I Hear You Knocking But You Can't Come In



We’ve had a rash of break-ins  in my neighborhood recently (by rash I mean two, which is the definition of a rash, I believe), and I guess it’s a sign of the times that I don’t answer my door anymore, unless I know who’s there. 

It’s not a sign of the times that my front door doesn’t have a peephole, that the door opens out so that by the time I can see who’s standing there the door is wide open, and that  there is no outer storm door to lock. According to my door, I’m living in the pre-crime era of the United States, which was - never.

The break-ins were not home invasions, but I’m using them as an excuse to not answer my door, because 90 percent of my door knocks are from someone trying to get me to part with my money. Not by demanding it with a weapon, but by begging me to help put them through college/soccer camp/cookie sales and the like. It would actually be a little bit refreshing to have someone just pull a gun and say, “Just give me your money.” 

I’ll gladly write a check for a cute kid, but I’m against adults knocking on doors asking for anything. Unless it’s a neighbor asking to borrow my truck, hit the road, Jack.

There was a time, however, that answering the door was kind of fun. When you heard a knock on the door, it meant something was going to happen and it was hardly ever something bad. And it was going to happen right at your own house. Even the door-to-door salesmen were selling some pretty cool stuff, way better than the crappy magazines, coupon books and Thin Mints that are sold by modern-day peddlers.

We bought Charlie Chip potato chips, big sourdough pretzels and chocolate chip cookies from a guy who came to our door. Imagine, a guy who puts big cans of the saltiest, greasiest snack sensations directly into your hands in the comfort of your own home. How can you not like that? God, I miss the ‘60s.

My pink Fuller Brush brush, an ancient relic of simpler times
We bought hair-, scrub- and toilet- brushes from the Fuller Brush guy, including a pink brush with black bristles that I still have and use. It has to be at least 50 years old and my mom probably spent less than $4 for it.

I don’t remember anything about the salesmen themselves, but if they weren’t nice, polite and happy to see you, I would have remembered. We never felt like we were being ripped off or scammed.

There are No Soliciting signs in my current neighborhood, but that doesn’t stop solicitors from soliciting. And they aren’t selling anything good at all.

My favorite is the van that dumps a bunch of college-age kids to knock on doors and claim to live down the street to get you to buy magazines for a fundraiser. It’s a fundraiser, alright.

“I’m Carol’s son,” the kid says, smiling and pointing down the street. He’s pale as a ghost and wearing a Seattle Seahawks t-shirt, so it’s pretty clear he’s not from Florida, let alone down the street.

No, you’re not Carol’s son. There is no Carol. I watch the news; I know who you are. You’re a 19-year-old who was promised big bucks by this company who is housing you in a slum, feeding you fast food, and making you beg from housewives all day. Carol’s son would never fall for that.

We had an ambitious young dry cleaner two years ago who kept leaving giant bright green canvas bags at our front doors, urging us to put our dirty clothes in them and he would pick them up and clean them for us for an affordable price. Not wanting a Day-Glo green bag messing with my curb appeal, I brought it in, called the guy and said, “Come and get your bag.”

“Leave it out front and I’ll pick it up within a week,” he said.

“No,” I answered. “I don’t want that green bag at my front door. You’ll have to come in and ask for it.” 

Unfortunately, if he had, I wouldn’t have answered the door. I donated it to Goodwill. He can buy it back at an affordable price.

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