Four door-to-door alerts, including one precautionary tale

July 13, 2011 at 9:38 pm | In Door-to-door alert, West Seattle news | 58 Comments

More nice weather, more door-to-door alerts. Tonight, three in West Seattle, and one from a WS woman who wants to put out a warning about what happened to her mom in Magnolia, just in case. Read on:

Steve says two women showed up on his doorstep about 2 pm today in the Admiral/Belvidere area, both around 20, one talking while the other stayed 10 feet back, “asking about our children’s education”:

… I’m still not quite sure what they wanted. She said that she was a Berkeley student, here on internship. She asked When and where our kids go to school. She wanted to know (so she could save time) which houses in the neighborhood have kids and which don’t. And what time is my wife home.

I told her she could talk to me about anything concerning my kids and their education, but somehow she never got around to saying anything of substance. She pulled out a laminated page with some children’s pictures on it, is it for magazine subscriptions, or what, I have no idea what she was trying to show me. I’m very private and protective of personal info, and was thinking this is a good scam to obtain info about the houses in the area. I was surprised that a neighbor had already told them that I had kids. But, I just as carelessly said, “no, don’t check that house, they don’t have kids.” I had just woke up from our nap and was not completely on my toes.

As our 3 year old poked his head out the door, she did not even acknowledge. This person is concerned about kids?? Am I being over paranoid, does someone here know that these people are legit. They had I.D. cards around their neck, that I didn’t inspect, but, tied to their I.D. cards they also had their Fred Meyer Rewards cards. WTF!

They went to one more house then took off in their little white car.

Here’s a similar report from the WSB Forums – with a subsequent suggestion that these solicitors may be legitimate.

Next one is from Kris:

Doorbell rang (last night) at 6:00 pm. Stupidly I opened the door (home alone with my 3 kids) and the guy (caucasion) started in about how he just lived a couple blocks away and lived with his grandma while his father was deployed. I told him this was a bad time and he started giving me a hard time. “oh! Well, when’s a GOOD time?!” (said sarcastically). So I told him I wasn’t I interested and he then started in about some “Christian” organization. I said, “I’m not interested” and closed and locked the door. He started yelling at me through the door that he’d be back tomorrow. Really shook me up. He was wearing a white T shirt with a “Hurley” logo and jeans. This was in the 5600 block of 46th. He looked to be in his 20′s (a little old to be living with grandma while ‘dad’s deployed’) and acted anything but Christian.

After reading the April posts of other solicitors I will now 1) get a no solicitor sign -even though these types don’t pay it any attention and 2) never open the door again. Stinks that I have lots of windows around my door. The guy today was looking through the window as I was walking up to the door.

And from Barb – a precautionary door-to-door alert:

Please tell West Seattle area residents to beware – this just happened to my mom in Magnolia. I wrote to their blog and from all the replies this might be a crew of people working the Seattle area. I’m thinking it’s just a matter of time before they cross the bridge to us. If this email can save one person from having to deal with them or prevent the hassle of closing their banks account and opening a new one, I’d like to help.

A young- late teens or early 20′s, white male with blond hair arrived at my mom’s door asking for money for magazines for service people stationed overseas. The name and phone number he gives are fake. He says he’s a neighbor and lives “around the corner” He sweet talks his way into the house, asks for something to drink, asks to use the bathroom etc. He obtains a check, then says he lost it and wants another one. (how do you lose a check between the bathroom and kitchen, I don’t know!) Then he says cash is better because he will qualify to earn more points for a trip to Europe. He says he just needs one more person to give him cash so he can go to Europe. When he leaves, he says he tore up the checks and put them in the wastebasket. Of course after he is gone the waste baskets are empty. I went to the house where he said he lived, they don’t have any young men living there.

This guy made off with two $84.00 check made out to “U. C.” and $60 in cash. We went to the bank and closed the account the checks were written on and canceled the checks, which cost $35.00 per check to cancel.

They did try to cash one of the checks but we had closed the account before they had a chance to cash either check.

