’ and ‘harrassing’ when he refused to leave the first time, let alone coming back!

  • Jewel November 8, 2012, 8:12 am

    The salesman’s visit did prove that you do have a security problem: you open your door to strangers! Even with two dogs, opening the door to people you don’t know could easily result in an assault, burglary, or worse. There is no rule of etiquette that says you have to answer your door every time someone pushes the doorbell. Install and use a peep hole if you don’t already have one to avoid a repeat of this kind of situation.

  • BH November 8, 2012, 8:19 am

    Him coming back after you dismissed him was also a form of Harrassment. I know that if he called you, you can tell him that if he contacts you again you can call the police (I live in Pennsylvania (US) and I know there is a law protecting us against these ‘creepers’.
    I would have yelled out the window the police will be called for tresspassing if he does not leave your doorway immediately. Of course my cousin is an officer in the next town over so I knew I had back-up. Definitely file complaints against the company. It should be against the law to have them solicate (sp?) after dark.
    Best of luck!

  • Wendy November 8, 2012, 8:24 am

    It IS scary that he came back, and unfortunate that the woman at the office didn’t take your complaint seriously. Her snotty response shows that their company is only concerned with numbers and not customers.

    I’ve had something like this happen a couple of times w/ groups who are supposedly “college kids” (the last one who came to my door had to be at least 30) who sell magazine subscriptions to earn money for a trip overseas. The last one got a rather angry tone in his voice when I repeatedly and politely tried to turn down his offers… I ended up calling my apt. complex manager and telling them he really made me uncomfortable. They said that they’d go look for him (3-story building of about a hundred units) and kick him out, as he wasn’t supposed to be soliciting on our property anyway (locked entryway and no one is supposed to let you in unless they KNOW that you live there).

  • Coralreef November 8, 2012, 8:32 am

    I think holding back two barking dogs kind of explains why you won’t need their services.

    Proffessional Darwinisim at its best for that company.

  • egl November 8, 2012, 8:40 am

    My guess is that the reason he thought you were rude was, you didn’t let him get to the end of his spiel before stating your disinterest and shutting the door. In my opinion, with door-to-door salesmen and telemarketers, this behavior really isn’t rude. You’re simply not wasting any more of their time, and allowing them to move on to other, possibly interested, customers much sooner.

    As well as leaving bad reviews online, you might want to let the police and/or your local officials know about this and the company’s reaction. They may need a permit to sell door-to-door where you live, and complaints about this type of behavior might be taken more seriously if it makes getting a new one trickier or impossible.

  • Audra November 8, 2012, 9:07 am

    OP- I, too, would have been frightened if a salesman I clearly told I wasn’t interested showed back up to my house. And talking smack about me to the neighbor? Oh, heck no.

    No, you are not obliged to offer explanations. If you say you are not interested, then they should leave and not badger you to hear their pitch.

    For several days in late summer, years ago, we had American and international college kids come through our neighborhood selling children’s books. I live in the corner lot coming into my subdivision and there is a subdivison directly across from ours. I would see the van drop them off every morning, about 10 am. My children were still in elementary school and at an age where they enjoyed having a story read to them, so I thought maybe if I bought one or two, they would stop ringing my doorbell. They were ridiculously over-priced. I looked through the pamphlet and bought a package in the lower price range. No more doorbell ringing!

    A few weeks later, after school had started, another group of kids came through selling books. Same over-priced, package deals. I was outside in the yard with my kids afterschool when one approached. He launched into his pitch, I listened politely and told him that I had already bought from another company and my kids would be selling magazines and books at school soon, so thanks, but not interested. He *whined*, “That’s what your neighbor said neighbor said. You could at least come up with something different!”. Mad spine kicked in and I said “If you are going to pester people to buy your over-priced books, you need to learn to accept no. Leave and do not come back. Tell your employer to tell all the others to not come here. I will call the police to report you for trespassing and solictation if any of you do”. I purchased no trespassing and no soliciting signs the next day and posted them on my property.

  • Margo November 8, 2012, 9:08 am

    OP – I think you were fine, an I don’tthink you ‘owed’ it to him to behave any differently. You didn’t ask him to all, he interrupted you and was pushy. I think a simple “I’m not interested” and closing the door is absolutely fine.

