Excuse Me Ma’am, Do You Have A Minute?


Randy and I were sitting in the living room talking about feeding our grandkids banana hot dogs last weekend. Banana hot dogs are just what they sound like. Bananas on a hot dog bun. We added peanut butter for protein. Apparently, Elvis was on to something because the grandkids loved it.

Someone knocked at our front door.

Randy and I are friendly people. Friendlyish at least. We keep to ourselves, though, and we always know in advance when someone comes to our house.

Randy didn’t hear the knock because he was in the middle of a sentence.

Me: Someone is knocking at the door.

Randy: What? (Randy is getting old, I have to repeat myself a lot).

Me: The door, there’s someone at the door.

Randy: Fuck ’em. I’m not answering it.

Me: I’m going to answer it.

Randy: It’s someone selling something.

Me: Maybe not.

Randy: Don’t answer it.

Me: I’m answering it.

So, I opened the door to a lovely young man who had neatly combed ginger hair and wore a red tie with a blue and white striped shirt.

Then he started talking. The torrent of words that came forth from his facehole was completely impressive. I wasn’t even annoyed that he was trying to sell me windows. Not at first, at least.

I could bitch that he came at dinner time, which is true, he showed up around the time families traditionally have dinner. We’re not so much a ‘family that has dinner together every night at the same time’ as we are ‘I’ll just eat this leftover cranberry sauce and some cereal, they can fend for themselves’ kind of family. So the fact that Captain SuperTalker showed up at 5:30 wasn’t a problem.

I nodded a few times and tried to keep up. I know they weren’t going to charge me a dime for installation and something else, if I would just agree to have a sign in my beautiful yard for thirty days.

I twitched a bit at the ‘beautiful yard’ comment, but I let him continue.

Then he said something that destroyed all credibility: We would love a chance to advertise our energy saving windows on your lovely home.

Me: Hold up. What?

Captain SuperTalker: You have a lovely home, ma’am.

Me: Did you notice the front door has a bunch of paint peeled off? How about the landscaping which is basically half dead bushes and thistle? Or maybe it was the roof?

Captain SuperTalker: That’s just cosmetic, and with new windows…

Me: Cosmetic? I have never seen shingles on the Sephora site.

Captain SuperTalker: I don’t understand.

Me: Nevermind, it wasn’t that funny.

Me: I have a whole list of things that need to happen to this house that I can’t afford. Windows are pretty far down on the list.

Captain SuperTalker: A lot of people say that, but with the energy savings…

Me: Dude, my central air doesn’t work. Do you really think I’d choose new windows over not sweating my ass off all Summer?

Captain SuperTalker: Well, if I could just show you…

Me: No, we’re done. I am not buying windows right now. I don’t see myself buying windows in the foreseeable future.

Captain SuperTalker, opening his mouth to speak again.

Me: slowly closing the door while backing away and whispering to him: We’re dooooooone.

I flopped back on the couch and looked at my beloved.

Randy: Told you it was someone selling something. We’ve had one neighbor in 7 years knock on our door.

Me: That’s completely wrong. The little boy next door used to come over all the time and try to get Joey to toss baseball with him. And the lady down the street brought me houseplants that one time. You told me the new people who just moved in came over and borrowed Lysol.


Me: The point is, I’m going to say neighbors have knocked on our door well over a dozen times in 7 years, not just once.

Randy: Salesmen have overwhelmingly outnumbered neighbors.

Me: Remember that time I bought the $47 green clean stuff?


Me: That stuff was safe. I remember the guy who sold it to me licked the bottle to prove it wasn’t harmful.


Me: He didn’t lick the bottle I bought. He licked his test bottle.


Me: At least I didn’t buy the windows.


Me: That green stuff was really good cleaner.

So, how do y’all handle salesmen that come to your door?



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  • Very annoying. I’m impressed you listened for that long. It’s difficult not to be rude and shut the door in his face, even though you want to. Those CaptainSuperTalkers don’t let you get a word in edgewise.

    • I don’t worry about that. I probably SHOULD worry about that, but I don’t. I am too busy worrying about phantom illnesses and robot invasions.

  • I let the dog handle it… Usually the first question is “does that dog bite” and I say sometimes, it depends on what I tell the dog about the stranger in my driveway.
    That usually does the trick.

  • I thought the line about shingles at Sephora was very funny! Since I have been in sales all my adult life I love to hear the door to door sales people try and sell me or save me. Do they use fear, enticement, special offers, or worldly or heavenly rewards? Just this week a young man from Dish TV tried to sell me and he had a stutter. I gave the kid credit but not the sale.

  • I usually pull a Kanye on them…”I’m gonna let you finish, but I don’t have the money to spend on anything right now, so you’re just wasting oxygen by talking to me.”

