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My Dinner Is More Important Than Your Dreams

I just finished reading the Pushy Door to Door Salesman story and it reminded me of an incident that occurred one evening:

About 2 months ago, my husband and I were eating dinner when the doorbell rang. It was a young woman who told me she was selling magazine subscriptions in order to be entered in a contest to win a small business loan so she could open a restaurant. Now, I am not very familiar with these types of claims, but immediately doubted the legitimacy of a program that would offer business loans not on merit, but on luck of the draw.

I politely told her that we were not interested in magazine subscriptions and wished her good luck. She tried to keep talking and I said “I’m sorry, we are in the middle of dinner. Have a good night.” She said “Fine then, if your dinner is more important than my dreams…” and then walked off of my porch.

I did not reply to her bait, despite being horrified and angry at her rude reply that suggested that I was selfish. Though my husband received an earful about the insane exchange I had been an unwilling participant in. 1108-12

There seems to be a rash of stories on EHell in which the central theme is , “If you do not react to my rude comments/demands/greed in a manner I deem acceptable, you are a rude beast.”

{ 88 comments… add one }
  • NostalgicGal February 14, 2013, 3:16 pm

    If her dreams were so important she could be doing other things than trying to sell magazine subscriptions.

    In a big city I used to live in, they would bring in preteens to early teens, by the vanload to canvas to sell things, and the kids were hoping for things like a trip to (local theme park tourist trap, for $15 the kid could go and spend the day)as a prize. One had the turn of phrase about well sorry he was #4 that afternoon, he had a sticker he could give me if I bought, to put on the door so I wouldn’t be bothered again (and I knew good and bleeping well he’d be out of stickers after I made a purchase). I just say sorry I don’t care if you’re giving out gold bars and ferrari’s, I don’t do door to door sales. And close door and lock it. If they persist in pounding and ringing doorbell I say loudly, I am calling 911 for disturbance and attempt at B&E, and you know this state is a Make My Day?)

    Yes I’m jaded, after a few decades of the great masses pounding on my door. A friend had a panel out of her screen/storm double… and some paperwasps made a nest up in the top between the doors. She just locked her front door, left a note on the screen that said WASPS and an arrow… and used the garage door side entry all summer. She said she did not have ONE door to door all summer, reason why she left the nest!

    It wasn’t worth an earful to the OP’s DH, but. I would have ignored the baitline as it was meant to do just that, guilt and hook you for something you didn’t want, at a time that was rather inconvenient for you but for them (they know people would be home at suppertime)….

  • Ellen February 14, 2013, 4:11 pm

    When I lived in the Big City I became accustomed to street vendors and people handing out fliers. Most people, like me, just avoid eye contact and keep walking. Since I usually had both hands full of purse/lunchbag/umbrella/shopping or whatever, that helps keep people from attempting to shove things into your hands.

    However, one day a large man, over 6′ tall, jumped in front of me… (I do not mean that metaphorically: I saw him standing to one side and literally jumped into my path) …and attempted to shove an armful of rolled up sports socks into my (already full) hands.

    Startled, I balked like a horse and said, “No thank you” rather forcefully. When I attempted to walk around him, he sidestepped for a moment – I am not sure whether he was trying to block me or let me pass. As I finally passed him, he shouted “you won’t buy from me? Racist B****!”

    Apparently every woman walking up the street really wants sixteen pairs of men’s socks out of a cardboard box on the side of the road…racism is the only possible explanation.

  • Elizabeth February 14, 2013, 4:18 pm

    Rap, you are brilliant!!!!

  • Yet Another Laura February 14, 2013, 4:21 pm

    The salesperson was rude beyond words. Your dinner is more important than her dreams. She doesn’t have to keep the cat from jumping on the table and making off with her dreams as soon as she turns her back.

    I used go door to door to sell girl scout cookies (which mostly sell themselves) and ask for pledges for a marathon to support my school (The school required raising a specific dollar amount. Some kids’ parents just donated the extra money and skipped the marathon. Marathon was a fun afternoon with Dad, begging for pledges not so much). The second someone said “No,” I left. I do not miss this at all.

    Including your incentives as part of the sales pitch is not going to win you any extra sales. Imagine you are the buyer for parts and the sales rep wanting to be your supplier meets you in your office and goes through why their flux capacitors are better than Acme Intl’s and then caps it off with “… and if you buy today, I’ll have the best sales record on my team, which means I’ll be more likely to be promoted to District Manager.”

