Door to Door Youngsters and a rant


Once again, minors at the door.

This time it was a fast talking young woman (mid-late teens) who said she was raising money for college. Ok, at that point in my head I just wanted to say "in-state tuition, work-study, real scholarships and student loans," but no one wants to hear that and I'll do my college triade at the end of this. She went on to say her college money raising method was to get subscriptions for the Washington Post. Now despite my threats to cancel or cut back my subscription, the Food section (the past few articles on preservation has been excellent) and the comics are keeping me. So I explained I already have a subscription. She walked away and moved on to the next house with her bodyguard.

She or another teen was over in Martin Moulton's area as well (via Shaw listserv):

Tall African American youngster, well spoken, polite and earnest came to the door a few minutes ago -- well after dark -- to hawk WPost subscriptions. I declined.

Does the WPost give these young people any orientation about going into crime infected areas *at night* -- where many residents would hesitate to even answer the door to a tall dark stranger -- before sending them on a wild goose chase, with the promise -- as the kid informed me -- of helping students with their college tuition IF they sell subscriptions?

Okay now my rant on paying for college, you can stop reading now.

For the love of Pete people college doesn't have to be horribly expensive. You can make it expensive. If you're not smart enough to figure out how to get an education for a reasonable amount maybe you're not smart enough for college. My parents didn't save jack for my education. I worked for 3.5 of the 4.5 years I was at the University of Florida (GO GATORS!) in a variety of jobs including one in the library which opened me up to the possiblity of becoming a librarian one day. I had another job as "security" at the O'Connell Center where I hung out with the road crew of UB40 and got to see a couple of concerts. Work experience that I used later on resumes because of skills I picked-up on those work-study jobs. For my first graduate degree I was a TA, not the best TA I'll admit and grading badly written exams for a couple hundered undergrads did get in the way of my own studies but I survived. For the second graduate degree at UMCP, I worked as a student temp at my current employer between 28-39 hours a week as a GS-5, going to school full-time. Look, that was my foot in the door. My MLS (the 2nd degree) was funded with a mix of work and loans, loans that have been paid off within 10 years of getting my degree. The Help, who is currently going through the same program part-time and teaching a class (bless his heart) is working full-time and volunteering at a musuem once a month.
So when I hear a hair brained scheme of raising money for college with WP subscriptions, I think, what's wrong with you? Yes, college tuition has gone up since I was in school, but we still have student temp workers (and unpaid interns) running around the Bureau of Fight Club (and we really apprieciate what they do), which tells me the work-study model is still viable. There are still scholarships out there, some of them small. But you bundle enough of them together, you've got books and food.


The same duo came to my house, however, the male knocked on my door while she stood on the sidewalk. After hearing his story I was suspicious because the guy was 30. (Not that a 30 year old can't start college at that age. I've known people who have started at 50.) But I thought is was weird that a 30 year old would look at all his financing options and decide that hawking WP subscriptions to win a "scholarship" was a little too unbelievable.

I decline to help on the grounds that they could enable secure financial transactions on PayPal - but that would require some degree of legitimacy, which they don't have.

So this is only *vaguely* relevant, but it does involve strangers at my door. I live on S street, a couple blocks east of the Shaw metro. Twice in the last month, a young, shortish African American man, apparently sober, with a backpack has "mistaken" my house for one he legitimately should be walking into, and tried to get in my door (which has thankfully been locked both times; I would have died if he actually walked in). It sounds like he's fumbling with the handle or trying a key.

Has anyone else had this experience? Does it sound like someone casing the house, or just a nutjob who can't tell my house from his?

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