Oh, Please Do Tell Me About What You’re Not Selling

Another Welcome Mat

Unwelcome Mat (Photo credit: rbieber)

Just because I’m feeling great lately doesn’t mean I have to be nice to door-to-door hucksters. Those people irritate the living daylights out of me. Brad’s really nice to them. I, on the other hand, tend to cut them off right away and get on with my life as efficiently as possible. The only ones I’ll make an effort to listen to are cute kids who come right out and say they’re fundraising for sports or a school trip or something. Otherwise, I consider it my duty as a human being to discourage the obnoxious occupation of door-to-door “not selling anything,” as they always seem to want to reassure me right before they try to sell me something.

I mean, a bit of advice, for goodness’ sake: If you’re going door-to-door to present your bullshit “promotion” or “free opportunity” or whatever the “anything” is that you are “not selling,” and upon ringing the doorbell (a sure tip-off that it’s nobody I know), the first thing you hear is a pack of insanely yapping little dogs and some crazy person yelling and cussing at them behind the door to SHUT UP!, then your best bet is just to save your spiel and move along to ring the doorbell of your next victim (usually my in-laws, who live next door, lucky them). Because you have already disrupted my life more than I wanted, and I am not about to stand there blocking multiple pets from escaping and let you recite your whole script before I shoo you along on your merry little way.

Today’s exchange:

Doorbell rings. I crack the door open enough to acknowledge the pimply little bespectacled guy standing there, but not enough to get my head all the way out the door. He starts right in moving his lips, and I can make out a long sentence including the words “ma’am,” and “promotion,” but I can’t hear any more than that because the part of my head that includes my ears is still inside the house, where my dogs are gleefully getting their bark on in a most piercing fashion.

“Sorry, but I’m going to cut you off right there and say I’m not interested…” I say, to which I hear him reply something to the effect that (of course) he is “not selling anything–” to which I interrupt again with “Sorry, have a nice day,” and close the door, trying to be firm without being outright mean.

I think we’re done. Unfortunately, as the door closes, this young whippersnapper finds it necessary to toss out an appalled-sounding, “Wow.” This tells me I may have failed in my firm-yet-polite effort somewhat, which I kind of knew anyway. Well, regardless, it’s too late now, so I might as well roll with mean.

I whip the door back open. “Don’t say wow to me, dude! I said I’m not interested! I don’t have time. Can you hear these dogs barking? I’m trying to work here.” Which I was.Ā SLAM.

Then it briefly occurred to me that this kid might have been one of the legitimate fundraising types I usually give a listen to. I doubt it, though. If he were, he wouldn’t have gone with the “not selling anything” angle. So you may call me a mean, intolerant, Scroogey recluse, but I don’t care. These people come to MY door, unwelcome, cause a big ruckus here at the zoo, and generally disrupt my little world, so they shouldn’t be surprised when I’m less than receptive to dealing with the same old sales pitch from yet another shifty little runt who insists he isn’t selling anything.

Since, I’ve been feeling pretty creative lately, I think I’m going to paint up a charming little sign for the front door that says in cheerful lettering, “The last door-to-door guy sold me Mace.”

Now have a nice day. And good luck out there, door-to-door guy. I hope you don’t sell a single thing. šŸ™‚


119 thoughts on “Oh, Please Do Tell Me About What You’re Not Selling

  1. Now we’re getting the political flyers. I just want to put up a sign that says “Place political, landscaping and roofing service flyers here” with an arrow pointing to our recycle bin.

      • No it’s not a nice idea. There is no need to be rude to people who are trying to make a living. You should be thankful that you don’t have to go door to door to make your living. You sound like one of those people who took Oprah’s advice when she said that “the economy is tough so reduce the amount you tip when you eat out” and doesn’t give a darn about the people who’s wages they are cutting because you are to lazy to eat at home (where real cost savings happen). I’m going to try to assume you are not typically mean spirited. So let me give you another perspective. Sometimes, I knock on random doors in my business. However, I always heed the “no soliciting” signs. How hard would it be to spend $2 on one. And before you say you shouldn’t need it, you live with your door exposed to the PUBLIC. If you don’t choose to live in a gated community, you have no expectation of privacy outside your front door (check the laws). I understand how you feel as I hate salesmen too. But, in my line of work, I feel sorry for those that slam the door in my face. I own a roofing company and only work in areas affected by a hailstorm or hurricane. I help make sure the insurance co’s pay what they owe so homeowners don’t get screwed. I sleep very well at night knowing that my customers love me for the help I’ve given them. And, because so many in roofing companies are dishonest, I actually like it when people like you slam the door because I know you just increased your chances of getting screwed when you go to replace your roof. I realize that a door to door salesman that is honest is rare, but they do exist and you should not demean them just because you are too lazy to train your dogs not to go crazy when the doorbell rings.

