Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Signs Vs. Zombies

Here is a confession: Today I slammed a door in a man’s face. I hate that I’ve become one of those people, but I just don’t know what more I can do.

I’ve already posted about how much I hate people who ignore my “No Soliciting” sign. This year we had a huge hail storm that damaged enough roofs in my area that the salespeople and/or insurance scammers are out in droves. I don’t know if it’s because I’m on a main corner or what, but they come to my door several times a day.

This particular one came early in the morning when my daughter was still asleep. I can see out the front window from my office, so I watched him position himself directly in front of my “No Soliciting” sign and ring my doorbell.

I didn’t go to the door. I figured I’d just let the sign do the talking. But when I didn’t materialize at the door right away, he began pounding so loudly it scared me. What if he wasn’t a salesperson! What if he was from the gas company, and he was there to warn us that we had to evacuate our house in seconds because a gas line was leaking and my house was getting ready to blow?! He was pounding with that much urgency.

So I answered. Know what he had the gall to say? The words out of his mouth were, “Oh, sorry, I didn’t see your sign, but let me just tell you….”

Didn’t see it? Seriously? I am not a door-decorating kind of gal.  It's literally right there in black and white.  In fact, here is an actual photograph of my front door: 

 So far I’ve had them claim they were doing a customer service update. Or they were there to introduce themselves. Or they want to ask me something. Or just tell me a little about their company. I’ve had them scare the heck out of me—several times—by wandering around to my back yard (presumably to avoid the sign) in order to pound on a side door. They are getting to be like those rabid, pasty creatures in I Am Legend. Or the zombies in “Plants Vs. Zombies.” Except I only wish my plants would attack them before they reach my door.

So when the guy claimed not to have seen the sign on my door, I slammed. And then I added a sign to the side door and another sign to the sign:
 Later I heard a timid tapping coming from somewhere. I had no idea where until I went out and discovered that the substitute mailman had left packages at my garage door. I don’t even know how he got in there, but it was the only door that didn’t have a hostile sign.

Good people don't rip other people's arms off. -Spongebob Squarepants


  1. Tammy--Your opening lines were quite compelling because you're such a polite, well-mannered person.

    I HAD to read why you slammed a door in someone's face.

    But they definitely deserved it. Yes, people are quite brazen these days...

  2. We live in a gravel-roaded maze of private property. No through streets. Big signs at the county road ends declaring Property Owners Only. Yet an occasional idiot still gets in. The last one was a children's book salesman. I stepped out on the porch to interrogate him. How did he get in? Did he know anybody who lived here? Couldn't he read the signs? Told him he was not welcome. That he needed to leave. That technically, he was a trespasser.

    As he went down the steps, he asked if I knew the names of the people in the next house. And how many children they had.

    Some people just don't get it.

  3. I never thought about putting up a sign. That's a good idea.

    If only I could get a no soliciting sign for my phone.

    Critter Alley

  4. I've considered for years what the best way to deal with people who foolishly knock on my door without mail or packages in hand and have come up with a variety of ideas, most of which my ex-wife took exceptions to in years past:

    I once bought a doormat that read "Go Away." I was actually rather proud of it. Concise. To the point. Clearly stated my viewpoint. My ex-wife threatened to leave me if I used it. In hindsight it might have saved us both time. Had I known then what I know now I might have posted it in front of the bedroom rather than my front door.

    Once bought bio-hazard and radioactivity warning signs for the front door, but they became a problem. My neighbors became very nervous about what I was doing in the house - and later about me in general. Especially about me in general. Wouldn't recommend doing this today or Homeland Security might come knocking on your door and that's never a good thing.

    Tried a "Danger - Shock Hazard" sign next to the doorbell - but my delivery men stopped bringing me packages and the salespeople just started knocking. Loudly. VERY loudly.

    While feeling conventional I tried the "No Solicitors" sign as you did, but learned early that the more determined salespeople see that as a challenge and will harass you because of it.

    More recently I tried my own version of "Watch out for Fluffy, my dog." I figured the salespeople had all heard the fake dog sounds before, so instead I recorded a scene from a "Howling" movie where a werewolf was eating a victim. That's when the Goth teenagers started holding midnight vigils on my front porch. They wanted to actually SEE the werewolf. But at least they only did it during full moons.

    I even tried an "I EAT solicitors. Slow cooked. With a touch of lemon" sign. But that led to some embarrassing questions from the local police and was hard to clear up once they'd talked to the neighbors who filled them in about my other signs.

    So, you see.. There's no real way you can get rid of them. The best you can do is to annoy them more than they annoy you, and that's what I do now. I open the door and smile. I listen to their pitch. I ask a LOT of questions. Then once I've run out of questions - typically around 30 minutes later - and they try to close I simply tell them that I actually had no intention of buying anything - that I simply want to waste their time for no good reason, as they had mine.

    This I've found to be surprisingly effective. None of them has ever found their way back to my door after their first visit.

  5. How frustrating!

    Our dog usually gives us a warning when someone approaches the front door. His bark scares off a few solicitors, but the braver ones still knock. I try to beat my husband to the door so I can tell the "visitor" I'm not interested, but my hubby usually beats me to the punch and listens to their speil.

    And I think Lynn is on to something about living in the woods.

  6. Sioux, I think that's the problem. I've learned the hard way that if you're polite to some people, they take that as an invitation to try to manipulate. Which is, of course, a kind of attack.

    Val, that's worse than idiotic in my book. Asking about the children? That's pretty creepy.

    Pat, you can get that. It's called the No Call List. But people ignore that one just as much!

    Wow, Tom, that's a lot of work!

    So is that the key, Lynn? Because according to Val, just being in an unpopulated area doesn't do it. Maybe I'll plant a forest around my house.

    Donna, I've had them literally get an arm in the door by trying to pet my dog. And I was briefly sorry he didn't get bitten!


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