Please remind people not to open their doors to strangers, no matter how “charming” they seem. This guy used any tiny bit of info my mom gave him to his advantage to make it sound like he was a neighbor. He even said to her “you remind me of my grandma” and gave her a hug goodbye!

58 Comments

  1. I stupidly purchased magazines from a door to door salesman a few years back. At the time I was a mid twenties, single female…home alone. (Admiral District) I pretended to talk to “my boyfriend” when I went to get the kid some water he asked for. He smelled of alcohol, and I told him so. He said it helped take the edge off because he was shy talking to strangers. Through the whole transaction I felt intimidated, in fact I think I only bought the magazines to get the kid off my porch and leave me alone. I never received anything I ordered, and later found out the company was fake.

    Comment by muffaluffagus — 10:05 pm July 13, 2011 #

  2. I would suggest answering the door after calling 911 and telling them there is a trespasser on your property not complying with your No Solicitor sign…

    Comment by Lolly — 10:24 pm July 13, 2011 #

  3. Yes. Call the police every time someone knocks on your door. There’s no better way to say “Welcome to the neighborhood!” like a pair of handcuffs.

    Comment by FauntleeHillsFag — 11:32 pm July 13, 2011 #

  4. I just scare the living crap out of them. They leave in a rush. The kids selling meat door to door was my favorite, they were spinning tires leaving in their truck.

    Comment by Mike — 11:46 pm July 13, 2011 #

  5. The “meat truck” scammers were making their way through Seaview today.

    Comment by WesCAddle — 12:08 am July 14, 2011 #

  6. we get a lot of these. magazines, cookbooks, windows, kid’s books, etc.
    .
    nothing i have ever tried has managed to get rid of them quicker than the sight (and sound) of our big dog. he isn’t that big (75 lbs), but to the non-doglover, he looks really scary and he barks at everyone who comes to our door.
    .
    i have a little theory going that the shadier the person really is, the more afraid they are of the dog. so far it seems to ring true. the ones that are there with the nonsense sales pitches/stories seem to get the most nervous and don’t press when they don’t get an instant bite.

    Comment by rob — 12:09 am July 14, 2011 #

  7. I always answer the door with shotgun in hand..never had any trouble.
    If you are not good at self defense or you don’t want to have a firearm my best advice would be not to open the door. One of my friends said one time he poured ketchup over his head and then answred the door, that might be a good one too. I say do whatever you want to these jerks, who the heck knocks on a strangers door anyways

    Comment by Paul — 12:49 am July 14, 2011 #

  8. We were just visited the other day by a young woman asking about the education of our kids and asked if my husband went to college. I immediately reminded her that she must not be able to read. She looked puzzled until I said, “Because you obviously couldn’t read the sign on the gate.”

    It’s so important to have a locking screen door so that when we open our doors at least there’s a locked storm door between us and the scammers.

    Comment by justme — 12:56 am July 14, 2011 #

  9. In reference to Steve’s post about the education vendor. The company is Southwestern Learning. I actually met with this individual that you referenced giving her an opportunity to present her offering. Similar to your experience she told me she was from the school system as a way to get into the door. The reality is she is a book vendor who has nothing to do with the public education system. As you noted it was also clear she didn’t care much about kids either as she clearly was annoyed by mine. Her sales approach was to create demand through fear referencing how bad the public school system was and how I needed to take action and be responsible for my child’s education. She also leveraged the fact that she spoke with my neighbors and repeatedly showed me all of the order cards from other people in my neighborhood. Her offering was a series of books that was touted as a learning system. In the end told her I was not interested and she quickly left. After her departure I found the following site while doing some research on the company http://southwesterncompanytruth.com/

    Feeling strongly about how poor my experience was I looked the company up on Facebook and noticed that there wall was full of customer praise. I posted about my negative experience and within 5min that post was deleted. This in my mind validated what I read on the site southwestcompanytruth.com.

    Hopefully sharing my experience here will help others who get subjected to yet another door to door high pressure sales scam.

