I need to stop all forms of solicitation on my property.
July 20, 2016 3:49 PM   Subscribe

I need a way to completely prevent solicitors from coming to my house. My current track isn't cutting it.

My kid has a sensory processing disorder, with a healthy dose of anxiety issues sprinkled on top. Solicitors usually come to our house right before, or during the dinner hour. This leads to an instant spike in my kid's anxiety. This invariably leads to him not eating, which cascades into him sleeping poorly and having nightmares. It's pretty awful for him (and us, honestly). This is happening more and more with the election coming up. It's just the worst. It's starting to grate on our family and its becoming a serious background stressor.

We have a sign that says “No Soliciting, No Proselytizing, No Campaigning.” It's not working.

I mean, we've called the local churches that proselytize in our neighborhood and explained to them out situation, and they're mostly cool with it (bonus points Mormons for being organized enough to just take us off their route! High fives next time I see them!). The canvassers are the worst, because when we point out our sign, they smugly say what they're doing is completely legal, and keep going on with their script. I've ended up calling all the major canvassing groups in town, and none of them have their shit together enough to actually stop their people from knocking on our door.

I'm even going so far as to petition our city government and give a presentation about our plight, and hoping the city council will kind of take pity on folks with autism, PTSD and anxiety problems...but I really have my doubts that will yield any results. It seems like religious and political canvassing are never prohibited and rarely regulated in the US.

What can I do in this situation?
posted by furnace.heart to Grab Bag (59 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Get a gate and lock it?
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:55 PM on July 20, 2016 [27 favorites]

Maybe put up some kind of sign about ILL PERSON HERE, YOUR SOLICITATION IS ..... I don't know what, causing health problems?

Your kid might be offended at that, I don't know, but making someone feel awful for disturbing an ill person's sleep or something like that *might* work?
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:59 PM on July 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

Is knocking or ringing the doorbell more of an issue for your son? Or just having the interruption? If it's the doorbell, either disconnect it or replace it with something silent, or that rings through to your phone instead (like a Ring video doorbell). If knocking is also a problem, they'll probably turn to that if the doorbell doesn't get a response. In that case, the best you can do is to encourage doorbell use (they might be more likely to pay attention to a sign that says "Use doorbell" than yours), and you can intercept them before they start knocking.

I guess interception before they can get to your door is key. Either with a gate or some technological means-- i.e., get notified whenever someone passes a certain point in your front yard.

That really sucks as a problem.
posted by supercres at 3:59 PM on July 20, 2016 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Is it legal to put up a fence around your property and lock the gate? I would do that. And put the no soliciting sign on the gate.
posted by impishoptimist at 4:03 PM on July 20, 2016 [6 favorites]

I'd get a sign that says "Shh! Baby is sleeping!" And hang it on the door. And a teal pumpkin (we've got one that we hang up around Halloween to welcome trick or treaters.)
posted by tilde at 4:06 PM on July 20, 2016 [3 favorites]

Yeah, depending on your house layout can you a) remove your doorbell, b) lock an outer gate, porch door or screen door, or c) just not answer the door to them?

We had loads of problems with random drunks ringing the doorbell in the middle of the night. Door bell disconnected -> no more problems. They may still be coming to the door, who knows? We certainly don't hear them. We've unplugged our landline too, everyone we want to receive calls from has our mobile numbers. Far more peaceful.
posted by tinkletown at 4:07 PM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I'd go with a little white lie to appeal to their human decency and hang up a sleeping baby sign.
posted by emyd at 4:09 PM on July 20, 2016

Wet paint sign hanging from rope stretched across your entry stair, only on display in the late afternoons when this is such a problem? "Beware of dog" signs? If you could provide more details about the entryway to your home, we might be able to brainstorm more deterrents to accessing your door.
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:10 PM on July 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

If securing your property with a locked fence isn't an option for whatever reason, try a more personal note taped to your door at eye level or covering the bell that reads something like, "Hey Lisa, baby is FINALLY ASLEEP - DON'T RING or KNOCK, text to let me know you're here, please." This may or may not work but a solicitor may pay more attention to a note not meant for them.
posted by stowaway at 4:12 PM on July 20, 2016 [5 favorites]

This person at Etsy makes attractive, blunt signs about who is and is not allowed. I've been planning to get one because everyone who comes to my door despite my signage has some reason why it doesn't apply to them.

