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If there is one thing I hate more than anything, it's cold callers. You can almost guarantee they'll pick the most inconvenient time of day - when I'm cooking for instance, or whilst I'm on the loo, or just when things are starting to get interesting when watching a favourite TV programme. There is nothing more annoying than someone trying to sell you something you just don't want, especially when they refuse to take no for an answer and just won't budge. I never used to get it at the old house, but now that I live in a lower income area, I'm forever getting people trying to set me up with small loans, or sell me overpriced tat from the back of a van on credit. It's even worse when you're expected a parcel and dash excitedly to the door, only to discover it's someone trying to flog me double glazing. Enough was enough - knowing that my dad had a similar sign and found it had been quite effective, I decided to get myself one from amazon, which cost £3.50 including delivery. The sign measures 130mm X 50mm x 1.6mm, and is also available in white. It can be hung up, screwed into the wall, or affixed with adhesive (and does half a self adhesive backing). I opted to have mine screwed into the wall, as I wasn't too sure what damage the adhesive backing would to to my exterior paintwork. The sign simply reads 'No salesme, cold callers, or canvassers' in block capitals. The key issue is has it worked. Well, there has been a definite reduction in the number of people knocking at my door, and it's only on rare occasions that someone disturbs me during my down time. The key difference now is (given that the sign is prominently displayed and can't be missed) that I no longer feel the need to be polite to the people that intrude on my time, and can simply get rid of them with a pointed finger and a 'Can't you read? Sod off!' It's really quite liberating! Of course, I wish I'd not had to buy one in the first place, but it's cheap, and looks fairly smart. It's not the most attractive looking thing to have by your front door though, and a little part of me, the part that is always scared of causing offence, wishes it had the words 'Thank You' tacked on the end, but overall it's been pretty effective and I can't really moan.
Black Sign - No Salesmen Cold Callers Or Canvassers (available from Amazon) --------------------------------------------------------------- Last week I reached the end of my tether. I had a string of cold callers throughout the day when I was trying to get on with some work, and it didn't help as my dog was recovering from a rather nasty illness and was repeatedly woken up by the doorbell. The callers were ganging up it seemed to sell me dishcloths, electricity and windows, and the final straw came as I was preparing dinner when a woman called with a clipboard wanting to interview me about my pension arrangements, and claimed she was from the Department of Work and Pensions. Now I know that the level of cold callers is directly related to where you live, as when I go to Scotland there is seldom anyone who visits my remote cottage, whereas in Essex it is business all day long. Charities are especially evident, and although I am loyal to many charities I dislike them calling for donations, including the rather pushy group who try to entice you to sign up for monthly contributions. I like to consider this myself in my own time, because while you may be cajoled into signing on the dotted line on the doorstep to support birds, there may be a little girl dying in a hospital bed from Leukaemia. How do you allocate money fairly to different causes in these economically challenged times? I don't think on the spot decisions prompted by uninvited sales representatives can really be justified, as the most needing charities operate more ethically in their attempts to raise funding. Two areas concern me greatly in the field of cold calling. One the elderly, and the other young mums. Both are often at home, and both do not want to be summoned to the doorstep as this poses dangers. The first may fall if they are frail or unwell, and may be more likely to hand over savings and be gullible and trusting, and young mothers have to exercise vigilance when caring for children. I remember many times when my children were small hearing the doorbell when my toddlers were in the bath. So it was the final straw when I was knocked for 4 times in one afternoon and I decided something had to be done. My first port of call was to have a look at what Martin Lewis, (the famous moneysaving expert chappie), had to say about this issue. Sure enough he had a free downloadable sign to stop cold callers, and this is now binding with regard to energy companies. If you display a sign energy companies must respect this, and it is within your rights to report them if they ignore it, and you may be eligible for compensation. I looked at the free sign, but I am not keen on it as it features a rather large hand and the words- "Stop we won't buy from you and we don't need advice-please don't incur our wrath by knocking." I know this may be noticeable but it is a little unfriendly, so I wanted to look for something better and I found it on Amazon! The No Cold Caller Sign! ------------------------------- For £3.50 you can purchase a lovely simple sign made in acrylic by a wonderful Welsh man who shares my hatred of cold calling. He was absolutely sick of the constant pestering that he decided to make signs himself, and he has become so popular with an average of 5* on all his Amazon reviews. The signs are small but distinct, and they are aesthetically pleasing. At 130mm by 50mm by 1.6mm they are a compact size, but the lettering is expertly done, and clear and visible from some distance away. I chose black as I have a white front door but you can opt for white or gold. You have two options - either to ask for the sign to be pre-drilled so you can screw it into position, or to use the self-adhesive backing which I did. You can easily stick this outside, and I chose to put my sign close to the letterbox. It looks simple, but makes a statement, and I have already seen a guy making an about turn half way up my drive - I think he was a tree surgeon but he didn't get time to lay any roots down on my doorstep! Delivery was free from this seller, and it was only a couple of days from ordering to despatch which I think was superb. It was also well packaged too. This is well worth purchasing if you are fed up with cold callers. I like the fact that it makes a statement without being rude or implying that you have a fiery temper. It is simply a tool to deter interruption, and to allow a more peaceful existence on a daily basis. I would actually like to see a legal end to all cold calling, as I feel it is intrusive and a threat to public health as we all need to rest and unwind and to live in peace. Last year a charity caller knocked for my neighbour at 8pm before coming to me in a panic to say he had collapsed on the floor by the door. As I have a key I went round to find that he had fallen on his way to answer this call. He is very ill indeed and has a form of dementia and a neurological condition that affects his mobility. This does not allow him to make rational decisions about who to let in, and affects his ability to answer the door in a reasonable length of time so he tries to rush. The charity in question was a religious one, and I stood there and wondered if there could be any justification for knocking on house doors at 8pm whatever the cause they represented. We live in such an agitated world and should be allowed to see our homes as castles with the drawbridge up if we want them to be. Charity giving should be a personal decision made on the basis of beliefs and experiences, not prompted by clipboards and deadlines. Having work done by a specific company should be the end result of personal recommendation or intensive research, not a casual door invite, and certainly behind all of these calls lies a "do it now" mentality which can cause regret later. £3.50 for this sign has brought me peace- not one cold caller all week except for a little girl at Halloween who scared me into parting with a few trinkets. Well worth buying and a passport to a more peaceful home life.