    Esther, you said “I have a question: when an uninvited solicitor calls in person or by phone, how many polite rebuffs do I owe them before (if they persist) I can resort to door closing, hang up or not so polite rebuff?”

    As Green123 says there is a trend in the UK of ‘chuggers’ coming door to door trying to get people to sign up to direct debits for charities. I have taken to saying to them that I am not interested and that I find it inappropriate to be doorstepped in this way – it feels very agressive and intimidating (even though the individuals are normally perfectly pleasant) I have told them to please feed back that being approached in thsi way makes me significantly *less* likely to give to the charity concerned.
    I think the same applies. You don’t owe them more than one. And that can be “I’m not interested. Goodbye” You don’t owe them any of your tiem to either listen to their spiel or to go into detail as to why you aren’t interested.

  • Tibs November 8, 2012, 9:09 am

    Contact the police. Chances are he was operating without a license (and yes, in most areas he needs a license). It’s situations like this that the non-emergency police number was invented for.

  • Jenn50 November 8, 2012, 9:20 am

    The last time a security rep came to my door, I told him I didn’t need a system and indicated the large, barking, lunging dog I was holding back. He then tried to insist that I especially needed their product, because their system would provide early warning if there was a fire, so “Rover there, won’t be burned to death while you’re out shopping.” For what it’s worth, in nearly 20 years as a firefighter, I’ve seen ONE home where a security system might have contributed to early detection of fire and limited the damage. Bottom line? Giving reasons why you don’t want their product just gives them something to argue about. The best choice is to say, as OP did, “Not interested, thanks.” and to close the door. I would view repeat visits as suspicious behaviour and call the police. Like Jena, I’m a huge fan of Gavin deBecker’s, and in his book, The Gift of Fear, he points out that safety trumps politeness, and it’s absurd to worry about being polite to a stranger who is persistently refusing to respect your right to say no.

  • Laura November 8, 2012, 9:20 am

    Maybe I’m way off base here, but if someone I don’t know comes to my door, I just don’t answer it. They’re uninvited as far as I’m concerned. Hasn’t backfired on me so far.

  • Cat November 8, 2012, 9:24 am

    As a single woman, I favor the “don’t open the door to strangers” approach. What may look like a salesperson may be someone who intends to rob you or worse. If you didn’t call the company, you don’t need to speak with them. Their sales will improve if they don’t spend time with someone who is not going to purchase whatever they are selling.
    I solved my retired neighbor’s problem with salespersons and religious groups by giving him two signs: one with a picture of his hundred pound dog and the words “I can make it to the fence in three seconds. How fast are you?” and, for the religious groups, “Protected by the Devil Himself!”

  • Bint November 8, 2012, 9:40 am

    Esther – I just say ‘no, thank you’ and shut the door at once. I don’t owe them anything.

    “Even with two dogs, opening the door to people you don’t know could easily result in an assault, burglary, or worse.”

    Oh, good grief. How many burglars knock and wait at a front door? Unless the OP lives in a hugely crime-ridden neighbourhood, this is *incredibly* unlikely and she does not have a security problem because she answers her front door. Please don’t try to make people paranoid. I say this after living in very rough parts of London as well.

  • LilyG November 8, 2012, 9:43 am

    If you are in the US and a member, write a complaint to Angie’s List.

  • --Lia November 8, 2012, 9:56 am

    From the salesperson’s point of view, the definition of rude is not buying their product. The definition comes in incremental steps. First it’s rude if you don’t say “no thank you.” If you do say “no thank you,” then it’s rude if you don’t listen to a short spiel. If you listen to the short spiel and still don’t want to buy, then you’re rude if you don’t listen to the whole pitch. If you listen to the whole pitch, then you’re rude if you don’t make a small purchase. If you make a small purchase, you’re rude if you don’t make a large one. As long as you’re open to the salesperson’s definition of rude, you’re open to having your life run by manipulative people who have only their own interests at heart.

