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I Can’t Afford to Answer the Door

Someone knocked on my door today and I didn’t answer it. I do that a lot (or is it THEY who do that a lot. The knocking, I mean.). Why didn’t I answer the door, you ask? Well, I’m glad you asked me that. Because I’m going to tell you why.

If I’m not expecting someone, then more likely than not, it’s somebody trying to sell me something. And frankly, my solicitation quota is filled. For the rest of my life.

And I don’t know how to say “I’m not interested” in a way that ends the conversation right there without shutting the door on them. I don’t even want to have that conversation. I just don’t, okay? I can’t hang up on people. I can’t slam the door on people. So, like an ostrich, I just bury my head in the sand and hope they go away. Otherwise, I’m forking over my hard-earned unemployed dough.

Like just a few weeks ago, there’s this knock at my door. And it’s not just any knock. It’s one of those KNOCKITY-KNOCK-KNOCK-KNOCKs. The kind where you think, “Hmmm, that must be a friend of mine” because surely, a stranger wouldn’t knock like that, right? In hindsight, I think they are trained to knock like that for psychological reasons. Because we will answer the door, thinking it’s our good friend, Quincy, from down the way, just stopped in to bring us his famous frog leg fudge. And we LOVE frog leg fudge, so of COURSE we are going to open the door, aren’t we?

The other thing is, I don’t have a peephole, so it’s impossible to see who is at the door. And I can’t yell, “Who is it?” because then I’ve just admitted that I’m home and I’m ignoring them. GAH!!!! I’m getting all worked up just telling you this.

So anyway, KNOCKITY-KNOCK-KNOCK-KNOCK, and I gullibly open the door to “Hello Ma’am” from this guy:

And he introduces himself as Desmond, or Nesbit or something, and he starts in on how he’s trying to rack up points and his brother was killed in gang violence and he wants to stop gang violence, so he’s trying to raise money so he can audition for American Idol and I must be a classy lady because his mother told him that a women who takes care of her toe nails and finger nails is classy and blah, blah, blah, and it’s his dream to become a gospel singer and had I ever heard of The Sparrow and could he sing it for me and he starts belting it out and I think of you guys and tell him to keep singing while I ran and got my camera and caught the last part of it which I will play for you now:
(34 second video) Click THIS LINKif you can’t play the video below.

And the next thing you know, I’m signing up for a magazine subscription from this well-spoken young man.
The question is, if he just walked off with seventy-five of my dollars and I’m never going to see my twelve issues of Discover magazine, can I still claim the charitable contribution on my taxes? I mean, I have a receipt.
[UPDATE:ย  For the follow-up to this story and to find out if this guy was legit, you can go to my post entitled: “Universal Subscription Agency, Inc. Scam Artists? Or Just Poorly Misunderstood?”
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  1. […] $75 for a subscription to Discover Magazine? I wrote all about it in a blog post entitled “I Can’t Afford to Answer the Door“. I was thinking about him the other day and wondered whatever happened to him. Did he make […]

  2. I used to get the magazine subscription guys all the time at my last house. They were always trying to earn money for something or another.
    Once I was feeling really nice and it was dinner-time, so I made them each a plate to take with them ๐Ÿ™‚ You should have seen how happy they were. I didn’t buy anything, but at least they got food.

  3. kathleen says:

    Actually – you cannot claim that on your taxes. Donations to individuals are not deductible. Even if they give you a receipt. Basically, only donations to tax exempt organizations are deductible.
    On the other hand, perhaps you might consider that giving money to strangers at your door is a lesson learned and try to claim it as a “tuition and fees” deduction. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. How in the world did you ask that boy to take his pic and video without sounding like a nut?!?! .. then again, he IS the one going door to door. lol
    Well he does sing very well.. I hope his story is true… and I say YES- totally claim on taxes either way.. tell uncle sam I said its ok,

  5. boonenme says:

    i heard my door bell this weekend and stuck my head around the corner. the 12 year old boy (i can only assume he was selling something) quickly got the hint when i didn’t come to the door. the glass isn’t clear and i was in my pjs.
    i’m sure he thought i was 14 and my parents weren’t home!

