We have a sign at the entrance to our community that reads "No Solicitations". Of course that doesn't stop some people.
Yesterday morning, as I was on my computer I hear the front door ring. My home office is right next to our front door. I get up from my desk and take the few steps around the corner to the front door. I have the front door open and only the full glass storm door open. There I see a young black man. Of course my first thought was "Now what does he want?"
Not wanted to appear discriminatory by not answering my door where this well dress, seemingly earnest young black man was standing, I opened my storm door and stepped out onto my small front landing and said "Yes?"
He said he wanted my "vote." Then immediately he told me he wasn't running for office, chuckling as he said so. Instead he told me he was introducing himself to people in my neighborhood presenting himself as a well spoken young man, standing up straight, and being courteous in order to get enough "votes" to win a trip to Spain. He said if he got one hundred votes he would "win."
Of course he now had my interest. I'm wondering "What is his angle?" but he seemed so sincere I continued listening. He smiled and he further went through his script. He was reading but I could tell by the wording he was using that his verbiage wasn't normal for him. But as I said, he was relaxed, friendly, courteous and well spoken.
Then came the hook. I saw in his right hand the familiar blank credit card papers. I'm wondering "Is he selling magazine subscriptions and this is just another ploy to GET MONEY FROM ME?"
He asked me if I wanted to CONTRIBUTE to one of the following from a laminated card that had a list of names from veterans to students and religious organizations. Ah yes, HE.WANTS.MONEY.FROM.ME. His whole innocent, "You VOTE for me and I win a trip to Spain" is a scam.
With a smile I tell him "Oh, we're not doing money here" and turn around to open my storm door to return to what I was doing before I was rudely interrupted with this latest neighborhood scam. Immediately his demeanor changed and he said (shouted actually):
"YOU ANSWERED THE DOOR DUDE!"
Uh huh. Just another scam. The mask comes of and the real earnest young student looking to earn votes for a free trip is exposed. His smile was gone as he turned away and left my front door.
I told Bill what happened. Bill went upstairs and saw the oh so earnest and sincere young man go to the house across the street only to back off when my neighbor's two large dogs lunged at the front door, ferociously barking at him.
Yes, I got suckered in yesterday. I should have dismissed him right away before he started his spiel but this young BLACK man knew exactly what he was doing, taking advantage of take new white guilt complex in the wake of the Travon Martin "hoodie" shooting. Show up in a white neighborhood, where the appearance of a young black man knocking at one's door is about the last thing we white folks would expect, and play the race card for all it's worth.
Funny think happened later in the afternoon. Another black man (this one more mature) shows up and wants to know if I want to buy any meat. Say what? I see his van in our driveway, it says "Capital Meats." I tell him "No, I'm a vegetarian (I'm not by the way but I was trying to be gentle and not rude)" He wasn't taking "No" for an answer and said "You eat fish?" I said "Definitely not!" Then he said "How about chicken?" WTF?
I don't eat that much anyway and if I do I'll buy my meat at the store. I told him:
He finally leaves. I look for Bill to tell him I have a twofer for today. He looks at our TV monitor for the road coming to our house and sure enough they is Mr. Capital Meats pulling in the driveway of our neighbor.
I look up "Capital Meats" on the Internet. Yep, it's a scam. In fact, seeing that he had a van I suspect the kid was in the back of the van. I didn't see him pull up in a car.
They're out there folks. After your money.
I called the police to tell them the kid was in the neighborhood running a scam. I had a heck of a time getting the police first. Is this a "9/11?" No. I have a Lewes phone number but a Milton address. Do I call the Lewes police? I did. They told me to call the Delaware State police. I did.
After being transferred a few time an Officer Mack got on the line. I told him my situation. He was a "Just the facts ma'm" kind of guy. He said he would stop out to get a statement from me. That was yesterday afternoon. I'm still waiting.
Just another day in the neighborhood folks.
So here's what I do the next time folks when a stranger rings my doorbell. I have my iPhone with me set to camera and I take their picture first. If they don't like it…..well, it was their decision to stop at MY front door.
Fact of life folks, no stranger is going to call you out of the blue on your phone or stop at your door that doesn't WANT something from you, preferably money. Even the politicians who stop at my door, who I will answer for, want my vote or as is the latest case to be the neighborhood volunteer. Which reminds me, since I was "volunteered" to canvas my neighborhood as well a two bordering neighborhoods for the local Democratic Delaware state senate candidate, I'm not going to knock on any more doors. I'll hand the political literature on their doorknobs right before the election but I am not going to knocking on any more doors. A very distasteful experience yesterday folks, very distasteful.
In my old age dotage I'm trying hard not to turn into what my Mother was a few years before she died; a bitter, paranoid, cynical person distrustful of just about everyone, including family. I'm already estranged from both of my brothers, and other members of my family as well as a life long good friend because I had the temerity to get officially married to Bill. They were alright with me living the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" life but once I made my marriage public just like theirs, then I'm "shoving it down their throats" or as my estranged friend said "What's next Ron? Marrying your pet?" He doesn't get it. Friendship all but over (until he gets it).
These days folks I try to concentrate on the positive. My relationship with Bill, with whom we will be celebrating our 50th anniversary in less than a month. My new found friendship with a new friend who I've been looking for all my life. We complete each other. My (relatively) good health, good job and ability to still pay my bills and not be in debt. Sure I've had to remove all the bushes out front of the house because they became infected with a parasite (scale) but I'll be damned if I subject myself to another human parasite seeking to take advantage of my good nature.
So that's why when I realized I was being scammed (yet again) yesterday with that young man, I said (with a smile) "No, we're not doing money here" and turned around and closed the door in his face. I'm too old for this folks. I've had enough. Be it family or strangers, or anyone else. Doesn't work here any more folks.
I know who my friends are and I know who wishes me well and I know those who don't.
These are the people that I share my life with, not some stranger showing up at my door.