Unexpected, Unwelcome Visitors

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So I live in an apartment in a pretty reasonable neighborhood. But I get a constant flow of slightly weird people ringing my doorbell and wanting something, or being angry with me. Does this happen to everybody? Here's a rundown of some recent activity:

1. Oil Change Guy - a guy in overalls who knocked *and* rang my doorbell at 5:15pm, just after I'd walked up my stairs after returning home from work (had he been waiting around for me to come home?). I walked right back down the steps and opened the door. He wanted to sell me twenty oil changes at some local shop for the low-low price of $200. The deal was, I'd give him cash and he'd give me these vaguely suspicious-looking coupons. I agreed that it was a good price, but I really didn't expect to need twenty oil changes any time soon. And, too bad, I didn't have any cash on me. Plus: totally sketchy. He began bargaining, bringing the price down to $150, and finally to $80 -- and he wanted to walk with me to an ATM. His last line was, "That's only four bucks per oil change, bro!" I was forced to close the door on him.

2. Angry Marketing Lady - a lady in a business suit who rang my doorbell at 7am, angrily repeating the doorbell-ringing as I jumped to put on some halfway decent clothes. When I answered the door she said: "You're late! Jeez, I've been out here for ten minutes! This is not the way to start a marketing relationship." Now, I've never seen this lady before in my life, and I said something to that effect. She took another look at me -- with my bedhead and crumpled band tee shirt -- then asked, "Is this XYZ Produce Company?" I assured her that, indeed, I was not the one late for a marketing meeting with XYZ Produce Company. She left in a huff.

3. Blanket Dude - a gentleman who rang my doorbell at midnight and asked if he could borrow a blanket. (I nearly didn't answer the door, but figured he wouldn't be ringing it at midnight if he didn't need something.) I said, "You want to borrow it or have it?" He replied, "Have it." So I gave him a blanket, he made the sign of the cross, and he went on his way.

4. "The End is Nigh" Couple - a man and woman wearing matching beige suits and holding clipboards rang my doorbell at 2pm (while I was working from home). I had been getting these pamphlets through the mail slot for several days indicating that the world would be ending circa 2011, and encouraging me to buy a book that would explain what to do about it. (As I recall, the pamphlets had a lot of full-color illustrations of deer and other woodland creatures watching a nuclear blast in the distance.) When I answered the door, I found that this couple had been leaving them, and they were determined to speak to everyone in the neighborhood about this world-ending situation. The woman said, "Would you like to learn more about the End Times?" I had to close the door as she continued with her speech.

5. The Meat Salesman - this one actually happened back in the 90's, but it deserves a mention. I was living in Tallahassee with some school friends, and one evening this guy came to our door with a cardboard box filled with meat. Long story short, the guy claimed that he worked at some restaurant and had mistakenly ordered all this meat, and he had to sell it off pronto to avoid being fired. So his loss was our gain. He had a truck full of various kinds of meat, packed in these cardboard boxes and vacuum-sealed. My roommates proceeded to buy several hundred dollars' worth of meat from this entrepreneur. I declined. For what it's worth, the meat seemed okay and they did eat it all. I'm just not sure why anyone would want to buy hundreds of dollars of meat on a whim from a stranger.

So here's my question: who has come to your doorstep unannounced? Have you had any interesting scammers come by? Also: has anything good ever come from a random visitor?

April 9, 2008 - 3:14pm
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