The other night, after dark, there was a knock on my door. I thought it was a friend, but lo and behold, a young woman with a clipboard. I thought, no, not another person with a clipboard asking for donations or to buy a subscription to the UT.
I admit I may have been a bit brusque with my usual “I’m sorry, I’m not interested in buying anything… ” and she said, “I’m not selling anything,” or something to that effect. I then informed her that I wasn’t able to make any donations. I don’t remember what she said after that, but within the next moment or two she said she was from CALPIRG.
While she was polite and smiling for most of this exchange, when I informed her I wasn’t interested, I did detect a narrowing of her eyes combined with what I translated as an incredulous expression, as if to communicate: how could you possibly NOT be interested in hearing about CALPIRG?
So, after I closed the door, turned the porch light back off, and sat on the couch, slightly seething about yet another in a series of after-dark-door-to-door barrages to donate to or join the ranks of various organizations (Although the Jehovah’s Witnesses do generally come by during the day, and more specifically on weekend mornings.), I made a note to contact CALPIRG the next day to complain and have them take me off their call list.
Then, I googled CALPIRG, as honestly, I couldn’t remember who they were and what their mission was. Once I’d reached their website at calpirg.org, the young woman’s surprise at my response to her organization made more sense… I mean who wouldn’t want to be “Standing Up To Powerful Interests” as their website’s subtitle reads?
Here is their mission statement:
“When consumers are cheated or the voices of ordinary citizens are drowned out by special interest lobbyists, CALPIRG speaks up and takes action. We uncover threats to public health and well-being and fight to end them, using the time-tested tools of investigative research, media exposés, grassroots organizing, advocacy and litigation. CALPIRG’s mission is to deliver persistent, result-oriented public interest activism that protects consumers, encourages a fair, sustainable economy, and fosters responsive, democratic government.”
And a fine mission statement this is…
I do plan to spend more time at the site learning what all they’ve accomplished as well as what they’re working on now. Nevertheless, I still do NOT want their representatives to stop by my door after dark—or during the day, either… no matter how well-meaning they are.
The fact that this is a tried-and-true grassroots style of getting the word out aside, and while this particular CALPIRG enthusiast was polite, there have been other entities and their reps that haven’t been. I am reminded, too, of the GreenPeacers slogging up and down Newport Ave., especially during the Farmer’s Markets, hawking their ideological wares with such dialogue stoppers as “Don’t you care about the environment?” or “Why wouldn’t you want to save the baby seals?” But I digress…
I phoned CALPIRG’s Sacramento office to ask about this, and to request that they take me off their list. I didn’t say I was writing an article about it, and wonder if I had said as much, whether I would receive a different response. The person with whom I spoke was polite and did say that it wasn’t usual to have someone canvass after dark. She requested my contact information and indicated that she would inform the local office not to return to my apartment. I did learn that their summer campaign is in full-swing, and that door-to-door canvassing is their usual means to inform the public. I assume that this also signifies it’s one of their usual methods to obtain donations and memberships…
So, yes, I am interested in CALPIRG and its mission, but I’d rather approach them than they me.
I would be interested in knowing other people’s experiences with door-to-door canvassing as well as CALPIRG itself.