    This letter reminds me of a similar story of my own, though mine is a little funny. In my case, I actually was a little interested in the product they were selling– windows– except that they’d gotten me at a terrible time, and my dog, like yours, was barking her head off. I asked in a loudish voice for them to leave a brochure. I wasn’t blowing them off; I wanted to look through the brochure with an eye towards finding out more about the product and maybe buying. The man outside listened through the barking, nodded, and just needed to tell me one thing. From his manner, I could tell it was important so I strained to hear him– and learned that it had to do with a sale they were running. I got the gist and asked him to leave a brochure. He nodded that he’d leave a brochure, but there was just one thing. He was awfully nice, and I thought he might need directions, so I grasped the dog’s leash, listened over the barking again– and learned that he was going to tell me about the product again. That time I said, loudly and through clenched teeth, “Please. Leave. A. Brochure.” He nodded pleasantly and left. When I went out later, I looked for the brochure. There was nothing.

  • Marie November 8, 2012, 9:58 am

    Reading this, I am quite glad I live in the Netherlands. We have a ‘call-me-not’ register. If you subscribe, companies are forbidden to contact you by phone for sales. As for door to door salesman: I very rarely see them, and never had one at my door. Even better: there is an organization lobbying for a ‘do-not-come-my-door’ register, so you can also make sure companies are not allowed to harass you in your private home.

    As for etiquette, I personally believe that a one time polite “No, thank you, I am not interested” is enough. After all, he came to YOUR door. You did not ask for it, nor did you encourage him. Usually this is not enough, and they will start explaining why, or ask you why not (this happens a lot when I approached on the street a lot for either charities or magazine subscriptions). I find that simple, stern “I’m sorry, I do not have time for this”, or a “Sorry, but that is my business” usually helps. This is a closer, and you can walk away or close your door.

    If this is still not enough, I am all for dropping etiquette and tell him blundly to get off your property, close the door, or hang up the phone. Threatening to call the police is – in my opinion – not out of line. After all: harassment and trespassing are criminal offenses.

    As for phone calls: when I still lived at my parents place, my mother always let me answer the phone, and when they asked for my mother, I was instructed to tell them she moved into an elderly home long time ago, and ask why they are calling this number. This usually made for a very short call, because the callers were usually very embarrassed that they had thought I was a child in the home, instead of the actual owner. They were always eager to end the call. Of course, I was a child/teenager, but that’s the thing about phones: you never really know.

  • LovleAnjel November 8, 2012, 9:59 am

    My policy for sales calls is to tell them once politely, “Sorry, I’m not interested,” and give them a chance to say goodbye. If they persist I say “I told you, I’m not interested” and hang up. As for door-to-door people, unless you’re a boy or girl scout with candy, I won’t answer the door at all.

  • Cady November 8, 2012, 10:04 am

    If it makes OP feel any better, a lot of these security sales companies are essentially pyramid schemes paying next to nothing to college students and other young people who don’t know any better, and an absolute lack of anything resembling customer service is not uncommon (meaning, it’s not you; it’s them). I view them as modern-day grifters and don’t hesitate to shut the door in their face mid-pitch.

  • sv November 8, 2012, 10:12 am

    @Esther – I generally give people two chances. The first is the polite “No, thank you,” without any explainations or apologies. If the salesperson wants to go for a second try, fine, but they will get the same answer with less friendliness. But when you say “no” you have to mean it – salespeople are usually pretty good in sensing a weakness in your resolve.

  • Otter November 8, 2012, 10:14 am

    I have a small glass window in my front door (along with a double barrel deadbolt). I just let my dogs bark their heads off while I look out and yell “Can’t open the door, they’ll run at you.” They’re pomeranians, of course, and they’ll come after you to lick, but you can’t tell from the noise. NEVER open the door to a stranger.

  • Shalamar November 8, 2012, 10:14 am

    I think you handled it just fine. Why on earth did he come back? What a weirdo.

  • girl_with_all_the_yarn November 8, 2012, 10:19 am

    I can guarantee, this is one of those guys who thinks I should give him a really good reason as to why I’m turning down his romantic advances as well.

    I also agree with filing a claim with the BBB and leaving bad reviews online.

  • Lerah99 November 8, 2012, 10:21 am

    I briefly worked as a telemarketer. I prefered the people who said “No” and hung up the phone right away. That way I didn’t have to read through the entire script before moving onto the next person.