Some of hers are charming ("No Sales. No Religious Queries. Girl Scouts Welcome") but some of them are quite blunt, and she does custom orders. I think it would be useful to put up a sign people will encounter before they reach the door. I've been planning to post my sign next to the driveway, whee they'll encounter it as they walk up, for instance—and I might follow up with a second one they can't miss before they set foot on the stoop. Once they get to the door, it's too late—they're already disrupting things.

If I had a reason like yours (and not just my own strong desire not to be bothered), I might consider a A-frame sign like the "wet floor" ones people use for mopping, which I would put smack-dab in the middle of my walk. Actually, now that I've thought of it, I'll probably do it anyway, because I am really cranky about being bothered.
posted by not that girl at 4:25 PM on July 20, 2016 [8 favorites]

Best answer: I had a canvassing job for a while (I personally skipped the "no soliciting" houses because I mean come on, but we were not supposed to).

When we were trained, we were instructed to disregard the "no soliciting" signs. We were also told to both knock and ring, and to knock hard, at least two sets of knocks. We were told, too, that we should go around back if people didn't answer the front door, but almost no one did this because it was creepy.

Best solution is a locked gate. To discourage people and make them more likely to go away, try a fake "beware of dog" sign in the yard (if you have a fenced yard - canvassers are pretty wary of dogs) and put a sign on the door that says "DO NOT KNOCK. Ring only" and disconnect the doorbell. Also, can you lock your front screen door around the dinner hour? Knocking on a screen door is a lot quieter than knocking on your actual door.

I was only in it for getting out the vote and later for free energy audits for low income people, so I felt okay about my job, but the conditions of our work meant that we were instructed to be, and judged upon being, pretty aggressive.
posted by Frowner at 4:27 PM on July 20, 2016 [18 favorites]

Heck, now that I'm thinking about it, the signs aren't that expensive: I'm putting one by the driveway, one on the walk, and one on the door. With decreasingly polite requests to go away.
posted by not that girl at 4:27 PM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

This is not the solution you're looking for, but solutions that depend on modifying the behavior of everyone else are hard to implement. There are products like Ring that are high-tech doorbells/CCTVs that "ring" an app on your phone.
posted by adamrice at 4:29 PM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

This is the no soliciting sign on my door. And by sign I mean taped up piece of paper. We haven't had a solicitor ring the bell or knock in years. Politicians will ignore it though. The last one that did was a Republican, who didn't appreciate my response of "You are selling lies" when he claimed to not be selling anything.
posted by COD at 4:40 PM on July 20, 2016 [15 favorites]

Best answer: Do you have a sprinkler system that you could time to run during the worst times as a physical deterrent? You could also attach a deer deterrent system to your sprinkler.
posted by florencetnoa at 4:51 PM on July 20, 2016 [21 favorites]

I am just about ready to put one of those godawful "I will shoot you" signs up. They're awful, but I suspect if you put two or three of 'em up, even the UPS person will be reluctant to come too close.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:59 PM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Start the no solicitation signage at the front of the yard. Put a blunt note on the door. Get a couple, protected by smith and wesson stickers for the door. Also get a beware of dog sign. If you have a doorbell change the sound to what sounds like a large, angry dog barking. Answer the door visibly angry.

If people do knock or ring get the organization's name AND their name.

I'm sorry you're going through this. You've been polite about it so now get blunt and angry.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 5:03 PM on July 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

Sign that says:


Friends and neighbors have our phone numbers.

These days, a knock on the door is NEVER anyone you want to see. It is only solicitations. Everybody we want to see calls/texts ahead of time, and we leave a door unlocked so they don't have to knock.