    Comment by Austin — 2:31 am July 14, 2011 #

  10. I too was recently approached in my yard (up the hill from the Fauntleroy ferry) by a young woman wanting to know which houses had kids. I said I didn’t really know, and she walked on without saying anything more. In the past few months there have been several young people at the door, usually saying they are selling magazines, but they always seem to be somewhat disoriented, except for a pair of young men who said if I wanted them off the streets I should support them. I always have a hand on the collar of my fierce-looking big dog while talking to them. Who is recruiting these young people? Is this something to call the non-emergency police number about?

    Comment by sue — 6:24 am July 14, 2011 #

  11. It’s campaign season again, so time for a little explanation about door-to-door political activity.
    -
    These discussions are one of the very best features of WSB, and I always read them all the way through. I and other members of the 34th District Democrats canvass in West Seattle for Democratic Party candidates, and speaking for myself, these discussions always help me know how to act — and how not to act — at someone’s door.
    -
    If I see a “No Solicitors” sign, I won’t ring the bell or knock, but will leave candidate literature. If asked to leave, I thank the person, turn on my heel, and walk away. I thank everyone I talk to for taking the time.
    -
    I also make a point of saying that I’m a volunteer. And I never, ever ask for money for a candidate.
    -
    In the past we have had solicitors from the Democratic National Committee going door-to-door asking for money. When I was chairman in the 34th, I called Washington DC and raised hell about this. These people are not your neighbors, and they don’t represent your local organization.
    -
    I hope this is helpful. There ARE good ways to go door-to-door for causes and people we support, and we know that only by being good citizens and respecting people’s space will we gain friends and allies.

    Comment by Ivan Weiss — 7:11 am July 14, 2011 #

  12. Ivan, I guess that sort of answers the question of whether ANY door to door solicitor is reputable these days. Political campaigns notwithstanding, has anyone ever encountered a solicitor who WASN’T shady? I haven’t.
    .
    There are a number of interesting news reports out there about door to door solicitors, including one that might explain that disorientation sue observed. Here are a couple:
    http://www.houstonpress.com/2008-07-17/news/what-mainstream-publishers-don-t-want-you-to-know-about-door-to-door-magazine-sales/
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/21/us/21magcrew.html?pagewanted=all
    .
    From some of these accounts, calling the cops isn’t an unreasonable response…not because these kids are necessarily doing anything illegal, but because chances are high that they’re being abused. O_o

    Comment by datamuse — 7:42 am July 14, 2011 #

  13. We had some young man knock on the door in the Fauntleroy area about a week ago. I walked to the door, saw him through the window, shook my head “no” and walked away.

    I no longer open the door for anyone I don’t know as nothing they say will make me give them a dime, so saves us all a lot of time.

    Comment by Jordan — 7:50 am July 14, 2011 #

  14. When someone comes up to my door and I am not expecting a visitor I let my giant German shpeoard answer the door with me while I flip them a bunch of S#*t for being obviously stupid. Works everytime. When they start in on their rehearsed sales speech I interrupt with, ” get to the point so I can say no” while I’m simultaniously slamming the door in their face.
    I am however more polite and diplomatic with the door to door religion pushers, but firmly let them know I’m not a believer.

    Comment by sophista-tiki — 8:06 am July 14, 2011 #

  15. Try and not use fear tactics or give out any unneeded info. Just have a firm stance and say you are not interested and close the door. Thats right just close the door you uber polite West Seattlites.

    Comment by Andy — 8:10 am July 14, 2011 #

  16. It really annoys me when people come to my door to try to sell me something. I have a no soliciting sign right by the door but many choose to ignore it. So how I handle it is I answer the door and give them two seconds to start talking…by then you can tell if they are selling something or not and then if they are I say I’m not interested and close the door. Is this rude? Yes. Do I care? Sort of but I figure they are being rude for knocking on my door in the first place. Also I always keep my hand on the door, my foot pressed against it and only open it a little ways. Makes it quicker to close it. I also don’t appreciate the people that leave their flyers and all that on my door and or porch. This is still soliciting and it goes right to the recycling bin.