  6. Laura says:

    I have 2 large, loud, disobedient dogs. I rarely answer the door, and if I do and it is someone trying to sell me something I act like I can’t control them at all and apologetically close the door. Actually, it’s not an act…

  7. jessica bern says:

    I cannot believe the picture AND the video. Margaret you are fucking hilarious and yes, you can claim the deduction even if you never see ONE issue.

  8. Blicky Kitty says:

    Bejeezus Mary Kate and Ashley! Out here all we get are well-dressed strangers asking me how I feel about the Lord our God. I’ve got my response down too. They go away F-A-S-T if you try to out-Jesus their Jesus talk. For some reason it makes ’em scram faster than you can say “Have a blessed, blessed day!”

  9. I am peeing in my pants. This is sofa king funny I don’t even know where to begin. I am laughing os hard I have tears coming down my face. From the bad singing, to the fact that you videoed it, and the whole pitch that he gave? This was a PRICELESS blog post.

  10. Ha! That was great . . . LOVE it that you got him on video!

  11. Nana says:

    Oh Hell! That’s it.
    That was funny.

  12. Gladys says:

    Now see I’m a sucker for the candy bar kids. I answered the door naked one time thinking it was my husband and it was a Jumpin Johova Witness. Needless to say he didn’t ask me if I wanted to talk about God.
    Now tell me more about this frog leg fudge…is it anything like at shit cookies?

  13. OMG, that high note was awful. I think you may have wasted money. He won’t make the first round…
    Anyway, yeah, you can claim that on your taxes.

  14. Kathy says:

    I give Jehovah’s Witnesses a lot of credit for dressing up for visits and everything, but they’re still not gettin’ in. A Nielsen representative even gave me chocolates. Didn’t let her in. You really can’t get in our fortress unless you make our next month’s mortgage payment and you still have to leave after an hour. We set a timer.
    p.s. My husband heard the singer dude and thought one of our cats was sick or something. Just sayin’.

  15. 3boys1mommy says:

    Dude, I’d be stoked if Dave Chappelle came to my door. STOKED!

  16. Breathe says:

    Oh boy, that guy has a career in cell phone sales. Get him to the mall and he’ll be making REAL commissions.
    Heck, maybe we can get him to sell some mortgage backed securities and get us out of this mess.

  17. dana says:

    I’ve always feared the PEEPHOLE. I mean, isn’t that like putting a target around your eyeball? I’m just sayin’.

  18. mrsmouthy says:

    I’d rather have a solid door with no peephole. My door is all glass and it’s right in the middle of the house and the person outside can pretty much see me cowering on the couch or in the basement, pretending to not be home. It’s humiliating.

  19. Sarah says:

    I just watched that video twice because my daughter cried big crocodile tears when it stopped the first time. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Hope you see your magazines!
    And frog leg fudge…is there really such a thing???

  20. Okay, so I started playing that song and my cat went nuts. She skulked toward my laptop and very furtively pressed her right front paw on the keys, which stopped the show. Then she just looked at me pitifully and said, “How could you put me through that?” Really, she did.

  21. Typ0 says:

    I am not capable of not opening the door. I’m too curious about who could possibly be on the other side. Not even being in my pajamas can stop me. *sigh*

  22. Blond Duck says:

    I would have pretended I only spoke German.

  23. Seeker says:

    you got blogging material, a song and a receipt..Life is Good!! but you really need to get a peephole installed and a big sign. You could go with No Solicitors or maybe something like
    “If you don’t want to waste your time having me tell you why i can’t afford to buy things from you, don’t knock”

  24. Muse Swings says:

    We had someone knocking on our door late one night – it was two guys that were installing peepholes. Cool. Well worth the double sawbuck we paid them. We also have that sign: No Solicitors Please. We’re quite happy the way we are. If anything changes,we’ll call. Plus the doorbell hasn’t worked in 13 years. Clad we have you to take care of the needs of the solicitors and show us what we’re (not) missing.