You have no legal obligation to answer your door, no matter who is knocking.
posted by yesster at 5:10 PM on July 20, 2016 [12 favorites]

Response by poster: To clarify a couple points:

-The problem is the actual visits and the disruption, not the format of the contact they're using. Knocking spikes the kid's anxiety. The doorbell was disconnected the day we got the keys to the house. Us answering the door or not doesn't help the kid's anxiety (in fact, we've tried, not answering the door makes it worse. He keeps imagining people are knocking all night long).

-I should have mentioned we have tried creative signs. The canvassers in our city are "very well trained" in ignoring signage because its perfectly legal for them to do so. We've tried baby sleeping signs, lengthy signs explaining the issue...these assholes don't give two shits unfortunately.

-Our dog is a useless machine of love, and only seeks out strangers for head scritches and belly rubs.

-Fencing: This might be our only real option. The way our driveway is set up makes it hard to fence to begin with. We are looking at fencing the front yard, but we don't see a way that will let our mail and packages be delivered, and lockable. We don't have a regular mail carrier, so teaching one of them how to deliver our mail is really difficult once they rotate out every couple months. This might be our only shot though.
posted by furnace.heart at 5:18 PM on July 20, 2016 [3 favorites]

these folks seem to have a good selection.
posted by calgirl at 5:19 PM on July 20, 2016

I have a no soliciting sign too, and now having read Frowner's update I understand why I still get the occasional solicitor. Get a custom sign made that makes it clear you will not open the door and that they are wasting their time. I love yesster's language.


edit: on update I guess you've tried every kind of sign. It's fencing time. I see a lot of gates with signs on them for UPS saying "throw packages over fence", or you could get a doggie door for packages... I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this. Infuriating. What can they hope to gain by harassing people who aren't interested?
posted by fingersandtoes at 5:21 PM on July 20, 2016 [5 favorites]

Is there some way you can make your door un-knockable? Cover it with two layers of egg-crate foam and a yoga mat maybe?
posted by KathrynT at 5:25 PM on July 20, 2016 [16 favorites]

Can you put some kind of fence-mounted mailbox up? Or get a PO box (which I admit is a pain)?

What about locking your screen door in the late afternoon to quiet the knocks (I know for sure that knocking on the screen door - even knocking hard - doesn't carry as much) and getting some kind of white noise machine for the front rooms? I have a very murmury fan because I live on a busy street and outside noise is really distracting, and I find that with the windows closed it is actually hard for me to hear knocking at the door. You might also have some luck covering the door with latex foam - it could be quite the art project.

The trouble with canvassers (that is, people who are trying to raise funds or get votes, often for perfectly decent purposes) is that the ones who succeed in the job tend to be very aggressive, not to care too much about making people mad, be fairly creative and always assume that people are lying to make them go away. Don't think too badly of them - I know a few people who cut their teeth on canvassing and went on to become tenacious lobbyists for public transit, social safety net stuff, etc - being tenacious and not caring if you make people mad are invaluable skills if you're staring down the board of General Electric at a hearing.

But maybe look into soundproofing and door changes first since fences are expensive?
posted by Frowner at 5:27 PM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

You probably know this but there are plenty of mail box products designed specifically for fences... "fence mail box" into Google brings up lots of options.
posted by fingersandtoes at 5:29 PM on July 20, 2016 [3 favorites]

Depending on your door formation, would it be possible to put up iron gates or a porch enclosure even a fence just around the front porchy area? Just gate that shit off, make it so they can't get to the door, don't install a doorbell (or do install a dummy doorbell!).
posted by Lyn Never at 5:35 PM on July 20, 2016 [8 favorites]

Put up "Beware of Dog" signs and faux props implying that you have some huge, aggressive, scary dog.

When they blow you off, reply with "Leave now or I will call the cops." This generally gets a prompt response.

Consider actually getting a huge scary dog and putting it on a long chain where it can eat people knocking on your front door. (Assuming this will not be a problem for the kid, obviously.)