    Comment by Jennifer — 8:23 am July 14, 2011 #

  17. A story I can’t remember if I posted this. Several years ago I was chopping up an onion while preparing dinner here in WS. It was kinda dusky out, and my dogs started going wild barking. I looked out and saw my gate was closed. They kept it up, so I went over to shush them, and I noticed a shadow on the porch. I saw this 18-20 yr old with dark clothes, short, with a hood up (it was rainy) standing on the porch. I squeezed out past the dogs and asked him what he needed. He mumbled that he wanted to know where Westwood village was. I led him out to the street and gestured about as I explained how to get there. It was then I noticed I had come to the door and was gesturing about with the 10 inch butcher knife I was chopping the onion with. I remarked I was preparing dinner as he wandered off down the street. He hasn’t been back.

    Comment by steve — 8:35 am July 14, 2011 #

  18. I see no reason to be polite to people who knock on my door to sell me stuff/solicit donations/take a survey/wash my soul in lamb’s blood etc unless they have an appointment.

    How do you get an appointment? You can’t. If I want your services, I’ll call you. Otherwise don’t bother me. This includes people who want to bring “god” into my life or discuss politics.

    One of the greatest freedoms is the freedom to be left alone. I do not owe strangers “just a few moments” of my time. Time is the only capital you have and it is finite. If you really feel a need to use the minutes of my life for your purposes, we can talk consulting rates in advance.

    Comment by Jim P — 9:48 am July 14, 2011 #

  19. Jennifer says:
    -
    “I also don’t appreciate the people that leave their flyers and all that on my door and or porch. This is still soliciting and it goes right to the recycling bin.”
    -
    When we leave material for a candidate or for a political issue, we’re not soliciting money, we’re soliciting citizen participation in the political process. We recognize that we can’t please everybody.
    -
    Some people have signs that say “Leave no material” or something like that. We wouldn’t make many friends if we ignored that, so we always respect residents’ wishes. But without such a specific message, we can’t read minds.

    Comment by Ivan Weiss — 9:50 am July 14, 2011 #

  20. Luckily we are able to see who is at our front door without them seeing us. If I don’t know them then I don’t answer it… it’s as easy as that. It’s just like when telemarketers call – if our phone displays unknown caller, toll free or I don’t recognize the name or number then I don’t answer it… once again, it’s as easy as that. Unfortunately, these methods don’t make them go away entirely… just temporarily.

    Comment by sun*e — 9:51 am July 14, 2011 #

  21. A few months ago I had the “meat truck” guys come by and knock on my door. It was around 7:30pm and dark out. I had just got the baby to sleep and the knock at the door got the dog (large black lab) barking. This woke the baby up.
    With the dog barking (me holding him back) and the baby now crying in the other room, I didn’t let the guy say a word. I told him that his unwanted visit had upset the dog, which woke the baby, which angered me. I explained that I didn’t want anything he was selling, and if I had a need for anything I would go to a store.
    Usually I can see people come thru the gate and am able to tell them I am not interested before they get to the door, but since this was at night I didn’t see them coming.

    I do have to add that we had some political campaigners come by a few weeks ago. Once again I had just got the baby to sleep and was holding him. As they walked up the walkway I appeared in the window and pointed to the baby sleeping. They acknowledged that they understood and turned around and left.

    Comment by CMeagh — 10:00 am July 14, 2011 #

  22. The sketchy meat truck was driving in the Genesee neighborhood last night 7/13/11.

    Comment by Julie — 10:29 am July 14, 2011 #

  23. Don’t know you, don’t answer the door… Only once when a guy started pounding on the door because he could hear activity. I opened up angrily and asked him “can I help you”? That is with my usual stare into your soul look. He turned and walked away. There is no law that says you need to answer the door.

    Comment by Nate — 10:42 am July 14, 2011 #

  24. When someone comes to your door you don’t know and you have a dog, ask them to step back because your dog bites. Never ever say don’t worry my dog is nice. Every time I do this these people can’t seem to leave quick enough.