  • verizon came by schilling FIOS. husband-unit answered the door alongside sammy davis (our 106 lb newfie lab cross who does not like strangers on the doorstep.) verizon guy launched into spiel, husband-unit declined, sammy davis BARK-BARK-BARKITTY-BARK-BARKED and foamed, slightly, from his large mug. verizon-bot yammered on & on, husband offered to “release the hound of hell!” verizon guy declined, graciously and removed himself from the doorstep. me? i don’t answer the door. ever.

  • Ha ha ha, I can’t believe people are still using the showhome ploy to sell double glazing. Best way to get rid of double glazing, solar heating salesmen or anything major is to tell them you’re just renting, even if you’re not. That gets rid of 99% of them as they can only pitch to owners not tenants. For religious loons I tell them I’m a Jedi Knight, that usually works or I have a few select ones for specific types of loons.

    Must admit I don’t get many now I live here as they have to get buzzed in to the building first. We’re all miserable buggers that won’t let anyone in!
    The Jehovah’s Witnesses made the mistake of knocking on this nocturnal creature’s door at 9am on a Sunday though, they won’t be back any time soon. I’m not at my most charming in the morning.

  • Ok so why haven’t I signed up to follow you? I’m off to rectify that as soon as I finish my comment. You and I would be wonderful pals in real life. OMG I am grinning ear to ear here. The only folks that knock on my door are salesmen or earnest church folk. Captain Super Talker is the perfect name for the former – wind ’em up and off they go. Perhaps their training should include someone like you. “Cosmetic? I have never seen shingles on the Sephora site…” is a the ultimate conversation stopper, no, laxative to the verbal diarrhea types.
    You’ve reminded me of the Fuller Brush Salesman who used to puff his way to our door when I was wee. My mom always bought at least one lightbulb from him. He knew how to sell through the art of gaining sympathy. Perhaps he sprayed his forehead with water prior to knocking …

  • When salesman knock at the door I usually hide under the bed. The same is true when I have someone like a plumber or electrician come and do something to the house. Maybe it’s not that bad but strangers in or near my house make me nervous.

    Then there was Saturday when I stopped to chat with the guy next door who’s lived there for three or four years. We’ve talked a bit but never really much beyond that. This particular day I noticed he was wearing a t-shirt with David Tennant on it.

    “That t-shirt is fantastic,” I said.

    A couple of hours later I came home with a cardboard box of DVDs that he’d lent me. “Oh shit,” said my wife. “Please tell me you’re not keeping all that.”

    “No, no, he’s just lending them.”


    • That’s awesome. I don’t really talk to the neighbors either…but I did say something to the guy across the street when he had his Doctor Who shirt on.

  • “Cosmetic? I have never seen shingles on the Sephora site.” was totally funny

    And, well, let’s say there’s an advantage to people being afraid of the 75 pound Doberman (that they heard barking as soon as they knocked) standing just behind me when I don’t even open the screen door and tell them I’m not interested.

  • I had some Jehovah’s Witnesses knock on my door during a full-on disaster/meltdown argument kind of thing and I answered the door and listened to what the main talker had to say with an “OK so this is the next thing this day is going to throw at me” attitude. After his initial spiel wound down, I took a deep breath and said “So what you’re saying is that nobody who doesn’t call God Jehovah is going to get into heaven? What about the Hindus? There’s got to be almost a billion of them, and not even one of them is cool enough to get in?” He just herded the little children back behind him and started backing up down the driveway…
    I always answer the door (and my phone) because I remember some times when it was really important to me that someone answer when I needed them. Luckily, that kind of thing hasn’t happened in a long time, but you never know.

  • I have and 85 pound dog to protect me and when I say protect I actually mean he’s only 5 pounds protection and 80 pounds of stupid. That dog can lick the 5 o’clock shadow off the mail carrier’s face.

  • I shift between going commando style (it’s not what you’re thinking, all the bits are well covered thank you), crawling on the floor away from any windows and hiding behind a large piece of furniture while trying to figure out how to reach the bottle of wine and/or chocolate biscuits I left on the coffee table without being seen.


    I answer the door (by accident) and just say ‘Honey, whatever you’re going to try to sell me I can tell you right now that I’m not going to buy it so let’s save ourselves a few precious minutes and some dignity and simply walk away from each other. Don’t look back even though you really want to.’

  • Sometimes I don’t answer the door, but if I do – I stop them before they can say anything with a no thank you.
    I don’t send my dh to the door – he LOVES to get into discussions with the JWs and it makes me crazy!

  • I handle them with a big, bright NO SOLICITING sign and a huge English Mastiff (who wouldn’t hurt a kitten, but they don’t know that). If that doesn’t work, I curtly tell them that we don’t buy from solicitors and close the door before I freak the fuck out. That makes me sound way bitchier than I actually am, but I work crazy hours-mostly nights. I don’t get much sleep, and since they often wake me, door to door salespeople and fundraisers are my nemeses.

  • We don’t have many salespeople come to our door, since we live on a “no outlet” lane, and we’re surrounded by trees, so you can’t even tell there’s a house here in the summer, when all the dudes are pounding the pavement. I tell Jehovah’s Witless people that I’m Catholic or Jewish, depending on what I feel like that day. They skedaddle pretty quickly. I wish someone from Scientology would come to my door, though, because that would be a fucking laugh riot!

