Anti-pest device charges unwelcome visitors a dime to ring doorbell

dime doorbell deters salespeople.jpg
Here's another anti-pest doorbell like the one I posted about in 2006. The bell will not ring unless a dime is inserted into the slot.

(Thanks Felipe Li!)


  1. unfortunately, this wouldn’t be marketable today as the majority of households don’t have housewives.. ;)

  2. Also, you’ll definitely profit from friends who drop by when you’re not home. Sorry, no one around for that refund.

    1. I installed a VoIP system at home, and effectively have a similar system. Before it, even on the Do Not Call list, I was frequently annoyed by robocallers.

      Now when you call my house line, you first hear my voice prompt: “Hit 1 if you are human.” Hit 1 and the house phones ring.

      I’ve not been called by a phone spammer since.

  3. not to mention that slugs, coins on strings, etc., were all common ways to steal from vending machines in the past. I wouldn’t put it past door to door salesmen and other pests to do the same, or shove a metal strip in or pour water in the slot.

  4. [Consider the excerpt below — from Ubik by Philip K. Dick — then ask yourself: is this the kind of future you want to live in? Of course not! And remember: Ubik is safe when taken as directed!]

    Back in the kitchen he fished in his various pockets for a dime, and, with it, started up the coffeepot. Sniffing the — to him — very unusual smell, he again consulted his watch, saw that fifteen minutes had passed; he therefore vigorously strode to the apt door, turned the knob and pulled on the release bolt.

    The door refused to open. It said, “Five cents, please.”

    He searched his pockets. No more coins; nothing. “I’ll pay you tomorrow,” he told the door. Again he tried the knob. Again it remained locked tight. “What I pay you,” he informed it, “is in the nature of a gratuity; I don’t have to pay you.”

    “I think otherwise,” the door said. “Look in the purchase contract you signed when you bought this conapt.”

    In his desk drawer he found the contract; since signing it he had found it necessary to refer to the document many times. Sure enough; payment to his door for opening and shutting constituted a mandatory fee. Not a tip.

    “You discover I’m right,” the door said. It sounded smug.

    From the drawer beside the sink Joe Chip got a stainless steel knife; with it he began systematically to unscrew the bolt assembly of his apt’s money-gulping door.

    “I’ll sue you,” the door said as the first screw fell out.

    Joe Chip said, “I’ve never been sued by a door. But I guess I can live through it.”

    A knock sounded on the door. “Hey, Joe, baby, it’s me, G. G. Ashwood. And I’ve got her right here with me. Open up.”

    “Put a nickel in the slot for me,” Joe said. “The mechanism seems to be jammed on my side.”

    A coin rattled down into the works of the door; it swung open and there stood G. G. Ashwood with a brilliant look on his face. It pulsed with sly intensity, an erratic, gleaming triumph …

  5. How about a sign that says, “trespassers will be shot, survivors will be shot again.” Then, if the person at the door is a pest, point to the sign and inform them they’re trespassing.

  6. .
    re knocking: a sign that says “we won’t answer a knock”
    re email: hard to believe it hasn’t been proposed
    what’s the hesitation?
    any examples out there?
    – whitelist people in so they don’t have to pay
    – hand out one/several-time tokens for things like receipts from a purchase
    – use it on some of your email accounts but not others

    1. Bah, you know that people will always answer a knock anyway : What if it’s important but the people just happen to not have a dime in their pocket ?

  7. Forget receiving packages from amazon or any parcels. No postman will consider putting his dime in the door. What if you are NOT at home this time?

    You visit somebody, drop the coin and … there is nobody to answer it. Who will return your coin?

  8. I live in a nice neighborhood within a small town. Friends, family, just walk in the unlocked back door, anyone at the front door is ignored, if they don’t go away…

  9. Long before the Internet there was spam. Cold calling was one of these early forms of spam and this coin operated doorbell is an anti-spam system. It shows that spam is simply a part of the human condition and is not unique to our digital experience.

  10. I have the best anti-solicitor doorbell around: a large dog who comes with me through the solid front door to growl and bark through the glass at the unwanted doorbell-ringer. All I have to do is shake my head no and the solicitor backs away quickly. Works every time.

  11. I had an office six years ago in a building in which we had a real, working door, and a second door on the outside of my particular office that was sealed shut on the backside. Many many knocks by solicitors on that door. I finally put up a sign that said, “This is not a door. It is sealed shut” or something like that. People still knocked.

    1. I finally put up a sign that said, “This is not a door. It is sealed shut” or something like that. People still knocked.

      Try a sign with a cursive script reading, “Ceci n’est pas une porte.”

  12. Sounds like too much rigamarole to verify that a coin was used instead of a slug. You could just have a coin slot above a bell, so that the coin would ring the bell (or anything inserted through the slot that’s heavy enough would ring it).

    Re: packages, don’t your couriers and mail deliverers just drop it on your doorstep when they can’t get an answer? Convenient for passersby to steal whatever you ordered.

  13. I know from my door knocking days that most bells don’t work anyway. when they break most people replace them with the remote battery kind and then never check the batteries.

    KNocking is free and effective.

  14. Methinks it would backfire. Friends and family would be appalled, and walk away rather then pay. Marketing companies, however, would be more then happy to pony up a dime to get your undivided attention.

  15. I love it, but limiting it to doors is impractical. Even applying the same concept to phone calls and e-mail isn’t enough.

    I won’t be happy until I can charge everyone a dime for entering my field of vision. MAYBE if you can get out of sight without pissing me off you can have your dime back.

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