My home is my safe space. Anywhere outside of my home, I can be approached by other people who want to sell me something, or ask me questions. In my current state of mind, I can’t deal with questions. I can’t deal with unscripted conversations unless it’s with friends or in the form of text on the internet.
So whether by telephone or in person at my front door, cold callers are really frustrating.
Knocking on my front door means that I am expected to answer it. I have trouble moving around the house. It is bad enough if I am in the living room on a chair or the sofa; I often have to stagger through the house pushing myself off walls and furniture as I go, leaning on my stick. Getting to the front door is not easy, causes pain, and uses up valuable energy that could have been used for more desirable activities. (Some days I don’t manage to move between rooms at all, so you can see that I would rather save my energy.)
If I am in bed then it is even worse, because as well as getting up and moving through the house, I have to put on acceptable clothing. Considering that some days I don’t manage to get dressed, this is also a big problem, and again I would rather use my energy elsewhere.
I get particularly annoyed by people who post catalogues through my letterbox, and then expect them back. If you post something through my letterbox, it’s mine. You have no right to knock on my door and ask for it back. I won’t store it for you, it goes in the recycling. The same with donation bags. And no, I’m not leaving things outside my front door for days, getting wet and looking disgusting and messy.
I could choose not to answer the door, but I have family who visit me, and I don’t wish to turn them away unnecessarily.
To be honest, even if I were perfectly well and had no pain and no mobility problems, I would still be annoyed by people calling at my house to sell me things. We put up with advertising all over the place, and I won’t stop people advertising or putting a flyer through my door, but demanding a response from me is too far. You have the right to talk, I have the right to ignore you.
Then there are phone calls. I have a telephone for three reasons. First, because I need broadband and a phone comes with that. Second, to communicate with friends and family who I wish to speak to. Third, to communicate with companies with whom I do business. I DON’T have a telephone so that shitty little call centres can interrupt my rest and tell me that I am entitled to reclaim my Payment Protection Insurance payments (I never made any) or ask me if I want their car insurance. (I don’t have a car.)
I have been registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) since the day it became available. The TPS is a database of phone numbers that do not wish to receive marketing calls. The TPS is run by the direct marketing industry themselves, under direction from OFCOM, and marketing companies are required to check numbers that they call against this database before calling. They can be fined if they call a number on the list. Unfortunately, the TPS does not apply to call centres that are overseas. And quite a lot of cold callers just don’t care about it. The chances of someone getting enough details from them when they make an unwanted call are slim, and complaints about calls seem to go nowhere at all. As a result, I still receive the occasional phone call, and they don’t usually care about the TPS.
I had one company call me a few months ago, and I told her that I was on the TPS and to go away, then hung up. She actually called me again demanding to know why I hung up. I got very annoyed and swore and hung up again. This woman actually called me back four times, culminating in me screaming and shouting down the phone at her. Whatever you make of my anger, this woman’s sense of entitlement not only to call me, but also to demand that I listen to her, and not tell her to go away, is astonishing and infuriating. I don’t understand how she could not understand that she was intruding into my life and had no right to do so.
I can choose not to answer the phone, and since I have caller ID and I can tell when a number is unknown to me, I quite often decide not to. It is less easy with the front door. In both cases I strongly resent the intrusion and just wish some people would shut up and go away.