Sunday, 8 March 2020

Sunday the 8th

A dilemma today and one, I suspect which in one form or another most of you will have experienced.    I went out for lunch with my three friends as usual and got back home about half past three.   As I drove down the road I saw there was a young man going from door to door so I wasn't surprised when the doorbell rang shortly after I came in.   On the step stood a young man with a folder under his arm and a card in his hand.   He handed the card to me and it told me that he was Polish, had come to this country with his wife and two children and that he was totally deaf.   In the folder were his drawings  and the card asked if I would like to look at them and perhaps buy one.

For thirty nine years I was married to a painter and my walls are hung with oils, water-colours and drawings - there is not an inch of space available.   But the real question is about buying from anyone standing on the doorstep.   We are advised not to buy at the doorstep by the Police, and most of us have a sticker in the window asking for no doorstep callers so the answer obviously should be 'no',   But - if the story was true - and I have no reason to suspect that it was not, should I not at least have looked at his drawings?   I just shook my head and he smiled sadly and walked on to my neighbours.   Then I felt so sad - there had been photographs of his two children on the card he gave me to read - was he desperately in need of money ?   After all he wasn't begging - just asking me to look at his drawings and maybe buy one.  I closed the door and went into the sitting room and took five pounds out of my purse intending to call to him and give him the five pounds.   Then I realised that if he really was totally deaf (as the card said he was) then he wouldn't hear me anyway and when I looked out of the door he had got quite a long way down the road - obviously everyone was turning him away.   And in any case - would it be patronising of me to give him five pounds?

I have felt vaguely unhappy about the situation all  night and wish it hadn't happened and if the story was true then unhappy about the whole thing.   I would be interested to know your views and what you would have done.

27 comments:

Gail, northern California said...

Because you have a kind and generous heart, saying "no" to someone in need goes against your belief that we should help each other whenever we can. This case is a little different, however. You're particularly vulnerable. the simple act of answering the door provided him with information: you're elderly and frail. It would have meant taking the time to go get your purse---which then signals two other things: you have ready cash and you live alone. Otherwise, you would simply ask your husband to divvy up some cash from his wallet.

You did the right thing, Weave. I'm sorry too but that's the world we live in. I doubt very much that he would be pleased with his wife if she answered the door to strangers when he's not home.

Maybe he eventually found some husbands home.

justjill said...

I would have done the same including the worry. We used to get a lot of these carrying paintings same story when we ran a b&b. The again our walls were groaning with paintings etc. I live in Lonmay, near Fraserburgh.

Oklahoma Girl said...

I never answer the door unless I know the person and I never give money or buy from door to door people. It may sound hard hearted but it is just the way of the world these days. You can not trust they are who they say they
are and you could have been physically harmed or killed.

You have a kind heart and unfortunately people prey on that.

Stay safe.

EM Griffith said...

Last autumn, two little girls rang our front door bell. On the sidewalk stood an older woman with a small cart. She was their grandmother and they wanted to know if we'd like to buy some of her fresh tamales. My husband and son were home. We decided to buy some. But about a year before, another woman had come to the door (with a man out on the walk) asking if we'd be interested in hiring her and her husband to clean our carpets. I said no, politely, and shut the door. I think it depends on the situation. In your case, I would have done as you did. The world isn't what it once was.

Joanne Noragon said...

You did the right thing, and please lose no sleep over it.

jinxxxygirl said...

Pat i automatically turn people like that away.. I really don't even think about it... its just 'no'... Now my daughter... she carries bottled water and granola bars in her car to hand out to those who come up to her car window looking for a handout.. There are different ways to approach it.. You have to do what feels good to you.. Its not that i would want to help if there is true need.. but how do you ever know? My daughter has asked what size diapers someone needed for their child when a family was standing on a corner begging and she went in the store and bought them a box of diapers.. I would feel better giving them 'something' other than money.. You have a sweet heart Pat that it bothers you so much.. Hugs! deb

Bea said...

I think that to open the door to a stranger when one lives alone could be a recipe for trouble. I wouldn't want to chance having anything go wrong once the wallet comes out. There are those on public transport here who pass out cards stating that they are deaf & struggling, but would like a financial contribution. I haven't yet had anyone knock on the door.

Cro Magnon said...

This racket has been going on for years. They are all part of a 'collective', and all say the same thing. My rule is never to buy anything at the door or by telephone. If you want something, go to the place where it is sold!

Bonnie said...

I hate a situation like this because I tend to have a soft heart too. But I do have a rule to not buy anything at the door. There are many people out there that will take advantage of you no matter how sad the story may be. In fact, if I am alone I will not open the door to anyone I do not know unless it is someone I am expecting and they have identification. There have been problems with people forcing themselves into homes like this in many areas and I feel it is better to be safe.

Midmarsh John said...

