HALLOWEEN snuck up on us the other day and it got me thinking about door-to-door types.
Particularly, about how I should get out more.
That way I wouldn’t be in when they come calling.
I say ‘‘snuck up’’ because the family unit had been caught unawares. There’d been a bug going around, so morale was down. Dinner hadn’t been cooked and, all up, the night was, as Churchill would say, in the balance.
We’d been halfway through a conversation about the chicken or the pork or the panadol when my other half, without warning, commando-rolled out of the hall and into an adjacent bedroom.
I had barely come to terms with this startling manoeuvre when she peered out from down low and indicated there was someone at the door. Possibly a vampire. Turns out it was. Holy Halloween.
The big crisis at that stage wasn’t so much a dodgy American tradition unfolding on our Aussie doorstep.
The true dilemma was, I didn’t have any lollies and therefore risked going down in street lore as the dud dad who handed out Halloween pasta.
A third family member had been ensconced in a beanbag at the time. As the knocking grew more insistent, the bean-bagged one shifted.
We motioned to stay quiet. But the rustle of beans alerted the malevolent presence outside and they started rapping on the window.
Pure Hitchcock, I tells ya.
I didn’t draw breath until they lost interest and marauded up the street to annoy someone else.
Then I started reflecting on my attitude to people knocking at my door. Or was it agoraphobia?
In principle, shouldn’t we be able to stew in our own juices in our own homes free of any intrusion from the outside world, unless it’s the wine courier?
Isn’t it bad enough fielding offers from weekend spruikers, claiming to represent energy providers or telcos with dodgy discounts we can’t verify?
Why should we hand over our bills or sign up to internet service providers? “Because that makes them go away” just doesn’t cut it after a while.
What if they’d been asking for our credit-card details?
Oh, that’s right, they were.
And don’t mention the Mormons, or the mother-in-law.
Actually, I tend to engage with the Mormons because at least they’ve done a bit of travel and have interesting opinions about the Old Testament, the Utah Jazz and Izzy Folau’s AFL move. It’s the Jehovahs I find tough going.
The mother-in-law? Well I guess I’m just lucky I have a good one, and hopefully, she’ll return our laundry soon.
Be that as it may, whatever shape or size the door-to-door annoyances come in, the roles in our house remain peculiarly the same when there’s a knock at the door.
Alpha male is promptly dispatched. (Why I don’t know; it’s never a home invader as claimed.)
If he had some heat he’d pack it. Instead he focuses on making the cold call as Arctic as possible.
“Sorry not interested,” is the usual opening gambit.
Then, the intellectual grapple.
“Every no is NOT bringing you closer to a yes.”
“I AM interested in money, but not giving it to you.”
“If the second coming is at hand, book me a seat in HELL!”
Shock tactics rarely work, of course, because they’ve been trained to endure abuse.
So, in the long run it’s better to do what we did on Halloween. Kill the lights, nobody move and pray they go away.
Blog with Simon: What’s the best way to deal with door-to-door spruikers?