As an English major, most of my classes are in Parlin or the Flawn Academic Center. This means that I have the displeasure of being harassed every day as I walk to class. People diligently set up their folding tables, nesting for the day as they prepare their fliers, cupcakes, signup sheets and overly aggressive positions.
They may say “Here take a flier!”, or “Would you like to do X for our club Z?” Or my personal favorite, the people that yell as you walk past. “YOU! TAKE A FLIER!” Every day I walk to class with my ear buds plugged in, or my eyes trained to the ground, but it doesn’t matter how distracted you look, or how fast you walk.
They will talk to you. And you will take their flier.
Are they all students? I don’t know. After nearly being scammed by a suspicious looking guy on the Drag, I came to the conclusion he wasn’t really hoping I’d help save kids in Africa. But that was after he asked for my credit card number. I drew the line before he asked for my social security number too.
It starts innocent. They will say, “Can I ask you a question?” as you walk past. It’s so easy to let your guard down. You’re curious, what do they want to know? But if you pause, even just for a second, they go in for the kill. They start asking you more questions. They take out their sketchy looking clip board. They say how important their cause is.
It is the people with the clipboards you can’t trust. Watch out for them on the Drag. They hang out near Jamba Juice, and they are the craftiest. Maybe I’m a skeptic. They could be people truly just wanting support for their cause. Could be, but the insistent friendliness coupled with the sleazy attitude of a car salesperson makes me cynical.
One time while walking to Jamba Juice, a man and a woman were holding those wicked clipboards. I dodged the woman, but the man was too quick.
“Would you like to take thirty seconds to save a dying child?”
Touché. How do you keep walking after someone says that? How can you say “No, I don’t want to save a dying child.” But as I looked wearily at his sneaky clipboard, his too happy face, and his jar for donations, I kept moving.
In order to keep from being harassed near the Drag or by the FAC, or on Speedway, one must learn the protocol. Listen to music, stare at your phone, walk fast, appear angry or unapproachable, and walk in the middle of the crowd. This is crucial, because if you’re in the middle, the people on the edges will get harassed while you move forward and get to class on time.
Still, I understand most of these irritating people are students who simply want to reach other students for a real reason. Either way, it will be nice when summer is here and I don’t have to be harassed anymore.