This was an email I sent to some friends back in July 2001. I completely forgot I had saved it, but it’s worth reading because the badly-typed, much-photocopied note left on our door was so entertaining!
Sent: Tuesday, July 10, 2001 8:56 AM
Subject: Awwww, poor solicitor.
This was on our door this morning… must have been left there sometime yesterday evening but I didn’t hear anyone knock. Anyway, it seems like *someone* has had the door shut in his face a few times too many, because he’s got these little printed notes to handle his rejections. Check out the self-important references to the First Amendment and Supreme Court cases. And our “No Solicitors” note isn’t hand-written, but it’s polite enough…it could say “No Solicitors, Fuckface!” but we were nice about it. Anyway the coward didn’t even leave a phone number or name, in case we might be interested in what he was selling. LOOOOOOSER! I detect fodder for my website….
NO SOLICITING! WE DON’T LIKE PEOPLE KNOCKING ON OUR DOOR!
Of course it can be an annoyance to have a stranger knock on your door and want some of your valuable time and perhaps hard earned money. But please remember that most of the people knocking on your door are doing stressful work for worthy causes. Much of the work accomplished in the environmental movement in the last thirty-five years, for example, has been because of idealistic people willing to go door to door. Approaching people by phone usually annoys them more, mass mailings are mostly ignored and waste resources, and the authors of the First Amendment recognized door to door canvassing as not only a right, but as valuable to the republic. This has been reaffirming twice by the Supreme Court when local municipalities illegally attempted to restrict it. (And no, a No Soliciting sign does not supercede the U.S. Constitution, nor can a housing development create rules that supercede the Constitution.) In the words of Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, “For centuries it has been a common practice in this and other countries for persons not specifically invited to go from home to home and knock on doors and ring doorbells to communicate ideas to the occupants…. The authors of the first amendment knew that novel and unconventional ideas might disturb the complacent, but they chose to encourage a freedom which they believed essential if vigorous enlightenment was ever to triumph over slothful ignorance…” — — Justice Hugo Black U.S. Supreme Court in Martin Vs City of Struthers (1943)
If you can, open your heart and mind and give people knocking on your door a few moments of your time. If you can’t please remember that they appreciate courtesy as much as you do. If you can’t even be courteous then a simple, hand written “No Soliciting” sign on your door is a more appropriate signal than a discourteous rebuff.
Um, if you’re in the business of knocking on peoples’ doors to peddle your cause/religion/product, you’d better get some thicker skin because these days most people don’t like that sort of thing. What is this, the 50′s era of door-to-door vacuum salesmen? Plus, how am I supposed to know you’re collecting money for a real charity? There are plenty of scams out there, ya know, just like the ones that phone you up asking for donations. I also am not interested in being preached to, much less on my doorstep, so I’m saving you the time and effort right from the start by telling you to take it elsewhere, because I’m not interested. I consider that an act of courtesy, and so should you! If you can’t handle that, maybe you should find another line of work.