    The only door-to-door salespeople I buy from are girl scouts. I looooooove their cookies.

  • Venetia February 14, 2013, 4:43 pm

    I got scammed my second day in my first apartment by a magazine seller. She told me she was raising money for her collage class to go to visit a big newspaper company in a nearby city. I thought this was fascinating (I was in my second year of collage and always interested in new classes) so I invited her in and spent about an hour talking with her about her class, major, teacher, and plans.

    After she left (with a check in hand after I’d picked some random magazines to subscribe to) I called up my collage adviser to find out about this fantastic “journalism” degree because it sounded like something I wanted to do. Turns out, no such thing existed (and it was a one collage town so it’s not like she was from a different school), she made the whole thing up. I was a little impressed by her ability to tell stories, but still called my bank up and canceled the check.

    If she had honestly been raising money to promote her education and career, I would have been happy to help. But that made me very wary about anyone selling something in person, especially door-to-door.

  • Coralreef February 14, 2013, 4:52 pm

    Bad attitude from magazine girl. Hope you enjoyed your dinner OP.

    The most memorable door-to door begging I’ve ever had : teens wanting me to give them money so they could go to Europe. Not selling anything, just wanting money. I don’t think so. I still can’t get that one to be erased from my mind, and it’s been years!

  • Kate February 14, 2013, 5:05 pm

    OP, I think you were correct to doubt this. It certainly sounds like a scam to me!

    I don’t understand why salespeople resort to rudeness when they can’t get their way. It seems that the only thing this achieves is to ensure that the customer will *never* use their services.
    I was once given the sales pitch by a charity worker outside my university. I did offer to donate the money I had on me, but he insisted that he would not be taking that money and the only acceptable donation was a regular subscription of $20 per week. When I explained to him that this would not be possible, as I live paycheck to paycheck and often do not *have* a spare $20 per week, he went on a rant about “selfish, privileged students living off Mummy and Daddy”. I was so shocked I couldn’t even think of a comeback, but it did ensure that I will never donate to that particular organisation.

  • Jen February 14, 2013, 5:24 pm

    This is the text or the sign I have printed up and taped above my doorbell:
    “Please read before knocking or ringing our doorbell. This household charges $20 per minute, paid in advance, to listen to any sales pitch, religious talk, or why we should vote for your candidate. No exceptions. If you do not plan to pay, DO NOT KNOCK OR RING.
    (If you would like to leave any reading material behind, we would be happy to throw it away for you.)

  • Sarah February 14, 2013, 5:55 pm

    Do not EVER buy magazines from someone going door to door, ever ever. Do not give them your name or ANY information, no matter what excuse they give you. They are a scam, selling expensive subscriptions that are almost impossible to cancel.

    I got burned by this one. A nice-seeming kid came to the door saying he was in a communication class and that he was building skills by talking to strangers. He went through his spiel, and I told him I’m not interested. He asked if I could just check-mark that he did a good job talking, which I thought was reasonable. A week later the magazines started showing up in the mail, with no way to cancel listed on them. Needless to say, I was much more hostile when (different) kids showed up the next time.

    If you want magazines, buy them from the grocery store, or sign up yourself. Most people going door-to-door wouldn’t bother unless it was a really good deal — for them, that is.

  • JamieC0403 February 14, 2013, 6:45 pm

    I have two stories of door to door salesmen. When I was young and dumb, I had some of the door to door magazine kids come by selling subscriptions for a chance to win a trip. I found two magazines I’d like and told him I’d order them. He wouldn’t take a check though, he insisted on cash, which I rarely keep on hand. So I being again young and dumb, drove to an ATM to get cash to pay for the magazines. And the absolute kicker is I never received either subscription.
    The other was just a couple years ago, we have Kirby salesmen through around here all the time. My husband bought one a year or so before we got married and if you’ve ever sat through the sales pitch they say its you’ll never need to buy another vacuum cleaner. When the salesmen come through I always tell them thanks but no we already have one. This lady though caught me on a weak day and said that she was new and really needed to have a solo demonstration or her boss would be mad and she hadn’t had any luck so far that day, yadda yadda. So I let her in, but told her upfront and repeatedly there was no way I was buying. She did her whole demo, cleaned my living room carpet for me. She then said her supervisor had to come in and do a survey to see how she had done. He asked how she had done and then started the really high pressure sale. I kept telling them no, no, no, I’m not interested. After like 20 minutes they gave up. The lady was mad because I had wasted her time. I said I had told her upfront I wasn’t interested. Anymore I just tell them no thanks once and shut the door.

