Monday, October 01, 2007

Venting a bit today

Those annoying solicitious phone calls are bad enough, but when they come to your door...

Twice this summer, we got finagled into buying magazines for some organization or another. They all start the same way, "I'm just meeting people in the neighborhood to collect points." Yeah, right. By now, though, I can spot anyone with an i.d. tag a mile away. (BTW, I really did get the magazines. I probably overpaid for them big time. But how do you say 'no' after a kid talks to you for twenty minutes?)

So today, these two kids ring my bell. I see the i.d. card. UH-OH. I just came right out and said, 'are you selling magazines?' (Because the next line was going to be, I don't need any more.)

No, he was 'collecting points for a trip abroad.'

Oh, my gosh, get a new line, okay? I can't even afford to take my family out to dinner, and I'm supposed to support some kid who wants to go abroad as part of some organization I have never heard of? And how do points pay for a trip? There's money involved here, somewhere.

BUT...there are other, better ways to get it than begging from strangers! (And it really is begging, isn't it?)

Have a car wash!
Do a bake sale!
Sponsor a crafts fair!
Heck...back in high school, we had something called "Donkey Basketball" that was a great fundraiser!

Hey, sell magazines...but be honest and up front about it!

I said. "NO." I said, "I'm sorry, I can't help you." And I walked away. I was not rude, but I was assertive. I can be the most generous person you've ever met, but dang, I want to really, really know where my money is going. I don't have the time to sit and really look at the card they hand you. For all I know, it says something like: "This is a con, but most people don't read the fine print." Okay, it probably doesn't say that. But then again, who knows?

I'll stick to charities I know and trust, thank you very much.

And for the record...I don't think young people should be going door-to-door in this day and age. Except on Halloween, and only in groups or with a parent!


BittersweetPunkin said...

I ditto that......we tithe every payday to a worthwhile cause so I have NO PROBLEM saying NO to everything else...unless its Girl Scout Cookies or Cub Scout popcorn,,,,,,then I get a lil weak. The lil kids are just so cute....
I love it when solicitors call your house, even if you are on the no call list, and then when you cut them off and tell then you are not interested they hang up on you!!

Milehimama said...

I used to sell door to door for a few weeks to make ends meet.

Here's how the magazine thing works.

The parent company busses them around the country - the kids are almost never local. They get a cut, and their parent company gets a cut (usually it's equal - if there is a $10 premium for an order, the kid gets $5, and the guy that recruited him gets $5.)

The kids are independent contractors responsible for their own taxes.

They can make a couple hundred dollars a day, or nothing all day. The kids that do it, like I said, are adrift... the adults who do it are usually, in my experience, good folks who fell on hard times.

Because they are independent contractors, the parent company ignores labor laws (you know, like a break for lunch, etc.) The kids walk probably 10 miles in a day, maybe more. They are over 18 (have to be, for the independent contractor status. But they are hired because they look young or are attractive.)

The "parent company" is usually some kids that have stuck with it for a while, and recruited some kids of their own.

It's legal, but not moral IMO.

She'sSewPretty said...

That makes me so mad too. One boy inferred that my husband was prejudiced because he wouldn't buy something from him. He had to shut the door in his face. What did happen to bake sales?
And...thanks for your sweet comments today. I was venting too. LOL

Susie Q said...

Amen to this!! WE have had several of these lately and they are not to be here due to development rules. Some get very nasty when you say no thank you. One really did...he put his foot in the door and I thought Kip would take it off.
I feel such sympathy for those who get involved in this scam as a way to make money and the people who use them should feel so guilty. Like that will ever happen.


kat said...

I got suckered into signing up for 2 magazine subscriptions last month for $130! My husband blew up and I felt terrible so I called the bank the next morning and stopped the check. It only cost $6 and I didn't feel guilty because there are signs at the entrance to the neighborhood "No soliciting."
Just like when I see the "homeless" guys on the corner panhandling, these people should get a real job, like the rest of us.

Melonie said...

I bought magazines this way ONE time years ago - then I realized afterward that I probably would have paid less subscribing directly through the publishers themselves. I'll be dipped if I didn't check the price and find I'd paid more than I would have even on the NEWSSTAND at full price per copy! Ugh. Needless to say I didn't renew them, and I've never bought since.

As for door-to-door folks in general, I feel it's a big security risk - not just for the people selling the stuff but also for me. I use my peephole. If I don't know the person or expect them (repairmen or delivery men, for instance) I don't open the door. For those who don't have a peephole, install one - they aren't expensive, and they aren't too difficult to do. Ask at Home Depot or something for info. Renting? Request that your landlord install one due to safety issues. My money says they've had to stave off salespeople too. ;-P