My wife and I have seen an marked increase in door to door soliciting in our NE Heights neighborhood. Door to door sales people have never really bothered us but lately, they have become annoying and some, like the shady fellow selling frozen meat out of his pickup truck, have become unsettling. Normally, there is an increase in soliciting when school starts, but these aren't school kids coming by. Anyone else seeing an increase where they live?
Seems like some strongly worded No Soliciting signs are in order.
There is a mixture of people who run the gamut and the only thing that makes sense is to just do the best one can.
People who get irate because someone left literature don't seem to realize that this is a small price to pay for living in a free society. Political participation is a right and a privilege, and so is the choice to be personally isolationist. But one cannot tell. Really we are talking about a few seconds of interaction every couple of years for citizenship.
Whenever I walk neighborhoods for a campaign, I walk in an obvious and deliberate way and make sure people can see me and if I happen to encounter anyone I am polite and make sure to identify what I am doing in case there is any question. Courtesy is the bottom line. We are all in this together, whether we agree on a particular candidate or bond issue in a particular election or not. This is America.
Sorry, but I'm a veteran. I already paid my price to be a citizen. I don't care how small a price you think it'll be for me to allow you to come to my door and waste my time, but I'm getting an idea that you don't think it's worth as much as I do.
You want to put up a sign in your yard, that';s okay with me.
You want to park yourself on the corner with a pitcher of lemonade and talk to the neighbors out there on the corner? That's allright with me as well.
You want to go over to the multi generational center and set up a desk and answer questions for people I don't care.
You want to speel you rant on public access Tv, well you just go ahead.
mail out your flyers
put your inserts in the newspapers
wave banners at intersections
BUT DON'T COME TO MY HOUSE!
After reading the opinions of yourself and some others here, I'll be going out to Lowes and buying a bunch of No Soliciting signs and handing them out to my neighbors. I don't care how important you think your message is to me, If I want to hear from you I'll go and find you and get me answers.
I have the right to privacy, and I have the right to be left alone from people who want to take my time for the purpose of sharing their opinions and beliefs with me.
Promise from me to you: If you come a knockin in my door, and claim that you didn't see my sign, or that you're not planning on selling me anything, or that you believe that you're not actually soliciting....I promise to call the police and tell them that you were just at my door, refused to show me your ID, and you were scoping out my property, and I think I just saw you going into one of my neighbors yards. Got it!
Nothing personal, but you a couple of you don't seem to be getting the idea that if you enter my property, and ring my bell, or knock on my door you ARE SOLICITING MY TIME.
Matt- no need to go to Lowe's. You're local police substation has all the No Soliciting signs you want for free. And, according to a very nice officer I spoke with, you and your neighbors post them and anyone violates that sign for any reason, you have the right to call the police and report them for trespassing. You can also do what my neighborhood association did and have the whole neighborhood posted as No Soliciting.
Stuart- you are assuming we do not care and are not doing our civic duty by not answering the door and having a discussion with you. Many of just happen feel that having a potlical discussion is best left for other venues, not at my front door. We are not apolitical, we are not under-informed, we just want to be able to close that front door and be assured of privacy for whatever reason we wish.
Matt, thank you for your service.
Having knocked on many doors in many communities over many years, the only thing that matters is that we maintain a sense that we are all Americans. The door to the street, is a public/private boundary. If you look around at what is going on at this time in our history, civic discourse is being elbowed out of just about every part of our public life. The media does not help, and is in fact becoming an obsolete system. There is no substitute for citizens seeking to engage with other citizens in any form that can possibly provide a momentary contact. If you hear a knock and do not feel like answering the door, that is your privelege. I just insist that this form of citizenship deserves respect, as long as courtesy and respect are observed by all. It happens that a percentage of people who are our neighbors still do prefer some degree of participation.
No, Stuart. You do NOT get to override MY decision, posted on MY house, on MY private property. I don't care how important you think your cause is. Not all of us do. I should not have to explain that I am sleeping or have a dog or specify who may ring or anything else, for that matter. I do not owe you an explanation. My two words on the door are all you need.
