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Do you answer your door to strangers?


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Crazy question, I know.  We are on land, no other houses or neighbors in clear sight.  I am always torn on this.  I do open the door for people I know.  I rarely open it for others.  We aren't in a neighborhood so we are spared most door to door people.  Today, I watched as a car flew into my driveway and a man jumped out and came to my door in a hurry and knocked.  His demeanor seemed angry.  I didn't know this man and didn't answer the door ? I feel really guilty for having him just stand there but I didn't go to the door, nope...especially since he seemed angry and on edge.  

No idea what he wanted.  It just made me think.  Do you answer your door?  Is it just incredibly rude to not answer?  

 

 

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I don't and people can even see or hear me as I work in the kitchen. Too bad, so sad but I don't know you and I am not taking any chances. And I do live in a neighborhood with neighbors often outside where they could see if something nefarious was happening. Still not going to take a chance.

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I, too, live out in the country with no neighbors.  So if a stranger - male or female - comes knocking on my door I do answer the door, but I just don't open it!   I figure they can talk to me through the door with the 100 lb. dog barking and jumping excitedly around my feet!.

 

 

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Usually, but it depends on what I'm doing. We live in a safe area and I don't have any particular fear of someone ringing the bell. More often than not it's someone trying to sell me on their religion. And the dog is little but can be ferocious. :wink:

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I generally do, but I think I would not do so in the situation you described.

And I will admit that if I know for sure that the person is coming to talk to me about religion / politics or to sell me stuff, I pretend that I'm not home or (if they saw me through the window) that I'm on an incredibly important conference call.

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Yes, and I did when I was living rurally too.  If someone seemed very dodgy I guess I might not.

I know quite a few people in my neighbourhood don't answer for people they on't expect - I find it a really strange change fro m childhood, that people need to be known and always call ahead.

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And here's an example where I didn't even open the door, at first, for two police officers.  They knocked on my front door in uniform but carrying a full-size ax!  From my door, I could not see their official police car.  After they explained by showing me their badges through the door window, I did open the door and stepped out onto the porch to talk to them.  It seems there was vandalism all the way down our country lane by teenagers who used the ax to take out mailboxes.  They explained mine was one of them edited to add that my mailbox was one of them not my kids (I hadn't been out to collect the mail yet!) and they just wanted to know if they could take pictures of the mailbox and if I wanted to press charges. Ha!  

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Yes I do, most of the time. I figure the risk of someone being there specifically to hurt me or my family is really minutely small.

 

Having said that,

Quote

Today, I watched as a car flew into my driveway and a man jumped out and came to my door in a hurry and knocked.  His demeanor seemed angry.  I didn't know this man and didn't answer the door 

I probably wouldn't have answered the door in this specific situation either.  

 

 

Back decades ago, when DD22 was a baby, a friend and I were driving through a rural area to meet another friend up at her college.  I had a cell phone but it had no service, and my friend didn't have a phone.  Something happened to my car, I don't even remember what, but were were on this rural road with like NOTHING but a single house within walking distance (and even then, it was probably a mile up the road.)  We grabbed DD22 (who was like between 12 and 18 months) and hiked over to this farm house and knocked on the door.  Thankfully someone did answer, a very nice older lady, who not only let us use the phone, but let us come in and basically hang out in her kitchen for the 2+ hrs it took for my dad to get up to where we were with his trailer so that he could tow my car home.  I am sure that 2 20 yr old girls with an 18month old looked pretty safe to open the door for, but even then, she still didn't have to let us in the house.  

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25 minutes ago, Attolia said:

Crazy question, I know.  We are on land, no other houses or neighbors in clear sight.  I am always torn on this.  I do open the door for people I know.  I rarely open it for others.  We aren't in a neighborhood so we are spared most door to door people.  Today, I watched as a car flew into my driveway and a man jumped out and came to my door in a hurry and knocked.  His demeanor seemed angry.  I didn't know this man and didn't answer the door ? I feel really guilty for having him just stand there but I didn't go to the door, nope...especially since he seemed angry and on edge.  

No idea what he wanted.  It just made me think.  Do you answer your door?  Is it just incredibly rude to not answer? 