    Comment by foy boy — 10:47 am July 14, 2011 #

  25. Did anyone else buy cookie dough from the West Seattle High football team? If so has it shown up yet?

    Comment by mparet — 11:15 am July 14, 2011 #

  26. Door to door no more……

    Comment by dancingcat — 11:20 am July 14, 2011 #

  27. I too often find door to door salespeople annoying, however, it seems like the posters on here are a rough crowd when it comes to answering the door. It seems to me that there is a line somewhere between guarded and paranoid that has been crossed when people answer the door with a shotgun in hand.

    Comment by Teacher_Greg — 11:43 am July 14, 2011 #

  28. I had the girl with the “education” spin come to my door on 6/24. She was super pushy, and would not take no for an answer. she asked me about my neighbors, etc. Unfortunately, we have an all glass front door, and I always feel like I have to answer my door. Thanks for some of the good advice about how to avoid it. I cannot wait to get a new front door!!

    Comment by ta — 12:55 pm July 14, 2011 #

  29. I don’t want anyone knocking on my door that I haven’t invited there. Period. Doesn’t matter if it’s political, religious, or salesy. I won’t answer.

    Comment by Kayleigh — 1:05 pm July 14, 2011 #

  30. As far as the Southwest Learning book selling goes the only people being scammed are the poor college kids they rope into door to door selling. I was almost reeled into this scam in college and my best friend actually did it. The kids are scammed into paying money with the promise of making the initial investment back plus more. They are dropped off in strange neighborhoods and have to deal with rude people and people who answer the door wielding shotguns. Luckily my friend caught on pretty quickly that this was not going to be the fun summer camp for college kids while making money experience that she was promised and had to take the rest of the little money she had to get from the east coast to her parent’s farm in Iowa.
    I am not advocating that you buy what they are selling but give the kids a break. They are young, naive and most likely have very little money.

    Comment by Laura — 1:20 pm July 14, 2011 #

  31. Wow what happened to the West Seattle I grew up in? You people are rude. Let’s see a show of hands on how many of you transplanted from the East Caost cause that’s what you all sound like.

    On the other hand I simply and politley tell D2D sales people that I don’t give to phone solicitation, email spammers, snail mail marketing, and door to door traders. I give only to charities I have researched. Thye can leave their info but that’s it. I say have a nice day and good bye. Don’t have to be an A-hole all the time. But I do keep a baseball bat by the door just in case.

    Comment by Duane — 1:50 pm July 14, 2011 #

  32. As a transplanted east coaster, I take offense, @Duane! :) I can almost guarantee the enthusiastically rude folks are not us. I’m careful, but not ridiculous and I’m not rude to anyone UNLESS they’ve crossed a line. That almost never happens. West Seattle has its share of crazies, just like every other place. They just seem to blend in a bit more here…

    Comment by One More Opinion — 2:11 pm July 14, 2011 #

  33. Why is the meat truck guy sketchy? If there is a problem with him, can’t he get picked up by the police?

    Door-to-door from strangers is no longer a safe or welcome practice in our community. It should be discontinued. A knock on the door should represent a welcome guest or neighbor, not a threat. The jig is up.

    Comment by amom — 2:11 pm July 14, 2011 #

  34. Teacher_Greg ….Sorry but I value my life, you wanna gamble with yours by all means be my guest….

    Comment by Paul — 2:39 pm July 14, 2011 #

  35. It’s time to face the fact that we no longer live in the age of “Ozzie and Harriet” and pass laws banning door-to-door sales. It seems obvious that the bad experiences far outnumber the good.

    Comment by marty — 2:44 pm July 14, 2011 #

  36. Duane: we’re not rude, we’re direct! :D

    Comment by datamuse — 3:03 pm July 14, 2011 #

  37. “Wow what happened to the West Seattle I grew up in?”

    Sadly, it died in 1958. There are no survivors.

    Strangers demanding free use of my time do not come under the heading of “people to be nice to”.