  • Roslyn February 14, 2013, 7:03 pm

    Where I come from most people answer their door with one hand on their shotgun. We don’t get any door to door sales. We had to calm down the census man after our neighbor a half mile away opened his door with the shotgun pointed at this poor man. He was white as a sheet and shaking. He sat on our front porch and drank some water and was about to leave when he realized he forgot to take our census info. Poor thing.

  • kingsrings February 14, 2013, 7:06 pm

    I unfortunately run into this frequently where I live. In my case, it’s school kids trying to sell whatever, give out whatever, in order to get some kind of trip or college scholarship. They come to my apt. complex – don’t ever assume apt. complexes are immune from door-to-door pests! And they always make sure to come after hours when the landlord’s office isn’t open (so we can’t complain that they’re there on the property). It’s come to the point where I don’t even want to open my door anymore, which is kind of sad if it’s a situation where it’s simply a neighbor that needs help or something. Some of the kids get so indignant if you don’t give them what they want, too! “Come on, I want to go on this ski trip!!”. Yeah, there’s a real, genuine ‘want’!

  • Yvaine February 14, 2013, 8:01 pm

    Carol, I disagree. These scams have been around since before reality television. And there’s nothing lazy about door-to-door sales. She may be rude, she may be foolish, she may be gullible, she may be misguided, but I can’t knock her in the hard work department. No one could put up with that much physical drudgery and that much rejection if they were lazy.

  • Laura Whisnant February 14, 2013, 8:25 pm

    Ergala-I had one of those calls about helping Native Americans on the reservation in Arizona. This one also had a strong east Indian accent. I told him, “I’ll be seeing my Navaho friend tonight, and I’ll ask him about conditions on the reservation where he was raised”. We had a good laugh later when I told my friend about the telemarketer. All he said was, ” Wrong kind of Indian!”

  • Cammie February 14, 2013, 9:03 pm

    I’ve always wondered what would happen if you replied “Oh, well now that you’ve insulted me, of course I want to hear more! Please tell me your name and the name of your Company!”

    We have a sneaky door so rarely get sales reps, even delivery people have a hard time finding us. I only wish the girl guides would stop by with cookies.

  • Katie February 14, 2013, 11:07 pm

    I don’t answer the door unless the knocker is either someone I know or someone wearing a uniform I recognize (UPS, FedEx, USPS, etc.), partially to avoid in-person salesperson encounters. Recently, I received a call from a telemarketer who deserves a place in E-Hell: not only did she not take a polite and firm “No” for and answer, she went on with her spiel as if I had agreed to purchase the product.

    I rarely receive phone calls; as a result I often forget to turn on the ringer on my phone, so I rarely answer it when I do receive a call. On one of the rare occasions when my ringer was on and I was within earshot of my phone when it rang, I answered only to find a telemarketer on the other end. My first instinct was to hang up immediately, but she was (supposedly) calling from my insurance company to promote a new product. The actual product (on-call roadside service) was both useful and reasonable. However, I was not interested in purchasing it at that time, and said as much once the pitch had progressed to the billing stage. The telemarketer persisted, first verifying my name and address (presumably to send promotional materials). As soon as she took a breath, I repeated that I was not interested in purchasing the service. She then asked if I wanted to use a Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or AmEx card for my purchase. I told her “None of the above, because I am not purchasing your product. Thank you for calling. Have a nice day.” Then I hung up on her.

  • Sugaryfun February 15, 2013, 12:32 am

    Sometimes I just can’t believe the sense of entitlement some people have. I used to have a job doing surveys over the phone (don’t hate me, a girl’s gotta eat). Most people I called refused to do the survey, which was fair enough since I was calling them at home unsolicited, so I thanked them for their time, hung up and called the next number. Some of my coworkers saw things differently. One seemed to think random strangers owed it to him to do the survey and with every refusal he would get absolutely incadescent with rage, swear and slam down the phone, another used to go so far as to abuse the respondents in the middle of a survey if they didn’t answer quickly enough. Way to poison the well for the rest of us! Strangers don’t owe you anything more than basic politeness and human decency.

