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.