AT&T Sending Door-To-Door Salesmen To Pester Hapless Illinoisans

Boy, if there’s one thing that really makes us happy its being pestered by door-to-door salesmen. We just love it! Often, we are sitting around with nothing to do and no one to talk to and then surprise! Oh, happy day! An AT&T salesman wants to talk us about their many fine products!

From the Chicago Tribune:

“AT&T Inc. this month launched an advertising counteroffensive against cable titan Comcast Corp., which has been stealing its phone customers. It is sending salespeople door to door to drum up business.

“We need to reach out to customers in many different ways,” said Steven Mitchell, vice president and general manager for AT&T Illinois. “People are more comfortable talking in their own homes. They will tell you their needs more readily than if you approach them at the mall, where they’re busy doing something else. So we’re sending our agents to meet them” at home.

As the phone giant loses customers to cable competitors, it has had to adjust its outlook, Mitchell said, but door-to-door marketing isn’t easy.

“We start in the afternoon, talking to people who are home and noting where no one’s home,” Mitchell said. “Then we circle back later to hit the houses after people get home from work.”

Wow! That’s f***ing fantastic news, Mitchell.

Remember to ask for ID when anyone claiming to be a salesman knocks on your door. Better yet, just close the door.

AT&T goes door to door for sales [Chicago Tribune]
(Photo:Getty)

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  1. ju-ju-eyeball says:

    WOW! The assumption that if you are home, your not busy…

  2. jaredgood1 says:

    Makes me glad I live in a controlled access apt. Well, and not in Illinois….

  3. gibsonic says:

    hrm…what if you put a sign at the edge of your yard/driveway that says “no soliciting” and/or “no trespassing”

    would they still knock on your door?

    or maybe they need a sign that says… I LOVE MY VONAGE PHONE. GO AWAY AT&T.

  4. gibsonic says:

    also, currently my wife and I just have our cell phones and really don’t need a landline either from ma’bell or from the cable company. We have our internet through comcast and use to have Vonage but really didn’t need that either so we dropped it.

    We moved/ported our old bellsouth phone number to vonage, then to my wife’s cell phone.

    We got love notes from Bellsouth for about 2-3 years begging us to come back. I one time called BS when i was still on vonage and asked them to match the $24.95 I was paying for the vonage line plus unlimited long distance. Not suprisingly, they said no and I hung up. Hey…i at least gave them a chance to get SOME money from me…owell.

    kinda funny that now that at&t has aquired cingular, they are getting SOME money from me for two cell phones. tricky bastads!

  5. timmus says:

    what if you put a sign at the edge of your yard/driveway that says “no soliciting” and/or “no trespassing” – would they still knock on your door?

    YES. The corporate salespeople will almost certainly come to your door anyway, while the locals and kids on school fundraisers will heed the sign. That’s how it worked when we lived in Austin.

  6. gibsonic says:

    @timmus:

    then i would have to put another sign on my front door that says…

    “If you can read this and are here uninvited and ignored the first sign in the yard, just know that a loaded shotgun is just inside this door. Have a great day!”

  7. EwanG says:

    It’s not just Illinois. As part of the rollout of their Uverse service here in San Antonio, they had folks coming by almost weekly to convince me of how their PVR setup was so great (I have Tivos, thank you), how they would have HD soon (which I gather they eventually did get), and how while I wouldn’t get everything on one bill like Time Warner, their site was easy enough to navigate that it was just as good. The last comment usually got me laughing, which would upset our dog who would then go from barking to snarling. For some reason that was the point most of them left… :-)

  8. eckre says:

    *Sigh* another prototypical WHINING consumerist POST.

    What are you going to do if you phone company screws you and they have a monopoly? Nothin’! you’re going to bend over and take it over and over and over again.

    Like it or not, COMPETITION is good for EVERYONE.

    I was an AT & T door-to-door sales guy. I signed up about 70% of people. They loved it. WHY? you ask? because when the deregulated the phone industry in my state, they broke up the MONOPOLY QWEST, so people for the first time, EVER, has a CHOICE.

