Strangers With Clipboards

And Peter remembered the Lord had said, “Before the rooster crows today, you will be approached by three strangers with clipboards“.


I was once asked to donate to a charity by some friendly people on the street.  It was before I learned not to talk to strangers with clipboards.  They gave me their sales pitch, and kindly told me how I could donate:  via a recurring deduction from my bank account.

I was hoping to give them five bucks and smile as we went our separate ways.  So I asked, “Why can’t I just give you a five dollar bill?”

They kindly informed me that I could donate only five bucks if that’s what I really wanted to do.  I would simply sign up for the monthly (or weekly) deduction.  Then after the first transaction, I would simply call the organization and cancel my donation.  Simply simple.

I told them the simple thing for me to do was to take a pass and continue walking to work.  So I started to.


“Please fuck off.”


The next time I was approached by a stranger with a clipboard was by a guy in the parking lot of The Swiss Chalet.  He drove an empty cube van with one set of speakers in the back.  According to the clipboard (aka, his prop) he had just delivered a whole truckload of speakers.  Also according to his clipboard, his last customer refused to buy the speakers they had ordered.  He “proved” this by pointing at the papers on the clipboard.  I guess it was my lucky day because he was going to let me have them for half price if I took them off his hands right there and then in the parking lot.

That’s so weird because…a few of my buddies had recently encountered this exact same scenario.  What are the odds?

So I kindly told the guy to “Please fuck off.”


The most recent time I was approached by a stranger with a clipboard was at my own front door.  Ding dong.  Doorbell at dinner time.

A guy with strong body odour and an embroidered golf shirt (and of course, a clipboard) wants to come in and take a look at my water heater and furnace.  He wants to make sure I’m getting the best possible price on my energy costs.  Out of the goodness of his heart, he is going around to everyone’s house and giving them savings and asking nothing in return.

“There’s nothing you need to worry about.  It’s a government program.  I just need to come in and get all the details off your energy equipment bla bla bla,” he says as he tries to squeeze past me and enter my house.

“Known scam.  Please fuck off.”


So if you are approached by a stranger with a clipboard, please utilize any array, variety, mixture, diversity, soup, range, or collection of English words available to explain why you don’t want what they’re selling, but don’t forget to append it with, “Please fuck off.”


12 thoughts on “Strangers With Clipboards

  1. OK, true story.
    I have been the stranger with the clipboard.
    I was doing a scientific language survey in Southeast Asia. I had to go in to people’s houses, play them a story in a language related to their own, then asked them to re-tell the story and GRADE THEIR ANSWERS.
    I hated it. You are right, the clipboard causes instant panic.
    But we had to be “scientific.” I couldn’t just go in and have a nice chat with people and then later write up my general impressions of how well they understood the target language. That wouldn’t be quantifiable. Aarg!

    Hence, my love/hate relationship with social science research.

    It was while living in that same country that I learned to be firm with sales people and scam artists. What I found worked over there was to say, with eye contact, “Good luck to you.” And, if that didn’t work, “Good luck some place else.”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I am sorry in that I did not mean any offense to legitimate science. I love science and I also own a clipboard.
      I worked in downtown Toronto for a while and also learned that you have to be firm with people. There were so many people asking for things, or trying to hand me things…


  2. I’ve had a similar encounter to your speaker man before…was working and while at a customer’s premises, a random van came speeding onto the car park and I was offered a brand new Samsung HD TV. Sounded legit.

    We call the clipboard pests in the streets “chuggers” here and I honestly detest them. They call you out and block your path, proceeding to try and put you on a guilt trip if you refused to sign up to whatever charity they were promoting. I shouted across the street that I wasn’t interested to one of them and they called back “But you don’t even know what it is…” Back before I was firmer with them I had to resort to the tricks of pretending to be on the phone (they never bothered you if you did this…) or giving out fake contact details to get away from them.

    Worst are the ones that have a table set up inside the entrance/exit of a shop. They ignore you on the way in and try to snag you on the way out. One handed me a leaflet once and I thought I’d take it just to stop him only to find out that he wasn’t letting go of the other end. I don’t know what sort of strategy that is that they teach these clipboarders but I didn’t appreciate it! Even less so when I told him I was leaving and he tried to make me feel bad for “not caring about blind children”. Disgusting.

    Fortunately I think they passed some regulations here in the UK that limits how forceful the chuggers can be these days. We don’t get the door-to-door ones anymore as there’s no business there anymore when everything is going digital.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “Chuggers”… I like it. I like all the different words in the UK. I started calling aluminum aluminium because it just sounds better.
      Your area sounds a lot like Toronto with all the “chuggers” handing out leaflets and selling stuff.
      There was some legislation passed here about door-to-door sales, but of course there are always loopholes.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. In my case, someone rang the doorbell. I found a very smart man who told me: “We are in the neighborhood offering some great deals on pest control. Your neighbor just signed up for a year with 10% off the regular price. We would like to extend the same offer to you.” I smiled and replied “Do you think I have to do everything my neighbor does?” And without giving him the time to answer, I added “Should I fuck his wife because he is doing it?” He just walked off my property, speechless.

    Liked by 1 person

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