Not necessarily. I peek through the little holes in my pleated shades to see if I want to answer. :-)

Of course it isn't rude not to answer.

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I live in safe suburbia, and I don’t. It’s partly safety, but mostly because I don’t want to hear whatever it is. I don’t want an estimate for tree service, or to join your religion, or to talk to you about voting for you. I don’t want to buy a home protection service, or to change my electric service. The only time I open is when it is a kid selling something. For years, I opened thinking it was the nice thing to do, and for years I regretted it. I finally said enough.

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I can see our driveway from the front window(but whose at the front door so it's a guess who is there).  If there is a car in the driveway than yes I will.  If no car, it's highly unlikely I will answer.  All my friends have cars, and the chance of them showing up otherwise is practically nil.  On the other hand the door to door people just walk from house to house since it doesn't make sense to move their vehicle every few feet. So far that criteria has worked very well for me.

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7 minutes ago, --- said:

There are thieves who use this ploy - with a baby.  One knocked on my grandmother's door once.  My grandmother let her in (with her baby).  The woman asked my gm to hold the baby while she went to the bathroom.  My gm called the police when she realized it was the woman she'd seen on the news, who was in the process of searching through gm's purse in her bedroom.  My gm kept the woman talking until the police got there and arrested her.  

Well, I am very glad this little old lady didn't think that we were trying to steal from her.  Although, we basically stayed right in her kitchen and she kinda hung out there with us, so maybe that was her precaution.

 

Ironically, in today's world, I would probably just hand the person my phone, cause I don't have a land line and my phone is often attached to my hand anyway lol.  

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YES! The police in my city encourage residents to answer the door (or at the very least make it obvious that you are home). Most criminals are looking for houses where no one is at home at the time. You don't want to surprise a criminal who thinks he/she is breaking into an empty home to steal some electronics and jewelry. 

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I do but I live in a small town on a fairly busy street. We don't get many door-to-door people, just the occasional meat truck/salesman/religious person. All politely go on their way when I decline whatever they're selling. 

I'd NOT open my door to someone who seemed agitated or whatever. (I have a peephole.)

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Rarely. We live in town and never use our front door so people who come there don’t know us. Usually they are selling stuff, whether it’s political candidates, religion, or services. I would answer for police or other official looking people, or delivery guys. 

‘I also do not feel obligated to answer the phone. If it’s not a number I know, I rarely answer. 

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I’m pretty careful about opening the door to strangers. Typically, I don’t do it and I will admit that it is out of fear. Several years ago, my BFF had a tragedy occur in her family that made me leery of opening the door to people I don’t know. Her uncle lived  out in the country and one night, he awoke to a young girl (very early 20s) knocking on his door. She explained that her car had broken down and she wasn’t sure what to do. He walked outside to look at her car, thinking maybe he could help her. She had a friend waiting and that friend shot the uncle, they robbed him, stole his truck, and left him to die. 

I know it is very unlikely this would happen again, but I live in a state with high opioid use, so I try to be cautious. 

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I do, unless the person is really, obviously suspicious. Yes, there's a very slim chance it could be someone trying to hurt me, but I refuse to live my life in fear. And I've actually met some really interesting people who were strangers knocking on my door. The last one was a teen from Estonia selling books to help his mother. I didn't buy any, but we had a nice chat about Estonia and how he was enjoying the US. Once there was a guy from London who wanted to know if he could use my phone to call a realtor about the house for sale next door. Yes, I let him use the phone, and no, he didn't try to rob me. We sat and talked for half an hour while he waited for the realtor to get back to him. 

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57 minutes ago, cjzimmer1 said:

I can see our driveway from the front window(but whose at the front door so it's a guess who is there).  If there is a car in the driveway than yes I will.  If no car, it's highly unlikely I will answer.  All my friends have cars, and the chance of them showing up otherwise is practically nil.  On the other hand the door to door people just walk from house to house since it doesn't make sense to move their vehicle every few feet. So far that criteria has worked very well for me.

I'm the same way. I do answer for kids doing fundraising sales, even if I end up turning them down because it isn't something I'll use.

My front door is clear glass (with window blinds I close when it's dark) and there are people who will actually step up to the door and stare through it. Sometimes I stare back until they leave, sometimes I just go on about my business.

