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Should door-to-door sales be outlawed?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on October 7, 2009

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Photo of Stephen Whitfield

“No, I think it’s a fair practice. It can be annoying from time to time. As long as they’re not too pushy, it’s OK.”

Photo of Staci Foveaux

“No, it doesn’t bother me.”

Photo of James Garrison

“I don’t think so; it’s free enterprise, kind of what America was built on.”

Photo of Pat Kehde

“No, it’s a way for people to sell things and make a living.”


jonas_opines 8 years, 6 months ago

Meh, I've found that my solid door and a good firm "no" work pretty well, but I'll agree that we live in a safe enough place here to open our doors at all.

H_Lecter 8 years, 6 months ago

I always invite them in. I enjoy picking their brains.

trinity 8 years, 6 months ago

hah, autie, good one! :) i kinda get a kick out of the traveling meat salesmen. an odd lot to be sure.

headdoctor 8 years, 6 months ago

I have a feeling Girl Scout cookie sales, school fund raisers, and evangelists were not quite what they had in mind when they ask the question.

I am more concerned about the labor practices of some of the companies that have been known to show up from time to time and many of them are in violation of the Green River Ordinance.

50YearResident 8 years, 6 months ago

Door to Door Salesman are a thing of the past. It is now too dangerous to open your door to anyone you do not know. Those surveyed must not have ever had an aggressive salesman knock on their door. You know the type, the ones that won't leave until they have some of your money. Make door to door sales illegal!

trinity 8 years, 6 months ago

geez, rememberie from the past; when i was a very young housewife back in the day (late 70's) a guy came in, showed us horrific pictures of burned houses AND KIDS, and proceeded to "sell" us five expensive smoke alarms; he was drilling holes in the ceiling and putting 'em up before we knew what was happening! eventually couldn't meet the payments on 'em, after many harassing phone calls from the company i boxed 'em up&sent 'em back.

beawolf 8 years, 6 months ago

I have a sign.."Solicitors will be shot on sight"...It works quite well.

coolmom 8 years, 6 months ago

i think they should be banned from door to door sales and putting fliers on your home and car windows. the kid stuff i dont mind but the adults i do. companies are supposed to get background checks on their employees to sell almost anywhere as far as those traveling ones go but dont because it is expensive and many of the employees would not pass. I should get a sign that says solicitors with be beaten, whippen, slapped and kicked, survivors will be prosecuted.

Gareth Skarka 8 years, 6 months ago

Great journalistic instincts yet again -- LJW asks three probable apartment/dorm dwellers and a retiree who's views on the subject are circa 1964.

I think if they had actually bothered to go into the residential neighborhoods to ask this question, they'd have gotten a different answer.

imastinker 8 years, 6 months ago

If you are so worried about security don't open the door? How is stopping solicitors going to increase security?

Or is this about stopping inconveniences?

denak 8 years, 6 months ago

In the 15 years I have lived in Lawrence, I have only had a door-to-door salesman come to my home twice. One was selling cleaning supplies and the other was from Sunflower Cable. I think this is probably very typical. I don't see door to door salesmen being a huge issue.

I also haven't had a huge problem with missionary or "church people." Generally, I just tell them "no" and that I already have a church and that's that.

Not a big problem.


sgtwolverine 8 years, 6 months ago

What a silly question -- door-to-door salespeople aren't even close to being the most obnoxious and intrusive sort of salespeople. If you want to ban an annoyance, ban telemarketing.

pace 8 years, 6 months ago

There is a city regulation requiring door to door salespersons or solicitors to get a City licence, requiring photo id, police check , this is at a very reasonable fee. Olin has decided not to enforce this. Too much trouble, not his thing. A lot of people worked hard to get this passed. It has never been enforced. If you call the police they either don't know about it, lie they don't know about it , or say it doesnt' apply which is wrong. This regulation was to protect citizens and honest venders. We need a citizens review board, which reviews conduct and policy which effects our community. It would protect our community and our police force, it would help them work closer together and strengthen both.