    At the time, AT & T was about 30% less for most all customers, so it was an easy “sell”. Just get out the phone bill. Easy.

    So either stop whining, or STFU, this is America, if you don’t like competition, leave and take it up the a** elsewhere for the rest of your days, so you don’t get “bothered” by someone trying to do the same service, faster or better or cheaper.

  9. Kaneohe7 says:

    They are sending them out in Kansas! I also get ads in the mail for Uverse about every other week. They even sponsored a get together to discuss their service offerings at Popeyes Chicken. Ummmm, chicken….

  10. CliveDobbs says:

    @eckre:
    Well that’s just great.

    I have a set of steak knives that are 30% better than the ones you’re using now. I’ll see you tonight. Shall we say 6:30? Or do you HATE AMERICA?!

  11. AcidReign says:

        I find it hard to believe that Comcast is actually able to convince folks to switch away from a Bell phone to their craptastic company! Maybe the Bell system isn’t as good in Illinois…

        I like messing with door-to-door salesfolk. Pull on a bathrobe, rub your eyes a bit, then answer the door with a growly “What?” Or, you can prime the salesman up with lots of good info on a neighbor you don’t like. Recently, while I was at the door talking with the Latter Day Saints, my teenaged son (who was out of sight in the house) dropped a dictionary on the floor inside the house, screamed like he was dying, then sobbed, “Oh God! Pleaseeee, don’t hit me again!” I smiled brightly. I have never seen two more uncomfortable missionaries.

  12. gibsonic says:

    @eckre:

    while AT&T may have the “right” to ask. I have the “right” to not be bothered in my own home.

    My kids sleep during the early afternoon and if someone rings the door bell it wakes them up and messes up their afternoon schedule, not to mention my wife’s.

    while she can turn the phone off it’s rather hard to keep people from knocking on your door in an open neighborhood.

    while we’ve never actually had anyone from the phone company come to our door to sell us anything, other companies have and because of the annoyance alone they didn’t get the business.

    kinda funny that you can get at&t at your door when you don’t want them and can’t seem to get them there when you DO want them.

  13. eckre says:

    @CliveDobbs:

    Do I buy steak knifes every single month anyways? If there a monopoly where I can only purchase steak knifes at ONE place at whatever prices they charge? If I did, and they are better and 30% cheaper, come on over.

    Why not?

    aka; use a better analogy pako.

  14. Smoking Pope says:

    Don’t look at it as an annoyance, look at it as an opportunity to freak random people out.

    “Oh, I don’t live here. Hey, do you know how to get a LOT of blood out of a carpet?”

    “Can AT&T help me stop the CIA mind-control device implanted in my scrotum?”

    “Hey, I’m glad you’re here! When you’re done, I’d like to talk to you about Jehovah!”

    “Mambo fusebox down by the banana patch?”

    Perhaps my favorite was one an old roommate pulled on a guy selling newspaper subscriptions:

    “Hello, are you the owner of the house?”

    “SNARK!”

    “Excuse me?”

    “SNARK!”

    “Ummm… Do you get the newspaper?”

    “SNARK!”

    “Uhhhh… I’m selling subscriptions to the Arizona Republic, and we’ve got a special offer…”

    “SNARK!”

    The guy actually put up with it for quite a while before giving up.

  15. stubblyhead says:

    Better yet, just close the door.

    Or get a No Soliciting sign. We have a homemade one on our front door due to the amount of door-to-door people in our neighborhood. I keep checking at Lowe’s for one that’s somewhat decent looking, but all they have is the kind of thing you’d put in your business’s window.

  16. gibsonic says:

    @stubblyhead:

    we have a decorative chalk board on our porch/front door entrance that my wife uses to put cute sayings and what not. You could use something like that so that it wouldn’t look too tacky. Might want to use some sort of permanent lettering for that part so as not to have the “No soliciting” part “accidentally” wiped off by a sales person.

  17. Buran says:

    @eckre: Stop whining, corporate shill. If you have nothing better to say than “I don’t think this should be posted” then shut up and go find another site to read.

