During those horrible late-teen years of not knowing what I wanted to do with my life but knowing I needed money to do it, I managed to grind my way through three weeks as a door-to-door salesthing.
My one good memory from those endless years of days was (tellingly, I suppose) a hand-made No Soliciting sign. It said:
I don’t want your magazines, your cookies, or your religion.
I was tempted to knock on the door just to tell the people how cool I thought it was. I figured I have my own someday.
Most of my life since then I’ve lived in places where few commercial peddlers and only the most determined religionists dare venture, so I’ve had no need for a No Soliciting sign on my various hermitages.
Now, however, I live where we have mobs of door-to-doorists. It’s time to take defensive measures.
I thought door-to-door selling was a pestilence that had nearly been eradicated, but whoof, not around here.
We have the standard crooked meat dealers (who just happen to be in the neighborhood and just happen to have a surplus of “top quality” frozen meat they have to get rid of and will give you an unbelievable deal on). And the standard desperately chirpy robot kiddies who claim they’ll win some sweepstakes (whose nature you can’t grasp because they’re chattering so rapidly about it and which probably doesn’t exist, anyhow) if only you buy their overpriced and possibly non-existent magazine subscriptions. No vacuum cleaner floggers or gypsy roofers so far, but I’m sure that’s only a matter of time.
In our area we have not just the usual two brands of house-to-house religionists; we also have another off-brand congregation that’s relentlessly aggressive about scaring the rest of us into attending their “The World is Going to End Last Week!!!!!” revival meetings. And yes, the knock on the door bearing pamphlets is their preferred method.
There’s an occasional out-of-the-blue oddity, too. Just recently there was a pair of the chirpy types who showed up with hardbound books in hand, for sale at ludicrously high prices. The young women didn’t mention religion, but the titles of the books all seemed to be something like 101 Recipes That’ll Make Jesus Smack His Lips or Put GOD on Your Football Team!. When I told them, “No, thanks” and closed the door, they left a tract on the porch rail. Something to the effect that God loves me so much that he’ll torture me forever and it’ll all be my own fault.
And then there are the politicians. Have I mentioned the politicians? Hereabouts they have little money to buy advertising, so they either march from house-to-house themselves or send their tottering, aged parents out in hopes of getting the sympathy vote. Marauding hordes of do-gooders. Slavering packs of government supremacists. Stinging swarms of v*te grabbers.
So I went in search of either a sign like the one I recalled from those Fuller Brush eons or someone who could custom-make one cheap.
I still haven’t found exactly what I’m looking for. But these days of Amazonian wonders are a far-cry from the time when disgruntled homeowners had to make their own “get lost” signs if they wanted them to have any style or substance.
There are the no-nonsense-this-means-you signs that couldn’t possibly be misread even by those sorts of peddlers who are sure you don’t want the other guy’s foul lies and superstitions, but are positive you really crave their shining Truth.
There are even door stickers that threaten to call the police if salescreatures don’t take heed. Naw, can’t see myself doing that.
I’ve found an amazing number of No Soliciting signs that make specific exceptions for Girl Scouts. But even though I occasionally do buy their cookies, I’d rather buy from the kids who set up tables outside the grocery store, thank you.
Anyhow, a lot of these kinds of signs say the homeowner has already found Jesus. Um … not up for lying to complete strangers even if it’s all pretty funny. Now, if I actually were religious, I might go for this sign. Not for door-to-door peddlers, of course. But for various sorts of roving vermin.
Other signs are preacher specific and quite good at that. But those wouldn’t keep out the chirpy girlies selling $40 copies of “Bead Weaving with the Holy Ghost”** (and BTW casing the joint for future burglaries or hoping to snatch a checkbook or cash out of a carelessly left-open purse) or the guys pushing leathery meat. Nope, still not what I’m looking for.
Now as a dog person, I could truly go for this one:
And I may yet. However, it lacks the vital “this means you” quality to ward off the serious fanatics. Hm, perhaps that along with this 10-pack sign set of serious keep-outery would do the trick.
But those lack the panache I’m looking for. Now here’s one with style:
But recalling the last helpful Mormon missionaries who came to my door, I’m afraid they might just cheerfully pop in and start loading the washer and dryer (although I’m fairly confident they’d skip the wine).
So what then, what then? Frankly, the “your wording here” signs are generically boring.
If I did end up opting for a generic No Soliciting sign (and if I had the bux) I could go for this tres elegante Craftsman:
I love that style and that’s a classy sign. I want one! But is it really worth $47 to keep city council candidates off my doorstep? Hm … pondering. Hm …
Well, I still can’t decide, but if all else fails there’s always this approach, which ought to give any serious person pause:
* And yes these are Amazon Associates links and yes I am cleverly trying to get you to click on them to buy stuff (any stuff; not just weird signs) so I can make money off you. But at least I didn’t come knocking on your door while you were having dinner, taking a nap, or engaged in bare-nekked romps. Give me credit for that.
** I mock, but I actually have, and have made a necklace from a book called Beading for the Soul. But that’s different of course. :-)