A salesman rang my bell--at 8PM !

@dragon54u (31185)
United States
November 6, 2009 12:26pm CST
I was startled to hear my doorbell ring--it was completely dark, it was cold and windy and the bell rarely rings unless it's a delivery. I looked through the peephole and there was a young man in a white short-sleeved shirt and tie so I opened the door a few inches. The screen is mostly metal and was locked. He was selling Kirby Vacuums and wanted to give me a paper to enter a sweepstakes for $1,000.00. I asked him to put it in my mailbox and send him on his way politely although he was trying to be insistent. I waited until this morning to retrieve the entry form--what if he had been waiting for me to come out and get it? The fact that he wasn't wearing a coat made me think there was a vehicle waiting for him and he had no sales materials with him. Am I paranoid? Do you take such precautions, too? Or am I ready for the loony bin? Have you had any callers at an odd time of night?
2 people like this
10 responses
@carmelbg (521)
6 Nov 09
I have to say that I am very suspicious of things like this too. Salespeople should not be calling this late. I would not open to the door to someone trying to sell stuff at this time of night. I never open the door past a certain time unless I am expecting someone and have arranged for them to come. You should be careful like this as there are a lot of bad people out there.
2 people like this
@dragon54u (31185)
• United States
6 Nov 09
It's strange that he would be out that time of night. I'm a very careful person. It's nice to know that I'm being reasonable and not paranoid--I can never tell, as I don't see or talk to very many people anymore!
1 person likes this
@kelly10 (678)
6 Nov 09
I've had salesmen knocking on the door at around the same time. It's because they know that most people are back from work, had their evening meal and will be sat down relaxing. It is the best time to get people in their house. I always ask to see some sort of ID before properly opening the door and I never, ever let them into the house. I would much rather be safe then sorry. It does seem a bit odd that they didn't have any sales material with him though, so I think that you did the right thing. What you can do is contact the company he said he was working for and ask if there were peoplet going door to door in your area. If it was someone pretending then they can contact the police/authoraties and warn other people about it.
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31185)
• United States
6 Nov 09
That's a good idea, contacting the company. I will do that as soon as I'm done here. It was too dark, even with my porch light, to check an ID unless I opened the screen door so I didn't even ask. Keep being cautious! It's a shame we have to be this way, but that's the way the world is.
@kelly10 (678)
7 Nov 09
The other way for you to check ID, and this is something that I saw the Police recommend on TV, is ask them to put their ID badge through your letter box. If they are genuine they will not have any reason not to do this. There doesn't really seem to be another way to check their ID there and then when it's dark. A peep hole in a door isn't much help either as they seem to distort everything and it would be a real struggle to read what was written on the ID badge.
@emrajr69 (25)
• South Africa
13 Nov 09
I am in my 60's and take every precaution to keep myself safe, especially during the day while I am on my own at home. My husband enclosed our front porch with wrought-iron work, so that someone who comes to our front door is at least a metre away from me when I answer it. You are not being paranoid. Criminals today look for soft targets, so it pays not to take chances with your safety.
• India
7 Nov 09
A few years back one of my friend who was working as a vacuum cleaner sales man, used to moan that, they always used to start work,by the time when the regular office goers come home and have a rest. I think it is some thing to do with the man of the house, being available, so that he can make a decession on buying his product. This might be one of the reasons. But you were right in taking precaution, because it is always better to be careful and safe.
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31185)
• United States
7 Nov 09
When I was in college about 34 years ago I had a door to door sales job. If I went in the daytime the wives didn't want to make a decision without their husbands. If I went when the husbands were home from work, they were so irritated at being imposed upon that I couldn't make a sale. It is a very frustrating job, one that I really wasn't good at. I feel sorry for salespeople, especially now that very few people have money to spend.
@sacmom (14338)
• United States
7 Nov 09
Hi dragon. No, you aren't being paranoid. I take the same precautions as you do. I refuse to open the door at night, especially if I'm not expecting the person. Hell, sometimes I refuse to open it during the day too! LOL I actually had something like this happen a few weeks ago. I was going to start a discussion about it then, but decided against it. I'll share it in this response instead. Around 3 o'clock one morning there was a knock at the front door. Both my husband and I had been up, but I didn't think it would be a good idea to open the door so I told him not to as we didn't know who the person was (our patio light doesn't work so we couldn't see who it was). He ended up asking who it was through the door, but could barely hear what the person on the other side was saying, which only made me more suspicious. Again, I told him to not open it. What if it was some sort of trick? Who in their right mind knocks on someone's door at 3 in the morning? My husband was told (by an unreliable source) that it turned out to be a young woman that had been abducted, but escaped, and was looking for help. I don't know if it holds any truth though. This guy has made up a few BS stories before. He also has been known to knock on our door at different times of the night... If you're home alone, or even if you are not, it's always better to be safe than sorry, because you never know what kind of person you are dealing with when a stranger knocks on your door. Stay safe!
@dragon54u (31185)
• United States
7 Nov 09
I think that if it was a woman looking for help she would have shouted loud enough to make herself heard! 3AM?! Good grief, I wouldn't have opened the door, either! More than likely there was someone waiting in the bushes, if it was a woman, to storm your house. What a shame we have to be so afraid. Thanks for your story, that's pretty creepy even if it wasn't someone in trouble, which it probably wasn't.
