What Is the Green River Ordinance?

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  • Written By: Renee Booker
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 17 January 2020
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Throughout the 19th century, and well into the 20th century, it was common practice to sell everything from eggs to life insurance to vacuum cleaners by going door to door and attempting to convince the occupants of the household to purchase the product being sold. Not everyone appreciated door-to-door salespeople, however, which lead some communities to consider legislation banning or limiting the practice of door-to-door sales. The first community to actually pass a law that prohibited door-to-door sales was Green River, Wyoming. Since that time, laws or ordinances that prohibit or limit door-to-door sales, or canvassing, are often referred to as a "Green River ordinance" after the first successful ordinance of its kind.

Before computers, television, and even telephones were used as a way to sell a product, companies would send out door-to-door salesmen to make sales. In the latter part of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century, the practice was especially popular. Technology in America was progressing at an extremely fast pace, making a variety of new and exciting products available for consumers. While large metropolitan cities did have stores where products could be showcased and sold, many families lived in rural areas and rarely made trips to the city, making traveling salesmen a perfect way to sell goods and services.


Not everyone, however, appreciated random housecalls, which resulted in a push to ban or limit door-to-door sales. Green River, Wyoming, passed the first ordinance prohibiting door-to-door sales in 1931, which became known as the "Green River Ordinance." Shortly thereafter, other communities passed their own versions of a Green River ordinance either banning or limiting door-to-door sales. Many companies filed legal challenges to Green River ordinance laws, claiming that they violated constitutional rights. The United States Supreme Court, however, upheld the Green River ordinance laws.

Today, many communities continue to use some form of Green River ordinance in order to regulate door-to-door sales. Although this type of sales is often allowed, many laws regulate the time of the day and the days of the week that sales may take place. In addition, in many cases, the laws specifically prohibit attempts to sell to houses or businesses that post "No Trespassing" or "No Solicitation" signs indicating that they are not interested in being approached by door-to-door salespeople.


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Post 2

@talentryto- Try calling the city hall office in your town. Someone there should be able to find out if your town has a Green River ordinance, or at least be able to tell you where to go to find out for sure.

Don't worry if you find that there is no such ordinance in your town. Simply go to your local hardware store and buy a "no trespassing" sign. This will keep most door-to-door salespeople and other solicitors from knocking on your door.

Post 1

How can you find out if your town has a Green River ordinance? I often sleep during the day and work at night, so I certainly do not want sales people knocking on my door.

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