No Solicitors

I have a sign conveniently located on my front door. It is tasteful but not discreet. It’s very easy to see as you walk up the front steps. It says “No Solicitors”.

Most times it works; actually I only get a few knock knocks on my door a month from people I don’t know. Our neighborhood is pretty heavily trafficked by magazine sales people, evangelists and canvassers. I get the occasional kid who ignores the sign or doesn’t know what it means (I know because when they knock IF I answer the door I usually ask – Did you read that sign? Do you know what it means?) There was once a guy delivering Chinese takeout menus throughout the neighborhood who was completely unsure as to whether or not he should leave one… luckily I got home from an errand in time to take the menu… can’t have too many of those you know. My point is that he stopped and earnestly considered whether or not he should leave the menu for us because we had the sign. He even told me he wasn’t sure if he was soliciting or not. Yes, he was, but I wanted the menu so it worked out in the end.

That brings me to this evening, after dinner just before I should have been tucking my kid into bed there came a series of very persistent dings from my door bell. I looked through the window and saw a woman standing there clipboard in hand and she dinged the bell a few more times.

She was there, she knew I was here and my husband, the people pleaser that he is, quickly ran into the kitchen cowering and muttering under his breath “it speaks, make it go away, it speaks”. He was very helpful.

So I begrudgingly opened the door and had a nice, if a little lengthy chat with a new neighbor who was going door to door to talk about a ballot measure coming up for a vote in November. That’s all well and good except the “No Solicitors” sign, I feel, is in effect. True she isn’t trying to SELL me anything but I have always taken “no soliciting” to mean do not try to sell or convince me of anything. Do not solicit your candidate to me. Do not solicit your cause to me. Do not solicit your religion to me. Do not solicit your service to me. Do not solicit your product to me. (it speaks, make it go away, it speaks!) In other words, no soliciting.

We do not like being solicited to. That’s why we have the sign. Actually, we got the sign shortly after a man attacked and assaulted a woman only a few blocks from here. My husband thought it would just be safer to let people know we didn’t want them here. I quite agreed.

Still, it isn’t only the attackers we wanted to keep at bay. We just don’t like strangers coming to our door trying to sell to us something or sway our thinking, no matter how useful their product or valid their opinion.

I guess the whole point of this post is; am I wrong in my thought that a “No Solicitors” sign should keep all the solicitors away? Does it really only apply to people who are asking for funds in exchange for something?

11 Comments so far

  1. plm (unregistered) on July 31st, 2007 @ 10:08 pm

    I was once told by a door-to-door salesman that he always ignored No Solicitor signs because the people who posted them were easy sales. This was twenty years ago. Now? I don’t know. Seems to me there are more dangers on both sides of the door.

  2. Robert Canfield (unregistered) on July 31st, 2007 @ 10:20 pm

    “Did I see your no soliciting sign? Yes, but I thought that only applied to the OTHER folks”.

    In a previous life, I ignored no soliciting signs with a passion. Once, the no soliciting sign fell off the door, clanging on the front porch just as the homeowner opened the door. I picked the sign up, kind of laughing, which made the homeowner laugh. We had a great conversation. I don’t remember if I got an appointment. (In my dreams, I’m positive I did.)

    I’ve haven’t done door-to-door SALES for years. I still do lots of political door knocking? Now, I think no soliciting signs are HOLY WRIT. To be OBEYED. Unfortunately, there are lots of folks still like the OLD me.

    You know what we do now at our house? We just don’t answer the door unless we know who it is. Except for kids selling candy. I’m a sucker for the king size Kit-Kat bars.

  3. jen (unregistered) on August 1st, 2007 @ 1:43 am

    I try to be polite, but firm in telling them to move along. If they don’t take the hint I go to Plan B. Plan C involves the sword I keep behind the door.

    Don’t even ask about Plan 9.

  4. divebarwife (unregistered) on August 1st, 2007 @ 7:54 am

    I absolutely think they apply to all solicitations – be it money, signatures, what have you…..

    However – I know that I am sometimes completely oblivious to things like that. We had that sign on the front door of our old office – people often sill came in soliciting and my boss made a comment about “can’t they see the sign?” Me who walked through that door at least once a day for 2+ years said “what sign?”

    So I’ll give ’em some slack – as long as they leave without protest when I point at the sign and say no thanks.

  5. Rusty (unregistered) on August 1st, 2007 @ 8:37 am

    I’ve actually been considering a “No Solicitors” sign for awhile (summer’s always the worst for this stuff) and was wondering if they actually worked.

    My wife does not know how to say “no.” So, like your husband, she hears the door knock and then runs to another part of the house, leaving me to deal with these people. 99 times out of 100, the solicitation involves a combination of joining some cause AND coughing up some dough.

    And these people know their scripts. “I don’t have any money today.” “But it’s only $5 for a basic membership.” “Do you have a website I could visit after payday?” “No, but here’s a form you can fill out w/ your credit card/checking account/other top secret information, and of course you can trust me because I claim to be legitimate.”

    I’ve taken to being firm but sorta-kinda mean but a bit nice, and have shortened the average conversation from 7 minutes to 2. My wife says “that’s so mean, I feel so sorry for them, it’s so hot out, etc.” But in the end, the desired goal has been met.

    Anyway, think I’ll get the sign. Maybe a few less conversations a year…

  6. Lelo (unregistered) on August 1st, 2007 @ 8:43 am

    I thought it meant if you were trying to sell something for money, but I can see where you’re coming from.

    A few years ago my viewpoint on canvassers changed when I did canvassing on a political campaign I was involved in. It was the hardest thing I had ever done, putting myself out there at people’s doors like that, schlepping through neighborhoods. People are mean. And some people I had wonderful conversations with. But it was really hard on a personal level. Now when people canvassing for issues that I’m on the same side of the issue as them come to the door, I offer them something to drink, smile, and thank them for doing what they’re doing.

  7. McAngryPants (unregistered) on August 1st, 2007 @ 9:19 am

    I have the same sign. If someone knocks, I’ll open the curtain and take a peek…If I don’t know who is knocking at my door, I just go back to whatever I was doing.

    My house…my rules. bye bye

  8. Himself (unregistered) on August 1st, 2007 @ 9:59 am

    We’ve had a variety of “no solicitors” signs at our house. Usually the canvassers (OSPIRG, etc.) feel they don’t apply to them and bug us anyway. Door-to-door salesmen are pretty rare these days, so it’s mostly the canvassers in our neighborhood.

    So Wacky Mommy made a sign that said something like “NO solicitors NO canvassers NO petitioners NO religion NO anything!”

    This had the unfortunate side-effect of pissing off our mailman.

    My standard line to canvassers is this: we do all of our charitable donations at the end of the year, and we only donate directly to organizations. Feel free to leave literature and we’ll consider your organization. (Did you know some canvassers are paid 40% commission?)

  9. CamiKaos (unregistered) on August 1st, 2007 @ 10:08 am

    I often wonder if I should put up a sign that says “Don’t knock on my door unless I know you or you’re selling girl scout cookies” instead of the No Solicitors…

    But since the girl scouts sell those addictive thin mints at the grocery store now and now door to door I haven’t bothered.

  10. Mr. Viddy (unregistered) on August 1st, 2007 @ 11:51 am

    I live in an apartment, it seems to keep most solicitors away.

  11. one thing (unregistered) on August 1st, 2007 @ 3:24 pm

    > This was twenty years ago. Now? I don’t know.
    > Seems to me there are more dangers on both sides
    > of the door.

    Crime rates were much higher in America twenty years ago. Fear hype in the media may not have been as bad though.

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