shouldn’t we call them door-to-door salesmen?

Another guy showed up at the door a little while ago. Yesterday there were a couple of boys. They’re all so sure of themselves, that’s what’s so amazing. I’m never sure of what I’m selling.

And yes, we’re all selling our wares. Whatever job we’re in. And if we’re good, we sell dreams. Nothing is as good as we make it seem, since if it is a dream, then we’re separated from that. Grass greener, all that stuff.

Oh, what were these guys selling? Nothing I wanted.

You see, those of you of a certain age and who have not read or seen “Death of a Salesman”, there used to be people who made their small slices of fortunes by going door to door with whatever wares they had, the 50’s-60’s (apparently up to the 80’s) version of the old peddlers with their pushcarts. Wiki does its best to describe the phenomenon, if you’d like to see. It does mention that J’ Witnesses “are known for door-to-door preaching”.

They obviously haven’t been to my neighborhood.

Avon started out that way; that was based on the old Fuller Brush man.

So here’s a little bit that I just learned about something called the Green River Ordinance:

Municipal ordinances which prohibit solicitors, peddlers, and itinerant merchants from calling on private residences for the purpose of peddling or soliciting without the request or the invitation of the occupant are sometimes referred to as “Green River” ordinances (from the case of Town of Green River, Wyoming v. Fuller Brush Co., 65 F.2d 112 (10th Cir. 1933)). “Green River” ordinances entirely prohibit and declare the practice of uninvited house-to-house canvassing to be a nuisance and misdemeanor punishable by fine and imprisonment (Rhyne, The Law of Local Government Operations, pp 495-496). Such ordinances have been upheld in the past by the United States Supreme Court. These types of ordinances have been ruled unconstitutional when they prohibit religious or noncommercial door-to-door solicitation. The U.S. Supreme Court on June 17, 2002 by a vote of 8-1, invalidated a Stratton, Ohio ordinance that required canvassers to register and obtain a permit from the mayor’s office before going door-to-door promoting any cause (Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of New York, Inc. v. Village of Stratton). The Court held that the ordinance violated the First Amendment as it applied to religious proselytizing, anonymous political speech, and the distribution of handbills. See MRSC Web Page, U.S. Supreme Court Says No Permit Required to Solicit for Religious Reasons

Even though the 1951 United States Supreme Court decision has not been expressly overruled, more recent cases suggest that a total prohibition of door-to-door solicitation would be unconstitutional and unenforceable. In Project 80’s Inc. v. City of Pocatello, 942 F.2d 635 (9th Cir. 1991), a city ordinance prohibiting door-to-door solicitation unless the homeowner places a “solicitors welcome” sign on the house was ruled an unconstitutional infringement of free commercial speech. The court concluded that the ordinance did not provide the least restrictive alternative available to accomplish the legitimate governmental interests of protecting residential privacy and preventing crime. The Federal Court decision invalidating the Cities of Pocatello and Idaho Falls’ ordinances was the second time the Court had invalidated the ordinances.

What a great country.

So even though marketeers have gotten the message for the most part, due to mass media, there are still some vestiges.

And they manage to always find my house.

Okay, I know the phrase “charity begins at home”, but I like my tzedakah on my terms. I don’t want it peddled and I don’t want it pushed.


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