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I go to the door and look out.  I want it known that someone is home because, as someone else said, thieves will often knock to see if anyone is home before breaking in.  If I don’t know the person I just yell that I’m not interested without opening the door.  I figure if it is an emergency they can shout through a locked door for me to call help for them.  I usually will open it for a kid who looks to be selling something, but I have good visibility and can see that there is no adult waiting to force the door open when I unlock it.

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I have a window where I can see who’s at my front door. During the day, I answer my door even if I don’t know the person. If it’s dark outside, I never open the door to a person I don’t know. 

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We have Ring on our doors.  So, I do not go to the door, but I do usually respond to the person through the intercom.  That way they know that I am at home (although it even works if you are not actually at home), but I don't actually open the door.

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I do because we have a lot of salespeople and they stay in the neighborhood for days. If I don’t answer and tell them I’m not interested they just keep coming back. So I do answer and tell them I am absolutely not interested. Same thing when we had a hailstorm and roofers were coming through giving estimates. If I didn’t answer they would keep coming back.

Most of those folks will knock and then retreat several feet into the yard to be less threatening. When I had teen boys at home I would usually have them accompany me to the door so it was clear I wasn’t alone.

I aways figured we didn’t make sense as a target. We have multiple (older) cars in the driveway at all times and grown boys in and out on a random schedule. We have nothing fancy or worth stealing. But our area is struggling with meth and I don’t think criminals are thoughtfully plotting their crimes. They are just desperate.

If someone looked particularly threatening I would likely speak to them through a window with my phone in hand. But at the end of the day I am just trusting both of people and statistics that would say I’m unlikely to be a victim of a home invasion. So I probably am not as careful as I should be. 

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I think if I had a situation with someone mad looking driving up, I might just talk to them through the door.  I'd worry that if I did nothing, it would be some kind of serious incident.

We did have an angry guy come up one when we lived rurally, it turned out he was our MLA, and he was grumpy because someone had given him bad directions.

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I often hide when the doorbell rings unless I am expecting someone.  Mostly because I am an introvert.  I can't see that well through my front door, and by the time I can, they know I am there, so I just hide.  

The other day the doorbell rang and I almost hid.  But I got my sorry lazy backside out of my chair, and answered it...and it was my son and his girlfriend!  I'm glad I answered that one!  They stayed for 3 hours and I had to chase them out so I could get to vespers.  

But I have had some not-great experiences with answering the door so I don't mind hiding for a couple of minutes.  

At my old house, we actually had a calling chain--if one of us got suckered, we would call our neighbor as soon as we shut the door, so the neighbor could hide.  Eventually, it got to be so bad that the city council passed a no-solicitation ordinance, and we started calling the police if anything was making people ill at ease.  I had a couple of those--one guy pushed his way into the house when I had a 5-day newborn.  He was shouting about how he was standing for the rights of senior citizens.  My 75yo dad pushed him out the door.  Yay, Dad!

 

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I never ever feel obligated to answer the door or phone.  

 

I normally do, though. Most of the time there are kids in the yard anyway.

 

i would not have answered in the situation described in the OP, though.  I might possibly have yelled through the door or used a Ring device with the speaker, so they know we are home.  Otherwise, nope.

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I never answer the door to strangers and only sometimes if it's someone I know (depends who it is). Most people are leery of coming to our door anyway because we have a big pack of very loud dogs who don't like uninvited guests.

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What do you think he wanted?  

Last spring, thankfully on a Saturday when I wasn’t home, someone knocked on the door and youngest dd answered it thinking it was for her. Dh was right there came to the door too.  It was a guy in his late twenties covered in tattoos and piercings with long hair in a pony tail.  He claimed he was oldest dd’s boyfriend and that she said for him to meet her at our house so they could go for a walk. Dd was away at college, but that particular day was away for spring break with her lacrosse team about 1600 miles away.  As far as we knew, she didn’t have a boyfriend and he was not someone dh would think dd would be interested in.  He told the guy dd wasn’t home and the guy got very agitated.  Dh asked the guy again for the name of his girlfriend.  The first name was the same and the last name similar, but not ours.  He told the guy he had the wrong house.  I stalked Facebook for the name he gave Dh and I doubt that lady was his girlfriend either.  She was the only one I could find with that name.  Dd has an uncommon name - only two girls in her school with the name, 3 years apart, last name different only by 1 letter.  Our guess as to why he came to our house is because we live in a small town and we figure he stopped somewhere and asked where so and so lived and was told our house.  Or, as I tease dd, she’s living a secret life that we don’t know about!

