Thursday, March 25, 2010

Solicitors don't have it easy at our house

Last month we had a couple of solicitors stop by our house, at the usual convenient time... dinner time. That never puts us in a good mood. As it happened, we were more on the ball than usual and we were actually all gathered in the vicinity of the front room.

We're running around trying to get dinner on the table, and the doorbell rings. It's two kids of about college age, a slightly chunky young woman and a slender young man.

Tanya answers the door and before the woman gets very far with her schpiel, Tanya interrupts, saying, "We don't buy anything door-to-door."

The woman was taken aback, got a little angry, started to protest. "I didn't say we were selling anything," she said, rather harshly. Then she seemed to realize that she'd blown the sale by getting angry. Her body sagged, she said something like "never mind", they walked off and we shut the door.

I'm sure people factor the dinner thing into their choice of when to ring doorbells. For one thing, you want people to be home. I don't know whether they count on the fact that it's harder to brush someone off with your kids standing there than otherwise. However, they get less of an advantage from that at my house than elsewhere: week before last I bounced someone off my porch with a quick "we're not interested, thank you," and Chloe, 10, was right there and laughed in the person's face. I had to say a few words to Chloe about this rudeness, and I don't think Chloe saw that at all, she just thought my sharp rejection of them was funny.

Back to our pair of folks who weren't selling anything: Tanya noticed that the woman had a receipt pad with her. So they might not have been selling anything, but they were likely looking for donations at least. And I have a problem with that. I've done that door-to-door donation thing, briefly, and it was disappointing to learn that frequently those collectors are funded by commissions on the money they collect.

That commission model for donations probably is highly practical, but I can't stomach it. And if you're going to do that, then you should be super up front about it. I suppose I could take to asking folks whether they get paid by commission when they come to my door, but I can only get interested in pranking such people in theory.

In practice I just want to be let alone to lasso my kids to the table and eat my dinner.

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