It's finally sunny and dry in Seattle which means I can't walk anywhere downtown without being harrassed on every corner by pushy people wanting signatures or donations or whatever. I am constantly set upon by PETA, Greenpeace, Save the Children, those creepy Lyndon LaRouche supporters, and various other groups that I can't remember. Is it really asking that much to want to just go get some lunch and get back to my desk uninterrupted? And I don't know if I look like a sucker or what, but they always seem to target me. I just walked across the street to Starbucks and saw several people walk past the trap unscathed only to have a girl try to stop me. How do other people get through the trap? What's the secret?
I have two simple rules I follow in these situations: don't make eye contact and don't shake hands. If you make eye contact they seem to take that as an invitation to pounce on you. Don't shake hands was more of a sanitation issue for me because God only knows what's on their hands after shaking with random people for several hours, but the one time I felt like a jerk and shook a woman's hand out of guilt, she wouldn't let go. I literally had to yank my hand away - lesson learned. I typically don't let people finish a sentence before I say, "I'm not interested" but there's some vital piece of the puzzle I'm missing to keep them from approaching me to begin with. Everyone that knows me will attest that I'm not friendly by any traditional definition of the word, so I doubt people are seeing me and thinking, "that looks like a delightful person to talk to." Would it help if I looked pissed off constantly?
So while I enjoy the (finally) improving weather, it does not come without peril. Whatever your secret is to help me make it through the summer, please inform me. And for any organization that employs people on the street, nothing will turn me against your cause faster than harrassing me at inconvenient times.