    The people I hated were the ones who obviously weren’t going to buy but insisted on keeping me on the phone as “payback” for me interupting their evening. I understand, no one likes the telemarketers, but I’m an actual person just trying to make a living. You don’t have to buy the magazines or the cruise or whatever I’ve been asked to shill tonight. But please don’t try to tank my numbers just because you chose to anwer your phone when an unknown number called.

    OP, this sales guy is a creeper. The fact the company couldn’t care less tells you exactly the type of business they are running. You don’t owe a door to door sales person anything. A “no” followed by the closing of the door is sufficient.

  • RMM0278 November 8, 2012, 10:43 am

    So if the company made its quote in that neighborhood, that means there are people who still buy stuff from door-to-door salesmen. I’m shocked. I thought that type of salesman had fallen into the same category as the telemarketer.

    I have a simply policy. I never answer the door unless I’m expecting something or someone. I’m a single female, living alone. I will never open the door under any circumstances. If there’s a legitimate request, then that person will have a way to get in contact with me or he’ll leave the relevant materials.

    I’ve been living alone for over ten years, and in all that time that policy has never steered me wrong.

  • elizabeth November 8, 2012, 10:48 am

    And this is exactly why I rarely bother even opening up my door to solicitors. I open for them if I’m feeling extra nice that day (and if I’ve had a chance to actually get dressed).

    A couple months back in my house one morning (I am home during the day), still in my pajamas, no shower yet, no bra, etc when I heard my doorbell ring. I peeked out my 2nd story window, saw no car or anything so I figured it was someone going door to door. I ignored it.About a minute later, I heard knocking at the door. huh. they are trying twice, I thought it might be a neighbor or something actually important, so I get some clothes on real quick and start to walk downstairs. I don’t even make it to the door before I hear very loud pounding on the door! At this point, I’m thinking that maybe it IS a neighbor and there is a fire in the neighborhood or they are in trouble or something. I quickly open the door, only to have 2 idiots immediately start going into some salespitch. no neighbor in trouble, no fire, no issue other than obnoxiousness salesmen. I cut him and told him I wasn’t interested. He then responded, “but you don’t even know what I’m offering yet.” I told him I didn’t matter what he was offering, I was in no way interested. I Probably didn’t say it particularly nicely, but I didn’t really care at that point.
    Frankly, I wish I had taken his card only so I could have call the company (whatever company it was) and complain. As it was, I just fumed for the next hour or so. How dare you knock at my door 3x LOUDLY when I’m clearly not coming to the door? for all he knew, I had a sleeping baby he just woke up or I was sick in bed with the flu.

  • Snoopster November 8, 2012, 10:57 am

    Now in my forties, I do something which I know is rude, but it saves me hours of time each week. When I answer the phone and it’s a salesperson of any type, I say quickly and loudly “No…thank you!” and hang up. Now, no big deal, right? Years ago I never had enough of a spine to interrupt and politely get off the call. My hubby would laugh at me being unable to just hang up the dang phone. I do realize this is an etiquette forum, and my actions with unwanted calls is probably very rude….but it sure feels good some days!

  • Library Diva November 8, 2012, 10:58 am

    I am always polite at first. I’ve never done door-to-door, but I did do cold calling once, and we are trained to be aggressive and to attempt to flip a ‘no’ into a yes. So I try to be polite and just tell them that I’m really not interested. I repeat that phrase a few times, then I end it with “goodbye” and hang up.

    The door-to-door guys always feel super-intrusive and I can’t believe that one came back. That’s really bizarre. I had one show up on my porch recently that wanted to check something in my basement with my electrical meter. They were very pushy and intimidating and I felt nervous about what would happen after I threw them off the porch and closed the interior door on them (despite the fact that it was summer and I wanted that door open). The absolute worst in my area are the electrical supply folks. Aggressive, obnoxious, don’t take no, and never stop leaving you alone until they get you to stoop to their level.

  • Gee November 8, 2012, 11:00 am

    Honestly, wouldn’t it be ruder for a person who is not interested to let the salesman waste his time going through his whole sales pitch only to then tell him no?

    When he came back the second time, I think you would have been in your rights to tell him he was now trespassing, and if he didn’t leave, you were going to call the police.