Agreeing fencing would be good.
posted by Michele in California at 5:49 PM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Do you have a neighborhood watch group, or neighbors you are on good terms with? Perhaps someone could help warn you when canvassers are around so you can head them off. It still disrupts your time, but perhaps could prevent disrupting your kid's?
posted by nalyd at 5:54 PM on July 20, 2016

In college my roommates and I had a sign that said simply "unsolicited canvassers will be sprayed" and keep a spray bottle by the door.

Remarkably effective until the landlord asked us to take it down.
posted by mce at 5:54 PM on July 20, 2016 [8 favorites]

Oh I would totally create a sign which says

NO SOLICITING - If you insist on knocking anyway, I'll vote for your candidate's opponent and purchase your brand's competitor - and I'll write a friendly message to your boss thanking him/her for you getting me off my duff to the store/polling place to vote/buy the other guy.

(And then in smaller print I'd write: I'm serious. My kid's sick. Please don't knock.)
posted by arnicae at 6:06 PM on July 20, 2016 [17 favorites]

The point of my earlier comment is that I think you're making a huge mistake by offering any explanation.

"Baby sleeping,"
"Medical Issue,"

all give an explanation that is ENTIRELY UNNECCESSARY, and, apparently completely ineffective. That's because you're explaining YOUR interests, which they don't care about at all.

By saying that you do not answer the door, at all, ever, you're appealing to THEIR interests, which they do care about.

Try it.
posted by yesster at 6:12 PM on July 20, 2016 [6 favorites]

its perfectly legal for them to do so

As others have noted, no mere sign is going to stop pushy people from doing what is legally allowed. You need to find the magic incantation (which will depend on your precise locality) that will take them from merely being rude to trespassing. Even so, the police are probably not going to do anything as long as the canvassers leave, but if you're serious about stopping it, feign interest long enough to get their name, the organization they're working for, and their picture and take them to civil court.
posted by Candleman at 6:31 PM on July 20, 2016

I work in an historic district, the tourists sometimes have no manners. A homeowner near us evidently had people looking in her living room window. She now has a sign on the sill of this window stating "Caution! Black widow nest" with an arrow pointing down. Maybe something along those lines?
posted by mareli at 6:39 PM on July 20, 2016 [3 favorites]

Due to the way my house is configured, the front door is on the side while the door facing the street is to a storage closet, which solicitors can knock on all day and we'd never know it inside.

When I hard-scaped the front yard, I deliberately created a path from the sidewalk to the storage closet door (which also has a dummy doorbell and lovely potted plants on either side) for the lulz and as a solicitor trap. Perhaps you could do something similar at your house with a fake door.
posted by jamaro at 6:50 PM on July 20, 2016 [35 favorites]

Quarantine sign?
posted by Sassyfras at 7:31 PM on July 20, 2016 [5 favorites]

Lovely 5 foot high wrought iron fence enclosing an area the length of the house and about 8 foot out, or the distance your porch extends out beyond the door. Locking gate and big 'no solicitors' sign next to it. Large mailbox that will allow packages accessed from both outside and inside the fence. Big signs on either side of the house stating 'persons on this property are trespassing and will be prosecuted' that are attached to a solid privacy fence.
posted by BlueHorse at 7:47 PM on July 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

Motion sensor + solenoid valve + high-flow shower head. Job done.
posted by flabdablet at 7:53 PM on July 20, 2016 [15 favorites]

We found that simply by fencing the yard (with a gate, but no lock) that solicitations went way down. Adding a lock, or even just a complicated latch, would probably take that to zero, which we haven't felt the need for so far but is sometimes tempting.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:58 PM on July 20, 2016 [5 favorites]

... we don't see a way that will let our mail and packages be delivered, and lockable.

Two options occur to me: First, lockable roadside mailboxes exist, and could be installed outside your hypothetical fence. The larger ones could accommodate small packages, and (presumably) the mail carriers would leave a slip in the mailbox. UPS & FedEx would also have to leave "sorry we missed you" slips, and you'd have to go to a pickup center to retrieve them.

