They may not have a catchy line like "Ding dong Avon Calling", but you've probably heard of the Welcome Wagon, or at least you remember hearing your grandmother talking about them. The truth is the Canadian-owned greeting service has been around since 1930 and is still around, it just doesn't scream as loud as most other companies in this technical age.
Unlike telemarketers, Welcome Wagon representatives are asking you to trust them because they really aren't trying to sell you anything. They come to your door with gifts from local businesses and information about the community. You get all this and a free basket and give nothing back in return.
In this age of calling, texting, tweeting and Facebooking, Welcome Wagon reps are still out there knocking on doors smiling and saying hello in person, a novelty that some older people don't recognize and some younger people have never seen at all.
"I understand," said Lower Sackville Welcome Wagon representative Jennifer Milne. "People are inundated."
Because they haven't had an area director in the last couple of years, the Welcome Wagon has been quieter than usual in HRM, but according to Francis Martin the representative for Clayton Park and Bedford, everything is back on track and moving forward.
"We have new reps in Dartmouth and Bedford," she said. "We are expanding and bringing back our bridal showcases and baby showers."
Welcome Wagon representatives find out about new residents by paying attention to reality signs and plain old fashioned word of mouth. Newcomers who are familiar with their service can go online to request a visit, but but mostly it's all about the cold call.
"I retired from my full time job and I have been doing this for five years now and I love it," said Martin. "But if you can't do a cold call it's not the business for you."
Although she said she hasn't had many problems, Milne, who has been welcoming for a year now, has had some interesting experiences.
"Once I get my foot in the door people are happy," said Milne. "Sometimes I can turn a call completely around. One time this man saw me coming and met me in the driveway. Before I could say anything he said: "I have everything I need." I asked him if he had $100 worth of free furnace oil and then he asked me in."
What you can expect in a Welcome Wagon basket depends on where you live. Items in the basket are made up of gifts from business sponsors in the community. You may receive a free haircut, pedicure and oil change. Baskets also include civic information such as waste collections and HRM recreation information.
For more information about Welcome Wagon and how you can request a visit go to www.welcomewagon.ca.