  • When I know sales people are walking the neighborhood, I just don’t answer the door. If I’m not expecting it and I happen to answer the door, I pretty much handle it like youand did. Listen to what they have to say and then once they say something foolish I’m like wait what? No. Go away.

    But when I get surprised by a church goer trying to ‘save me’ in my front lawn, I just tell them I’m atheist.

  • Ooo.. I can’t STAND salespeople coming to my door. At our house, if the doorbell rings and we’re pretty sure it’s not one of the kids’ friends, I actually get a little panicked. I hate having to confront a salesperson. I end up feeling like I’m being super rude. But I think it’s super rude to come to my door uninvited. Ha!

    • I used to worry about the appearance of being rude..but that is now in the ‘I don’t give a fuck’ column. That column just keeps growing and growing.

  • Our pooch has a ferocious bark that works every time. They turn on their heels and mosey on down the stairs…typically by the time I open the door they’re across the street.

  • I answer the door at my own risk. Sometimes I am steely resolve. Other times I am taken in by an entertaining spiel or a cute child. I, too, have bought the green cleaner.

    The worst was an alarm system salesman. I said, I don’t need an alarm. I have dogs. He said, Burglars will kill your dogs. I slammed the door on him. Asshole.

  • In the entire 20 years we have lived in NH only one person came to sell us stuff and it was cleaner. Probably the same guy with the same stuff. He had a hook though, something about his church so we’ve never called it anything but Jesus Spray and it KICKS ASS! We spray that shit on everything and with two teenagers and two rentals it has never failed. For all the political canvassers and the Jehova’s and the Mormons I usually just mom the hell out of them, call them honey and say no thanks and call them honey again and that usually does the trick.

  • We don’t get salespeople, we get Jehovah’s Witnesses. My husband handles ’em and boy, does he handle ’em like a pro. When he’s done yammering their ears off, they are practically scratching at the door to be let out. It’s fun to watch.

  • Salesmen have never come to our door in Brewster; or in Brooklyn, for that matter. Only Jehovah’s witnesses… I think my husband may have actually told them that we don’t believe in God or something to keep them away because they haven’t come back. I wonder if the salesman-coming-to-your-door thing is an everywhere-but-NY/NJ/CT thing…

  • I rarely answer the door. On a rare occasion that I do, I let the dog take care of them. He’s a jumper and hits most of them in their sweet (ouch) spot–they can’t wait to get away from him!

  • I have a sign on my door that says “No soliciting unless you are ten-years-old or younger…or selling chocolate.” It doesn’t stop the Jehovah Witnesses from ringing the bell.

    • We used to get the religious people when we lived in central Ohio. That rarely happens here. Sometimes, but probably not more than 2 or 3 times since we’ve been in this house.

  • The guy who owns the cemetery around the bend has been here three times in the last year. Hubby and I are in week three of the cold or pollen attack from h—, so I told him if the guy comes one more time just give him a handgun and let him have at us.
    Oh, but now that you’ve won the Pulitzer blogging prize, I guess I have to stay around at least long enough to take it away from you!
    Thanks for all the laughs; pass the Nyquil please.

  • We never get sales people at the door. If they knock I’m sure the sight of a naked obese man will make them change career paths.

    Why would you open the door to a ginger, it might have stolen your soul.

  • We had a Jehovah’s Witness who would not stop coming to the house I mean like every single week like clockwork. Hubby was working nights and I would race to the door before it could wake him up. One day I didn’t quite make it in time and hubby woke up, stormed to the door and answered it naked in all of his glory…he never came to the house again…problem solved!

  • I don’t get salesmen at my door too often but omg to I get the political agenda, please vote for my candidate/amendment/cause during election time. I would be a little nicer to these people except when they knock on my door two or three times a day up to a month before elections. Have I mentioned I work nights and sleep during the day. I usual response to these people by yanking open the door and saying, “ok, you woke me up, this better be good.” 9 out of 10 times they feel guilty, say sorry and walk away. I finally just unregistered to vote and they don’t come around anymore.

  • For me it’s a little different, because I’ve lived in apartments my entire adult life. The building in in now has controlled entry, so I can say, “we don’t allow door-to-door solicitations! WHO LET YOU IN HERE? !?!?!?” and they back off.

    But I used to live in a house split into two apartments, and I once had a Mormon go into the front door, up the stairs, and into my living room WITHOUT KNOCKING.

    It was a weekend. I was working on the computer in my PJs.

    He tried to tell me he was into computers too and a bunch of other things I didn’t hear because I was clutching my bath robe around myself and yelling at him to get the hell out of my front room.

    For the record, the front door was always open because its key had been lost long ago, and no, we didn’t always lock our apartment door if we were at home. Hey, it’s Canada.

    The thing is, people should knock.

By Michelle

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