  • Lolina November 8, 2012, 11:04 am

    My family and I all work graveyard shifts (with varying schedules, so there is usually SOMEONE asleep in my house during daylight hours). I have made a sign and posted it next to my doorbell, which reads “daytime sleepers NO SOLICITING, do not knock or ring doorbell – thank you”

    Guess what? Someone rang the door the other day – it was my day off so I wasn’t asleep. I opened the door, looked incredulously at the salesman, pointed to my sign and shut the door….

    ….Was I rude? I don’t think I was – I never said a word! 🙂

  • 2browneyes4 November 8, 2012, 11:15 am

    I had an encounter that scared me. I was at home relaxing when someone knocked on my door. I could tell through the living room that it was a man. I went to the door but did not open it. I said “yes” and he said that he was the “Kibble” man returning to talk to me about the “appliance” I was ordering. I told him he had the wrong door. He said “No, I spoke to your mother last time, I think you must have been out when I came before.” I live alone, my mother lives 3 states away, and I’m in my 40s. I told him again that he had the wrong door. He said “your mom said that she would like for you to see what I’m ordering and told me to come back.” I said “If you don’t get away from my door right now, I am going to shoot through it!!”

    I watched through the living room window as he hightailed it back down my stairs to the SUV that was waiting with another man in it, barely leaving footprints in the snow.

  • JGM1764 November 8, 2012, 11:17 am

    I would have been so creeped out I might have called the police in that case. That might have even come off to me like he was casing the place, or trying to make a point about how someone could be casing the place and therefore trying to frighten her into buying his services. Either way, creepy.

  • JGM1764 November 8, 2012, 11:26 am

    Also if I really needed to get rid of someone trying this one on me, I’d say, “this house is protected by the 2nd Amendment. Now get off my property.” That ought to do the trick.

  • barb November 8, 2012, 11:31 am

    I live in a rural area and don’t get door-to door salesmen much. The phone solicitors get a quick “not interested” and hang up. It is MY phone and I will hang up on you if I want to when you call me.

  • Duni November 8, 2012, 11:37 am

    We had one of those security company salesmen come to our door once. I never answer the door if I’m not expecting someone, but my brother was visiting and he answered it. Even after my brother explained that he wasn’t the owner of the house and couldn’t make those decisions, the guy kept going on and on. My brother has no polite spine and couldn’t get the guy to leave, so I had my husband, who is a police officer and was just getting ready to leave for work, go to the door. The salesman left pretty quickly after he came around the corner.

  • Jewel November 8, 2012, 11:41 am

    Bint — In our area, a common B&E strategy is to first knock on the door to see if the owner will make it easy on the criminal by opening the door voluntarily. It’s not paranoia to advise people to not answer the door to strangers, it’s just common sense.

  • Politrix November 8, 2012, 11:44 am

    Bint: Regardless of where you may live, many burglars (and rapists and murderers) gain easy access to people’s homes by knocking on the door in broad daylight, often posing as a utility worker or public employee (even sporting hats/fake badges from various utility companies). If you’ve been following the news about Hurricane Sandy, just last week looters were roaming affected areas posing as the Long Island Power Authority to gain easy access to homes (and the desperate owners willing to let them in). It’s not paranoia, it’s “better safe than sorry.” Safety trumps etiquette (and a misplaced sense of street-toughness) every time.
    OP: Personally, if that guy had come to my door a second time I probably wouldn’t have held back the dogs. 😉

  • Roslyn November 8, 2012, 11:47 am

    As for the person who said that a burglar won’t knock on your door, that is wrong. It’s a team technique where one person knocks on your door, and if you are home and looking out the door at them, the other person is kicking in your back door. Bam, they have you in the front room and a stranger (possibly armed) coming up on your rear. Not fear mongering, but making people aware that this is something that is done.

    I live in the country, and I have never had door to door salesmen. I do however, get the door to door Messengers of God. I am of the belief that religion should never be shoved down another person’s throat, so I do not appreciate the visits. My first visit in my new house by a pleasant woman who stopped to ask me questions about the beautiful chickens in my yard. Now, I have had two or three people stop to ask about my garden and I’m happy to talk about that subject and show them through. I have had people slow down to watch my chickens in my front yard, especially one showy rooster and when I had mama and peeps. So I didn’t think this was anything unusual. I’m more that happy to talk chickens to a responsive audience.