A more drastic solution would be to rent a post office box at the local post office, and receive all your mail there. You can set up a forwarding order to get mail forwarded from your home address to your new P.O. Box during the transition period. And since a few years ago, the USPS has allowed UPS & FedEx to deliver to P.O. Boxes using a special address format.
posted by Johnny Assay at 8:04 PM on July 20, 2016 [6 favorites]

You can also rent a mailbox with a street address from places like The UPS Store and FedEx and UPS will absolutely deliver to such an address. Prices vary, depending on location. But about $15-$30/ month.
posted by Michele in California at 8:09 PM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

(I lived in a house surrounded by a locked fence at one point -- without exception, every courier company simply heaved the parcels over the fence. The newspaper was thrown over the fence. The USPS put letters in the breadbox-on-a-stick mailbox on the other side of the fence. Zero hassle on the mail front, except for one time when it took me two weeks to find a parcel that had taken a funny bounce and gotten lost in some shrubbery.)

I also wanted to suggest something with signage, motion detectors, and water, and wonder if there isn't something already like that sold as a kit for people looking to keep certain types of animals off their property -- you might have a look through web sites catering to rural folk; perhaps there's an even more industrial version of this, which "Startles pests with sound and startling-but-harmless burst of water, teaching them to avoid protected area in the future." The nuclear option here would of course to go rural, though I admit one year we were startled no end when a pair of Jehovah's Witnesses came wandering down to the dock at our (relatively isolated, no other cottages in view in any direction) family cottage. But it wouldn't take much; I live in the "downtown" of a rural village and get a pest once a year at most; one every two yeas is the norm. Also, a few times now I have lived on the top floor of an apartment complex and been disturbed by nobody; I did not even get pizzeria menus on my doorknob. I think solicitors either get lazy or get shooed out by the time they get to a certain floor...? I always assumed enough people beneath me had harassed the office/super to get rid of the trespasser before they made it to the top.
posted by kmennie at 8:39 PM on July 20, 2016 [3 favorites]

We found that simply by fencing the yard (with a gate, but no lock) that solicitations went way down. Adding a lock, or even just a complicated latch, would probably take that to zero, which we haven't felt the need for so far but is sometimes tempting.

My parents' house is like this inadvertently and almost no one but our regular postal people can figure out how to get in, even though my mom hangs decorative things on the actual gate that opens AND there is a doorbell outside the gate. I once watched it succeed against Seventh Day Adventists dedicated enough to take their five year old children out soliciting with them. Apparently black wrought iron completely confounds people's senses of how gates and locks work.
posted by MsMolly at 9:12 PM on July 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

Before the expense of a fence and gate, I'ld try one of the $40 MP3 doorbells with the speaker mounted outside to play a message that's a rude as you are comfortable with.

posted by ridgerunner at 9:28 PM on July 20, 2016 [10 favorites]

When we put up security cameras on our property we also put up signs saying that there were security cameras in use. Truthfully I think the signs have been the best thing because suddenly we get almost zero solicitors. You could always put dummy cameras in your windows to go along with the signs.

But really, I think jamaro's got the win here.
posted by vignettist at 9:30 PM on July 20, 2016 [7 favorites]

> Quarantine sign?


...at least until the neighbors complain.
posted by Sunburnt at 9:38 PM on July 20, 2016 [6 favorites]

Do you actually use your front door to get in and out of the house, or do you use a back/garage door? If it's the latter, you could put some large potted plants on the front porch that would block an obvious path to the door, but not block it entirely if you need to get out for safety reasons. Like potted decorative trees or topiary.
posted by topophilia at 9:51 PM on July 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Here is a helpful article about how to stop solicitors and other unwelcome visitors. It goes into the legal issues a fair bit.

If you live in Oregon, the state doesn't seem to have any regulations regarding solicitation and many cities, including Portland, don't seem to have specific laws about solicitation, either. So that may mean that a sign stating "No Solicitation" has no particular legal force. That may be what you are hearing from solicitors when they say "It is legal". Or they may be religious, political, or other types of unwelcome visitors who believe they are technically not solicitors because they are not selling anything. (More details in the above article.)

