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No Soliciting Signs: Tacky or Sanity Saver?

The Etiquette of “Please Go Away”

By Amalah

Hi Amy,

We recently (a year ago) bought a house in the ‘burbs, and have discovered how freaking relentless door-to-door salespeople can be, especially in the spring and summer. It’s truly obnoxious. We’ve got 2 big, loud, excitable dogs who lose their freaking minds every time someone knocks on the door, and it’s really frustrating to have to haul them by the collar (while they’re wildly trashing and barking their heads off in protest) to the laundry room so that I can open the door and tell the roof salesman “no, thank you, our roof is only 4 years old and no, I don’t want a quote to replace it.” Same goes for windows, religions, vacuums, security systems, cable/internet packages, weird coupon books, cookies, etc. And I don’t even like the cookies, I’ve never bought a box in my life! Our house is a small one-story with HUUUUUGE living room windows, which are great for natural light but not so great for pretending you aren’t home when someone can see basically the entire house through the window if I’ve got the blinds open.

Is it horribly tacky to put up a No Solicitation sign by our front door?

I found some super cute ones on Etsy that aren’t super aggressive, they’re nicely worded, along the “Friends and family welcome anytime, but absolutely no soliciting” lines, but I can’t bring myself to click “checkout” until I’m positive that it’s not super tacky to put one up. I don’t want to seem like a crotchety old recluse (I’m 25 for craps sake, and super social! I promise!), but no matter what they’re selling, I’m not buying.

Thank you,
Get Off My Porch, Please

Hello! And welcome to my tacky home:

And I don’t feel even a tiny bit badly about it.

Between the religious proselytizers, the political causes, and aggressive salespeople (and my dog’s hysterical reaction to them), I would never get any work done without this. In the Olden Days, at our former place, I had something similar to ensure my babies and toddlers could successfully nap in peace. And today, no matter HOW MANY TIMES I stress to my older children to not open the stupid door every time to stupid doorbell rings, they still excitedly run to it and peek out the side windows, essentially blowing my “pretend not to be home/ignore it until they leave” plan.

I would never, ever judge anyone for putting up a No Soliciting sign, because the annoyance and inconvenience is REAL. This is my home (and not to mention my office/workplace as well!), and I do not want to be sold to here, be it religion, politics, causes/fundraisers, or all the various home improvement services, which GUYS. That’s why Angie’s List and NextDoor were invented. You are not just going to luckily happen to catch me on the very day I’ve decided to replace my roof and hand over the job to the first person who shows up at my door. I’ll get my Girl Scout cookies from people I know or from the troop outside the grocery store, and I support my friends’ kids’ school fundraisers after they post it on Facebook. Meanwhile, I fast-forward commercials and toss every advertising flyer in the recycling bin without a second look — this little sign is just another why to make our home as ad- and sales-pitch free of a zone as possible.

Will some people just ignore it? Of course. But in my experience, just this tiny, to-the-point notice that I dashed off on my own computer and printer (after the 17th person asked if we planned to replace our perfectly-fine windows) is remarkably effective. When we first moved in, the number of random people showing up at our door was MADDENING. Now, we regularly see Mormon missionaries and Jehovah’s Witnesses making the rounds in our neighborhood and they always respectfully and politely skip our house. We got exactly one visit during the election primary season (thanks, Bernie Bros) and overall the number of salespeople or other solicitations has drastically plummeted.

I saw the signs you’re looking at — ones that go into great detail about What You Mean By No Soliciting or couch it with a bunch of distinctions — but ultimately decided to just go the super basic route. The friends we invited over for dinner know they aren’t soliciting. Kids still ring our doorbell asking if anyone wants to play basketball or ride bikes. Our neighbors still stop by to drop off Christmas cookies or to let us know we left a car door open/lights on/our trash can has blown five doors up the street. Don’t overthink it. Protect your sanity and put up a sign.

Photo source: Depositphotos/photographee.eu

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Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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Comments

  • lindsay

    i always thought they were tacky until i moved into a neighborhood where soliciting was a major problem. our municipal government actually prints no soliciting stickers with relevant village ordinances on them! i picked one of those up, and now i rarely have anyone at the door. maybe ask your municipality to make stickers, they will seem more official.

  • Vickie

    We live in a large neighborhood in Indiana, our neighborhood has permanent no soliciting signs at every entrance. And they work, we do not have people at the door.

    our town also does not allow temporary advertising signs of any kind. So corners and neighborhood entrances stay clean and empty.

  • Becky Siegel

    Also in the ‘burbs, also resorted to getting a sign after having my morning coffee interrupted for the third time in a single Saturday morning. My tip would be if you have a storm door, put the sign on that door. I got a magnetic sign, and it’s attached to the big door, which is usually closed, but on the rare day I open that and let in some air and sunshine, the sign is no longer visible. And those roofer/cable/window people can smell it, I swear, and they swarm.

  • janine

    this happens?! i thought for sure the answer was going to be something along the lines of “how old timey and cute your town is! here is what i’d do if i was in that situation…”. live in a burb-ish borough of a city (tons of families but you can still walk to bars and restaurants and order delivery after 12am) and have never in my life had someone knock on my door. put up a sign and fast!

  • Ashley

    This is great. I have no idea why I haven’t thought of this before. Mine isn’t nearly as bad as described here (we live in a smaller town), but yes, it can get annoying. Our previous neighborhood had a blanket policy on this…to the point that one day some guy tried to sell me some magazines and my next door neighbor saw what was happening and CALLED THE COPS. I was just sitting on the porch talking to the kid and a police cruiser pulled up. Seemed like a wildly strong reaction, but living there was fantastic.

  • Elle

    Not just in the burbs: I live in a city and a neighbor buzzed a candy/magazine-seller into our building who then proceeded to knock on every unit’s door. At 7:30pm on a Tuesday. I was so ticked off I could only bark, “are you effing kidding me?! NO.” Before slamming the door as my toddler sprinted around naked behind me after bathtime.

  • Empress of the Iguana People

    we get lots in our inner ring burb.

    Mom had a sign up at her place in a small town to make the religious go away. It read something like “The family dragon is a 3rd shift worker and does not react well to being awoken during the day.” kept all but the most persistant away.

  • guest

    I didn’t even buy a No Soliciting sign – just printed one out on paper and stuck it to the window. We still got lots of people ringing our bell though (they apparently don’t think selling their religion is soliciting), so he bought me a sign for Christmas that says something along the lines of “Unless you are selling Girl Scout Cookies, No Soliciting”. He had to add that one on there, since our daughter is a girl scout. And you bet your patootie we follow those No Soliciting signs and don’t bother people who have them posted. He also told the guy selling half a cow that we are vegetarian and the last set of Jehovah’s Witnesses (that rang our bell despite our no soliciting sign) that we are atheist. He had argued with them before telling them that they were soliciting, but that didn’t stop them. But, they haven’t come back since he said we were atheist. We’re not atheist or vegetarian. We just don’t want solicitors.

  • Delora

    A sign is 100% necessary! The number of solicitors we receive in our (very safe, with sidewalks and houses close together) neighborhood is astounding. Also check into your county laws; in my area of Northern VA, it’s illegal to knock on the door of a house with a No Soliciting sign and you can be fined if you do so (the exception is for political canvassers).