  25. Michele says:

    I am so sorry I missed your big day the other day! I was still recovering from my big Blog Jog! I hope you were lathered in commenty love. You deserve it!

  26. cindy says:

    thanks for visiting me and ..I think it’s great you put trust in this young man.
    We have to change things in this country, with our young people, and it starts with you (me)

  27. This is why I’m glad I live in an apartment building. No one every just knocks on your door.

  28. Neesh Q says:

    How come I don’t get cool money solicitors like that. The people who come to my door are usually pale-faced petitioners petitioning things like hedge growth measurements.

  29. ettarose says:

    Oh honey, please. Learn how to say no. I agree, tell them how hard of a time you are having and your children need rehab and you need to finish paying for your boob job and now they are cutting off your monthly tab at the spa and could he PLEASE give you a couple of bucks.

  30. melly says:

    I totally get the friendly knock thingee. We never answer our door to strangers….never I say!

  31. Susan says:

    I hate to answer the door when I am not expecting someone. Given the opportunity, I simply do not get it. Much to my dismay, the front doors in our current home have huge glass panes in them and you can see directly into the living room, which is typically where I am. I so need to get blinds/shades… WHATEVER…. for those doors.

  32. Babs says:

    Well I was going to say “That was priceless” I hope it wasn’t a scam. He let you video him and if I was scamming somebody, I would have quickly vanished at that point!
    You need to get a hard luck story of your own well rehearsed for moments like that. Something like “I’m out of work and can’t pay my utilities bills, I’m sorry” You may get them give you money – especially if you sing to them :O)

  33. Usually when people come to our house, Trixie goes nuts barking at them and they run away.
    I would definitely claim that tax deduction though!

  34. Katherine says:

    I’m with you, it’s my door and I’ll open it if I am inclined to do so. With the economy, there have been a lot more home invasions too. You can’t be too careful.

  35. Amy says:

    Oh that is so funny. I was watching across the street at a house as some men were putting a lock box on. I guess they saw me because they came to my door and started asking me questions about the people across the street. I stay home and I want to know what is going right?
    I do agree Tigers do have spots very long ones. I wish I would have thought of it. I may have gotten my point.
    Thanks for stopping by. Have a wonderful day.

  36. Dreamybee says:

    OMG, that is hilarious! I try not to answer the door either, but usually people just stand at the gate and holler…which is even easier to ignore.
    Have you ever seen Office Space? Great recovering-crackhead-selling-magazines scene.

  37. Midlife Mama says:

    Man, I’m coming to your house when I need a hand out. LOL

  38. Simon Says…………NO!!!!

  39. Angela says:

    OMG, I would have totally done the same thing! I hate answering the door AND I have a huge phone phobia too. If I was caught in that situation I would have taken full advantage of it. I would have told him I wanted him to not only sing, but also dance and do an interview with me. Then being the bitch that I can be, especially since it basically is SPAM at my door doing the Knockity, knock, knock, knock, I would have given him a can of SPAM, taken a picture of him with it and said I don’t have any money. (That would be truth).

    1. chris says:

      Wow, your a real nice person.

  40. Amber says:

    I’m amused that he let you take his picture. Once I asked a random person to let me take his picture and he looked at me as though I asked him to take his clothes off and do a breakdance.
    Man, I hate when people come to my door selling stuff. I once bought a sausage from this kid who kept going on about how he was raising money for his school and really, I just wanted him to leave so I shouted, “Fine. I’ll order a…um…sausage!” (It was the first thing I saw in the book he kept trying to shove at me.)

  41. I don’t answer the door for that very reason.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog today and leaving such sweet comments! I hope to see you back there soon:-)

  42. Hutch Foster says:

    The amount of money I’ve forked over to door to door magazine salesboys. And their stories…they’re either homeless or recovering from a nail polish remover addiction. They always get me. I always pay. But one thing puzzled me… Frog leg fudge? Hutch

  43. Maybe the video will net you at least $75.00 if you sell it as a “how to get someone to hand you 75 bucks and take your picture to boot” video lesson. I think you might have a gold mine on your hands.

