Sunday, September 02, 2007

Door to Door Salespeople: No, you cannot shoot them.

If you run a crew of door to door salesperson, especially magazine sales, please send me a note and tell me you are not a dirty dirty criminal.

For everyone else I have three pieces of advice:

1. Post a ‘no soliciting’ sign on your door. And a ‘no trespassing’ sign and the end of your driveway. And a ‘no shirt, no shoes, no service’ sign in your kitchen. It might not help but it can’t hurt.

2. Do not let anyone who you don’t know in your house for any reason at any time. I don’t care if it’s Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus – let them stay in your manger but don’t let them in your house. I also don’t care if it’s a category 5 hurricane outside and the streets are filling up with sewage. Let folks wait on the porch while you call Brownie at FEMA.

3. Never buy anything from anyone selling anything door to door, especially magazines. Especially if the salespeople claim to be “working on improving their public speaking skills” or “trying to win a prize.”

Here’s two versions of the trick (as I understand it):

a) Scuzzy magazine companies hire young adults and ship them far away from home to do these sales. The distance is important so it’s harder for them to just quit then they expect these kids to work long hours for very little pay. Indentured servitude, dig it. Check out Parent Watch for more specific info on this.

b) I’m sure these kids are being horribly taken advantage of… yet I’m also certain some of them are casing residences for later burglary. Whether this is orchestrated by the crew leaders or on their own volition, I don’t know and I don’t care. Do not let them into your home. Keep your doors locked. Be holding a phone with which to dial 911.

I’m not kidding. If you do not patronize these kids then the more legitimate of the companies will dry up and blow away and the outright frauds will be under more scrutiny.


Abzdragon said...

I like your blog. The blurb about yourself on the right is actually one of the best I have read :)

Jas said...

Here the scam is as follows:

Doorbell rings: Hi! My truck just broke down, and I have this meat that I was supposed to deliver. Since I won't be able to make my delivery, I was wondering if you wanted some frozen meat, at a discount

Uhmm, egads. Gawd no.

First of all, if the truck broke down, no telling how *bad* the meat might be. Second of all, frozen meat, from a stranger? Nooooo. Thirdly, I'm not going to buy meat from a guy that I don't know, who I can not sue if I lose my intestines because they weren't able to handle and ensure adequate food safety. And does discount meat ever really sound like a good idea? C'mon people!

As for the magazine sales, one girl just pleaded guilty in Portland for basically stealing money from such sales as part of a "cheerleader camp" scam. She was actually 28. Go team!

Eric said...

Thanks ABZ, that's nice to hear!

Jas, there were two salespeople in california convicted of selling an 85year old, nearly blind woman 210 years worth of magazine subscriptions.

yes, blind and yes two hundred and ten years. by that time "OK!" magazine will be called "um,whatever."

Suzi said...

Hey, this is one of my "causes!" I've blogged about it a couple of times, even. I'm more sympathetic to the kids, and I always have articles like those from Parent Watch printed and waiting for them, along with lists of resources for jobs, job training, and social services in our area. I invite them in and feed them, if they'll let me. I offer my phone so they can call their parents or their friends, and I offer to take them to the airport or bus station and buy them a ticket home. I never buy from them, but I give them cash and hope they don't have to share it with the bad guys. Sometimes these kids don't realize what they're involved in. Sometimes they do, but they can't get out. It's a sad, horrid, dangerous business. I'm glad you're talking about it, too!