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4 hours ago, edelweiss said:

We have Ring on our doors.  So, I do not go to the door, but I do usually respond to the person through the intercom.  That way they know that I am at home (although it even works if you are not actually at home), but I don't actually open the door.

 

Same here. ?

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7 hours ago, thessa516 said:

YES! The police in my city encourage residents to answer the door (or at the very least make it obvious that you are home). Most criminals are looking for houses where no one is at home at the time. You don't want to surprise a criminal who thinks he/she is breaking into an empty home to steal some electronics and jewelry. 

I had this happen once.  I was in my to studying and one of my flatmates had taken my car to drop the third flatmate at the airport.  I heard a knock on the door but didn't have the time and the energy to answer.  Next thing I heard someone moving around inside.  

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I do answer the door to strangers, while someone else in the family tries to wrangle our dog who is usually barking the whole time and sounding vicious. Then I remind people at the door that we are on the "Do not knock" list with our city and they need to remind their employer to look out for that. Goodbye. 

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yes I do - but I live on a very quiet street, with several neighbors who work from home.   and dh works from home.  there's neighbor activity during the day of coming and going.  I can usually see who it is before I answer the door - that said, I nearly ignored one ringing the bell because I thought it was another delivery driver (who will ring the door then go to their truck).  it was someone selling something.  (we get very few solicitors.)

the situation you described - where the guy "jumped out of his car and ran up to your house" . . . would probably make me nervous too.  I'd offer to make a phone to relevant services for him . . . .

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I live in a safe suburban neighborhood (with plenty of people out and about) and I never answer my door if I'm not expecting someone.  I know it is either (a) Jehovah's Witnesses or (b) someone trying to sell me something.  I just pretend like I'm not home, although DS14 will usually come running out of the schoolroom screaming "MOM!!  Someone is at the door!" as if the doorbell, knocking, and barking dog didn't give it away.  I used to feel bad about not answering but now I don't care.

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3 hours ago, gaillardia said:

I do answer the door to strangers, while someone else in the family tries to wrangle our dog who is usually barking the whole time and sounding vicious. Then I remind people at the door that we are on the "Do not knock" list with our city and they need to remind their employer to look out for that. Goodbye. 

here's the sign my dsil put up in the window next to their front door.

I know it's hard to read - a reflection of the time of day i attempted to take the picture

it says:

Welcome Solicitors

this household charges

$20 per minute,  payable in advance

to listen to your sales pitche, religious messages,

or any other speech you are offering today

 

if you DO NOT intent to pay, PLEASE GO AWAY

you are hereby acknowledging your agreement to the terms above by

knocking on the door or ringing the bell.

 

 

2018-10-12 14.34.54.jpg

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4 hours ago, kiwik said:

I had this happen once.  I was in my to studying and one of my flatmates had taken my car to drop the third flatmate at the airport.  I heard a knock on the door but didn't have the time and the energy to answer.  Next thing I heard someone moving around inside.  

 

What did you do when you heard someone inside?

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I've lived here for 13 years, and I can probably count how many times anyone, stranger or not, has come to my door uninvited. (Not counting children looking for my children to play, though even that is rare.  They're more likely to just find each other outside.)

We're set back in the woods, so I am leery about strangers in general. But we're about 3/4 of a mile into a gated neighborhood, so no one is stopping by with car trouble or for directions or some other emergency, and I can't imagine someone dumb enough to try to lie about that, considering.  Door knockers are prohibited, though I've had exactly one political door knocker and one little boy who came around selling candy and looking for odd jobs.

The one that really shook me was a plow guy knocking on the door around 10 or 11pm, which is definitely a jerky thing to do, but dh went to the door. Not the way to get my business!