  • momofeveryone February 15, 2013, 12:32 am

    i got a job one summer as a telemarketer taking inbound calls. the Co was soooo shady. they bought the number of dishn***ork and when we answered we didnt tell them right off that we were the competitor. they gave us names, addresses, credit card info ect. becasue they thought we were the billing dept.
    i quit after one week. i couldnt lie and would go off script. i never understood how some of those people did that job. granted we did not make outbound calls, they were all inbound, so i though it would be ‘better’ but it wasnt! i still feel bad about that job.

  • Marozia February 15, 2013, 2:27 am

    Put a sign up outside your door “No Hawkers” or “No Religion, Politics or Salespeople as I may offend with my disinterest”. I have those and they never fail.

  • NostalgicGal February 15, 2013, 3:55 am

    Adding another one that was phonebased, competing trash co, the rep would not take NO for an answer, and a long time ago I had been their customer and not moved since then…. and one morning I found a note that they were going to pick us up on Xday so have our cans out. And they were going to bill me but they had some issues with the card they had on file for me. (WTF, and yes this was a long time ago)

    I drove down to their office, in the industrial park, with that note in my hand. My state had a $1k per offense law for ‘being harrassed by phone solicitors’ and I also happened to know some people AT the newspaper. I let them know about the pushy telemarketer that didn’t take NO for an answer, I did NOT want their service (which was now 3x the price I was paying for excellent service, one reason I was no longer their customer) and they better get this straight now or my next stop was the City’s Finest AND the newspaper. Um I was taken off the list, apologies. And they apparently deleted all my info in their system.

    Before I got home there was a HUGE box of trashbags sitting on my driveway by my step with a note of apology and a compliments of Company X. Yes the bags had Company X’s name on them but I used them up anyways.

    The Phone, the Door, By Mail, by Email, by SiteAds, they are sure after us.

  • NostalgicGal February 15, 2013, 4:18 am

    Door to door. the infamous vacuum cleaners that ‘you can run over the hose with a car and it won’t crush’ and ‘lovely powdercoated’ and …. had a filter in it that could catch cigarette smoke particles.
    $2000! They would come to your home to do a demo and this ran at least 20 min. They also offered that if you let them into your home they would give you something (like a gift certificate for a steak dinner for two). They would call you on phone, then ask you a few questions, which would ascertain if you were possibly able to afford their vacuum. Then set an appointment.

    We did this once, and when we let the dude in, we told him flat off that we were not going to buy but go ahead, we wanted the premium. He got through about 3/4 of the sales spiel and had various ‘scare tactics’ that he couldn’t use on us as we had no small children; then he sat there and said you really aren’t going to buy this are you? and we said nope. He didn’t want to fork over the premium which he finally did, as he was now po’ed and didn’t want to finish the spiel (no spiel no premium) and we said go right ahead, he had our permission to finish the spiel. He handed over the certificate and left; the restaurant was out of business and not in great chunk of town when we did try to redeem it. (at that point we were just curious, when he had a red half sheet of printer paper with some printed out lettering on it, we knew it was probably not for real).

    We got a call about the appointment, we told them what we thought of a dude who had altered his tags on his out of state plates because they’d expired and TOLD US ABOUT IT and BRAGGED ABOUT WHAT HE WAS GOING TO DO WITH HIS COMMISSIONS from his job.

    We got flyers from the company over the next several months, the $2k powdercoat barrel went down to $1500, then to $1250 as a holiday special, then $750 if we wanted a demo machine, then finally $600.

    Some months later I answered an ad for a sales job that said some travel, and great commissions, and it turned out to be for THIS company. I found out the vacuum was mostly commission, the rep got $500-700 a sale; and the company was making at least that much too. I politely told them I’d been on the receiving end of one of their sales demos, and as motivated as I could be, I could NOT sell this product, thanked them, and walked out of the interview.

    I in the later years bought a nice brand name vacuum (really good one, rhymes with that one chicken company) that has more features, more power, not as big and a heckuva lot less $. And I looked up that other vacuum, they moved their factory and store to town I used to live in; and the top of their line is now over $3k. Buy the rhyming vacuum instead. It’s a much better deal and a lot longer warranty.