  44. Jen W says:

    I never answer my phone for the exact same reason. I don’t know why I can’t say no…I just can’t so to stop myself from going into debt, I just say no to answering my phone.

  45. AnnsRants says:

    Here. Copy/paste/enlarge/print/cutout in real life/paste on door…
    NO SOLICITORS. (except for blog-worthy ones, and for those please sign attached waiver)

  46. Melissa B. says:

    That’s the right attitude, I’d say! And just think of it this way…he brightened your day, & you got a blog post out of it!

  47. Anna Lefler says:

    Okay, his name’s not “Nesbit.”
    It’s “Jon Bon Jovi” and he’s supposed to be on a “business trip.”
    Isn’t that always the way it is? They say they’re going to a “conference,” but really they’re just out chasing goat.
    Dude owes me $37.50 now.
    ~ A.

  48. Suzy says:

    $75 seems a little high for 12 issues of a magazine, especially when the rag trade is in such trouble. There were guys like that in our neighborhood going 2 at a time and they caught me but I didn’t buy anything. One tried to push in the door. I found out later it was a scam. Hope yours wasn’t.

  49. violetteb says:

    Can I sing you a song? LOL

  50. Tracy says:

    I can say no, but I have to make up some sort of elaborate story instead of just saying sorry, no. Because only bitches and mean people say no with no reason, right?
    Sometimes because my kids look white and I look Asian, I pretend like I’m the nanny and don’t speak English. I started this after we moved into this new house that makes us look like solidly middle class people and I felt guilty when they’d tell me what a nice house I have. Our last place was kind of a dump, so I didn’t feel so bad not buying anything.

  51. Mrs. B. Roth says:

    I am such a sucker for door to door salesmen too. Kids books (8 for $82), Oil changes (10 for $60), Windows (6 for $1,500) – yeah, I better not open the door either. Gah.

  52. Tranquility says:

    Wow! My door-to-door sales people NEVER provide live entertainment to go along with my purchase! How do you get to be so lucky?

  53. Betts says:

    At least you got a photo so you can identify him in a line up if you decide to bring charges against him for ripping you off.

  54. nonamedufus says:


    Oh, yeah I forgot you usually don’t open your door. Too bad, I had this terrific joke…

  55. This is why I don’t answer the door either. There’s magazine salesman guy… and his cronie who then shows up a day or so… And then these supposed security alarm guys who may or may not be selling security alarms but just are casing the house… And
    who knows
    So I get to be the scary mean lady on the block who doesn’t answer the door.
    In another 40 years, I will officially be my own great-aunt. ๐Ÿ™‚

  56. I would’ve done the same damn thing, NGIP. I probably would’ve bought two subs, ’cause I’m a sucker.
    I bet it costs less $75 to drill a peephole in your door.

  57. Ok, I was going to say that a $1.29 “NO SOLICITING” sign from WallyWorld would be your friend. Just smack it up on your door and be done with it. BUT, if Ms. Nanny Goats in Panties were to have such a sign we would never have gotten such a great post and video! So sorry, no sign for you – keep answering the door with your camera in hand!

  58. moooooog53 says:

    OMG. Best scam ever.
    I’m calling my mom right now to see if she can make me a brother so he can grow up on the wrong side of the tracks and join a gang and get killed so I can go door to door and beg for money and if the people say ‘fuck you’ I can sing show tunes instead and they’ll still give me cash.
    That should work.

  59. LenaLoo says:

    NGIP! Sorry I missed your SITS feature day! I have not been plugged into blog world because real life has been taking over lately (lol, sounds funny doesn’t it)… I got scammed by a magazine company before and had to throw a fit to get them to unsubscribe me… I hope that doesn’t happen to you… but then again, if a guy sung on my doorstep and let me video him and put it on my blog, I too would have felt obliged to buy a magazine from him… ๐Ÿ˜€

  60. debby says:

    So you’re just a goat who can’t say no?

