Slamming the door on unsolicited sales

March 1, 2018 marked another shift in the world of commerce. The Government of Ontario banned door-to-door sales for products such as air filters, conditioners, and purifiers, as well as water filters, coolers, treatment devices, and softeners, to name a few.

This comes in response to the high number of complaints the Government of Ontario received from consumers. In the official government press release, Tracy MacCharles, minister of government and consumer services said, “These new laws will ensure that people aren’t being taken advantage of through unsolicited door-to-door contracting. We have heard from many consumers, ?including many seniors, who are being taken advantage of at their doorsteps.”

There will always be those who will take advantage of another for their own personal gain, and whether the unwitting victim be young or old, it is an injustice all the same. Do MacCharles’ remarks allude to elder abuse? If so, this is one action that may serve to lessen the exploitation of our seniors.

However, people are crafty. If you’re not being pressured to sign on the dotted line and enter a contract that you don’t fully understand for a product you may not need then you have likely already received an email from a dubious “Nigerian Prince” asking you to help wire money back into his bank account. Whether in person or online, people will be used.

While there was a time where sharp dressed men went door to door selling the Encyclopedia Britannica, a phenomena such as that is hard to imagine for a millenial like me. My experience with encyclopedias is largely limited to that of Wikipedia. That age is no more. As the world increasingly moves online, so does the world of commerce, and while there may be fewer people knocking at your door trying to sell you something, there are more email promotions, video ads, and notifications asking you to pull out your wallet, and spend your money digitally.

Door-to-door selling does have its perks, though. As much as we love Amazon Prime’s two day shipping option, you can buy your must-have product that much quicker when it’s being offered right at your door. That was the original model of convenience shopping. And what’s more, you got to enjoy a personal relationship with your retailer, especially if they brought you a product that you would periodically need more of, such as Avon’s beauty products.

While door-to-door selling can be intrusive, it offers a more human experience than shopping via a lifeless app. Regardless of how it is restricted or prohibited, the market will always find a way to supply society’s demands, whether legally or illegally, sold in person, or through the internet. Mankind’s propensity to consume is great.

The Government of Ontario’s decision to ban certain forms of door-to-door sales is admirable, but it only addresses the symptoms of a greater issue, the predatory capitalists who believe, and sell, as though “a sucker is born every minute.”

Image: Elvert Barnes/Flickr