Sunday, August 13, 2006

I Wouldn’t Open the Door for Me

I ring the bell and a 40-something woman opens the door.

“Hi, Mable. I’m Nick Temple with Liberty National Life Insurance.”

“Please come in”

I do. Mable offers me a chair and a glass of lemonade. I accept both.

The Question: What flaw in this woman’s sense of self-preservation has enabled me to gain access to her and her home?

Mable doesn’t know me. I initiated the contact—a telephone call a couple of days before based on a “lead” (a 3 x 5 card with her name, address, and telephone number that indicates that she has expressed an interest in purchasing health insurance)—but that’s all she knows about me. Even the caller ID from my telephone call to her doesn’t confirm I am who I say I am: Liberty National has its agents make contact using their personal cell phones. Mable’s caller ID, if she has one, would have simply shown “Louisville” and my cell phone number.

So I arrive at Mable’s door carrying a blue notebook and wearing a name tag. That’s all the identification I have. And Mable is so trusting that she opens her door and gives me access to her self and her home. Why?

With the TV news reporting new murders and rapes each evening, I really don’t know why anyone would allow such a stranger into their home—especially a single woman living alone—and yet I am allowed into a half-dozen homes each day.

I certainly wouldn’t allow me into my home!


  1. I would let Santa Claus in if you rang my doorbell.

  2. I'd let you in. I'm not going to live my life in fear that the boogy-man might come knocking on my door.

    Besides, weren't Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed for being "inhospitable to strangers?" I'd hate to be the reason my little town got wiped off the map!

  3. I think you're sweet, Nick, but I do see your point. A little bit of caution can go a long way.

  4. Nick, that's an interesting comment. Why not? Ask a minister, aren't you, above all, one of the safest people to let into my home? I guess I understand your comment about crime and such, but I agree with Thomas, I don't want to always live in fear of my neighbor.

  5. I would've met you someplace public. Lucky for her you really are who you said you are.

  6. Soooo…50% of those commenting thus far would allow me in, even though you know nothing about me. Given the number of recent murders, rapes, and burglaries here in Louisville, I find that a bit surprising.

    Of course, being who I am, I would probably let the salesman in if I had any desire to purchase insurance. I consider myself a good judge of people—except for women in “distress,” who usually scam me out of lots of money. Still, I have never turned my deaf ear to one who asks for help.

    ABBY: My beard is real, but some beards are fake.

    THOMAS: Glad you pointed that out about Sodom: it was the inhospitality that led to the city’s destruction, not, as so many right-wing Christians allege, the supposed homosexuality of the inhabitants.

    LYNN: Yes. There are ways of checking out if a person is who the person claims to be. But, really, if I were serious about purchasing insurance, I would probably do so through an established office or a company that cuts out the middleman (me) and sells directly online.

    PEACH: If I were vulnerable, say an elderly person living alone, I am not sure if I could safely allow one who claims to be a minister into my home if I did not know the person.

    Ordained ministers in my denomination—United Church of Christ—are required to take boundary training every three years or lose their ordained standing. The boundary training is, among other things, to remind us that sex between pastors and parishioners is forbidden. I am unsure whether non-mainline denominations have similar requirements. I know that those people pastoring independent congregations don’t.

    As for “evangelists” who go about randomly knocking on doors, I allowed one into my living room about 7 or 8 months ago. His theology was so off-the-wall that I questioned his theological education. Of course, his main purpose for knocking on doors was to obtain contributions to his “ministry”. I suggested that he take any money he received—none from me, although I did give him a theology book—and use it to enroll in a reputable seminary.

    SQUIRL: Excellent idea. There is a coffee house a half block from where I love. It’s a good place to converse and do almost any sort of business.

  7. Hmmm, maybe it is because of how you come across. Don't get me wrong, I think you are right. I'm sure all the rapists and murderers seemed nice at first too, but maybe you are just different. That's all I'm saying.

  8. JD’S ROSE: Actually, it is not me that I’m concerned about, since I have no criminal objective it visiting folks. It is those who do have criminal objectives that folks allow access to their homes and persons that bothers me.

  9. Nick, I understand where you’re coming from. What if companies provided their people to go into people’s home some form of identification?

  10. I live in a suburb that mimics America in the 50s! So leaving doors open windows open is common because we have very little crime. However, i still would never ever let anyone into my home who just knocked at my door and gave me speil about insurance...telephones...etc.

  11. At one time I opened my door to everyone who knocked. Then a few years ago a woman down the street let a man into her house who claimed to be from the gas company checking for a gas leak. Once he was inside, he proceeded to beat her, rape her, rob the house, and he left her tied up and gagged. Since then I do not open my door to anyone I do not know.

  12. Nick..agree with you. I too wouldn't allow such a person. Last week, a similar person almost got entry into my sister's house when she was alone, but somehow, she had the presence of mind to stop him and question his motives.

  13. Hello Nick ~~ A good post and as I am
    elderly and alone, I wouldn't let anyone in who was not expected. And
    certainly not at night.
    Thanks for your comment - a good one
    Gotta go watch the football !!
    Take care, Merle.

  14. I'm suspect of almost everyone. However, if /you/ were actually at my door and if that's really your picture on your profile ;) then I'd let /you/ in. Other than that....I'd be like squirl and insist on meeting at Starbucks (besides, there's on practically every freaking corner in Indy!).

  15. I agree with you & Squirl, Nick- meet somewhere public if you're going to make an appointment.

    Jehovah's Witnesses are in the area once in a while- they are the nicest people- but I don't open the door to anybody & just tell them to leave the info in the mailbox.

  16. Most of the time, a uniform with the right logo will do it. And that's a bad thing because a lot of people are no longer working for a company but kept the rags. could be your friendly phone company worker who is also, in his spare time, a psychopath.



  17. Mabel probably had a gun within easy reach the entire time.

  18. You must have a very honest face. :) ec