  61. dane says:

    i can only congratulate you on having seventy-five dollars to spend on a magazine subscription. notice i didn’t say “blow,” “waste,” “bogus,” “taken,” “sucker,” or “pushover.” that would have been mean. i love all mankind.

  62. Lump says:

    yep, I would have bought a magazine subscription too.

  63. MommyTime says:

    $75 for a year of a magazine? Seriously? It’s good that it came with a free song. But I love that you took his photo and made a video and otherwise got back a week bit of the door-to-door exploitation.

  64. Maggie says:

    I do the same thing. I’m horrible at saying no. I hate to let people spill their entire sales pitch and then say, “I’ll never be able to afford that, but GOOD WORK!”
    I’m a new Nanny Goat fan… I’m enjoying reading your words.

  65. K says:

    At least you got a blog and some intersting photos out of the deal.
    I am way meaner than you – I am capable of shutting the door and hanging up the phone. It’s a great feeling and I highly recommend it.

  66. You are SO a blogger. Only us bloggers would say, “Heh, you mind if I take your picture and video you? I have a blog you know”
    There is a dark side to these magazine guys. A magazine ring got busted in our town. They hire guys..take them out of town and turn them into slaves door knocking…they have to get subscriptions or they don’t eat. I was shocked when I news broke of it in our town.

  67. You are SO a blogger. Only us bloggers would say, “Heh, you mind if I take your picture and video you? I have a blog you know”
    There is a dark side to these magazine guys. A magazine ring got busted in our town. They hire guys..take them out of town and turn them into slaves door knocking…they have to get subscriptions or they don’t eat. I was shocked when I news broke of it in our town.

  68. Amy says:

    I have a door mat that says, “LEAVE.” Coupled with my “No Soliciting” sign on the door, very few are brave enough to knock.
    I hope you get your $75 magazine. Although, I’ve learned that it’s a complete bitch to try and not renew your subscription. I keep getting notices that say, “Thank you for renewing your subscription!” and I keep taking them and writing in huge block letters, “I DID NOT RENEW MY SUBSCRIPTION! PLEASE CANCEL WHEN SUBSCRIPTION ENDS!” They just keep coming though. My credit is going to be ruined over freakin’ Men’s Health and Glamour!!
    Love your blog!! (Keep your door CLOSED! Oh…and get your neighbor to give up the Frog Leg Fudge recipe!)

  69. Saundra says:

    That was great… but
    $75 buck for a magazine????
    Is it made of solid gold?

  70. Chowner says:

    Heck yeah, you can claim that on your taxes. It’s all about the receipt.
    I learned my lesson about answering the door when I got stuck listening to a Jehovah’s witness speech. Normally, I’d just say “I’m not interested”, but something about those sad sacks won’t let me diss them. So I listened to 10 minutes of their pitch, said something about being agnostic and bid them adieu. Since then, I only answer the door for delivery.

  71. If you do claim it on your taxes, I suggest you have some heart-wrenching stories to tell the tax auditor explaining why the deduction is so important to you. If that doesn’t work, maybe you can tune up your singing voice and go on Idol yourself to earn enough money to pay the penalties that the IRS charges you.

  72. Ana says:

    Last year I taped a BIG sign on the front door that read “NO SOLICITING!, I have all the magazines that I will ever need, don’t want candy or cookies, and I don’t want to hear about your god. If you fail to obey this recommendation I will take you to my basement and feed you to my pet alligator!”
    No solicitors after that! :)]
    Of course I don not have an alligator, let alone a basement.