  18. Chaosium says:

    @eckre: It’s not our fault that everyone hates a door-to-door salesman, it’s yours.

  19. jaredgood1 says:

    @Smoking Pope: My favorite is to pretend you just got back from a rock concert. Really great excuse to just shout at people.

  20. Chaosium says:

    @eckre: It’s not our fault that everyone hates a door-to-door salesman, it’s yours for being insufferable.

  21. eckre says:

    @Buran: I haven’t worked for AT&T since 2000! I don’t know why they don’t just advertize and put up a website. AT&T seems to like to outsource D-2-D people, but it works I suppose.

    They are not hocking cleaning crap; spraying your door while they won’t shut up, or selling vacuum cleaner bags, or STEAK knives. Everyone that switched I saved at least $350 a year, and some up to $2000 a year. But who has land lines anymore -eh?

    You gonna say “get the hell off my porch, I have an extra $2,000 a year I *like* to give to my local phone company! ”

    ?

  22. Buran says:

    @eckre: You still don’t get it. This is a site for people who don’t want companies to push crap on them that they don’t want. You are BOTHERING US. GO AWAY. If we want your products WE WILL CONTACT YOU ON OUR OWN.

  23. balthisar says:

    In many jurisdictions, both “No Soliciting” and “No Handbills” signs have the force of law. Good luck getting anyone to prosecute that butt-holes, though.

  24. stubblyhead says:

    @timmus: I would think it would be exactly the opposite. The law in my town is that door-to-door types have to pass by if you post a no soliciting sign. I would imagine that larger company would rather avoid the violation, whereas kids on fundraisers would think, “wtf is a solicitor?”

  25. nharlotekk says:

    A lot of companies contract out their D-2-D sales to third party businesses- most of which follow the Cydcor/DS-Max template. These companies take advantage of recent college grads and pay their workers commission-only to trapse the streets literally 12 hours a day selling whatever the ‘campaign’ of the moment is. The net is rife with horror stories from folks who got sucked into these MLM pyramid schemes – look up cydcor or ds-max and prepare to be disgusted.

    Do some research and when of these poor souls shows up at your door, invite them in and explain that you don’t have to work for pennies and be a sleazeball to make it in this world. Companies like this have to recruit heavily b/c of high turnover and the faster you can make that turnover, the less profitable it is for these companies to exist in your town.

  26. TedSez says:

    I don’t say he’s a great man. Willie Loman never made a lot of money. His name was never in the paper. He’s not the finest character that ever lived. But he’s a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid.

  27. Buran says:

    @balthisar: I need one that says “I don’t want the stupid free local newspaper, stop throwing that shit on my lawn”.

  28. JohnMc says:

    Illinois has not lock on this, I was approached by an AT&T rep at the door last week here in Arlington Texas. If AT&T is offering in Uverse in your area you will see them soon.

  29. balthisar says:

    @Buran: Yeah, I need the same damned thing!

  30. Smoking Pope says:

    @Buran: Oh my God, the “free” newspaper guys suck. “Hi, you’re gonna get the newspaper for free now. Where do you want us to put it, on your driveway or by your door?”

    I got into it with one of them, and he walked away saying, “I don’t care if you don’t want the paper, we’re gonna deliver the f*cking thing whether you like it or not!” A quick phone call took care of that, but Eckre, are you paying attention? People dislike being bothered at home, and it has nothing to do with saving money or not. Pushy d-2-d people and scams have completely soured a large majority of the population on the concept.

    So is it any wonder that people get bent out of shape when they hear AT&T will come knocking?

  31. gibsonic says:

    even the kids “selling” things d2d are getting annoying. now they aren’t really selling anything just panhandling for “donations” so that they can go to cheerleading camp or some ball tournament or band competition.

    charity is one thing, but people begging door to door or standing at street intersections with buckets don’t get my money. sorry.

  32. mconfoy says:

    Verizon is doing the same thing in Northern Virginia.

  33. Hoss says:

    I would not trust anyone doing this type of solicitation, period.

