The Neighbor Guy Knock

We have a door bell, but for whatever reason, there are still times when someone just knocks on our front door.  But until yesterday, it had never occurred to me that when there is a knock at the door, even before I open the door, I get a “feeling” for who is standing on the other side by the way they knock.

There is a little girl in the neighborhood who sells us school fundraising candles, plants, candy, etc.  When she comes to the door I instantly recognize her knock — because she just keeps knocking.  Not a hard knock, but an ongoing, same tempo and loudness, knock,knock,knock,knock,knock,knock,knock,knock.  Before I ever open the door, I recognize the knock of a small child — a light touch but demonstrating no idea of the concept of pausing to give the person inside a chance to get to the door!

For most of the other people who might knock at our door, such as invited guests or trademen coming to fix something, there is usually what I would describe as the generic adult knock — firm and loud enough to assure that it is heard, but with a pause after a few raps to see if we come to the door.

And then there is what I would describe as the “neighbor guy knock” — the two or three loud slaps or thuds on the door that just shout, “Hi!  It’s me from down the street, and I’ve got something to tell you, or show you, or invite you to, or here’s your mail that was accidentally put in our box!”  This is a knock that I would say makes me very interested in who is there and makes me ready to smile at someone interesting and friendly when I open the door.

We have a “no solicitation” policy in our neighborhood, but we still occasionally get a door-to-door person selling something.  And those people usually have what I would describe as a professional knock.  A firm knock that announces the person is at the door — just loud enough to be heard and brief enough to give me a chance to get to the door, but a practiced, polite knock that says “I don’t want to offend you with my knock, because I want to sell you something!”  (Depending on what I’m doing, I sometimes down answer these knocks, after peeking out to make sure it isn’t someone I know.)

Well yesterday Slick Sally Saleswoman showed up at our door and she was one smart cookie, from beginning to end of her visit.

First of all, SSS gave the neighbor guy knock — two or three pounds on the door that made me think, “This is obviously someone we know.”  So, of course I immediately went to the door and opened it.

Actually when I opened the door, two women were standing there but the older one did all the talking, so I’m guessing the younger woman was a trainee.  They were very plain looking, dressed in worn t-shirts and pants that someone might wear around the house.  Certainly not in the “slick salesperson” persona you might expect.

But SSS who had a very pleasant, sincere smile immediately greeted me and rattled off the name of the company they represented (which was very generic and didn’t in any way describe what product they were representing).  Then she showed me a stack of coupons in her hand about the size of playing cards and said that there was going to be a drawing for $1,000 worth of groceries and (as she poised her pen about the top coupon) if I would just give her my name, address and phone number (so that they could reach me in case I won), she was ready to write them down.  Whoa!  Wait a minute.  I felt like I was jumping on a moving train!  I politely told her, no.  She never even blinked.  My immediate impression what that this woman had been doing this a long time and that nothing rattled her.

Then I asked what company were they working for again?  She skimmed over the name again quickly and said they were a cleaning business.  Well, the crew of Amish girls who clean our house had just left a few minutes before, so I told her that our house had just been cleaned and, in fact, if she took a sniff she could probably even catch a whiff of a clean house after a scrubbing (they both dutifully sniffed and said, yes, they could smell “clean”).  So, we already had a company cleaning for us with whom we were very satisfied.  (Honestly, at this point the way they were dressed made more sense.  I thought maybe they had a car down the street full of mops, brushes and Lysol and if I was willing they would come in and clean our house right now!)

She laughed and said, no, no, they didn’t clean houses — they sold house cleaning equipment!  Then I thought about the company name again and remembered the name “Kirby” in it — so I said, “Oh, do you sell Kirby sweepers?”  Yes, that was one of the things their company did.  A light suddenly came on and a memory flashed through my mind of when I was a little girl and the door-to-door salesman (always in a suit and tie) would come to the door selling Kirby vacuum cleaners.  Here was the 2010 version!

I told her I wasn’t interested, but she never blinked an eye.  Nothing showed that she was disappointed or flustered.  She thanked me for my time and as she walked away she asked what the name was of the bush in the yard that smelled so good.  Making friends ’til the end.

After I closed the door, five minutes later the same knock came.  It was so similar, I was sure it was her/them back again.  When I opened the door (and this time Hubby had been close-by so he stood right behind me as I opened the door), she said, oh sorry they had already been here hadn’t they.  Maybe it’s my imagination, but I wonder if Hubby standing there this time had made her feel a little like I had called in reinforcements to get rid of her.  If it had just been me again, I wonder if I might have gotten another sales pitch.  I’ll never know.  But she definitely didn’t seem like the disorganized type who would have “accidentally” knocked on the same door twice in a row.

Later in the day I was talking to my friend Barb and mentioned the experience I had had with SSS.  Barb said she had actually had the same experience, but she had foolishly given the person her information.  She had then received a call a week later saying that she hadn’t won the prize, but would she be interested in having an in-home demonstration of a Kirby vacuum cleaner.  She said no.  A few days later she received a call from someone else saying that they understood she wanted an in-home demonstration of a Kirby vacuum cleaner and they were ready to set up the appointment.  She said no again.  Boy, was Barb sorry she had given them her information!

I wonder if they teach that “neighbor guy knock” in their training classes.  After all, getting the person to open the door is the first step!

7 Responses to The Neighbor Guy Knock

  1. C says:

    Can you remember Fuller Brush salesmen? Boy, I do. How about Stanley? They used to come around with all kinds of household items, and what I remember most is they sold some kind of glue! We also had an “egg man” who usually also had additional food items–tomatoes or cantaloupes. Things have changed.

    Aren’t you glad you did not get on this list!C

  2. Belinda says:

    Thankfully I was “Oot” and “Aboot” and missed those

  3. Hilary says:

    You had me nodding at the concept of recognizing various knocks. That’s SO true. I think all neighbour knocks are the same. 🙂

    Kirby.. oh what an annoyance they can be. And they’re incredibly deceitful. I have long come to realize it’s them before more than a few words escape their mouths. I had one guy stunned that I knew he was from Kirby when he tried to hand me my “complimentary” paper towels. They’re quite transparent if you’ve encountered them often enough but yes, the change their approach from time to time.

    Great post, Sandra!

  4. Vicki says:

    I thought all those home demonstration sales co. had gone under or disappeared. Thank heavens we live out in the country where you get no door to door marketers or trick-or-treaters ( I DO miss them)! We have had someone try to break our back door down though! Not so good!
    Good post!


  5. C. Beth says:

    That is slick–and very annoying! I’m glad you’re so good at saying “no”!

  6. Sandra says:

    C — Yes, I remember those too, but the one I remember most was the Jewel T man — Mama had several pieces of their familiar dishes. Fond memories. But these door-to-door salespeople now are cut from a different cloth, and it’s different times. Sad.

    Belinda — So sorry you missed the “fun”! 🙂

    Hilary — I guess I’m fortunate that I haven’t encountered them MORE! I’m surprised they don’t have a “don’t bother with them” list that you would be on. Good work! 🙂

    Vicki — We didn’t have many salesmen or trick-or-treaters when we lived on the farm either. I missed the trick-or-treaters too.

    We also had an experience out there where I believe we were targeted for a robbery. Hmmm. I’ll have to do a post about that. 🙂

    Beth — I’ve had to learn. Bad experiences in the past have made we very wary of people who come to the door.

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