I work from home and I own three big dogs, which gives new terror to the idea of door-to-door anything.
Here in Phoenix, tree trimming is clearly a growth industry. Hardly a day can go by without someone idling their decrepit truck in front of my house while they come to see if I want my neatly trimmed trees...trimmed.
But they aren't so bad. Most of them are Mexicans and they aren't stupid. I share we already have a great tree trimmer and that I am loyal to Jose (this is, btw, very true) while the dogs share that they're hungry, and this business is concluded quickly. The few white guys who trim trees in between prison stints aren't quite as smart as the Mexican guys, but our smallest dog is a pit bull, and they've got enough self-preservation in them to leave the moment I mention her breed, and that quickly.
Less swiftly dealt with are the door-to-door salespeople. They're selling anything from meat and ice cream delivered right to your door -- for only three times what you'd pay for it at that newfangled market that's a whole mile down the street -- to aluminum siding. Yes, aluminum siding. In Phoenix, Arizona, otherwise knows as Hell's Orientation Area.
These folks are harder to get rid of. They know I won't loose the dogs on them, because they have the backing of a company that probably knows a lawyer somewhere. For them, I have to say that I already have dual pane windows, couldn't care less about saving money, hate convenience, and own over a dozen guns (this is true -- I mean it when I say don't piss me off or I'll make you sorry, and I have the firepower to back it up). I just laugh maniacally at the aluminum siding people because, really, what else can you do?
Middle of the pack are the sales folks who actually represent a brand in my household, like my phone service. I'm rather loathe to turn them instantly away, since, once, one of them actually saved me over $100 a month and I'm willing to give optimism a try every now and again.
These folks, however, are not interested in getting bitten, since they aren't on commission, so while I'm shouting, "What? What are you saying? Shut up! I can't hear you. Shut up, dogs, shut UP! What?" and trying to hear their offer, for some reason, they usually give me a bad look and leave.
Next up on the scale of difficulty are the kids who wantyoutobuytheircraptohelpkeepthemoffthestreetsandoffdrugs. They always say that sentence as if it were one word, like some urban version of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, only with no Julie Andrews or Dick Van Dyke, let alone lyric and tune. They really don't care about the dogs -- they have dogs like mine at home, only theirs are wearing spiked collars and 'guarding' their families' 'business interests'.
I like to point out that I can't be a party to this charade. Of course, they try to insist that they're really kids (some of them have looked at least 25 to my eyes), that they're really from the bad parts of town (this is imminently clear), and that this is really the only way to keep them off the streets and not doing drugs. I have to mention then that, clearly, they are ON the streets, peddling whatever crap it is they're trying to sell me, and how do I KNOW they aren't going to take my five dollars for one Twix bar and race right off to the park and buy drugs? They insist they wouldn't. I insist that my dogs are drug-sniffing dogs and that they go into a frenzy when they smell even the slightest whiff of ganja, let alone anything harder. Since the dogs are in a guaranteed frenzy by this time, I can usually make my point. For the tougher ones I just mention that my brother's with the ATF and he's due any minute and this seems to do the trick.
But the Jehovah's Witnesses are in a class all by themselves.
We're just down the street from a huge Kingdom Hall, meaning that our neighborhood is always a target. And, this side of a televangelist, there is no one more intent upon saving your soul than a JW.
We get them all, usually utilizing an adorable moppet as a selling tool. The hubs is a sucker for this, but I'm not. I usually suggest that junior looks thirsty and would he/she prefer a shot of ice cold vodka or room temperature scotch, and they tend to meander off. But, sadly, they keep on coming BACK. Maybe junior really wants that drink. I would, if I were hanging with these people 24/7.
My favorite JW experience was when we only had one dog, the big fella. It's also the reason we installed a heavy-duty metal screen door -- not to keep anyone out, but to keep him IN. He's 110 pounds of muscle and a runt for his breed, so, you know, he's always overcompensating. He's also a guard dog and he takes his job VERY seriously.
It was a weekend, so prime JW time. A man and what I took to be his wife came by, in their Missionary Best, which looked exactly as that sounds. They rang the bell. The big fella started his standard cacophony. And the woman started backing up. But not her husband. He was going to save my soul! So, I opened the door a crack. The big fella started instantly clawing at the door to get through, while making sounds reminiscent of both original and mecha-Godzilla.
By now, the woman was at the sidewalk. But the man held fast. I managed to ask what he wanted. The JWs usually come with a prepared spiel, and he was no exception.
"We all have security for our homes," he started. I could guess that the next line was supposed to be, but do you have security for your soul? But he couldn't get it out.
Instead, he looked down at my precious puppy, Love Spawn of Alien and Predator, and said, "...and there's yours..." and lost it. We looked at each other and suddenly he was in danger of dying because I was laughing so hard I was at risk of not being able to hold the dog back and he was laughing too hard to run.
In between howls of laughter I managed to share the usual 'we have our own religion' line while he nodded and waved merrily while he backed away.
Meanwhile, his loving spouse was already out of view, running down the street. I assume she decided she only had to outrun him and that it wasn't all that far back to the Kingdom Hall and salvation from the big fella.
However, one funny anecdote is not enough to make me want to keep on having the JWs and their less religiously-minded but still all-too-annoying brethren beating down my doors. So I have a solution.
I'm getting a sign made. A big one. It'll say:
"No Soliciting! This means you, yes, you. Yes, you, if you are a tree trimmer, salesperson of any kind or stripe, kid selling anything for any reason, and especially if you're peddling a religion of any kind. Stay away, keep off the weeds, and take your moppets with you. And if all else fails and you continue to annoy me, I shall release the Hounds. They just want to have you help them stay off the streets and off kibble."
Then, when they ring the bell anyway, I'll greet them with something sure to make them run. I think a naked, middle-of-forty woman with a .357 Magnum makes a clear statement, don't you?