Thomas: Be cautious of door-to-door salesman

Published 11:20 pm Monday, July 12, 2010

Be cautious of sales people who come knocking at the door.

That’s the advice that Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas said he would give to anyone who is approached by a questionable door-to-door salesman or saleswoman.

Patsy Langston of the Josie community answered a knock at her door last week and became uneasy when the man and woman seemed to be over zealous in their attempt to demonstrate the vacuum cleaner from the Kirby company they claimed to be representing.

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“They said they had opened a Kirby vacuum cleaner store in Union Springs and had been out all day demonstrating their vacuums,” Langston said. “They offered to vacuum one room free. I told them that I wasn’t interested. The man said he would pick out the dirtiest room to show me how good the vacuum cleaner was. I told them again I wasn’t interested.”

The man and woman offered no identification and were parked suspiciously.

“Most of their small black car was still in the highway, only a tire was in the yard,” Langston said. “If there was a vacuum cleaner I didn’t see it. They left in a hurry and both of them got in the car on the passenger side. A driver was waiting in the car for them.”

Langston said she began to ask around and found several others who have had a similar experience.

“I called the police department in Union Springs and they said there was no new vacuum clearer shop over there,” Langston said. “So I called the sheriff’s department and they said it sounded like I had done the right thing by not letting the man and woman in. I don’t know what they were up to but I worry that they might have tried to rob me if I’d let them in.”

Barbara Barron had a similar experience on Grace Road, except the man who approached her was alone – or so she thought.

“He came up in the yard and asked if he could shampoo my carpet,” she said. “I told him I did my own carpets and he asked me if I didn’t want a day off. I told him that I did my own housework. He said he would clean my house for me but I told him no again. He ran off and got in the passenger side of a white van and they drove off. It was real suspicious because he didn’t show me a business card or any identification and there was no business logo on the van. I think they were up to no good.”

Thomas said there are legitimate salespersons who go door to door and people should use good judgment when approached.

“A legitimate salesperson should have identification,” he said. “You should be extremely careful about letting anyone into your house. If you are suspicious about anyone who approaches you wanting to sell something, you should report the incident to authorities and give a good description of the person, the vehicle and a tag number if possible. There are legitimate sales people out there and then there are some that aren’t.” It’s case by case so you should always be cautious.”