  34. Nytmare says:

    The only reason to go door-to-door vs legitimate marketing methods is to abuse the vulnerability of dwellers in a host position in order to apply high-pressure sales tactics. That’s not a valid reason.

  35. Saboth says:

    I use a cell phone for calls, internet for everything else. The phone company doesn’t get a dime from me. When they get off their lazy butt and install DSL in my area, we can talk. If all they are offering is an ancient land-line…hit the bricks, we have nothing to discuss. Offer more services phone companies.

  36. nharlotekk says:

    @Saboth: Unless you use a smaller carrier like Alltel, USC, MetroPCS or Cricket, the landline companies ARE getting your dime- T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T & Sprint/Nextel are all owned by traditional landline companies (although T-Mobile’s parent- Deutche Telekom- is in Germany, so not sure if that counts).

    On top of that- all the major carriers use each other’s backhaul networks and pay accordingly to do so- your ‘Wireless’ phone is only wireless from your handset to the cell. After that it’s going through the same infrastructure as land line calls.

    Nice try.

  37. FLConsumer says:

    I wonder why Verizon hasn’t thought of this one yet — they seem to be the most consumer-UNfriendly companies out there. This would be right up their alley! I wonder if Verizon would insist upon using foreigners who lack a good command of the English language to do their door-to-door sales as well.

    Screw landline phones… VoIP all the way here. <$9/mo for all-I-can-talk nationwide, and I can take my number with me anywhere in the country, no hidden fees. When the landline cos start to offer deals like that, THEN I’ll consider talking with them. Until then, I’ll enjoy my $0.007/minute calls to England. No, that’s not a typo.

  38. ChaosMotor says:

    We got one of these here in the Kansas City metro a few weeks ago. She knocked on the door right on the big sticker that says “NO SOLICITORS PER ORDINANCE yadda yadda, big fine and so on”

    It was an overly chipper girl who couldn’t have been more than 18 trying to sell AT&T fiber optic service. She didn’t know a damned thing about it! She was saying how much faster it was, but when I asked if it was last mile, fiber to the home, she said it was fiber to the node, copper to the home! Yeah right, that’s a real advantage. And that was the sum-total of the questions she was able to answer.

  39. ATTSlave says:

    I’d have to say there are some good points and bad points to door to door. On one hand you have people who just don’t want to be bothered, which is perfectly alright. However there are some people out there with grandfathered plans who are paying $20 more a month for their services than new customers are. Sure they may annoy you but for your 80 year old neighbour on social security they can be a godsend.

  40. Buran says:

    @Smoking Pope: What’s with that, anyway? You’d think they’d be overjoyed at the opportunity to SAVE MONEY by NOT giving people FREE stuff!

    If I get one more of those things I’m going to write them a pretty nice-but-polite-but-nasty nasty letter.

  41. marsneedsrabbits says:

    @eckre:
    You gonna say “get the hell off my porch, I have an extra $2,000 a year I *like* to give to my local phone company! ”

    Nah. I’m just gonna say “Get the Hell off my porch” Period. End of sentence.
    I don’t discuss finances with people who are reduced to selling stuff door-to-door. I figure if they have anything valuable to add, they’d take their own advice and not have to sell door-to-door.
    But if you’d like an answer, here it is: Vonage costs $300.00 a year at most. It never drops calls and the only outage lasted less than 5 minutes. And that was my fault (a router issue).
    Can AT&T do better than $300.00 a year?
    No?
    Then get the Hell off my porch.

  42. ohnothimagain says:

    illini. not illinoisians.

  43. Neo_DrKefka says:

    I actually applied for this job, they pretty much give you a four hour (Without pay) 2nd interview and you have to take a test and know what your talking about before they even hired you.

    I went to tbe bathroom and never came back, but they said they are going to start expanding to different states and tricked people saying this is a customer service position and waiting till you been there for a couple of hours that is going to be a door to door sales.

    They have an office on 150 and something and Cicero.

    If you want more information e-mail me at Neo_DrKefka@yahoo.com

  44. VidaLondres says:

    And yet it’s STILL less infuriating than Jehovah’s Witnesses.