However, what you do have working in your favor, assuming you live in Oregon, is the trespassing statutes. One specifies $1000 in damages to the landowner if someone trespasses on properly marked land. Another makes trespassing a Class C misdemeanor.

I agree with the above comments that probably the only way to keep these folks out is a fence that just physically makes it impossible for these people to enter your yard. But in the short term or in the meanwhile I might consider this:
  • Signs meeting the requirements of Oregon Statute 105.700 ("Closed to Entry" along with your name, business address, and phone number) placed at each entry (ie, on each side of your property open to the public, at your sidewalk and/or driveway)
  • Also, just to be clear "Absolutely No Trespassing - Violators Will Be Prosecuted" signs alongside them.
  • Also, just to be even more clear, and because the US Supreme Court has actually endorsed this as a solution, "Absolutely No Soliciting - Fundraising - Religious Inquiries - Politics" signs alongside the others (a bit like this). Handmade signs for all of these are fine--in fact, probably better.
  • At the bottom of the signs you could put a note "Friends, call or text XXX-XXX-XXXX for admittance".
  • Make up a sheet of paper summarizing the Oregon law re: trespassing, stating that your property is marked as "Closed to Entry" in compliance with that law and that the penalty is $1000 in liquidated damages and additionally trespassing is a Class C Misdemeanor. Also summarize the bit about the Supreme Court and "No Solicitation" signs from the link above. You make a bunch of copies of this and if someone DOES knock despite the signs, you open the door, hand it to them, and close the door. End of discussion. There is no question as to whether entering your property which is clearly marked "Closed to Entry" is legal or illegal. It is illegal. Perhaps as you hand them the paper you are also taking their photograph, which is all the proof you need of their illegal activity.
If you want to take it a step further (and, again, in the meantime before you can get a full fence in place), consider putting some stakes around the border of your property, the "No Trespassing", "Closed to Entry" etc signs on each one, and then twine or rope between the stakes. The idea is to literally close off the property, like a fence, creating a barrier that people must physically cross to get into your yard. Continue the twine or rope across your sidewalk and driveway, etc. (open it up before driving out and then tie it up again when you leave your driveway). The idea is to make it perfectly clear that yes, this entire area is actually closed to the public. (Something like this, except what I have in mind is even simpler and just a temporary solution--something you could do at Home Depot for $20-$30 until your fence is in place.)

It seems kind of extreme, but it would be pretty inexpensive and I'll bet it would make a big difference.
posted by flug at 10:09 PM on July 20, 2016 [29 favorites]

Was going to suggest spraying the solicitors with the hose whenever they come by, but I think flug has your best answer; by posting legally enforceable no trespassing signs, I think you'll definitively be able to point to the fact that what they're doing is in fact, not legal.
posted by Aleyn at 10:21 PM on July 20, 2016

BTW, the reason I'm suggesting actually roping off or otherwise making it positively clear that the public is not welcome on your sidewalk and driveway areas, is that various courts have ruled that the sidewalk leading up to your front door with its doorbell or knocker is basically an invitation for people to come up and knock on your door or ring the doorbell. It is sort of a semi-public area. (Some discussion of one case dealing with that issue here.)

So you need to, somehow, make it very clear that the public is actually prohibited from doing that on your property. So, "Closed to Entry" signs and some kind of physical barrier barring entry to your sidewalk, driveway, etc.
posted by flug at 10:38 PM on July 20, 2016

Private property - admission $20 per 3 minutes. please pay at front door
posted by ctmf at 11:09 PM on July 20, 2016

Hang a big sheet of sandpaper or a collage of glue traps (sticky side out) on your front door?
posted by lovelygirl at 5:09 AM on July 21, 2016

You aren't going to stop people trying to talk to you. I'd reconnect the doorbell to a video/phone doorbell so they have no need to knock and if you get a call quietly deal with it so as to not introduce any unnecessary disruption (leaving the room to deal with the knock)
posted by zeoslap at 5:52 AM on July 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

Wouldn't the simplest fix be some kind of motion sensor along your property that alerts your phone? Then you can go outside and quietly deal with them before they actually disturb your son by knocking. You'd obviously have to adjust the placement or sensitivity so it's not alerting you to every dog walker or bird landing on your lawn.