      • Well, I knew I’d get some of these comments eventually. I hope you’ve enjoyed expressing yourself as much as I enjoyed writing this blog post, which you obviously have taken with complete dead seriousness. Thanks for your views and for reading my post. I’m not going to go into what kind of person “you sound like,” as you have with me.

        By the way, I tip more than just about everybody I know. šŸ™‚

      • So then, if you are so generous to your waitress, why are you so mean to someone who is just doing their job? It doesn’t change the fact that if you bought a simple $2 sign, you wouldn’t have to get so stressed by someone interrupting your day. “those comments”…what do you mean, the type that call your common sense into question? You didn’t even address the idea that you’ve chosen not to train your own dogs or buy a sign or move to a gated neighborhood or simply NOT answer the door. The point is you have many alternative options and you CHOOSE to be rude. And, no, I don’t enjoy this. I enjoy it just about as much as I do having to point out alternative options to being rude to someone obviously smart enough to solve the problem on their own. I’m sorry if you feel attacked. I have a short fuse when it comes to rude behavior as I feel it is one of the biggest problems facing our country today and the root of many others.

      • Good morning, RazoR Burnes. By “those comments” I mean comments disagreeing with me, which, when you first start blogging you don’t get a lot of simply because it’s mostly your friends and your mom and stuff reading your blog. I knew they’d come and I knew I’d have to be prepared to deal with them without getting stressed out. I welcome your comments…and you’re right–I didn’t address every point you brought up. I didn’t feel I needed to because I didn’t get into blogging to argue. I just got into to it as a creative outlet. You can believe what you want. You don’t know me and I don’t know you. You don’t even know if this really happened or not. OK, yeah, it did. However, sometimes things aren’t written in the utmost seriousness. It’s a goofy little blog, not the evening news. Anyway, thanks again for your interest.

  2. I like this post a lot šŸ™‚ I don’t get people knocking at the door because I’m in a student complex, but I do get a lot of takeaway menus under the door that just go in the bin! I want a “no flyers/takeaway menus please!” sign for my door!

  3. Don’t like answering my door to sales people either…always feels so intrusive. But, how about those recorded phone calls? I don’t get nearly the satisfaction of hanging up on a recording as I do with a well-intended slam of the door!

    • Yeah, I hate that! Live people are fun though. My Dad just politely says no, but my sister and I like to wind them up. One of them went, “Hi, is this the house?” and my sister went, “No, this is a nest – I’m a bird.” They hung up.

  4. When I was a kid in the 70s, door-to-door sales were more accepted. My mom used to invite in the Jewel Tea man and the Fuller Brush man, who came by every month or so. But today, I’m with you — if you’re selling something, please skip my house. The most frequent offender is AT&T, who desperately wants to sell me U-Verse. I swear, with all the money they’ve spent sending guys to my door, they probably could have given me the service for six months for free. Which would have been more effective at selling the service to me.

    • True, Jim. Your post has reminded me of a sales encounter in the 80s that I may have to write a follow-up post about.

      AT&T converted us to U-Verse by force a couple of weeks ago, BTW, and I still don’t really know what it is.

  5. I’m going to take your advice from now on. Lately, I’ve been hounded by petitioners with a cause, whether it’s an environmental issue, or pushing some local candidate. I could easily: a. Say “no thanks” and slam the door shut, or b. Sign the damn petition — whatever the hell it’s for — and let them be on their way. I mean, they’re usually teenaged kids who are volunteering their time when they could be downing beers and Captain Morgan spiced rum behind the middle school. Instead, I wind up discussing their cause and/or candidate for the next fifteen minutes, sometimes signing, sometimes not. I could see they leave rolling their eyes thinking, “I hope they’re all not like THAT guy.” Congratulations on being “FP’d.”