The bottom line is that I *would open the door to slip outside for a stranger.  Mostly because it would be impossible from my front porch not to realize there were kids in the house. It's a small house and they can be heard from anywhere unless they're asleep. I wouldn't want a stranger to think they might be home alone.

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17 hours ago, OKBud said:

You're only antisocial based on not opening the door if the people outside have self-evidently come to socialize. How often is that the case?

DH will talk to J. Witness (and other religious groups) when they go through the neighborhood, but I refuse to. He views it as they **have** come to socialize. lol I just let him answer the door when he's home.

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I do. But I live in an inner city, high density area. Yeah, we get salespeople and scammers and so forth, but we also get canvassers for local elections. Our neighborhood government reps (there are elected neighborhood councils here) knock to ask our opinion about things like whether or not a bike lane should be added going against traffic on our street (it was) or whether block party funds should be spent on a certain thing. If it's someone annoying, I just tell them to go away. Last weekend, we had a school board person come to the door like an hour after we'd voted. I was like, um, sorry, too late.

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We live on a deadend street in a deadend neighborhood so very very rarely get anyone coming to the door.  Delivery guys don't usually come around to the door.  Our "front" door is around the back of the house.  We have a gate to get into the yard so they usually leave packages there or in the driveway.  If I'm sitting in my chair in the living room, I can see someone walk by two windows to get to the front door so will usually know if someone is coming to the door.

We did have a problem for a while when a house farther down our street was for sale but GPS kept putting them at our house.  Just ignore the GIANT number on our garage that was clearly not the number they were looking for.   A realtor actually broke into our house while we were gone to "show" it, thinking it was this empty house for sale, moved furniture because they were scared of the dog barking in the bathroom.  I ended up calling the police because I came home to furniture moved around.  It was bizarre.  I badly wanted to call the persons boss and complain but the cops didn't give us the name when they explained what happened.   Even without the barking dog, nothing about my house would give the impression that nobody lives here, they entered through a window in ds's room.

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1 hour ago, Where's Toto? said:

We live on a deadend street in a deadend neighborhood so very very rarely get anyone coming to the door.  Delivery guys don't usually come around to the door.  Our "front" door is around the back of the house.  We have a gate to get into the yard so they usually leave packages there or in the driveway.  If I'm sitting in my chair in the living room, I can see someone walk by two windows to get to the front door so will usually know if someone is coming to the door.

We did have a problem for a while when a house farther down our street was for sale but GPS kept putting them at our house.  Just ignore the GIANT number on our garage that was clearly not the number they were looking for.   A realtor actually broke into our house while we were gone to "show" it, thinking it was this empty house for sale, moved furniture because they were scared of the dog barking in the bathroom.  I ended up calling the police because I came home to furniture moved around.  It was bizarre.  I badly wanted to call the persons boss and complain but the cops didn't give us the name when they explained what happened.   Even without the barking dog, nothing about my house would give the impression that nobody lives here, they entered through a window in ds's room.

 

How did the police figure out what happened?  Did the people they showed it to make an offer on your house?  I would have been really freaked out coming home to that.

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Our local police advises that we ALWAYS answer the door or at least let people at the door know we are home. They say that unknown people coming to the door may be casing the house to make sure nobody is home. If you don't answer, they are more likely to break in. We had a recent news story where a couple of guys were going around in a truck, knocking on doors, and then robbing the houses if nobody answered. At one house, the woman didn't answer and, when the man went back to the truck to get his accomplice, she opened the door and filmed them.  They took off, but that's how they were caught.

It makes me nervous if my kids are home alone, but I guess they could yell through a door or window or answer if the screen/storm door is locked. 

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1 hour ago, school17777 said:

 

How did the police figure out what happened?  Did the people they showed it to make an offer on your house?  I would have been really freaked out coming home to that.

Evidently the realtor who broke in called one of the officers, who was a friend of hers, and told them what happened.  

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@gardenmom5 that's a pretty sweet deal ya got going there. 

Even when we lived out in the country, I did answer the door. Usually to tell them I wasn't interested, sometimes I'd listen, but usually not. 

The biggest deterent, according to police, is a dog, hopefully one that sounds fierce. Apparently black dogs also strike the fear zone too. I love black dogs.

 

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