This evening, after five consecutive 100+ degree days with air permeated by smoke from wildfires, we experienced a brief period of rain at our house and were able to open our doors and windows to breathe some fresh and slightly cooler air. It felt like the first day of spring. It was heavenly. It was peaceful. It was interrupted…by a ring of our doorbell. A twenty-something gentleman wearing a dress shirt and tie was at our door. Damn. We were caught at home. No denying our presence with him staring right at us through our open door while we ate our dinner. I hate it when that happens!
Hubby, who gets to be in charge of these type of situations because I refuse, approached the door. The young man started in with his sales pitch. Steve cut him off.
“We don’t accept solicitations,” he said as firmly but politely as he could.
“What about peddlers? Do you accept peddlers?” he quipped.
I had to give it to him. He has clearly been doing this for a while. He was quick with the lines.
“Nope. We don’t accept those either. Sorry,” Steve said with conviction.
The man started explaining why he was here. Steve cut him off again.
“Someone in this neighborhood is going to call the cops on you,” he said.
Wow. I thought that was pretty bold of Steve to say, even though it was fairly likely true. Our neighborhood has a strict no-solicitation policy. It is posted at the front entrance on the main thoroughfare. Any business solicitor who is in our neighborhood must have a permit obtained from the City of Littleton and must be able to provide a copy of it for homeowners if asked. If not, they are not legally allowed to go door-to-door in our neighborhood. Lots of neighborhoods and cities have these types of laws, but not many people are aware of them. Thanks to our overzealous community members who get annoyed about every single little thing (not kidding…one woman managed to get hot air balloons banned from flying over our neighborhood from the state park across the road), we know about this law. This law does not actually mean anything because salespeople still approach our doorstep non-stop and our only recourse is to file a complaint about them, but at least when they show up we have a nice way to explain why we’re closing the door in their face.
But, what gets me every single time is why we feel at all feel a need to explain ourselves to someone who shows up unannounced and uninvited on our doorstep. Steve and I are genuinely nice people most of the time. I suppose this is our problem. If we were mean, we wouldn’t care. We’d just slam the front door and go on about our day without a second thought. Instead, we were taught to be polite, so we make excuses, we get into discussions, we converse with these people because they’re human beings. Even though we’re not buying what they’re selling, we somehow feel obligated to listen to them. It’s crazy. It’s our house. This is our property. We’re grown adults. We should feel completely comfortable sitting at our dining table ignoring the interruption because it’s our right to do so and there’s a sign posted directly above our doorbell noting our stance on unwelcome visitors. Still, we explain our behavior to these strangers as if we need to. We allow them to encroach upon our time when we shouldn’t. It’s borderline pathetic.
I think it’s time for Steve and I to stop being so dang nice to these interlopers. I swear, the next time a solicitor steps up to our open door, we are going to be changed people. We will be brave and resilient. We will resist the temptation to explain ourselves. We will walk to the door, simply say “no thank you,” close it, and go back to our meal without giving it another thought. No Soliciting means NO soliciting. Unless you’re selling Girl Scout cookies. Then No Soliciting means “I’ll take 8 boxes of Thin Mints, please.” What? You can never have too many Girl Scout Cookies.