What’s Prince Charming Selling by Leah Singer

It’s the official first day of Summer and we’re off at the pool! So, today I’ve got the lovely Leah Singer from Leah’s Thoughts offering up a great guest post about the traveling salesman. Have you seen an increase in door-to-door solicitors in your neighborhood? I know we have. Leah tried turning her recent experience into a teachable moment for her daughter but it might have backfired. Read why. Enjoy.


Once upon a time, there was a mother and a daughter who were at home when they heard a knocking at the door. Cue the dog barking and the little girl running to the door to see who had come calling. …

Okay, enough with the fairytale mentality. So this situation actually happened to me and my daughter, Sophie, last week when we were sitting at home, minding our own business. The knock at the door ended up being a door-to-door salesperson who was selling – of all things – financial planning services.

First of all, do people still go door to door to sell? (I’m not talking about the Girls Scouts in this scenario.) Every once in a while, we’ll get a salesperson come to our door that wants to sell us new windows, pest control, or whole-house painting. Needless to say, all these sales people say the exact same thing, “I’ve been talking to your neighbors and they said blah blah blah …”

So when the financial planning dude said the same thing, I wanted to say back to him, “Really, you talked to my neighbors? Because every one of you say that same line. So I find it hard to believe that it’s true.” You would think if people are going to solicit door to door they would get a more creative shtick.

The second strange thing about this interaction is the fact that he is selling financial planning services. What kind of person decides to buy financial planning services from a traveling salesperson?! A stranger is the last person I’m going to trust with my financial information. Which leads me to wonder if this guy is even a real financial planner.

So finally, after I kicked the salesman off my porch, I decide to use this experience as an opportunity to talk with Sophie about not talking to strangers. I tell her that only mommy and daddy can open the door, and we especially do not open the door to strangers. She also should not talk to strangers.

She seemed to get the concept, even explaining that’s what the grandmother said to Little Red Riding Hood, and the fairies said the same to Aurora in Sleeping Beauty. Great, she gets it!

And then do you know what she says?

“But mommy, in Sleeping Beauty, the Prince was a stranger and Aurora talked to him.”

She’s right! What do I say to that?

I ended up persuading Sophie that Aurora really shouldn’t have talked to the Prince. But the story is make-believe and things that happen in Disney movies don’t always happen in real life. Okay, she said, but made sure to point out that conversing with animals in the woods is acceptable. Apparently animals are not strangers (pit bulls excluded).

So thank you very much, Walt Disney, for taking a perfect teachable moment and throwing it back in my face. Evidentially princesses are exempt from the rules of society. Or perhaps the Prince was actually hoping to make a financial planning sale. Hmmm … makes you wonder.

Leah Singer photo

Leah Singer with daughter Sophie

So tell us: Have you bought something from a door-to-door salesman?

Looking for more from Leah?  Head on over and read Live Lobsters and Hail: The Simple Things in Life, Never Plan a Trip to Ikea on Your “Day of Fun” and Will Santa Claus Be Coming to Town?

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  1. I am lucky that we never get door to door salesmen and that’s only because we live in the country. I suppose that is a bonus…
    I’m surprised that there are door to door salespeople too!

  2. This is a great post, Leah, because yes, there are still door-to-door salesmen, and yes, I did buy something one time that I ended up regretting. We had just moved into our new neighborhood and had a young man selling magazines. He said that he lived in our neighborhood and was trying to raise enough money for a school trip (although he looked too old for that), but my husband and I let him in the house (yikes what was I thinking) and bought a magazine subscription from him. He failed to tell us that there were all sorts of fees and extra charges (not sure what for) and our $20 subscription ended up being a $50 charge on our credit card and we didn’t get the magazine til about 6 months later by which time I had given up and realized we had been tricked. Needless to say, I learned soon after that he was not a neighbor at all. Lesson learned, so I’m glad you took the opportunity to teach Sophie.

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