I had such a 'visitor' last year. I always look at the video feed from my security camera before answering the door. I ignored him and watched as he tried the door handle to see whether it was unlocked. I always keep it locked. Needless to say I passed on some video to the police to let them know what these people get up to. Unfortunately, in this day and age, you can't take any stranger at face value.

Rachel said...

I had a boy on the doorstep a few years ago with a card saying he was Polish and selling his drawings to pay for his education and so I gave him £10 and he gave me a photocopy of a pencil drawing. I gave him the £10 without hesitation. I also give to drug addicts, homeless army veterans, and random people in sleeping bags outside the station. Each to their own on this.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

When you are on your own you're advised not to open the door unless it's someone you know. If you do you may find yourself in the unhappy situation that several of my mother's friends found themselves in: two very respectable young ladies appeared at their doors and explained that they were doing a survey for their college project and would they mind answering a few questions. Many of them were willing to do so and afterwards found that someone had come in through their back door and stolen purses, handbags and other items while they'd been occupied at their front doorsteps. Luckily my mother's back garden had no easy access except through the house so nobody had called.

Librarian said...

This door-to-door thing has not been going on in my part of the world, or at least not that I am aware of (it may having something to do with me being out for work most days, all day). But I have the advantage of living a floor above the ground floor, so whenever my doorbell rings and I am not expecting anyone, I can check from the window above who's there.

thelma said...

Emotional guilt? You have to do what you think best in every case. Big Issue magazines are the ones I hesitate over, happily pay the money but don't want the magazine, but then aren't you taking their 'work' away from them if you don't have the magazine?

Frances said...

You did the right thing Weave, and don't spend any more time worrying about it. When my Mum was in her 90s a man came to the door and asked if she had a pencil he could borrow. To most of us this would have rung so many bad bells we would be deafened, but my kind , naive Mum trotted off to the back of the house to find a pencil. As luck would have it Mum's " handyman" was in the kitchen and realised what was going on. When Mum got back with the pencil he was listening to the conversation behind the wall. The man started asking questions about Mum's caged birds ( zebra finches) that he could hear tweeting. If Tom hadn't been there I am sure Mum would have invited him in to see them. At that point Tom stuck his head round the corner, the man quickly scribbled on an envelope, and dashed off. Police were called and Mum was given advice......which she wouldn't have remembered!

the veg artist said...

A few weeks ago I answered the door to a young man who I had seen walking up into our cul-de-sac. Did I want any gardening work done? And where did I get the Welsh blanket that is over the sofa against the window he had just walked past? And could I write down the name of the mill I got it from? He told me that he and his girlfriend had just moved to the area.
No to the gardening, I gave him the name of the mill, and told him I was too busy to write the name down.
A few minutes later and I was upstairs. Out of the window I saw him go into the garden of the house opposite and drag away a half-full bag of building supplies. He pulled this through the back garden, out onto the pavement, left it to duck into the area behind the next house, then carried on dragging the bag away. I don't know if he had a van around the corner.
I called the police as I was watching, but without a vehicle description, they didn't find him.
I was careful before, but will be even more so now.

Rebecca smith said...

I never know how to tell if someone is genuine or whether I am being scammed. Since I want to be generous, I give money to the food bank every time I buy my groceries and a regular donation to Medicins sans Frontieres, buy Who Gives a Crap toilet paper and make micro loans through KIVA. I think these organisations are probably better at deciding which cases are genuine than I am. I hope so, anyway. 😁

Meanqueen said...

I can see my front door through the kitchen window. Anyone approaching with a clip board, or looking like they are selling something, I don't answer it.

Alphie Soup said...

My view on the first question in your post, to look or not to look at his drawings.
Easy for me. I'm in the process of divesting myself of as many of my possessions as possible.
So, no looking at the drawings. End of story.
Alphie

JayCee said...

For what it's worth, I think you made the right decision. Your own safety must come first.

Ellen D. said...

We just had a notice recently about not answering the door if you do not know the person. We were told that while the person is keeping you busy in front, an accomplice may sneak in the back to steal items. You have a kind heart but there are many scams that take advantage these days. You did the right thing.

pam nash said...

We have similar callers door to door here also. It is these days hard to know who is genuine and who is not. Hard as it is, better to follow the advice of police and others, politely tell them no, and let them go on their way.

Bovey Belle said...

Gosh - a real emotional wringer. I would have done the same as you - and felt guilty afterwards because I am a real softy (and empath, which makes it worse - ask Keith about my "lame ducks"!) Probably safer to do what you did though, as you just never know.

I seem to remember - MANY years ago now - a similar situation here. Keith was at home and I think we donated £5 for a pencil drawing, but looking at it in a good light, it was a photocopy . . .

The Weaver of Grass said...

Please read my next day post to see the outcome. Thanks so much for your replies here - it did help knowing thay you all feel the same.

Heather said...

I think I would have done the same thing as you Pat and felt guilty afterwards. But these days we have to be so careful of scams. If he was genuine I hope he founds some buyers, if not then I hope no-one bought his paintings.

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