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Friday, April 30, 2010

How to Deal with Solicitors

You’re engrossed in work or just settling down for a long nap, a meal, or a nooner, when you hear the dreaded knock at the door. No one you remotely care for EVER drops in unannounced, so you stomp to the door and have an angry conversation with a little girl clad in knee socks and a sash full of flare. You don’t want what she’s selling, but reluctantly oblige after she starts to tear up. The whole transaction lasts less than three minutes, but the moment has passed and you’re concentration has been broken. “There has to be a better way,” you tell yourself. “Next time I’ll be ready.”

Flash forward one week. You’ve noticed the boys in white shirts and black pants have been cycling around the neighborhood to “share the good news.” I won’t mention this group by name, but they know who they are. They ignore the street signs stating, “No solicitors,” and the post-it note on your front door reading, “Sleeping baby. Please don’t ring bell.” Ding-dong! Rather than blast them for their errors in judgment, only to be told that they’re technically not soliciting since “Jesus is free,” you try a different approach. It’s time to turn the tables.

You open the front door to greet them and step outside. With a one finger, “I’ll be right with you” gesture, you finish up a pretend conversation on your cell phone.
“I know. I totally agree. Duct tape and rope in your trunk does not necessarily make you a rapist. When can you have visitors? (pause) Well, I’ll see you then. I gotta go. The cops are here.”

Give it a try. If your unwelcome company doesn’t go running, it will at least shave some precious moments off of the unavoidable awkward conversation that awaits you. And, most importantly, you can bet on them not coming back.