You made it a point to bring up courtesy in your past post. Being courteous includes respecting my request. I have not been rude. I have been very clear in what I expect at my front door. If I am in my yard I will say hello and may even ask how you're doing. I am certainly not an unfriendly or disrespectful person. However, if you have chosen to ignore my wishes, then you've opened up a can of worms. At that point, my friend, you will be hurting your cause.
Oh. And 'back in the day' does not apply anymore. Sorry. Time to realize that we have very sophisticated technology that delivers information as we wish. So if I am as passionate as you are about an issue, I can easily do my research. That same technology is sucking away time that I no longer have to sit and visit with you. It's not ideal but it is what it is. Welcome to 2011.
Your reply was amazingly civil, Balletmom! And well informed as well. In the weeks I have been following the discussion, we have had three bell ringers and several items pushed into our screen door opening. I will also be getting a sign and hope it works. Last week I had gay rights advocates, lawn people and just a bit ago, Watch Tower. And not one informed me on anything I didn't already know or wanted to know. If I am home, I want to be left alone, except for those people I invite to join me in my home. If I want to learn something I have the internet, CNN and many other methods, but getting your facts from door to door solicitors, is pretty sketchy to say the least. And the issue of safety regarding opening your door to strangers is something else again.
But again, thank you for your sensible reply. In a world of rudeness (including people who insist that you open your door to them) it is refreshing to read a balanced, thoughtful reply on line.
If you personally don't want to answer your door, then don't. It's basically that simple.
If you were to decide that you wanted to run for city council or the legislature you would see that a variety of people have a variety of perceptions. One person cannot decide how everyone on a block, in a neighborhood or in a society will see things. The overall interest in a society based on the concept of an englightened public is to reserve some space for public discourse. Most people will actually tell you that their "no soliciting sign" means commercial activity and even then, will use it as a reserved option in case they want to talk to somebody. You really can't tell without being present to judge the particular circumstance. Courtesy and common sense are the best guides. This amounts to a few seconds of contact every couple of years.
The real problem is that if the economy declines further, a lot more people will be desperate to go door to door to get some sort of small business going. This could overwhelm any system meant to regulate problems that may come with that. Hopefully, however, things will improve.
"Courtesy and common sense are the best guides".
Definition of soliciting applies to more than commercial and yes, we know that when we place the sign on the door! YOU do not get to decide how I spend even a few minutes every few years. That is why the sign is on the door. Do not rationalize that most people only mean commercial transactions- as you can see from this post the majority mean all soliciting. You seem to be talking down to us like we are uneducated and politically naive and that all people you will canvas are, too. So use some of your courtesy and common sense and do not knock on a door or ring a bell with a sign on it. Maybe leave a note how they can reach you and move on. But before you go, reread all the posts to make sure you do understand how we feel. You do not get to decide that ringing the bell and no one answering is just fine and dandy!
Just to add one more perspective. One of the sad results of this, "Leave me alone!," attitude is that it's really hard to get to know your neighbors nowadays. When I moved into our current home, not a single person ever took the time to introduce themselves or welcome us to the neighborhood. After a month, it felt weird to be a stranger in my own neighborhood, so I decided I'd be proactive about the situation. I baked some cookies and started to knock on doors to say, hello. Many folks were happy for the opportunity to meet, and some of them have become friends. But some people... well, the only thing one grump said to me was, "Can't you read the 'No Soliciting' sign?'"
But the time that really got my blood boiling was when I rescued a lost dog. The dog showed up in our front yard, obviously was well cared for, and had probably just escaped from a nearby yard. So, my son and I went door to door until we found the right house, where the owners were estatic to get their dog back. Unfortunately, though, that was after several rude encounters. One man actually came to his door cursing me and my two-year old son and slammed the door shut, frightening my son so much that he cried.
I'm sorry, but I just don't get this attitude. The result is that we live in islands of isolation, stuck in echo chambers, while surrounded by the multitudes. I'm not speaking to the whole right of privacy in regard to political stuff that's been harped upon above. Somebody already made the point that they've never been persuaded by a door visitation, and I personally agree (although, the stats actually say differently; even so, I still find those visits annoying, too). But this general isolationist attitude leads to rather unpleasant neighborhoods. Oh, well....