DEAR ABBY: I am a widow who lives alone. My problem concerns door-to-door solicitors. They seem to be at my door all the time. With all the scams and violent home invasions I read and hear about, I go into a panic when I open the door to find a stranger standing there.
When I hear my doorbell ring, I like to assume it's one of my neighbors or their kids -- so I open up. I don't want to be rude and not answer and help out my neighbors whose school-age children might be selling candy for fund-raisers or going door-to-door with Girl Scout cookies. I love supporting their causes when I am able. But how should I react when it's not someone I know?
Today there were some pretty shady-looking characters on my porch asking to come inside and steam-clean my carpets. Have you any advice on how I can politely but firmly get rid of solicitors so I can feel safe in my own home? Thanks, Abby. -- AFRAID TO FIND OUT WHAT'S BEHIND DOOR NO. 1
DEAR AFRAID: First of all, never open your door without first checking to see who is there. If this means having a peephole installed in your front door, it will be money well-spent. If the person standing there is a stranger, don't open the door.
Second, people who go around neighborhoods selling services that haven't been previously ordered, or merchandise that "just fell off a truck," are usually scam artists and should be avoided at all costs. Caveat emptor (let the buyer beware)!