1029 8 years, 6 months ago

Seriously, people, if you're so bothered by door-to-door salespeople, answer the door with a rifle pointed at the salesperson. You'd be surprised at how they fast they ditch their rehearsed pitch and get right to the point--no pressure, no cheesy humor tactics. Plus, word starts getting around amongst door-to-door salespeople and sometimes they don't even knock at your door no more.

Adrienne Sanders 8 years, 6 months ago

Just don't answer the door if you don't like it, not a huge deal.

trinity 8 years, 6 months ago

yeah then only outlaws will be door to door salespeople. word.

alm77 8 years, 6 months ago

Gareth, they probably couldn't get anyone to answer the door!

Dena, I get at least 3 a year, sometimes as many as 5. Usually it's magazines, vacuums, and oil changes. That's not counting the school's gift wrap, the scouts and the get-the-kids-off-the-street candy bars (never mind the fact that they are literally "on the street" selling candy bars).

I've only been invited to church once and it was a place I intended to check out, until I went to the website and saw it was rife with nepotism.

I've started leaving my door closed at all times and not opening it to anyone I don't recognize through the peep hole. The other day I left a lady standing at our screen door. My boy came in and said "Mom! Some lady is at the door. I think she's selling something." So I just said "Oh, well that's too bad, I'm busy cooking dinner." She never rang the bell or anything, she just left.

jonas_opines 8 years, 6 months ago

I think an effective way to discourage the sales pitch is to open the door so the door blocks you from view, and then climb over the door to the other side rather than walk around it.

jonas_opines 8 years, 6 months ago

I'd also like to see the defense at trial for the man of action who shot a door2door solicitor.

"Yeah, he was a threat to my. . . . convenience! Of course he deserved to die."

puddleglum 8 years, 6 months ago

yes, this practice needs to be totally outlawed along with the phone calls all night long trying to sell me dish network and other crap. I'm tired of getting up while i'm watching fox news, and having to answer the damn door for some crap I have no interest in. maybe if there were door to door hookers, it would be okay.

newsreader 8 years, 6 months ago

How many of the door to door magazine sales or automobile oil change deals are scams?

sgtwolverine 8 years, 6 months ago

prospector: "can morals be legislated?"

No, but morels can be legislated.

pace 8 years, 6 months ago

I have lived in poor neighborhoods and in rich ones. I don't open my door to people I don't know. I will talk to them through the door, if an emmergency I will call someone for them. Teach your kids not to open the door. the reason I don't open my door to strangers is because I don't want to be murdered, robbed, or raped. No one is safe because it is a nice day in a nice town, the safety issue is based on who might be knocking on the door, not how nice the lawn is mowed. While I once pointed a gun at an intruder, I prefer just not to invite them in.

Bruce Liddel 8 years, 6 months ago

Well, I've seen this issue from both sides. Annoyed sometimes by people at all hours, and at inconvenient times? Sure. But I also know how it feels when someone starts yelling "NO, NO" before they even have a clue why you are there.

For the record, I always carried my current up-to-date Lawrence municipal "license to solicit" with me,

That is also how I handle someone who is not professional in their demeanor. I ask to see their license. If they won't or can't produce a valid Lawrence license to solicit, then I call the police.

Bryan Moore 8 years, 6 months ago

I pay to keep those people out. The armed guard at the gate won't let them in the community. One guard wasn't even going to let me pass when I first moved in because my car wasn't a foreign luxury brand. He just couldn't believe I live here and drive a GMC. He called my wife at home to make sure I was a resident. The guard will even call your house before they let the pizza delivery guy in and even then they take the guys drivers license until he returns to the gate. It may sound like over-kill but it's worth every penny if they just keep harassing my mother-in-law every time she "pops over" without calling.

StirrrThePot 8 years, 6 months ago

"I am more concerned about the labor practices of some of the companies that have been known to show up from time to time and many of them are in violation of the Green River Ordinance."

Are the Kirby vacuum salespeople among them? Those salepeople are AWFUL. I made the mistake of letting one of them in one evening several years ago (hey, I was a new mom and they offered a "free" carpet cleaning).