A friend lived at the end of a long driveway where he couldn't see the whole length of it. He had some kind of alarm that would notify him whenever a car made it past a certain point on the drive. That's the kind of thing I'm thinking of.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 7:43 AM on July 21, 2016 [2 favorites]

Having worked on local political campaigns, they want a mark for every voter in your home. I would call each of them, either tell them your voting/donation/etc intentions or not, and instruct them to leave a "Do not contact" note/code on the record for every voter at your address. This (if your local campaign is at all organized) means that political canvassers will actually know not to go to your house. Otherwise, if your house is a blank with no mark, they will keep wanting to ask.
posted by Kurichina at 8:07 AM on July 21, 2016 [2 favorites]

This will not apply to you, I am sure, but might help someone in the future. Due to some weirdness when the developer built up our community, our roads are not public. The homeowner's association is responsible for and owns the roads. That means they are private property. No solicitors are allowed without written permission.

It's just great not to be assaulted by people knocking at the door all the time. I am sure to ask for proof on the very rare occasion that we get someone at the door. I have never seen proof yet.
posted by annsunny at 11:38 AM on July 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

I was a canvasser in college, and the dog signs were definitely the #1 way to keep me away from a house (especially if there was a gate/fence involved). They are not going to know that your dog is actually super friendly. I would guess that fence + non-locked gate + big scary dog sign will keep almost everyone out. Then again, I'm shocked that "sleeping baby" or a sign explaining that you have a child who will be upset isn't doing it -- people are assholes. :( Another sign to try (if you haven't) might be "We work nights - please don't wake us up!" That was another one that would definitely cause me not to knock (although, of course, I also would leave the sleeping baby people alone, so...)

I would also talk to your son's therapist about the issue and see what might be done from his end to make these encounters less painful. Obviously this is a longer term thing and not a quick fix, but presumably you don't want him cowering in fear every time there's a knock at the door for the rest of his life. Maybe it's not possible for him to completely be okay with door knocks from strangers, but it seems like this is probably an area where something might be able to help (maybe role playing the encounters or learning to talk to the canvassers and learn that while they may be annoying, they are not threatening?). I'm no expert in this, but it seems at least worth it to try and work on this end of the equation.
posted by rainbowbrite at 3:34 PM on July 21, 2016 [4 favorites]

City of XXX Department of Animal Control: Level II Dangerous Animal On Premises
posted by miyabo at 7:26 PM on July 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

I had a lot of solicitors, put up a small "no soliciting" sign and saw no effect.
I then put up a 300% larger sign and it helped quite a bit.

That being said, the problem with anxiety is that the natural response to it is to avoid or escape the stimulus that is causing the anxiety - while this feels good in the short term, it almost invariably worsens the anxiety response. As others have noted, shielding your child from this entirely could make their problem worse.

Work with your psychologist on an appropriate behavioral plan since finding a healthy balance here is not easy.
posted by soylent00FF00 at 5:26 PM on July 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

Lee Valley sells motion-detector sprinklers.
posted by werkzeuger at 1:07 PM on July 25, 2016

I'm very late to this thread, and this won't necessarily help you right now, but for your future life planning I've noticed a marked dropoff in solicitors since I moved to a place with a steep driveway and stairs up to my front door. It's not zero but it's, like, one a month, tops. Never underestimate the power of laziness.

On the other hand, my mail carrier keeps trying to cram comically large packages into my mailbox, which is at street level, so he doesn't have to climb the mighty peak. There are pluses and minuses.
posted by the marble index at 5:09 PM on August 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

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