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the girl with violets in her lap [userpic]

July 1st, 2009 (05:23 pm)

I think I’m going to print off a bunch of copies of this article, or the relevant statistics therein, to hand out to the MASSPIRG folks and all those other path-blocking guilt-tripping people with the wide eyes and ingenuous smiles that I meet on the sidewalks like every damn day in spring and summer. I kind of don’t even want to admit how loony those people drive me. This is, of course, because I am ludicrously susceptible to guilt trips. If I can’t spare a moment for the environment, I must be a terrible person who bears the entire weight of global warming on her shoulders! So my thought process runs.

So yeah. I am happy to have documentation that justifies my seething, poorly suppressed loathing of those clipboard-bearing Stepford coeds. I seriously am going to make little statistics-laden flyers and, when confronted with a chirpy little voice asking me if I can spare just a minute to save AIDS-afflicted polar bears from illiteracy in the rainforests, I am going to smile brightly and say “Sorry! I can’t. Here’s why.” And then I am going to shove my own pamphlet at them, and watch as their lacquered happyfaces become interestingly distorted in their confusion. And I will be happy.

Thanks, Slate! About 75% of your other articles from today pissed me off, but this one is A+!


Posted by: Emily (aurelia_star)
Posted at: July 1st, 2009 09:40 pm (UTC)

I am so with you on this. I seem to be unusually easy to corner, and I hate saying no.



Posted by: Damian (fanboy_of_zeus)
Posted at: July 1st, 2009 10:09 pm (UTC)
disturb the comfortable

My sibling spent part of one summer canvassing for such a group. It was somewhat disturbing to do the math and realize that most of the money she raised for the charity in question went into her paycheck; kinda makes me question the efficiency of the whole system. Also made it easy for me to dodge them the one time that summer someone from the same organization approached me; I managed to imply I'd already donated by saying my sister worked for them.

Everyone was surprised she lasted in that job as long as she did (about a month, IIRC) before she quit.

Posted by: erindubitably (erindubitably)
Posted at: July 1st, 2009 10:17 pm (UTC)

I volunteered with CalPIRG for two years at university and let me tell you: they don't need you to tell them they're annoying and stupid. They get that plenty already.

I can't speak for paid canvassers but the students I worked with were doing that sort of thing because it was something they believed in and wanted to garner support for; because of the way the university was set up it was the only way to get funding on campus if we wanted to still exist. The 'guilt-tripping' tactics and cheery smiles are because you get even fewer people stopping to talk to you if you're sullen and rude.

I understand that canvassers are annoying and may bug you, but consider that at least some of them are doing it because they're passionate about that issue, and they're not judging you if you don't stop. They might if you're rude, however, and why not?

Again, not commenting on the pay issue; I only have experience with volunteer canvassing.

Posted by: the girl with violets in her lap (slammerkinbabe)
Posted at: July 2nd, 2009 12:12 am (UTC)

I think volunteer organizations are pretty different, honestly, and it comes across in the vibe of how they address you as well as in the structure of the organization and its effectiveness. The reason that I try to tamp down my resentment and be polite to them now (I usually say something like "I'm sorry, I'm running late for _____" [which I usually am, but anyway...]) is because I know most of the actual people on the street aren't the ones responsible for pissing me off. But around here -- the MASSPIRG people, anyway, can be *incredibly* awful and in-your-face. Like, blocking-your-path-and-not-letting-it-go in-your-face. I don't know whether there's a specific division here that trains them this way or what, but they really did nearly get me killed one time when I was trying to cross a very dangerous intersection and they blocked me from getting to the curb. They were always at that intersection and I'd seen them accost other passersby in the same way and after seeing that a few times it really amped up my already-sour feelings towards canvassers.

I tend to think of handing back a flyer outlining the reasons why I don't donate to organizations via canvasser -- nothing ad hominem regarding the canvassers themselves, just factual information on why it's not a good use of my money -- as being pretty passive-aggressive but not outright rude. There is a part of me that wants to let the canvassers know that I do have respect for their cause, and that's why I want to donate in a way that will do the most good for that cause. I'd stop and explain it to them if I ever had the time, which I never do, which is part of where the resentment comes in too...

Edited at 2009-07-02 12:13 am (UTC)

Posted by: Spencer Irving (archaica)
Posted at: July 2nd, 2009 12:51 pm (UTC)

Whenever I see those people I think of Gary Oldman as Oswald in JFK - "Fair Play for Cuba!"

Posted by: Spencer Irving (archaica)
Posted at: July 2nd, 2009 12:50 pm (UTC)

Hahah, ah, the PIRGs! Where college idealism goes to die.

I especially hate the ones who set up shop outside the supermarkets. Because you know the milling masses outside the market doors are going to slow you down, which makes they even have more time to judge you as you cut off their weary, shopworn entreaties.

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