Using common sense and caution in a small town

Published 10:50am Friday, May 25, 2012

One did the fast talking: I picked up real quick he was asking questions that weren’t particularly his business: what did I do for a living, what was I cooking for supper, could they come in and explain things, or sit on the porch. My answer to this spiel was that I was indeed cooking supper; in a hurry, so no sitting going to happen.
He carried a brochure and a laminated form that looked like something pulled out of a travel magazine: which he said they were trying to get help with disadvantaged youth. At this point, I ask if he’s involved with a school or official program. No, he says, this is something different, and why wouldn’t I want to help young men such as them with succeeding — at this point, he was a little more pushy, as if he could make me feel guilty. (That backfired!)
Now, my cynical thought was that he might well have asked about a mowing job instead of expecting people to hand over cash to a random pair of strangers. That led to my own blunt  question: were they asking for money? Now, folks, you know the answer to that one. With no ‘real’ material or genuine answers, this was only a scam to relieve gullible sorts of their own hard-earned money, or even worse, a way to scope out the premises.
At no time did I open the door further, or encourage this pair to sit, although they asked to. Instead, I sent them packing, with a firm no to the money request. And no dinner invitation, either! As they beat it off my front porch, I was placing a call to the friendly Saluda Police Department (749-2691) and left a message with a description of the two; then called my neighbor, as a warning.
Now, I might be accusing this pair quite unjustly, but there was something ‘not quite right’ about the whole thing. In trusting my own common sense and judgment, that was the first thing to do right; it pays to pull out the resident curmudgeon. Next, calling the police and leaving a message about the incident was a good move, and alerting others. My doors are locked, and my billfold intact. Some people might fall for such a tale; don’t fall for it.
Even in an area as friendly as this, we all have to look out for one another, use common sense. If not sure, get a phone number and check it out. There is nothing to feel bad about when you say NO. If someone is legit, they’ll have proper identification and back-up and be glad to give it. Over the years, we expect our school children to sell cookies or wrapping paper door to door, most have a parent in tow. Remember, there’s always the option of not answering the door, too!

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