After 30 minutes and one of them dumping almost an entire box a baking soda on my floor I ordered them out the door--and I wasn't very nice about it because those people do not take no for an answer.

TheNightman 8 years, 6 months ago

Back in the day when i was hard up for cash I answered one of those 'CSR, distribution center, appointment setting ads' and found myself being driven around town (Wichita) in a van, dropped off in decaying parts of town and told by my "Team Leader" No Soliciting doesn't actually mean No Soliciting - sort of a date rapists guide to door to door sales. On the second day (yes, i went back) I got to drive Mr. Team Leader and three others around in my car - awesome. We tried to guilt nice people in to paying five bucks for 5 cents worth of crap. I didn't go back for a third round. That night, Johnny Team Leader was knocking at my door asking why.

It's an odd type of person who engages in certain kinds door to door sales.Take a look at Craigslist right now and you will find multiple posts by a Lawrence local for the same sad scam.

kansasmutt 8 years, 6 months ago

yes or limited to hours of 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. I think phone sales should be outlawed.

sgtwolverine 8 years, 6 months ago

Only if the moralators aren't illegis hypocrites, jonas. And even then it's hard to pass that sort of moralation in modern America.

pusscanthropus 8 years, 6 months ago

I never open my door to a stranger...ever.

gphawk89 8 years, 6 months ago

They don't bother me much anymore. I never answer the doorbell unless I'm expecting someone. And never answer the phone when the family is all at home. If it's important enough, they'll leave a message.

My worst experience was with a guy selling home improvements that wouldn't take "no" for an answer. After about ten minutes and the third or fourth "no" I just said, "Sorry, not interested" and started closing the door. He stuck his hand in the door and tried to push it back open, at which time I quite forcibly pinned his hand between the door and door frame.

I did purchase a magazine subscription from a nice kid about 5 years ago. Paid $40. I've yet to receive any magazines. That was the last time.

To answer the question: no, I don't think we should have to outlaw this activity. But it wouldn't bother me a bit if we did.

sgtwolverine 8 years, 6 months ago

Multi, my local band sold similar (or probably the same) candy bars. They were good, but it seemed like they got smaller every year.

Great. Now I want one, too. Thanks a lot!

JHOK32 8 years, 6 months ago

Absolutely outlaw it! I get so annoyed at these people disrupting my private life, trying to watch a movie, the evening news, or mowing my lawn. If I want to buy something I'll go buy it - end of discussion! Leave me alone!

KS 8 years, 6 months ago

I consider it tresspassing. In the old days, there used to be a sign posted at the city limits of many small towns that said something to the effect that the "Green River Ordinance" was enforced. I think that had something to do with door to door folks.

sassypants 8 years, 6 months ago

Multi says: I've also talked to a couple of people just recently, who have experienced salespeople come to the door to sell stuff..that had no 'sales material'. Just asking if they were interested in buying this or that.

Thats because they are taking your order. Then they have to go "rip", I mean buy it. Then sale it to you for double the price. lol.

Rae Hudspeth 8 years, 6 months ago

It definitely could be a huge deal…especially for rural people. Common practice for some robbers is to make sure no one is home…then kick in the door if no one answers.

Then oh goodie, is that robber gonna get a surprise when we unload on them because I don't answer my door to anyone who hasn't called me first. I don't care who it is.

I want one of those doorbells that sounds like a Doberman ready to tear his own way through the door.

ivyacc07 8 years, 5 months ago

Who, that have answered this question, have actually done door to door sales?

To all the go green people in the world----hey; atleast we're using our feet instead of gas to earn a living.

To all the paranoid people;;;;;;understandable, Atleast engage in a conversation with the person most of them aren't that bad of people....just trying to earn some cash. If you dont see the product up front---get some detailed information on whether or not its a scam.
Even if you're not interested(interesting---in most cases) offer a cold glass of water.

Lastly, the inconvenience------most people who are at home aren't doing anything of value anyways.....

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