I was leaving Target the other night and a couple teenage boys came up to me and started their story, while trying to hand me a couple candy canes wrapped in ribbon.
“Excuse me, my grandma is in the hospital and I’d like to give her a Christmas present. Would you like to buy some candy?”
I kept saying no, and he kept asking. Me: “No thanks.” — Him: “She’s in the hospital…” —Me: “No.” — Him: “buy candy?”— Me: “No.” He finally stopped because the security guard came up on the Target security segway (I know, pretty sweet!). The guard said “There’s no soliciting allowed in the parking lot”. The kid said, “no what?”— guard: “no soliciting in the parking lot”. — kid: “no what?” — guard: “no…you can’t try to sell things in the parking lot.” — kid: “oh.”
It made me realize that there may be a large percentage of the population that do not know what “soliciting” means. We have a “No Soliciting” sign on our door and people still come to the door and ring and try to sell us things or give us free samples, or whatever. Either those people don’t know or they just don’t care. Either way, it’s annoying. Nathan and I have tried to come up with ways to get the point across when they ring the doorbell and we accidentally answer it. One thing is to just stay silent and as they continue through their scripted pitch, point at the sign. Maybe even shine it and pretend I’m straightening it. Then wave and close the door. Another thing is to do something completely off the wall, like open the door and when they start the sales pitch, hold up a finger as if to say “hold on” and then go get a handfull of dried beans. Go back to the door and hand them the beans, and when they start to talk again, say “shhh, they’re listening.” then close the door really slow like you’re looking out for something.
I also found that there’s a better sign available that can clear up any sort of confusion over what a solicitor is. Maybe we’ll try that out.