    Then she started talking about the “Good News” she was bringing to the neighborhood. Bang, caught me off guard! I was polite and informed her that I didn’t knock on her door with my beliefs and I would appreciate the same, she was good at twisting words which made me think she may have been coached. She didn’t take any hints and whipped out her bible which was marked with post-it notes for the quotes she was looking for.

    I am not mean and nasty, but sometimes you have to fight fire with fire and I save a small talent for special people. I didn’t need a bible in front of me, I didn’t need post-it notes and I’m sorry to say that I knew more of her bible than she did. I outquoted her, on the spot and told her that I didn’t agree with her beliefs and when she could quote the bible without it in front of her she could come back, but when she did, she would have to listen to MY beliefs.

    I’m glad to say I have had no unsolicited missionaries coming my way. And no pretend chicken admirers either.

  • Ashley November 8, 2012, 12:05 pm

    I think you handled it just fine.

    This reminds me of two incidents I had at work. One guy came in and started trying to sell window cleaning services (We were in an office with very large windows at the time). I told him thank you, but no, our services were already well in order and coordinated by another office in the building, and I had NO say in the matter (which was true). He proceeded to start cleaning my windows with whatever product he was trying to sell and talking up the product and his service. I lost it just a little bit and said “I told you I have no control over this. If you don’t leave right now I’ll hit the silent alarm” and proceeded to act like I was in fact going to hit it. After a bit more arguing, he finally left. The walls in this building were pretty thin and soon I heard the company next door having a similar argument with him.

    Then another time, I got a phone call from a telemarketer pretending to be from AT&T, trying to get our company info and sell us I forget what. Again, I have NO say in the matter. I sign the checks that pay the bills but all decisions regarding the actual content of our phone/advertising contracts is up to the owner. The owner has told me that if anyone from AT&T calls trying to upgrade anything, to tell them we are not interested, we have it handled with our local rep (Which is the honest truth!!!), and then hang up. So that’s what I did. Five seconds after I hang up, the same number pops up on caller ID. I let it go to the answering machine. The very sarcastic sounding message left, word for word was “I think it was really rude of you to hang up on me. I was trying to HELP you, and most people would appreciate that”. I picked up the phone, dialed AT&T and gave them every bit of info about the call I had just gotten and they were VERY happy to hear about it and told me “There was no way that person actually works for us, we’ll handle it”

  • Enna November 8, 2012, 12:08 pm

    I have developed a phrase for sales people who can’t take “no” on the first time.

    “I have said no. If you look by the doorbell there is a “no sales” sign. You can waste your time for the next hour begging me to sign up to your product but the answer will still be no. In that time you could have signed up three more customers who are interested. I suggest to make your comission /salery you be more efficent with your time and take my answer “no”.” Then I shut the door.

    One time I did shut the door. The man was saying he wasn’t selling I said he was, pointed to the sing then shut the door, the man smiled sheepishly and went away. The other time a man actually argured with me to say that he wasn’t selling but handing out leaflets – (he had no leaflets – why not just save time and post them through the door? Cover a lot more ground then) I did get cross with him and just said the place was rented, he wanted to know why I hadn’t told him that sooner (cheek, maybe he should have read the sign!). Another gentleman who knocked, apologised that he hadn’t seen the sign (yeah right!). He did ask me if the homeowner was in or if the propertly was rentered, I said I wasn’t preapred to give out that information, he took it and said have a nice day and didn’t waste my time any futhur, so I can forgive him for that, because 1) he was polite and 2) he did listen especially when he had be caught out.

    Salespeople like this are just so rude. They are doing more damage then good to their company. Personally I think it should be outlawed as vulnerable people can get targeted and end up sending money. My Grandma nearly lost out on thousnads for a new boiler she didn’t need. She will be more careful now, we only just cancelled it in time. Salespeople also need to learn that if someone says “No” from the get go then move on – get though a higer number of people that way and cover more ground, then being able to spend more time with people who are interested.