    For someone in dire need or distress, i’ll gladly call 911 as needed, I won’t let someone bleed to death on my doorstep or watch their children get devoured by wolves without helping or stand by while someon’s house burns down.

    But none of that applies to the stranger who just wants “a few moments of your time to make you a golden offer”. Nope.

    On the other hand, I don’t keep a baseball bat by the door either. (Bad choice anyway, you need too much room to use it properly. I suggest a roling pin if you feel a blunt instrument is your weapon of choice in a pinch. I have my own druthers on such issues.)

    Comment by Jim P — 3:12 pm July 14, 2011 #

  38. We got a visit from a young woman afew weeks ago also asking which houses had kids and how many kids were at each house. She already knew which schools the kids attended, including the school our daughter attended. She had no badge or other creditials other than books she tried to sell me. She left angry because I would not provide her with any information on my neighbors and told her to leave our property. She was not with the school district, she told me she was an independent worker.

    Comment by luckymom30 — 3:31 pm July 14, 2011 #

  39. Datamuse, sorry, these tactics are anything but direct. Actually they are mostly passive aggressive — Duane’s approach is the only direct one I’ve read so far. I’m not condemning anyone, I’d be a hypocrite if I did, but just felt compelled to call it what it is. The day Seattleites are “direct,” hahahahahahaha

    Comment by Jill — 5:32 pm July 14, 2011 #

  40. Jill, I was responding to Duane’s assertion that these responses were coming from transplanted East Coasters. As a transplanted East Coaster myself, I couldn’t let that pass unremarked! I daresay I’m more polite to solicitors than most of those who’ve commented here–when I bother to answer the door, anyway–but they are quickly shown the gate.

    Comment by datamuse — 7:58 pm July 14, 2011 #

  41. A girl came by today selling educational books yet didn’t tell me the schools or teacher’s she is working with. I told her the WSB has posted notices warning neighbors of her door to door activity, asking where kids live, etc. I told her I wasn’t interested. I told her I found her tactics creepy and would call the police if i saw her in the area again.

    Comment by J — 8:03 pm July 14, 2011 #

  42. First of all I am a college kid, who sells educational books door to door during the summer :). I work with the southwestern co. when Im off for the Summer at Florida State University. I have definitely ran into a lot of people like some of those above, but thankfully 90% are extremely kind and willing to listen for 10 minutes. I have had a great experience with the company and have paid my way through school, however I acknowledge that this is not the case for many students less fortunate than me.

    Here are some tips for dealing with door to door from the inside ;)
    1. Southwestern is not a scam, but you are dealing with an individual student who may or may not keep good records. So always be sure to keep your receipt as the company guaranties your books.
    2. Magazines are almost always a scam! I see them every summer piling out of some shady old van, only to be gone the next day. ( this includes personal magazines and those for troops)
    3. No Soliciting signs wont work, (I have personally had many awesome families buy educational resources from me who had those on the door)
    4. Don’t Get Angry: we get yelled at everyday it doesnt even affect us, but it would be pretty sad that someone knocking on your door could control your emotional state.
    5. If you really HATE door to door (and i can understand some salespeople are very pushy) just dont come to the door.
    6. Call the Police. Why would I say that as a door to door seller??? because with Southwestern I have always been sure to check in with the police, leave my name and number as well as get a permit. This way you know just how legitimate it is.

    Well there you go, I encourage anyone reading this to have an open mind to any young college girl or boy doing sales door to door. It is extremely challenging, and honestly the nice, positive people that I have met in this job meant so much to me. I even appreciate when a Dad opens the door and says something like ” Son we are not going to buy anything, but I respect the fact that your out working hard all summer keep it up”.

    Thanks!

    Comment by BookGuy — 8:05 pm July 14, 2011 #

  43. I’m sorry but door to door is not as common today as it once was. If I say I’m not interested once that should be enough. If you keep pushing I will get annoyed and you should be satisfied with just a police threat – anything more and I will suspect you are up to something. Asking were kids live in the neighborhood is completely inappropriate!

