No, Thanks

Between telephone solicitors and door to door salesman you are never alone in the city. I have what I consider to be a not unreasonable policy. If I didn’t seek your product out either by going to the store, opening a web page, or calling for information, then I don’t need it. In other words, don’t call me I’ll call you. I suppose I could get one of those signs “NO SOLICITORS” and stick it in the front yard, but those signs never stopped me. I could join the do not call list, but based on my current membership on that list that doesn’t work either. 

My old roommate, “Heart Attack Hallmark” had a successful technique that he used forty years ago. We both worked “dogwatch” 11 pm tp 7 am. With two cars parked in the driveway solicitors were pretty certain somebody was home, and they devoted twice the effort to knocking or ringing the bell. I could tell when Heart Attack was awake; then it was just a matter of waiting for him. Finally, with a curse, I would hear him head for the door. Then I got up; Holmes had his Watson, Heart Attack had me.

At six feet, 270 pounds, a pelt that a bear would envy, a naked Heart Attack would throw open the door and stand there Colt .45 in one hand, scratching his nuts with the other demand; “What the fuck do you want?” He never got a coherent answer and never received a return visitor. Score Heart Attack 3, Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons, and a stray insurance agent 0. Forty years later I don’t think I can pull it off to the same effect.

Twice this week, I’ve been bothered by door to door solicitors. On Monday it was a pair of women proselytizing for the Jehovah Witnesses. A simple attempt to hand over a pamphlet politely but firmly rejected and a “No thank you, I’m not interested took care of them.

Wednesday it was a young white male complete with a clipboard. I started out the same way, “No thanks I’m not interested.”

He pointed out, “I haven’t said anything.”

I assured him, “The mere fact that you are ringing the doorbell gave me all the information I needed. I don’t want it.”

He bowed up, “Why are you so rude?”

I don’t understand; I thought I was doing him a favor. I could have let him rattle on. Could have made faces as if I agreed or disagreed as he made his various points. I could have even thrown out a question or two all this before I circled back to my starting point, “No thanks, I’m not interested.”

He went away humbugging and motherfucking me as he did so.

Next, I had to face my father. “Who was that?”

Me, “Don’t know.”

Dad, “What did he want?”

Me, “Don’t know.”

Dad, “But.”

I don’t know why I bother. I come off like an asshole, maybe that’s an aspect of my personality I miss from my police days. On the other hand, I’m still protecting. My father is a nice guy. He likes to talk to people. He is not a pushover. At 89 he doesn’t get out as much as he should. Perhaps I ought to let him answer the door. The other day, he dragged a telephone solicitation call out for two and a half hours. Best I can tell, we have to set two more places at the table for Thanksgiving.