Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Who's at the door and what are they selling?

The doorbell rang and Miss Wendy and I looked at one another, momentarily startled. It only took a few seconds to make my way from upstairs and across the foyer to the front door. I wasn’t exactly anxious as I reached for the handle, but there was a sense of uncertainty hanging heavily in the air.

Not all that long ago a knock on the door was most always a good thing – friends or family dropping by for a visit, the neighbor hoping to borrow a cup of something, a messenger from Western Union. Okay, maybe this good vibe stuff was really four or five decades ago.

Somewhere between Elvis singing Love Me Tender and Gerald Ford falling up the stairs at the White House, the world changed. Well, duh! Now our homes have really become our castles and many of us, if possible, would build a moat across our front yards.

Once upon a time in my neighborhood, we didn’t lock our doors. Now many of us have high-tech security systems that monitor all that is happening around our homes, deadbolt locks and iron gates. Interestingly, all this protection doesn’t seem to make most of us feel safer. But I digress.

The doorbell at Chateau Grebneif has ding-donged a dozen times or so in the last year and it has never been a friend or family member waiting on my steps when I reached the front door. No, a ringing bell today means somebody is trying to sell me something, almost always a product or service I already have or don’t want.

At one end of the spectrum are vendors pushing new web and cable services, at the other end salesmen offering cheaper rates for garbage pickup. Somewhere in the middle are scam artists selling magazines, entertainment books and salvation. Can you say Amen? I’ve also had Girl Scouts pushing cookies and cub scouts selling popcorn. Truth to tell, I’m a soft touch when it comes to sweets and things that are salty.

The guy at the door most recently, a man in his late 30s, wearing a tie and sporting an ID badge, made it clear that he, um, wasn’t selling anything. Somewhere in the next sentence I knew there was going to be a “but” that would have him asking for cash.

I wasn’t disappointed. He explained that he wasn’t going to be asking for any sort of donation, that his company had already done that by going to area businesses and getting them to ante up for some sort of charity. Then he pulled out an entertainment book, featuring the businesses, that he was going to let me have for only … well, I’m not sure what the asking price was since I was in the process of saying no thanks and shutting the door.

Bottom line? Don’t come banging on my door unless you’re cute, wearing a uniform and selling cookies; or unless you have a steam shovel and can offer me an incredible deal on digging a moat!

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