While I feel bad for the folks who were trying to make an honest living in the business of door-to-door sales, the sad reality is that in recent years, a few rotten apples spoiled it for everyone. Some sales people were becoming pushy, confrontational and some were downright creepy.
I remember one young lady who looked like Jan Brady from the Brady Bunch, who was selling a locked-in price plan for natural gas. After I politely declined the offer and started gently shutting the door, she wrapped up the conversation saying “you’ll beeee soooorryyyyy” with the same tone and inflection as a dire warning from a horror movie. That was a little creepy!
I also remember an argumentative type that got my blood boiling when I innocently thought this might be a good time to ask questions and to get more information. As I started asking very genuine questions about the service he was offering, he kept asking me why I needed to know that, as his tone got increasingly defensive with every passing question. When he started raising his voice and I started feeling rattled, I decided it was time to end the conversation. He kept talking after I closed the door.
It was the pushy people who wanted to get into the house and check out my water heater that pushed me over the edge, when challenging my own authority to say “no, thank you”. Holy invasion of privacy, Batman!
With the numerous negative experiences, the lines blurred too much and I couldn’t tell anymore who was genuine and who was a scammer. It’s unfortunate because I am certain that there were probably some sales people who weren’t trying to pull the wool over my eyes and just trying to do their job to put food on the table to support their families.
Either way, I have never done business on my doorstep. I’ll reach out to a company, and usually after research and recommendations, instead of the other way around.
Overall, the intrusions were becoming too frequent and becoming more than my nerves could handle. A few years ago, I invested a few dollars and bought the sign that you see above.
Funny enough, even though I positioned it in the window right beside the doorbell, that didn’t stop the doorbell from ringing. Maybe the terms “agents”, “peddlers” and “solicitors” aren’t contemporary enough, but when I would open the door to realize it wasn’t a neighbour, a friend or a relative, I would just point to the sign and close the door while shaking my head, no further discussion required.
I loved it, my nerves loved it and my blood pressure loved it.
But as the March 1st deadline approached, I could see a shift. It looked like the volume of junk mail was starting to increase and my home phone line was starting to heat up with more calls from phone solicitors.
The latter will probably take care of itself soon enough. Having recently upgraded to a newer cell phone with better reception, the days of the home phone service (or should I say the hotline for air duct cleaners) for me are numbered.
I am less worried about the junk mail. While a piece of cardboard in my mailbox is certainly less offensive than some pushy door-to-door salespersons, I still wonder… why do we get so much of it? Isn’t the environment going to pay the price?
Don’t we have enough advertising elsewhere like in the 4-minute commercial breaks on TV or the half hour of commercials and previews at the movies on Saturday nights? Even in television shows without ads, product placement sneaks up on viewers, so we are not completely immune.
Plus, you can’t open social media anymore without some form of targeted advertising. Well, at least it doesn’t talk back… yet.
But still, why do dozens of ads for windows and roof replacement flood my mailbox when my condominium corporation takes care of that? It’s weird.
Either way, I am relieved and grateful for the Ontario initiative, which puts the consumer back in greater control. With less negative energy and intimidation at my own front door, while dinner is getting cold or the cat is demanding a belly rub, I don’t find myself jumping out of my skin nor having to take a deep cleansing breath whenever the doorbell rings.
It’s home sweet home again!
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