  6. This post is great. It also brought back memories! When I graduated high school I was young and malleable, so I took a “cool” job as they said that would pay me really well. Yeah it was door-to-door sales all over Oregon, Idaho and California. I did it for a year and finally walked. I assure you, you’re not the only one with this attitude. We would average 300 doors a day to get about 15 or so “yes” doors. Horribly negative environment and I agree, door-to-door sales is a garbage industry! Thanks for the post, I thoroughly enjoyed it!

    • Thanks for reading, Jeremy! You made it for a year–you must be tough! I have a cousin who thrived selling Kirby vacuums right out of school–could never wrap my head around how he did it.

      • I did last a year lol. I was extremely tough which is what it takes. Kirby can be very lucrative if you’re willing to dedicate your life to rejection and sales! I have the personality for it but I have since used my personality in other areas!

  7. THe last line wraps it up nicely.
    Will you sell it to me?

    I was one of those lazy kids that would just throw away the fundraiser catalogs. I only tried to get my folks to fund my jog-a-thon laps with cash so i could pocket a bit of the change. No, I did not grow up to be a politician, though i sound like one.

    • Sounds fine to me! My husband and I would always just pay up when one of the kids had a fundraiser like that. We didn’t want them pestering everybody. Although I try not to be mean to fundraising kids…

  8. Pingback: Stop the Presses! I Mean, Don’t Stop the Presses! « Amber Starts Today

  9. Amber, have you ever heard of Direct Buy? They are like a Costco of high end housewares. I recently bought a house and got invited to their “special membership”. They enticed my wife and I with a free $100 Espresso maker for attending. After about an hour of what seemed like a timeshare sales pitch, they break out with what I now call “The Skull & Bones Club Close”…after the Skull & Bones Society of course. They tell us in this video…”Because of the secret nature of the pricing information we give you, you must either join today OR leave and NEVER be invited back.” Mind you, they wanted $4,000 up front to become a member. I think I embarrassed my wife when I told them that I was offended by their hard close, keep the espresso maker and have a nice day…then walked out.

    • That’s hilarious. We’re always tempted to take advantage of the free trips and stuff that the timeshare companies give out, but I’m afraid I might not be able to resist the sales presentation. Good for you for making a stand!

  10. Today opening your door to strangers is dangerous. I either ignore the bell (none of our friends come to the front door and ring the bell) or I came out the side door and politely and firmly say that I am not interested.
    With the internet, mail, and so many other marketing tools there is no reason to knock on doors to sell. – Just my opinion.
    Good post. Congrats on the FP.

  11. Haha, I love the come-back! Luckily I live in a high-rise so I don’t have to deal with that…but on my two mile walk to work (I live in downtown Chicago), I do have pamphets shoved at me every few blocks to promote this and that…it’s so frustrating! Can’t a girl walk in pease?!

    Courtney Hosny

  12. I understand how annoying door-to-door salespeople can be to some but it is a numbers game in sales and it really doesn’t matter how many doors get slammed in someone’s face because at some point it will pay off for them. All they need is one sale to justify the door-knocking. Especially in Real Estate. It may be annoying to you but please be respectful to these annoying people who are just trying to feed their families somehow.

    • True statement. Sorry they have chosen such an obnoxious way, though, to feed their families, or themselves, or whomever. I’m not going to encourage them in any way.

      BTW, I was perfectly polite until he gave me the “wow,” and even after that I wasn’t exactly cruel, just bluntly truthful in a somewhat irritated way.

      Thanks for your point, though. It’s true–it never hurts to be polite.

  13. Hilarious! I see your “Leave” doormat and raise you one – mine says “Go Away,
    Come Back With Wine.” Fortunately, I live in a gated community now so no salespeople can get in. In the past, though, I dealt with pesky bible-toting types by telling them right off I was Muslim. Worked like a charm!