    Comment by J — 9:54 pm July 14, 2011 #

  44. Ivan Weiss says:

    When we leave material for a candidate or for a political issue, we’re not soliciting money, we’re soliciting citizen participation in the political process. We recognize that we can’t please everybody.

    …You just proved my point that you are soliciting whether it’s money, a service, my vote or my choice of religion. I would think it would be obvious that if I have a no soliciting sign up that it would mean I don’t want to be bothered by anyone trying to sell, get me to sign a petition or whatever. Maybe I need a better sign.

    Duane says:

    Wow what happened to the West Seattle I grew up in? You people are rude. Let’s see a show of hands on how many of you transplanted from the East Caost cause that’s what you all sound like.

    …I was born and raised here and have lived here for over 45 years. I used to be polite when I answered the door until people got pushy and rude with me when I said I wasn’t interested. I don’t call them names. I don’t give them the evil eye. I don’t threaten them with a weapon. I simply say that I am not interested and close the door. I do the same with people who call my phone and try to get me to donate to some organization or take a survey. They are interrupting my dinner, time with my family …whatever. These aren’t my neighbors. These aren’t my friends. These aren’t people in need of emergency help. They are people who want something from me and I don’t feel like giving it. End of story.

    Comment by Jennifer — 10:50 pm July 14, 2011 #

  45. If Teacher_Greg has children I sure hope he “teaches” them never to open the door for strangers and common sense is not “paranoia”. The issue for me is not that they are selling stuff, It’s the fact that bad guys ( and gals) will invade your home and kill you. Don’t believe me? Read a paper or watch the news.

    Comment by Paul — 11:25 pm July 14, 2011 #

  46. If I’m in the house alone, I don’t open the door and let the dogs bark. I can see the porch through a window and evaluate what is going on out there and then make my judgment call, which 9 times out of 10 is to ignore whoever is at the door. If I’m not in the house alone, sometimes I will open the door – we don’t know every single neighbor by sight, and occasionally someone is there on a legit errand. Solicitors and religion pushers get a firm “no thanks” and immediately closed door. But I also appreciated the local guy with no advertising budget who came by to tell us about his tree and yard service – he was young, huge, and nice as pie. He came to the point quickly, I asked him if he had a card, he gave it to me, thanked me, and left. We wouldn’t have known about him otherwise, and when we finally get to having our trees trimmed, we will include him in our research of service providers – I like to keep the $ local if I can. It’s important to be safe and use common sense, and not sacrifice your time and privacy when it’s being “invaded” – you owe a solicitor nothing at all. However, sometimes it’s just folks asking about normal stuff – I go door to door with the loose dogs found in the neighborhood trying to figure out where they live, we’ve had people knock on the door who just want to know if the abandoned car in our neighbor’s yard (which looks like it could be ours) is for sale, and so on. I wait to see what’s up, then make the call as to whether to shut it down immediately or to cautiously engage. We do live in a community, after all.

    Comment by Verde — 8:30 am July 15, 2011 #

  47. These guys come by every year. We saw them in our neighborhood about 2 years ago. Its sad our society has become what it has.

    Comment by george — 10:06 am July 15, 2011 #

  48. Universities and census workers go door to door. For research, this is the only way to have a randomized non-biased sample of participants to study.

    For research, they are not selling anything. They don’t take your money. You can say no and they walk away. They want to ask a few questions. If there is someone eligible, it’s true, they give you a gift card as a thank you for being a participant and helping provide information that will be used to try and make your area a better place.