@getbrowser (1715)
• China
7 Nov 09
This is very common in my living place and I have met such a situation for many times. Sometimes, when I am ready to go to sleep, then, the door bell ring, which is so annoying. Every time when I am meeting such a situation, I will hesitate to open my door. You see, if I don't open the door, I guess there may be my friends who are in troubles and need my help. But if I open the door, I am really not sure who is there. But they are just some salesmen. I am really confused why they choose to knock on the door at night. We really should be careful when meeting some salesmen at night next time.
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31185)
• United States
7 Nov 09
Most people are alarmed when their bell rings after dark. Like you, they think it might be an emergency. Then they are angry because it's just a salesman. Do you not have a peephole to see who it is? Yes, we should be very careful! In my country it is most likely someone who is up to no good!
@nijolechu (1845)
• Canada
6 Nov 09
Yes, I do agree with your comment. Its not really safe to be letting strangers come into your home late at night. I know that door to door salesman need to make a living. But going out that late at night isn't really that safe. I had a salesmen come at around 7 p.m. a couple of times and I am just too scared to open my door that late.
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31185)
• United States
7 Nov 09
It's a shame we have to be so afraid, isn't it? I remember when I was little we had those people come to the door all the time and my mom would give them lemonade or coffee and some cake so they could rest and be fresh for their next stop--we never bought anything but we gave them some great hospitality! Unfortunately, those days are long gone. Maybe someday we can be like that again.
• United States
6 Nov 09
Hi dragon54u. I don't like to open the door at night time for someone I'm not familiar with. I guess you can call me a very cautious person. I don't get very many visits anyway unless it's someone from Church who may come by to visit. They don't usually come by after dark, and neither does anyone else I know. But as far as salesmen knocking on my door after hours, I have nothing against them personally, because maybe that's how they bring in the bread. But I may not be interested in what they are selling, especially not after hours. So I won't open the door after dark at all due to extreme cautious for my family unless it's someone I really know. I don't want to bump into a fugitive seeking someone to hide from the police. I know that sounds like crazy thinking, but it does happen. I've seen worst things happen in this world.
@dragon54u (31185)
• United States
6 Nov 09
I probably shouldn't have even opened the inner door. I get way too confident, having taking down quite a few people bigger than I am but I'm getting older now. People think that because I'm a woman that I'm weak. This discussion has made me realize that I'm overly confident in my own physical abilities and I have to compensate for that. Thanks for chiming in!
1 person likes this
@Hatley (152184)
• Garden Grove, California
6 Nov 09
hi dragon54u I had a similar thing happen to me about a year ago when we were still inour apartment. myson was working late and it was dark out. this young man in shirt sleeves stood knocking on my door.He appeared to be in his mid twenties but he told me a patently false story about working his way through senior high selling magazine subscriptions. he went on and on about some contest if he won he would get a trip somewhere.well nothing about him rang true,then I noticed needle tracks on his arms.oh oh. He asked for a glass of water, and to come in,No I closed the door, got a paper cup and filled it with water. I also picked up my adult son's old baseball bat.I was really scared of this fellow.He drank the water and started again on this spiel, and asked for twenty dollars for five magazine subscriptions. again I told him I did not buy from door to door salesmen. then He saw the baseball bat as I swung it ba ck and forth. All of a sudden he turned, jumped over the patio fence and ran off faster than I had ever seen anyone run. I don't know if push came to shove if I would have hit him. but he did not know that I guess.I went inside,locked the door and sat down and shook for awhile. my son came home and asked why I had not called the sheriff,see we lived over the tustin city limits so had to call the county sheriff. I said your old baseball bat did the trick.he laughed then called the sheriff. they arrested the guy in the next apartment complex over when he tried to assault the woman who answered the door. I guess I was lucky or he was afraid of the base ball bat.
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31185)
• United States
6 Nov 09
That was such a smart thing for you to do--I'm glad it wasn't you who got assaulted! I usually don't open the door more than a couple inches so nobody can see inside and the screen door is locked. If I have doubts I'll yell over my shoulder, "in a minute, honey!" to make them think I'm married or at least have a man or someone else in the house. And to think my great-aunt used to hitchhike all over the country. It ain't the 1920's anymore!
@Asylum (45912)
• Manchester, England
6 Nov 09
There is nothing paranoid about being wary of admitting strangers to your house at night time. This is the type of advice that we are all given but often forget. It is quite likely that he was genuine because so many people are now fed up with salespeople that he could be trying to complete a day's work. Nevertheless, we often hear about people gaining admittance to homes under false pretenses, so your response was very wise. It is far better to turn away a genuine person than to allow the wrong person into your home.
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@dragon54u (31185)
• United States
6 Nov 09
I felt rather sorry for him, out on a cold night in short sleeves with no coat. But maybe that's what he was counting on? Better safe than sorry, though. Last year the method was to run into someone's garage before the overhead door closed when a person was driving in or out of their garage. I've locked my car doors and rolled up the windows ever since, before I raise the door and I keep my car secure till after the door has stopped closing.
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