  73. Blognut says:

    Yeah, you SO just paid $75 for an uninvited singing telegram. You’re not getting those magazines. Not one. :-0

  74. honey repeat after me: NO
    can you say it by yourself now? NO? sigh…
    now? good
    smiles, bee

  75. Jennifer says:

    ROFL! I don’t open my front door for the exact same reason. You’ve seen my blog. I don’t even let my children shovel the front steps in hopes of keeping visitors away! However on Thanksgiving I had a knock on my door and I thought it was somebody I was actually expecting and it was, indeed, the Jehovah’s Witnesses. What the heck, right? On Thanksgiving? How sneaky can somebody be?! hmm..Maybe if they’d sang I’d have let them in.

  76. Roxane says:

    LOL this is the very reason I do NOT pick up the house phone. It’s always someone trying to sell me something. I hope this young man wasnt a fraud. Maybe next time someone comes to the door I’ll ask them to do a trick, sing, dance, boy & girl scouts can maybe build a fire on my porch?!

  77. those magazine subscription people are SO tricky! i cant tell you how many times ive been approached by them standing there listening to their spiel only to discover – an hour later – that they are trying to sell magazines.
    i love it that you got this guy on camera! has really made my morning!

  78. Lisa says:

    Heck, good thing you had your camera because this is very blog worthy.
    Love it.

  79. dr. wifey says:

    frog leg fudge?!? i MUST have that recipe ๐Ÿ™‚

  80. Jill Watkins says:

    The last time I did that- I never saw a magazine. But you are right- its a contribution either way.

  81. Wow – lucky duck.
    All I get are kids selling cookies and coupon books at MY door. Never entertainment. Pshaw…next time I’m tellin’ the kid I won’t buy till he dances for me.
    I say THAT’S what you do the next time someone comes to your door. Tell them they must dance for your donation!

  82. Shelli says:

    “Hold on one second while I get my camera so I can get a pic of you, cause damn this be some good blog fodder!”
    That was awesome!

  83. Mahala says:

    Dude! Where can I get some of that frog leg fudge???

  84. Michael Reid says:

    Just practice saying ‘piss off’!
    These unwelcome knockers are a right pain.
    Or just try and remain pleasant as you slam the door in their face.

  85. Maelstrom says:

    I don’t have a peephole either but I can peek out a window to see who’s on my step.
    Though I wish I had one of those rectangular sliding hatches like you see in the movies. I’ve always wanted to slide it open so they can see just my eyes glaring at them and then slam it shut.

  86. Margo says:

    Now, how could you have known that frog leg fudge is my favorite?!

  87. Irish Gumbo says:

    You have a receipt, yeah, you’re good.
    At least he was really working for the money: you got a song out of it!

  88. I don’t answer the door either! If someone knocks on my door, I can shot ’em. I live way out in the country with a field fence, electric gate, “We Don’t Dial 9-1-1” signs and three dogs. If the interloper makes it to the door, they don’t belong there. [lol] รขย™ยฅ รขยˆยž

  89. I love it that you had camera and video cam ready. You are a True Carpe Diem Blogger!

  90. michelle says:

    I would tell you to go with the big barking dogs, but if you have no money you can’t feed them (unless you feed them the singing sales guy? No, that would be wrong… I think…)
    Try the recorded sound of very large barking dogs and just rattle the door as if some behemoth hounds of hell were on the other side. Maybe that would scare others away?

  91. Rhea says:

    At least he was a decent-singing salesman.
    You sucker.

  92. Alison Veres says:

    You got serenaded! That’s pretty cool. Discover is a good magazine, too. I hope you get it. I have an English Mastiff (170 lbs.) and a Saint Bernard (160 lbs.) No one EVER knocks on my doors. Not even friends or family. If they’re coming over, they call first and I put the dogs in the pen. It’s kind of a pain, but I suppose it does save me some money in magazine subscriptions…

  93. dizzblnd says:

    Yeah… I don’t open the door either.. I let my big dog bark and scare the piss outta them. Sure.. tax write off.. why not

  94. Janie says:

    No lectures here.
    But I do have some oceanfront property in Arizona I’d love to sell you. And I can sing, too.

  95. happyian says:

    What if i came to meet you?
    I’d be self-conscious enough as it were….

  96. vodkamom says:

    It’s great that there are SOME trusting people left. Good for you.