‘Tis the Season for Solicitors

by Stephanie Berenbaum – December 19th 2012

Knock, Knock – Who’s There?

In my LA neighborhood, there are a shocking amount of solicitors going door to door.  While I don’t mean to sound cold, this invasion of privacy honestly rubs me the wrong way – especially since I have known many people (myself included) who have fallen victim to giving money in exchange for a product – but never receiving what they paid for…  Scam after scam has led me to live by my jaded motto:  simply do not to engage.

I work from home – and so many salespeople come by that I have taken to keeping all the drapes closed so I can pretend that no one is home.  Whether it’s people trying to convert me to their religion,  sell me candy for a school fundraiser, or a real estate agent offering their services, if I wasn’t careful, it feels like I could spend all day telling people that I am just not interested…

The Dreaded Eye Contact

The other day, I had just gotten the kids home from school when there was a knock on the door.  Before I could stop him, my 7 year old drew the curtains back, and I saw two unfamiliar faces waving to me. We had made eye contact – CRAP.  So, I went to the door to politely tell the duo -  armed with clipboards – that I wasn’t interested in whatever they were selling, doing, or trying to convince me of…

Fact Or Fiction?

I don’t know if they caught me in a weak moment, or maybe I was trying to harness some holiday spirit after a difficult day, but before I knew it, I was fully engaged in  the story of their lives.  

They were in their early 20s, and both told me they came from a long line of poverty and public assistance and were trying desperately to break the chain.  They were trying to earn an honest living and care for their families. Suddenly,  I found myself sitting on my front stoop looking at  pictures of the young woman’s 5 month old son, and hearing how it was the dream of the young man to attend culinary school back home in Ohio.

And yes, they were so convincing, I bought $100 worth of magazine subscriptions.

Truth Be Told…

As jaded as I am, something in me wanted to give these two the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe I was just sick of being cynical?  Whatever it was, I threw caution – and yes, some cash – to the wind.

Let’s face it, I will be blown away if I ever see my magazines.  And while I don’t like the idea of being scammed and losing money, I also feel oddly grateful that in the middle of my hectic day, these two solicitors gave me a personal connection to the struggles of others – a chance just to listen and to let someone to be heard…  I just hope they get their commission, even if I never see one month of the Jack & Jill subscription I ordered for my kids!

How do you handle door to door sales people?  What have your experiences been?  Are you just as cynical?


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3 Responses to “‘Tis the Season for Solicitors”

  1. Molly says:

    People open their door to strangers??? I don’t get it. Parents won’t leave their kids alone in a mall or a park for 30 seconds, yet the woman in this story opens up her home to two people she doesn’t know…..and her children are around. Is she nuts?

    I’m not cynical. Not at all. I give plenty to charity, I’ve also given food, coats and money to homeless people living on the streets. But would I open the door to my home because I made eye contact with a total stranger? No, not ever.

  2. Lynn says:

    We too have had a lot of solicitors in the past month. I agree with Molly. I never open the door to solicitors. I just tell them I’m not interested.

  3. louie says:

    safety is one thing, and needs to be reckoned with, but solicitors first, at least in my neighborhood have to be wearing ID tags and be licienced by our township for solicitation purposes. If no, then no go.
    Charity is one thing and a buying scam is another. The one you just got caught up in is a national BS scam. It’s the buy story that’s a scam, not necessarily the magazines, that you probably will receive. Congratulations to this pair who got their shpiel down pat and played on your holiday sympathies. Great entrepreneurial enginuity here and I applaud them. And by the way, the next time I’m in your neighborhood, I have a bridge to sell you, because I’m trying to get my little kids out of Alphabet City.

Any Thoughts?