Why I Don’t Buy from MLMs or Door-to-Door Salespeople
As you may already be aware from my earlier blog posts, I have a Ring video doorbell installed at my home. The doorbell lets our family see who is at the door, or even walking on the sidewalk out front, ultimately leading us to decide who we answer the door for. We can see this from the comfort of our couch, or anywhere for that matter, as the video comes directly to our smart phones. And, I religiously listen to the FREE Clark Howard podcast downloaded to my smart phone and played with BlueTooth in my car to / from work. Combined, these help us to keep more of our hard earned money in our bank account and not live paycheck-to-paycheck.
What you may not be aware is that my parents raised me to be smart about answering the door in general (or not answering the door, I should say, for complete strangers) and even smarter about saying “no” to neighborhood peddlers. Why? Because often folks pushing these products and services at your doorstep are pitching you a solution for a need that you never had in the first place. If you only ever shop for items that you have an actual need for, then it gives you the ability to shop around to find the best product or service for the best possible price. And, to keep more of your take-home pay.
With springtime nearly upon us, in the February 26, 2018 Clark Howard podcast, Clark reviews general door-to-door salespeople. Nothing on his show has ever resonated with me quite the way that this has. I encourage you to take a listen, if not to subscribe to the podcasts on your phone and set them to auto-play in your car. It’s at the 14 minute mark. Alternatively, I’ve quoted him below, in reference to door-to-door salespeople:
Do not agree on site that second to buy anything. It’s fine if they want to leave you literature. Don’t give them your contact information. Be very warey of anybody who says, “Hey, We just happen to be in your neighborhood. And, we have leftover supplies from doing blah, blah, blah down the street. Or, I’ve done an analysis of your roof and you have this damage over here that’s just a time-bomb waiting to happen.” Or, whatever the pitch is. A lot of us have a hard time saying “no” to somebody we’re standing face-to-face with. And, I want you to stand up for yourself. And, if you have a hard time saying “no,” just use time as your ally, to stall. “Well, I don’t make snap deisions. Please leave me information and I’ll get back with you if I’d like to talk to you about this.” If they remain persistent and insistent, then you gotta stand more on your side. And, by the way, don’t ever make a purchase decision at the moment an absolute stranger has come to your door and done their pitch. Nothing good for you is going to come from that.
I don’t think I could have summed that up any better myself.
Take it a step further and add in there that you shouldn’t ever let anyone take away precious time that could be spent with your family. Answering the door keeps you from doing that. (Listen to another favorite podcast series I follow: Flipped Lifestyle, episode 184, if you want further advice on gaining back time to do the things that you want to do).
We live in a solicitation-free neighborhood, complete with posted signs at every entrance, which allows us to call the police on any door-to-door sales people anyway. Even if you were to answer, in many jurisdictions, the person(s) would need to present you with a legal permit to solicit. Which, many of them never have. Meaning they are there and shouldn’t be, by law. If you ask, and they cannot present you with the permit, call the non-emergency line for your local police department.
A bunch of our neighbors jumped on the bandwagon when the “free solar panels and installation” peddlers came through in recent years. And, I imagine if they had done further homework, they would have found purchasing (or financing) the panels to become the actual owner of the panels would have been a better option in most cases. It makes me cringe to think about those snakes in suits! What keeps them coming back to neighbors’ front doors? People fall victim to the high-pressure sales tactics. If no one buys, they have no channel to sell anything.
To further keep neighborhood solicitors at bay, we placed a neighborhood-friendly (you’ll have to check with your specific HOA guidelines) “No Soliciting” yard sign in front of our door.
All paper materials left at our property when we don’t answer the door (fliers, business cards, etc.) or on our car in parking lots, go immediately into the recycling bin without even a glance. Catalogs too, though we prefer to opt out altogether to reduce paper waste. And, we don’t buy from mall kiosks either. But, enough on those topics…or we’ll really get off track.
The above holds true for MLMs, or multi-level marketing companies (often hosting home or virtual parties). Most, if not all of these products, you likely never had a need for in the first place. Just because your friend, family member, neighbor, or coworker invite you to the party, doesn’t mean you have to go. If you do go, you don’t have to buy. Don’t feel guilty! Just say “no.” No excuses necessary. Really! Do not feel like you have to explain why you are saying “no.” Honestly, it’s none of their business! Even if you did have a need for these products, there are such great search tools available at your fingertips to look up companies, products, services, details, ratings and reviews online. Not buying from MLMs will also help keep you from getting suckered in to sell for them – often times with hefty inventory investments upfront.
Bottom line: Spend your money wisely. Or, better yet, don’t spend your money – save it!
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