Monday, November 14, 2011

The Jehovah's Witness Protection Program

Despite a discreet, but clear sign stating, "No Soliciting, Please" at our doorway, we still entertain a regular flow of kooks, charlatans and know-nothings who come a knockin' trying to offload their crap.

I will preface this piece by stating that I have nothing against anyone's religious preference, political affiliations, or desire to sell their "must have" goodies and services.  I do, however, take exception to the door-to-door manner they've chosen to promote their causes.

The typical nuisances and how to avoid and dissuade, in no particular order:

-Kids selling chocolates.  I have a soft spot for kids and another for yummy chocolate, but parents...really?  Letting Junior go door-to-door is no longer appropriate or advised.  I'll never buy poisons from kids at the door simply because it encourages the practice.  And if the parent is in tow, they can expect an earful. Tsk-tsk!

-Politicians.  In the social media driven internet age, neighborhood-canvassing politicians are irksome. We don't trust them handling and kissing our babies anymore and their time would be better spent on Facebook or Twitter.  Telling them that you are housesitting and don't live in the riding is the simplest way to have them quickly shove off.  If, however, you've got time to kill and want to ruin their day, invite them in, show them everything that's wrong with your house, your yard, your neighbors, your world.  You'll be doing mankind a favor by encouraging these politicos to stay home or to visit a soup kitchen for their shameless photo ops.

-Religious Zealots.  I've assumed that the Jehovah's Witnesses ignore our "No Soliciting" sign because they really don't think they are selling anything.  Nothing could be further from the truth, in my opinion.  Again, I respect others' religious preferences, but the promotion of religious dogma under the guise of altruism should always raise suspicion.  Unlike the politicians above, inviting JWs into your home to debate ideologies is always a sure way to get them to return, so don't unless you're old and lonely and craving propaganda heavily cloaked as companionship. Assuming you don't want to go as far as the cunning stunt pictured below, a polite sigh followed by "We're not interested" will almost always do the trick.  Remember that they have hundreds of doors to knock upon and if they quickly conclude that they can't get their foot into yours, they won't waste their time.

-Charities.  The old "I gave at the office" excuse is getting a little tired.  I prefer to simply explain that with so many fraudulent charity scams out there, I don't make donations at my doorstep.  This is 100% accurate. True, it may sound like the banter of a parsimonious tightwad, but I'm affirmed by the knowledge that my family does give appropriately to legitimate charities where no cash changes hands and genuine, legible receipts are issued.

-Home Renovations.  They're perhaps the easiest to avoid.  Before the salesperson can launch into their spiel, I explain that I'm just a renter and they'd have to speak to the landlord.  While most likely know this is nonsense, they're always too befuddled to counter with anything persuasive.  After all, a tenant has no power to approve renovations, water heater contracts, or lawn maintenance for his rented domicile.  Charming.

My wife insists that the remedy for all of the above is to simply not answer the door.  I think that's a tad rude and besides, I relish matching wits with those who have been trained to not take "No" for an answer.

One of the greatest anti-irritant innovations of our time was the No Call Registry.  Way to go, government! After registering online, home renovation calls, telephone solicitations for magazines, invitations to time-share seminars, and all the other dinnertime bandit blather stopped virtually overnight in our home.  What's needed is the same protocol to vanquish the door-to-door dufi.  A simple certified sign or sticker issued by some government agency that would legally dissuade any would-be knocker from even thinking about it would suffice.

Our homes are our castles.  We could use the protection.