Monday, October 01, 2007

No Soliciting

Has our populace become so illiterate that they don't know what it means, or is it simply that it applies to everyone else accept them? Seriously, the No Soliciting sign is on the screen door, right next to the handle they have to open to knock on the entry door. IT IS IS PLAIN VIEW.

Since I have been home a lot this year - lack of work will do that - I have had the opportunity to talk to many strangers ON MY OWN PORCH. When there is a knock at the door, I assume that it is a delivery. Half the time it is. The other half is made up of college students selling magazines for a special trip or something, or it's home security and cable salesmen. Poor souls, they obviously are doing this because they DON'T KNOW HOW TO READ.

Case in point - today a very nice young lady was selling magazines door to door. This is some kind of point system to earn scholarships and trips overseas. I was polite to her, as she complained that a lot of people had slammed the door in her face. I told her I wasn't interested in purchasing a new subscription. I was offered renewals, I declined. I told her I only get a couple of magazines a month, and they were not usually offered through these types of programs. She said I could give them as a gift. Again, I declined.

I maintained a nice conversational tone with her, even though I feel like crap today. I have some kind of flu/cold bug and I can't turn off the faucet that is my nose. I wished her luck and stated again that I just wasn't interested. As she was turning away, she said usually people that were this nice to her and talked to her bought a subscription so she could win. Huh? I'm supposed to feel bad that I can't afford to give her money for a subscription that I will never see? (I've been burned three times by these things.) Should I have just yelled at her "can't you read - get off my porch"? Or should I have just scowled at her through the window until she felt intimidated enough to run away?

This isn't the first time this has happened. Because I answered the knock on my door that means I want whatever they have. When did civility and decency take a vacation? Or are manners too old fashioned for those under the age of 25?

No offense to those out there who appreciate and practice good manners, but I know when I was 18-20 years old I knew that it was polite to open doors for the elderly or give them my seat on the train. I still do that at 42. Case in point last Friday. A mother with 2 small children got on the train in Oakland. Two teenagers were sitting next to the door. She asked if they could give up their seats for her children. She was ignored. I offered my seat to the mother, and the lady sitting next to me offered to get up as well. It was them I noticed this mother was pregnant. What made it worse, the teenagers got off at the next stop.

Recently, we took my mom on a weekend getaway to Solvang, a little Danish town north of Santa Barbara. It was a busy weekend, since they were celebrating Danish Days. Twice, my mother was bumped by a young person so caught up in their conversation they couldn't be bothered to look where they were going. One person through a "sorry" over their shoulder, the other didn't. She's 80 years old. She had to step out of the way of many people that weekend.

Is this what we have come to? We are so absorbed with our own importance that we can't see how our lack of empathy and civility affects others? I don't like where society is headed and much of it comes from what isn't taught at home anymore.

OK, since I can't change the world as a whole, I can stop one thing in my immediate sphere of influence. I did something that I will probably regret, but I am sick and tired of getting attitude from strangers that come to my house. I typed up a note and put it in my front window. If you are looking up when you come up my steps, you can't miss it. If you can't read, it won't matter. It says:

No Soliciting

That means if you are selling, promoting or offering services, we are not interested.

Don't knock.

Don't leave your flyer's.

Thank you.

USPS, UPS, FedEx and those with legitimate business and personal matters are welcome.

Not too harsh. But at least if they still knock, I can refer them to the local reading program. Any suggestions? I have considered a big Stop sign at the base of the stairs - like a silhouette of a salesman with the circle and line through it. No, they won't think it's for them. I wish I could rig a device that when they knocked a recording would play of a snarling, ferociously big barking dog. Maybe that would keep the "solicitors" away. No, they are probably used to that. Oh well. I guess I'll have to resort to door slamming after all.


Katherine said...

I think it's that the "No Soliciting" sign is redundant. There is no one on the planet who wants to be solicited. They already know you don't want them. Their job is to barge ahead anyway, hoping that your curiosity or spontaneous desire will get them past your defenses. Kind of like telemarketers. They bother people for a living, and probably would do something else for a living if they thought they had a better opportunity.

Good luck!

anita said...

Let me know if the sign works for you! I started working from home about 18 mos ago and I was totally amazed by the number of "callers." I started avoiding them, which I could get by with anyways, as our doorbell does not work. My favorites are the christian converters... uhmm.. no still not interested.. well, we'll pray for you then. good to know, I'd say. My not favorites were the ones who would grab the screen door as if to come in anyways, that is when I would stand fully up and let go of my dog's collar (who wouldn't hurt a flea but was obviously ~intrigued~ by my irritation) they usually let it go then... idiots.

looking forward to the campaign!