Knock, knock. Who's there? In Queen Creek chances are good it's a solicitor. Some residents say their neighborhoods are experiencing an increase in door-to-door sales, as the economy worsens and people are trying to earn money.
Scott Brosnan, who lives in The Villages at Queen Creek, said he gets everything from religious groups to aggressive door-to-door sales people. He said they come at all hours but is particularly angered when they come knocking while he's getting his young children fed and ready for bed.
He's written e-mails to town officials about the problem.
"There are other ways to make a buck other than pounding on people's doors," Brosnan said. "If I don't answer the door, they keep ringing the door bell."
Brosnan said he's noticed a slight increase in solicitors since he moved to town more than three years ago and would like to see something done about it. He said he's called the sheriff's office after being berated by a magazine saleswoman for not listening to her.Brosnan said he's also had salespeople wait in his driveway as he gets out of his car when he gets home.
"You can't be bothering people on their property," he said. "I don't think they should be able to do it. Spend the money on advertising or put a flier on my door."
Joe Kolnick lives in the Cortina neighborhood on the edge of Queen Creek. Though he hasn't noticed an increase in solicitors, he has armed himself with a "no soliciting" sign at his front door.
"I'm a fan of the 'no solicitation' signs," he said. "What's more of a burden is the stuff left on our doors. I think most people just throw them out."
Kolnick said solicitors also run the gamut in his neighborhood, from charity and religious groups to sales. He said he also gets his share of solicitors at his two Cold Stone Creamery locations in Queen Creek and Gilbert.
"There's never a good time - it's like a sales call," he said.
Queen Creek's neighborhood preservation supervisor, John Lichtenberger, said that while there isn't anything officials can do about nonprofit and religious groups, "no soliciting" signs do have teeth when it comes to door-to-door sales.
"If they put no soliciting signs up then we have grounds to contact these people," he said.
Lichtenberger said they call the peddlers and initially warn them to stop.
"If they continued to go to homes we can file charges against them," he said, adding that the offense is a misdemeanor.
That violation carries with it potentially six months in jail and up to a $2,500 fine.
"If we find them, which we generally don't, we would also question them about having a business license," Lichtenberger said.
Licenses covering door-to-door sales are generally $250 per quarter.
"Nonprofits and religious groups are pretty much exempt," Lichtenberger said. "They can go door to door as much as they want to," he said. "They just need to fill out a form with the town clerk."
That form doesn't cost the nonprofit anything and puts the town on notice that nonprofits are out in the community going door to door, he said.
Lichtenberger encourages residents to post "no soliciting" signs if they don't want solicitors coming to their doors. But he also notes that the town hasn't received many complaints. Since 2000, he said, there have been five or six complaints.