Online or offline, we are constantly bombarded with all kinds of messages trying to convince us to buy this or give money to that. I tend to be a little allergic to advertising messages.I tend to be a bit careful with the kind of information I want to allow in. Well, I’ve got that pretty well covered…except for one last area.
You see, for my email, I have a darn good spam filter, tuned to my needs. If that doesn’t do the trick, I have a block list or even a mail server that I can tell not to allow connections from certain hosts. It’s rare indeed for me to see a spam message. With websites, it’s much the same. My browser of choice, Firefox, has been augmented with an adblocking extension, so I don’t see ads, pop-ups, pop-unders and other assorted crap. My internet looks serene and gives me only the information that I want. Those few times that I watch live TV, I mute the commercials. However, most of the time I record programs with my hard disk recorder which came equipped with a commercial skip button so that I can easily skip the commercials. The mailbox next to my front door has a sticker that says “no commercial mail of any kind”. All my telephone numbers are registered with the Dutch Bel-me-niet register so any companies or organizations calling me unsolicited are in violation of Dutch law. Worst case scenario, I have a block list on my regular phone and my cell phone.
Sounds like I’ve got all bases covered, right? Well, not exactly. You see, there’s one thing not covered by all these devices and precautions and that is my front door. Electronically I am pretty walled in, so now the advertising people stand on my doorstep, ringing my bell at hours when I do not wish to be disturbed (i.e. at any time). I am subjected to the worst advertising there is: in your face, up close and personal. Some student with a big mouth and jovial disposition will ring and try to peddle electricity at half of my current cost (yeah, right). Or I can buy a plush tiger so that the tiger will be saved from extinction. Or I can donate to some cause or charity that I have never even heard of. Or I can help educate the poor children in Bangladesh. Well, seeing that each month, I donate more than half of my income to the charity known as the Dutch state, I prefer to keep the remaining 48% myself, thank you very much.
Of course, often when I see those people approach, I don’t even bother to open the door. But I am not staring out of the window all the time to see who comes up my driveway. So quite often I am unpleasantly surprised. Like yesterday, when a lady rang my bell, telling me that I could get 7 months worth of free electricity. She immediately wanted to come in and explain everything so that I could sign the contract and her company (Nuon) would take care of the rest. Sorry lady, but you are as welcome as a weekend toothache. I don’t do business at my front door and your deal sounds too good to be true. And of course, when something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
So I am in need of measures to protect my front door. I can unplug the doorbell, but then nobody can ring it any more and that’s not what I want either. I could electrify the button of my doorbell, but that would be illegal and leave a pile of cadavers at my front door, which will become an inconvenience sooner or later. Something more subtle is called for and now I have found it: a sticker. Dutch broadcaster VARA has made a sticker that you can stick on your door, next to the bell, which tells at least salesmen (and women) that they are not welcome. It’s not a block list yet, but it is a good start! And of course, should they ring the bell anyway, I can safely punch them in the face, since they must be blind anyway…