    Comment by Shauna — 10:53 am July 15, 2011 #

  49. datamuse, gotcha, that makes much more sense in context, thx. ;)

    Comment by Jill — 11:35 am July 15, 2011 #

  50. No worries, Jill. :)
    .
    Shauna, I work with researchers and I suspect the information that going door to door is the only way to get a randomized non-biased sample would be news to them. Unless you’re talking specifically about demographic research, perhaps? I’ve never had a researcher of any stripe come to my door, though I did see a census worker once.
    .
    Frankly, if someone showed up at my door and started asking about my neighbors’ kids, I’d be just a little concerned…

    Comment by datamuse — 12:24 pm July 15, 2011 #

  51. This just happened to me too. 2 students talking about West Seattle Student Resources… Said she was in a hurry and had to meet up with 40 families today. its a girl in a white tank and shorts with a dark green backpack and a guy in a dark blue shirt. both have some kind of id card hanging around their necks. The girl has a white binder and notebook. she wanted me to sign something.. i closed the door

    Comment by WestSeaMomma — 1:46 pm July 15, 2011 #

  52. Read either article link posted by datamuse and you will never open your door to “mag crews” again. Very disturbing info.

    Comment by S5 — 3:26 pm July 15, 2011 #

  53. I just got a knock on the front door and went to see who it was and it’s the same girl that you all have been talking about. This is 9:30 PM

    She looked at me and said, ” oh you must be the dad”. I said I have grandchildren older than you are and no thanks and closed the door.

    There was anothr person with her but was far enough away and in the dark I couldn’t see whether male or female.

    She was carrying a white note book and she was of Asian decent and probably in her late teens or early 20s. Couldn’t see what they were driving.

    Comment by Craig — 9:54 pm July 15, 2011 #

  54. BookGuy said “No Soliciting signs wont work, (I have personally had many awesome families buy educational resources from me who had those on the door)”
    .
    Unfortunately you are taking a huge risk doing that. By soliciting when there’s a sign explicitly stating no soliciting, you are then trespassing and breaking the law. Think of it this way, you don’t know where you’re are walking up to. You don’t know who’s behind the door, you don’t know if they’re nuts. I can point you to some homes in my area where you’d probably get a gun toting nutcase opening the door. Selling door to door in West Seattle is a bad idea.

    Comment by Mike — 11:47 pm July 15, 2011 #

  55. The young girls selling education material were on 41st just south of Hanford yesterday. Can’t believe they are having much success given their tactics.

    Comment by tmo — 7:51 am July 16, 2011 #

  56. Paul, maybe since you seem to be more up on how dangerous opening the door is you could enlighten me about the number of random murders phony solicitors have committed in Seattle?

    Comment by Teacher_Greg — 8:03 am July 16, 2011 #

  57. The Southwestern girls are great. Not only did we buy the books, but they stayed with me for two weeks as a temporary host family. They are legit and work 14 hour days to pay for college, grad school and get college credits. The UW considers it one of their top internships. The graduates of SW are some of the best people to hire, as they get real life experience dealing with people like all of you. It is not a scam and the books are really good.

    Comment by Andrew — 9:22 am July 16, 2011 #

  58. Strange brief encounter last night (July 15) with a guy who arrived in a truck with poorly done logo reading ‘steakandseafood.com’ near 39th Ave SW and Morgan. He was wearing a polo shirt with a professionally done logo – same business. Long story short – front door was open, screen door closed, guy walked up lots of stairs to come to our door, rang the bell, and asked me when I approached ‘are you a carnivore?’ Strange question from an unsolicited salesperson at 7:30PM on a Friday night. He told me they had extra meat and seafood on the truck and could give me a deal – seemed to get a bit agitated when he heard my husband burst out laughing in the living room (he said something like – oh yeah, we want to buy leftover boxes of meat that have been sitting in your pickup truck all day) So I told him I had just returned from Costco but thanks and closed the door. The encounter was more bizarre than anything else, but it occurs to me that one could say to any of these folks ‘Thanks but I just got back from Costco’ before closing the door and walking away. He left immediately without stopping to talk to any other neighbors.

    I did look up the company and they do deliver meat and seafood in Seattle – so maybe these guys were trying to make a bit of money on the side? Regardless, it is a strange time to be doing door to door sales and had we not been sitting in the living room with the door open (he could’ve just walked in) I would not have answered the door.

    Comment by JoanE — 11:43 am July 16, 2011 #

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