    And because we let that one into our house we got calls from other places doing similar, booking in-home sales pitches for overpriced stuff; and no I won’t answer your four questions to get into a drawing for a $50 gift certificate!

  • Ally February 15, 2013, 7:39 am

    One of the advantages of living in an apartment is that I don’t get door-to-door salesmen, but living in a big city I do get those college kids with clipboards and homeless asking me for money all the time. It might be rude, but I don’t even respond to them at this point. Any response “I’m sorry, I’m running to the hospital.” or “I’m late for work.” or so on is seen as an opening and they will not take no for an answer.

    So honestly, no, random person, I don’t care what you think of me. Because you’re just going to use that as an in to try to convince me to buy something I don’t want or give money through your for-profit that takes a hefty share.

  • The Elf February 15, 2013, 8:42 am

    Manybellsdown: “I play a lot of online games, and boy do you see this nonsense everywhere. “I like your . Can I have it?” or “Please buy me this game item that costs real life money.” My answer is always a simple, direct “No.” To which I generally get the reply “OMG U DONT HAVE 2 BE SO RUDE!”

    Oh good, it’s not just me. (I respond with a simple “No” as well. Blind invites are met with a “No, thank you.”) Throw in the ones asking for game gold for special gear and it amounted to about a question a day when I was on WoW. The one MMORPG I played that was marketed as definitely not in any way for kids (Age of Conan) didn’t have nearly so many of these kinds of questions. But WoW, which has a lot of kids, had a lot more. So I figure the questioners are kids, too. I sure hope they are!

  • JustMe February 15, 2013, 10:10 am

    I was out working in my yard when a security system company door to door stopped by to give me a sales pitch. When I pointed to my two large barking dogs at the front door as my security system he said ” someone could throw poisoned meat over your fence you know”. Through clenched teeth I told him to get the ehell off my property & never return. I was so furious that he would even say such a thing I forgot to get the name of the company to call & complain about their “sales tactics”.

    Ergala, the Native American reservations in Northern Arizona can have harsh winters & get quite a bit of snow themselves.

  • Yvaine February 15, 2013, 10:38 am

    Re: the ski trip kids: there’s no ski trip either.

  • Kimberly February 15, 2013, 1:08 pm

    With the HS and JH aged kids that don’t know the names of local schools (This is Texas take a stab Lamar, Bowie, Houston, Austin, Long, Deaf Smith, Crockett at least) – I offer to let them use my phone to call home for help. Often the kids have been scammed into “summer jobs” which are abusive. They are to go door to door and if they don’t make their quota they don”t eat and sometimes have to sleep in the van instead of the motel the group is staying in. None have taken me up on my offer – but I also call the nonemergency number and report the group. I guess the cops took some action because last summer I found out they were bypassing my house.

  • Goodness February 15, 2013, 2:51 pm

    Marozia — I fortunately don’t have that problem so much here, but I used to have a “We’re not interested in hearing about your church” sign at my old house in town, and when they rang the bell anyway I’d offer my sympathy that they didn’t know how to read. One of them even came back with “But I didn’t think you meant ME”

  • Jess February 15, 2013, 4:36 pm

    I feel bad that so many of you have had bad experiences, as my partner works door to door, raising money for charities. That girl’s behaviour was completely unacceptable, and if she was legitimate, she should have had a supervisor nearby whom you could have complained to. If you cannot see a supervisor, or they won’t tell you where to contact one, it’s best to shut your door immediately.

  • JWH February 17, 2013, 2:25 pm

    I recall doing the magazine sales thing in eighth grade. Door to door and all that. I most remember the time that a parent answered the door with two kids, and I immediately threw the names of two kids magazines into my sales pitch …. The kids immediately demanded subscriptions and wouldn’t shut up. The parent glared daggers at me as they signed up for the subscription …

  • delislice February 17, 2013, 2:26 pm

    I have distressingly found that the latest workarounds to human telemarketers (to whom I can at least say, firmly, “Please take me off your list”) are robo-telemarketing calls. I’ve had half a dozen in the last few months, and if you try to call the number back of course it doesn’t ring through.

