I feel really bad - I've just turned away one of those ex offenders without buying anything. He looked so young and dejected when I said "no". The thing is that I'm always getting people trying to sell me stuff or collect for charity on my doorstep and it really stresses me. Therefore, I have just developed this "NO" response.
The other thing is that I have bought off these ex prisoners before and their stuff is just crap that I don't want and twice the price that you can get if for in the shops which makes me feel ripped off. I also wonder who is behind these schemes and what they get out of it. I still feel bad though. What does everyone else do when they knock on the door.
I say no now too. I've heard (though don't know if it's true) that the ex-offender story is just that, a hard luck story, one step up from a scam, and you can buy everything they sell in the pound shop, so have stopped buying. I don't buy from Kleeneze or any of those other sellers that drop off catalogues either, overpriced and I can buy very easily elsewhere. Judging by the rapid turnover of the sellers round here, most people are the same.
This was a warning from North Yorkshire police that no probation trust in the country runs a door-to-door sales project. Which isn't to say the sellers aren't genuine but they are peddling pound shop crap with a sob story.
I am very, very glad to live in a Cold Calling Control Zone - after I found out a very persistent seller had talked his way into our house (whilst I wasn't there) and even managed to get upstairs on the pretext of offering insulation under the government grant scheme. Our Neighbourhood Watch organised our inclusion in the scheme, it took several years to push through but now we get [almost] no-one at the door.