  14. I try to be nice to telemarketers/door to door salesmen. Yes, they are annoying but they are people too and some people do these jobs because they can’t get any other kind of job (I sympathize because I am unemployed right now). If I see them walking around my street, I usually won’t open the door if I know they are coming. If they are kids, I’ll listen and contribute a few dollars for Girl Scouts/sports fundraiser/Save the Whales or whatever it is.

    However lately there have been a few sketchy incidents not involving door to door selling people. One was when I opened the front door to get the mail and this guy was coming up the walkway–I guess to drop something off? I guess I startled him since he didn’t expect me to open the door, he ran away to his car. He wasn’t driving a UPS truck or anything so I wasn’t too sure what he was doing, but he stopped at some of my neighbors’ houses as well. An hour or so later, my sister came home from work and I had left the front door open with just the glass swinging door closed. All of a sudden someone opened the door and then closed it.

    My sister came into my room and told me, “That guy just opened our glass door and dropped off a package in our entryway and just walked away without saying anything!” It was the same guy I had scared away an hour earlier when I opened the door to get the mail!

    Turns out the package was my mom’s medication. But I’m not sure why he didn’t just hand it to me in person when he first came to the house when I opened the door! He had a legitimate reason to be there, but I guess he didn’t want anybody seeing him drop off the package?

    I don’t know, people are weird.

  15. I’d recommend finding out where these people live and sending a group of people knocking on their door, “offering something”, one after another. it might sound like a waste of time but any time you enjoy is not wasted…

  16. I don’t like it, at all, when someone shows up at my door “not selling anything.” I prefer if they come right out and say they are. But in either case, having been in sales myself, I appreciate them stepping out of their comfort zone to meet rejection, so I usually tend to lend them my ear and decline the offer while encouraging them and complimenting their initiative. If there were no salespeople, the econonomy would come to a dead halt, pure and simple. Thank your lucky stars that someone’s got the guts to get out there and be treated like an obnoxious fiend.

    Enjoyed the post! Cheers!

  17. Luckily, I don’t get door-to-door sales people where I live. But, you’ve summed up wonderfully exactly how I feel about the people who stand on corners trying to get people to sign up to donate to this or that charity. Not that I’m against supporting charities, but certainly not through a direct debit to my bank account. I’d also rather give directly to the charity of my choice and not through a third party.

    I also have received quite a few calls from telemarketers. I’m not a fan of those either.

  18. Pingback: Oh, Please Do Tell Me About What You’re Not Selling | 1 girl and 3 boys

  19. I love this post… Definitely made me chuckle. Thankfully I don’t get many door-to-door salesmen but I sure do get a lot of flyers in my door handles.

  20. I rarely answer the doorbell/knock. Besides I think it is unsafe these days. However, it is especially amusing when I am sitting in the living room where the door-knockers can see me. Sometimes I yell at them, sometimes I give them the finger-flip, mostly I ignore them. Once in awhile I will get up and open the window and ask them what they want. Some of these people are so obnoxious that I have had to yell in their faces to shut the f#$%k up. These people do not let you get a word in. Others try to make you feel bad when you get mad at them as if it your fault that they are there selling you something. I am not a nice person to these people that come to the door. My wife thinks I am too mean, but the vulgarities that spew from my mouth match the annoyance of the sales cretins, whatever it is they are selling.

  21. So funny! A guy came to my door to “not sell me” a Kirby carpet cleaner he just wanted to clean my carpet for free…I kindly told him I had brand new carpet just installed and he still offered to show me how well it cleaned. Sorry buddy go find some dirty carpet šŸ™‚

  22. It sounds like you might be willing to listen to a door-to-door dog whisperer that could teach you to control your pack. šŸ™‚ Ironically, I’ve been working in door-to-door sales for the last two months as part of a reality TV show being filmed in Hawaii right now. During my journey, I had a very interesting 45 minute conversation with a gentleman who was a dog psychiatrist and his pack of St. Bernards. He gave me some tips on keeping my dog from barking at strangers at the door and getting most dogs to calm down as I approach the door. Of course, I had such a nice chat I forgot to pitch him…

  23. I too feel the pain and horror of door to door sales persons, so I managed to outwit them all. I removed the bloody door. that’s right… No door, no forum to hock your miracle wonder drug. (although if it was featured on Dr Oz, then hang on a second.

