Going door to door ain’t what it used to be

Taking it to the people can be hard when the people don’t answer the door

Vowing to take it to the people, Warehouse Workers for Justice hit the streets of Joliet on Monday to encourage people to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

I went with one group as they knocked on doors in a section of the Reedwood neighborhood.

It was a worthwhile effort, butIt didn’t take long to realize the problem with this approach.

I’ve had the same problem knocking on doors for news stories on a weekday.

Not many people answer their doors these days when someone comes a-knockin’.

“It definitely could have went better,” Roberto Clack, executive director for Warehouse Workers for Justice, said Thursday when I asked him how it went.

“We did reach some people though,” Clack said. “We had some decent conversations. Probably doing this on the weekend is going to work better.”

There are many reasons people don’t answer doors on weekdays.

One is that no one may be in there. Working couples, single-parent families, childless households, and more people living alone all are factors that decrease the likelihood of anyone being home when you knock on a door.

The odd thing is that there are so many cars, trucks and other vehicles in the driveways giving the impression someone is in there.

But vehicles in the driveways can be deceiving, too. While there may be fewer people in households, those who are there have lots of vehicles.

I grew up in a four-member family with one car for most of my childhood, and that was even when my mom was working outside of the home.

Still with no cars in the driveways, there were always kids running around the houses, front doors open, and many moms home to answer the door when someone came knocking.

I was surprised one summer at how receptive people were as I went door-to-door during a very short career as a teenaged Fuller Brush salesman.

Those front doors are seldom open anymore. If anyone is home, they’re likely wary of anyone who comes knocking.

I suspect a lot of people are home when I go door-to-door seeking information for stories but unwilling to open the door to find out what I want.

These days, it seems like anyone you don’t know who is knocking on your door or calling you on a land-line phone is likely to have a scheme to swindle or at least connive you out of your money.

Which brings me to another point.

Our world is so rife with fraud these days that we’ve become accustomed to it.

Charles Dickens wrote of the days when highwaymen were so prevalent in old England that a traveler took to the road with the expectation of facing a robber.

Our highways may be generally safer than those of merry old England.

It’s our front doors and phones that we have to worry about.

Bob Okon

Bob Okon

Bob Okon covers local government for The Herald-News