Friday, December 23, 2011

Past Deadline: Girl Guides Excepted

I am working on a new sign for my front door.

See, lately everyone and their dog is coming to my door around suppertime and asking to see things related to my basement. (Except for the Pop Tart girls I wrote about a few weeks ago, who were more interested in my toaster.)

I am beginning to think a team of undercover agents is conspiring to recover buried treasure in my basement. It’s a very old house, and part of the basement is quite…um…rustic, which is what happened when pioneers met bedrock. I suspect the soil is too thin for a buried treasure, though.

Nevertheless, these people keep trying. They show up under various company names and pretend to care about my health and how much I am paying for things. They want to check my furnace or my water heater or my vents or my pipes or for carbon monoxide. They want to see my gas bill or hydro bill. They all have very nice name tags and vests or shirts and badges and clipboards. They look very officious.

Sometimes they also look bored. When I open the door and give them the old stink eye because usually I am making supper, it’s a bit like looking in the mirror – they give their spiel and I say “Nothankyougoodbye” and I think we all know we are getting really tired of this routine.

Of course they look professional and officious, as stated above, while I show up at the door with crazy hair and bags under my eyes and boisterous kids in the background – so that whole “looking in the mirror” thing probably only applies to how we feel, not how we look.

I’m sure I have mentioned before about how I actually got sucked into one of those fixed-rate energy deals one time. It was quite a few years ago and it was the first time one of them had shown up at my door. He was really good – he had a polished routine and it was in the midst of a big media blitz about an energy crisis and I nodded and listened and signed.

He hadn’t been gone more than two minutes before my gut kicked me hard in the…uh…gut and said, “You moron. You shouldn’t have done that.”

I called Groom-boy and my dad and everyone said, “You moron. You shouldn’t have done that.” They used different words, though. We extracted ourselves from the contract within hours of me signing it.

Needless to say, I am now suspicious to the point I won’t even entertain the spiel beyond one sentence. I go for the pre-emptive strike. If I am unhappy with the furnace or water heater or vents or pipes or carbon monoxide detectors or energy bills, I would rather go looking for a solution than do business at the door.

Except when it comes to Girl Guide cookies, of course.

For the rest, it is seriously getting to the point that whenever the front doorbell rings, I hesitate to answer it because someone is usually trying to sell me something. And if they are not trying to sell me something, they are preaching religious gloom and doom.

Does this happen in the country or is it a town phenomenon? More importantly, if I moved to the country, would I still be able to get Girl Guide cookies?

So now I have to decide what sign to put on the door.

Those little “No Soliciting” plaques are quite attractive and make the point, but are largely ignored, I think.

How about: “If you want to see my furnace, water heater, vents, pipes, carbon monoxide detectors or energy bills, forget it. Go away.” Too wordy?

We could try: “If you are here regarding anything to do with my basement or energy bills, go away.” Or a slight variation: “My basement appliances and their associated bills are not available for viewing.”

Or: “The answer is ‘no,’ so don’t bother ringing the bell. (Girl Guides excepted).”

Maybe I should just put a picture of me with my crazy hair and stink eye above the doorbell. That could be a better deterrent than a mean guard dog.

Published in The Perth Courier, Dec. 8/11

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