I hate it when someone walks up and knocks on my door in an effort to sell me something. I relax when I see it’s a friend’s kid trying to sell magazine subscriptions for his school, or cookies for her Girl Scout troop, but for the most part I cringe. I just don’t like people invading my privacy in an effort to sell me something. So it would sound like I’m completely behind Albany’s new peddling ordinance, right?
Yes and no.
To start with, I love the fact that a no-soliciting sign means they have to go away. It’s my property, and I shouldn’t have to deal with people knocking on my door to sell me something if I don’t want to. On my property, I am the supreme dictator just as everyone else is on their property. They don’t have a right to bother me on my property. Putting some teeth in those signs is a wonderful thing, but the ordinance itself can be a bit of a mixed bag.
For example, those kids I mentioned earlier? There doesn’t seem to be an exception in the law in any way for them. They would have to go down to the courthouse and register, paying any applicable fees, and wear badges saying that they are authorized to knock on the doors in their neighborhood to sell a few things. Somehow, that just doesn’t seem right, you know?
Now, I think everyone should have to adhere to someone’s no-soliciting sign, I just don’t think it’s right that children should have to pay fees to register in order to go door-to-door in their neighborhoods. While most of the time kids are discouraged from going door-to-door alone¸ in tight-knit neighborhoods, the practice still continues. Even in other neighborhoods, parents accompany their kids door to door. Not any more though.
I’m not a fan of regulations per se. I don’t like charging people a fee, making them wear a badge, etc, despite me understanding where it comes from in this instance. I get it that the City of Albany wants to know who these people are, and requiring the badge to be worn will ensure that people know the name of who may be scamming them. It may make it easier to catch them. Or, they’ll find that many of these salesmen and women are just patsies, working what they think is a legitimate job only to find out later that they are a party to fraud.
However, regardless of the good intentions of such regulation, I just can’t buy that children’s groups are being held to the exact same standard as alarm company representatives and vacuum cleaner salesmen. To me, that’s the bad part of this whole ordinance. I sincerely hope that the City Commission will revisit this and make an exception for schools and known groups like scouts to not have to register. These are our kids we’re talking about here.
Written by Tom Knighton. Tom Knighton is the managing editor of Laws-n-Sausages.com, a political blog focusing on SWGA. He is the former co-owners of SWGAPolitics.com and currently serves as the Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Southwest Georgia