  • Cat February 17, 2013, 3:18 pm

    Well, there’s always a song you could Have sung, “Have you ever seen a dream walking…” or “Beautiful dreamer, waken to me…”

  • Ergala February 17, 2013, 5:17 pm

    @Justme, that may be, but honestly I have never heard of this “charity” until recently. And they are quite pushy. I don’t owe anybody anything, especially over the phone. If I want to donate to a charity I contact the charity directly. I also check the BBB for information and do a google search. You’d be amazed how many sites are dedicated to telemarketers, debt collectors….you simply enter the phone number that called you in a google search and you find out a wealth of information. I got a great heads up about one company that has the habit of calling your family, neighbors, place of work….you name it. They called me about a debt I did not owe and I quickly shut him down and informed him that if they called any number but this one that I’d have them nailed so fast their heads would spin. I also demanded that they contact me via mail so I would have a paper trail. They tried to refuse but in the end I won.

  • June First February 18, 2013, 8:11 am

    In our state there are laws against the big groups of teens selling magazines door to door. Unfortunately, that law was passed after a van full of the kids crashed on the interstate, killing multiple high school students. I seem to recall the driver didn’t have a license. Tragic situation all around.

    I used to live in an efficiency apartment in the front of a large house. The old front door of the house opened directly into my apartment. I would get religious groups at least twice a week trying to forcefully give me information to “save” me. My mother gave me the perfect response: “Oh, hold on a second! I’ll give you some information from my church!” That usually sent them away.

  • LonelyHound February 19, 2013, 11:04 am

    I cannot say I am nearly as nice as some of you. We put up a no soliciting sign on our front door at our old house just before our first baby was born. Yet we still got door to door salepeople so we took to keeping a dictionary by the door. If someoe came to sell us something we’d tell them no soliciting. If they persisted we’d open the dictionary and read off the definition of soliciting. That usualy dealt with most of them. Ironically, kids were the only ones who respected the signs.

  • NostalgicGal February 20, 2013, 1:46 am

    @ delislice, oh I hate those. And some of them will keep ringing you until the entire spiel is reeled off, and if you turn your ringer off, some of them will literally tie up your phone line so nobody can voice mail you or anything. You MUST pay the price of letting their five minute or so spiel roll off to get rid of them. Or worse, they claim they had a glitch, but they robocall about 4 am… no I am NOT going to consider insurance at 4 am!

    Here we are a thinly settled small population area; and some particular ratings places that do research for TV and radio, especially radio, will pester the c*** out of everyone here on a regular basis. We have no broadcast TV and no radio except for a recently added low power repeater for a christian station. One station. Finally after about 10 calls in 3 days I talked to the lady on the other end to try to explain the situation-the size of the county, our population, and how we are the end of nowhere. Unless one subscribes to some sort of feed, there is NO radio (especially) stations to be doing survey on, so QUIT BUGGING ME. She pleaded so nicely but they NEED people to participate despite the fact I’ve told her about how many times I’ve declined already, and I said fine, I’ll start logging your calls for harrassment. Make sure you tell your management about what a bleeping PAIN you and yours are being out this way. Haven’t had a call from them in two years.

  • H February 23, 2013, 4:55 pm

    I had an experience with something like that. Two salesmen came to our house and wanted to raise money by selling ribbons that supported the army. I told them we weren’t interested, and the had the gall to say “Well that’s fine if you don’t support the US army.”

    I fought the urge to shout “My Dad was a navel officer Jack***!”

  • j-wo September 10, 2013, 11:13 pm

    On the day of my father’s funeral, as I was getting ready to go, a young woman from the power company came to my door to make sure I was “getting the best deal possible”. I politely said that it wasn’t a good time, and she asked if she could come back later. I stated that as I was getting ready for my father’s funeral, there wouldn’t really be a good time. She then suggested that she could come back the next day. Or the next week. It would only take a few minutes, if I’d just let her in (never mind the fact that I don’t let strangers into my house ever). She just wouldn’t leave! I finally said “this is a house in mourning, and we don’t really care about our power rate right now” and shut the door. A few days later I put in a complaint with the company, and they were appalled about the incident and were sincerely apologetic.

  • j-wo September 10, 2013, 11:15 pm

    LonelyHound: I’ve put up one of those signs too. Unfortunately, several of the young people who have still tried their luck actually had no idea what the word “soliciting” meant. Argh.

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