    Another time, my mum who is a music teacher who teaches from home shut the door on a salesman, I saw it happen as I was just coming home. She pointed to the sign and shut the door. The man’s colleauge was knocking on nextdoor’s door and he said “newbie” the salesman said “I felt like saying trousers! Trousers!” I gave him a stare – what an odd thing to say. Then they saw me walk to my house. I wish I had told him that Mum was WORKING and he shouldn’t waste his time on people who are working, he wouldn’t like it if a soliceter he was paying spent half an hour on the phone on a timeshare call would he?

    A chugger stated singing “beautiful” to me, I smiled and said I couldn’t sign up. Wish I had complained about that shallow, sexist idiot – as if I’m going to sign up just because he complements my looks! He should be targeting my brains for his charity.

    Gets me so angry when people behave like that.

  • Goldie November 8, 2012, 12:10 pm

    Our city provides No Solicitation stickers that you can affix to your door. Not sure how effective they are, or what to do if someone violates a sticker and rings the doorbell anyway — I guess you can report that person to the city then? Anyway, something to consider.

    Lerah99, that is interesting and useful feedback, thanks for sharing!! I heard that a telemarketer is required to keep talking until you’ve said Not Interested three times, so that’s what I’ve been doing. I also ask them to remove my name from their list, which most people are happy to do if you ask nicely. I don’t hang up right away because I want to get a chance to ask to have my name removed.

    Very rarely do I get someone who would ignore my “not interested” and keep talking, that’s when I hang up. I keep my conversations under 2-3 minutes. Thank you for confirming that this approach is best for both sides.

    OP, how was this guy not afraid of two big, barking, dogs? All I have is a 43lb sheltie, and every mailman, repairman etc that has come into my house, immediately asks me if the dog is okay around people. Your salesman sounds pretty shady to me. Good for you that you got rid of him!

  • Calli Arcale November 8, 2012, 12:26 pm

    He came *back*? What an idiot. I don’t know what state you’re in, but in some states, that could get him shot as his return could be construed as a threat. Also, since he was told to leave, his return does constitute trespassing. It would be worth reminding him of that. I have myself had to remind a salesperson of that fact on one occasion. And not long ago, there was a horribly rude fundraiser who I had to actually shut my door on. I don’t like it devolving into “get off my property” level, but it can get there, and if it does, do not be afraid to tell them so. Politeness does not mean allowing a stranger to barge onto your property and talk your ear off for half an hour.

  • Skittle November 8, 2012, 12:30 pm

    BH – I also live in PA, in the middle of nowhere with no neighbors. Our property is posted, and there is a no solicitation sign on the door, but we still get the occasional ‘salesman’. Usually they’re just common thieves casing the houses to see if anyone is home.

    If a strange vehicle pulls in the driveway when my boyfriend is at work, I go out on the porch with a gun in my hand and ask them what they want from a distance, if they tell me they’re trying to sell something or want to teach me about their God then they’re told not so politely to leave and not come back. I refuse to risk my own life in the name of being polite to someone that I don’t know and don’t care to know.

  • Shannon November 8, 2012, 12:40 pm


    My policy is I refuse twice before shutting the door. The first is nicely, and most people get the hint and move on. The second is firm but not rude. Then the door gets shut (and loudly locked behind me).

  • Yvaine November 8, 2012, 12:41 pm

    Jenn50, that’s awful. I’m so sorry the guy tried to use the image of harm coming to your dog to manipulate you. How utterly scummy. 🙁

    Get me ranting about Kirby Vacuums sometime…

  • MichelleP November 8, 2012, 12:49 pm

    Lolina, I love your idea. I’ve worked night shift for years and constantly get my sleep interrupted.

    @Bint, yes, there are burglars who make attempts, like ringing the doorbell, to make sure someone is/isn’t at home before they burglarize. It’s called scoping the place. Happened to me a few years ago. I had a guy knock on my door late at night, with some mumbling about using the phone, I told him I would get my husband’s phone for him (husband is nonexistent), and the guy took off. As a single woman, with a little girl, I was spooked and went to stay with a relative nearby. Came back the next morning, house was burglarized. That was fine, they can have my belongings.

    Sorry to change the subject of solicitors. I make a polite no, and if they don’t accept it, call the company.