    I’m just waiting for my sign off ebay now that says “please do not burgle me”. Yup. it’s going in pride of place on my front door…..

  24. It drove me nuts in college to get grabbed by salespeople between classes, which almost felt worse than door-to-door guys because I was clearly busy and had some place to be. The worst was the time that a guy grabbed me an my way to catch a bus, to “help with a sociology project” and then tried to sell me magazines (I recognized the layout from a similar guy my freshman year that had scammed me) and when I politely declined he continued to yell at me. All the way to my bus. On a busy walkway. Ick.

  25. I’ve known people who have hated being salespeople as much as the people who hate having their doors knocked on, who have been applying like crazy to every place “hiring” and even just “accepting applications”, but have had trouble finding a better job to actually pay the bills…I’d stick to the polite refusal. It can be pretty degrading to have to do it in the first place, getting fussed at makes it worse šŸ˜¦

  26. From a young age my mum taught me to immediately duck and hide when one walks down the driveway. Some might say that’s an appalling message to send to one’s children, but it made us laugh and not take door knocking so seriously – never had a legitimate, polite or understandable door knocker whenever I did open the door after all!
    It’s a crappy job, but I don’t blame you. Once I had one hang around for 20 minutes. Creeps.

  27. I am usually very polite at first, knowing that the person in front of me is doing it for his/her bread and butter. But then I get pissed off when they start pestering after that.
    If it weren’t for your blog getting freshly pressed, I wouldn’t have read your nice blog. Also found someone else using same theme as mine šŸ™‚ So, congrats on getting freshly pressed!

    • Thanks so much! After the comment storm from being on FP slows down, I can’t wait to check out the blogs of the kind folks who are reading mine. I’m with you–polite refusal until they inevitably start being pushy.

  28. We get more junk mail than anything. We got so much last year (in a student house) it was just ridiculous, we couldn’t get rid of it quick enough and had trouble opening the door on occasion – especially after holidays.
    When you get the phone calls with people trying to sell you something I just put the phone down but when they are actually at the door I find it a bit harder. Does anybody actually buy anything off them? They must do I suppose otherwise the bosses wouldn’t keep paying people to do it.
    Congrats of FP

  29. Wow (but a positive Wow ;-), I really liked this. I also find these people so terribly annoying. I used to have a shop for a few years and there I didn’t even have the option of just not opening the door; they marched right in and tried to sell stuff – from a cheaper internet connection to reading my future. And then some of them got rude when I wasn’t interested. At home I usually just don’t open the door. But I’m glad to hear that I’m not alone with being extremely annoyed by these people. – I like your writing style, will browse more in your blog now :-).

  30. Love this post! Same technique I use to get rid of them…and,like you, it doesn’t always work too well. We had one the other day who wanted to know “why” I wasn’t interested.

    I often wonder what would happen if I pretended I had tourette’s syndrome instead, when they come calling…but I suspect my wife would probably intercede.

  31. I’m with you. Telemarketers are awful too. I told one who was trying to sell me time shares that I was a paraplegic who couldn’t leave the house and he responded by asking if any of my caretakers needed vacations. Tenacious suckers.

  32. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed. How funny that we would be freshly pressed on the same day when your blog was one of the first blogs I came across when I started this a few months ago. Congrats on your great writing being recognized!

  33. I truly LOVED this post! So true, as this happens a lot in our neighborhood from kids wanting to paint our house number on the curb, to landscaping flyers, roofing people, and don’t get me started on the Tru-Green or ChemLawn guys who consistently pop over with marketing material when I have told them a thousand times that I cut our own lawn and fertilize it! They don’t get the hint, ever. I sympathize with you about the dogs going nutso when someone comes to the door, as we have two as well, and you are right….. if it’s anyone you know, they just “come in” and don’t ring the doorbell to disturb the dogs. You are truly a great writer and I am going to subscribe to your blog as you have me intrigued and I want to read MORE! Thanks for taking the time to write this post, and ignore those unwanted complainers who know so well how to sling trash back at you – what do they know? (they are probably the people ringing your doorbell and creating havoc in your house!) LOL Check out our blog when you get the chance at http://www.nikitaland.wordpress.com Have a great “quiet” day and make some great door mats! -Val-

    • Thanks for your kind comments! Sorry it took me a while to see this because today I was tinkering around and saw that a few pending comments had been lost in the flurry of activity of getting Freshly Pressed. Glad I found ’em. I did check out your blog–what fun! I am a sucker for cute doggies. Yeah, as for me being “too lazy” to train my dogs not to bark at the doorbell, as one commenter said, well, I don’t deny being a little bit lazy, but these dogs are little yappers and sometimes they’re just going to yap. šŸ™‚ Thanks again for reading!

