Ding-dong! Over 50s doorstep seller numbers soar

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Markus Redmann/DPA/PA

Next time you answer the front door to a doorstep salesman, there's a big chance it won't be some spotty-faced kid trying to persuade you to change energy suppliers, it'll be a neatly-presented over 50 with a story to tell and a product to sell.

Because, according to a survey from Direct Selling Association, the ranks of the silver sellers have grown by 29%, to around 120,000 in the last year alone, so they form a significant faction of the 400,000-strong army of people selling door-to-door in a £2billion market.

Although this news is a little surprising, there's no explanation why this is so but a couple of reasons suggest themselves - early retirement being one of them.

When businesses are looking to down downsize, it's the older members of staff who are generally offered redundancy first. although it's usually couched in terms of 'retirement' we all know they're being laid off.

Reasonable option
When they take this chance to leave the 9 to 5, what are they going to do with themselves? There are only so many books you can read and once the garden's done, what's next? Doorstep selling is a perfectly reasonable option and one which gives you the flexibility to work when you want for a boss in an office you might never see again after completing your briefing in whatever it is you are selling.

But that situation is based on a choice.

In some cases, work is more of an imperative. The individual might still be under pensionable age but at that time of their working life when trying to find a new job to match their expertise may just not be possible.

So, doorstep selling is a viable option there as well. All you need is a good presentation, the gift of the gab and a healthy dollop of charm. And as long as that door-to-door product you're selling isn't loan sharking then most people will give you the time of day.

Most people. Just not me.