Action 9 warns about business going door-to-door selling pine straw

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte woman said she was shocked after two men tried charging her an “insane” price for pine straw needles.

Sarah Thornton said the men were driving through her neighborhood selling the material door-to-door. According to Thornton, they offered her a reasonable price at $5 per bale, so she took them up on it.

Unfortunately, she did not discuss how many bales she wanted, and she wishes she had.

Thornton told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke she usually needs about 100 bales of pine straw to fill the beds in her yard. She said the men tried charging her for 780 bales.

“It was such a ridiculous number,” she said.

Stoogenke got several estimates that varied in price, but most lawn companies agreed that the average bale of pine straw covers 50 square feet, so 780 bales would be enough to cover 39,000 square feet – that’s enough to cover almost 70% of the Carolina Panthers football field at Bank of America Stadium.

Thornton said she typically pays about $700 total for the material, but the men charged her more than $3,000 above that.

“He came back on a day that I wasn’t here,” she said. “It was just my wife … and he laid down about 75% of the pine straw and proceeded to knock on the door and say, ‘… you’re at about [$]3,900 so far.’”

She said her wife was shocked.

“He got very aggressive and said he would not leave our house until he got his money,” she said.

Thornton agreed to pay $500 since the men did do the work, but she didn’t think she should have to pay more than that.

“It was so hard for me to remain calm. I was shaking because I kept thinking about my grandmother. This is the type of thing that happens to elderly people,” she said.

Thornton reported the incident to police and posted a warning on Nextdoor, where a neighbor replied that the same thing had happened to them.

Action 9 tried calling the phone number the men had given Thornton, which had a “706” area code, but the person who answered hung up. Stoogenke tried calling and texting the number again, but no one has answered the call or responded to the text.