  34. Great post. I still remember the guy who sold my mom the “world’s most beautiful Bible” 50 years ago for $40, which our deeply religious family could not afford. Recently magazine salespeople have been descending on our small community every August. We have found out that a few of them have criminal records!

  35. I hate that they make ME feel guilty, such an emotional and big effort to send them away I feel bad as its their job but then I’m angry because its my door and I’m busy!! Your idea for the door sign a great attempt at a deterrent! thanks!

  36. The only salesmen we get here are the religious kinds. And they come around on Sunday, which is incredibly annoying. Rule #1, especially where I live, is you damn well shouldn’t bother anyone on Sunday unless you have an extremely good reason or you’re family and/or friends.

  37. Great piece, Amber! Love the snide, and love the kick at the end! If you get around to painting that sign, I think you could probably do a mass production and have some pretty great sales! Put me down for one please…

  38. hahaha awesome! definitely go with the sign.

    i actually haven’t gotten a door to door salesman since i lived at home with my parents. it wouldn’t go over well with me. i don’t take that crap.

  39. Ha! You sound just cynical enough to be my friend. I don’t have many pearls when it comes to the people who knock on your door, but when it comes to the phone sales people, I always like to turn the table as much as possible by asking as them really weird questions. It makes them lose their train of thought and it lets you turn the tables…you should try that.

    Once the Anderson Window guy came to my house to sell me windows and I ended up getting him to come in to make an adjustment to my Anderson sliding glass door so it could close better. That took so long that he left and didn’t have any time to sell me new windows.

  40. I feel like now is the time to summon Macaulay Culkin (who should be on everyone’s speed dial) to set up a deterring contraption that only those who have starred in Home Alone would be clever enough to execute. That is, if he’s willing to pick up a rope and a bucket of paint, and isn’t too doped up to go to the hardware store.

  41. Once I made the mistake of letting the Kirby vacuum cleaner people in my house. The three young people said their boss would let them go home (it was dark and raining) if they demonstrated at one more home. I felt bad for them because they did look miserable. That was my mistake. They held me hostage for two hours. After each demonstration of a different room (they also did walls and drapes), they would say “see how dirty your house is?” I told them I was not interested, so then one of them called the boss right in front of me and said “yeah we showed her how dirty her house. you’d think she’d want a vacuum for the kids’ sake.” then they opened my door for a colleague of theirs. He was an older man who was probably a power seller, and he tried to convince me that I should get one. When he asked me why I still did not want one, I said it was because I’m not about to spend $1,500!

  42. I used to do this work for charity. I’m pretty sensitive. There were days where I spoke to approx 65 people and all of them were mean, but we had to control our moods, try not to cry or feel hurt by people we met on doors and 30 seconds later we would have to knock on the next door pretending that we were really happy to be there and all the neighbours were lovely. Very tough job indeed. In that line of work it’s the person’s job to knock on every door regardless of signs etc. The best thing you can do is either not open the door at all… or to stop them trying you later, just calmly say “I’m not interested” because that is the one thing no one can ‘objection handle’… best to let them tell you who they are first or they can objection handle it based on you not being able to know if you’re interested if you don’t know who they are or why they are there. Also if you say “no” three times that works. We were trained to keep going until we got three no’s. You can do this without making the person feel awful while they are walking around talking to mean people for 7 hours in all weather and being nice to everyone…. even though I know it’s annoying.

  43. I get the “hit up” constantly where I live, security is tight, so no door to door rather in traffic and walking in parking lots. Some days I can’t be sweet, but at least I warn people when I put my “bitch face” on – as I refer to it.

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