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Dear People Who Hover Outside of Grocery Stores With Clipboards,

I hate you. I hate that you pester me with your bid to save medical marijuana, or your campaign to “change city hall.” No, I don’t have a “minute for the environment.” Yes, I’m already registered. No, I’m not going to sign, and there’s no way in Hell I’m ever giving money to some random with a logo. My purse is on my back, my arms are full, my keys are out. I am avoiding your eyes because your very presence in my path, added to your searching gaze to catch my attention and make your plea, bug the ever living shit out of me, and I fear that if I am to make eye contact, I will not be able to control my mouth. I’m exiting a store with a bunch of bags, so clearly I have just loaded up on stuff that goes in my kitchen, which means I am on my way home, en route to my sanctuary, and the last thing I’m in the mood for is your badgering. Go. Away.

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I Am Stardirt May 29, 2011 @ 5:46 p.m.

Having been on the other side of your rant, believe me when I say, you are no picnic either.


Barbarella Fokos May 29, 2011 @ 7:07 p.m.

I liken people with clipboards who harass grocery shoppers to telemarketers: trying to make a dime by interrupting someone else's personal time to promote another's agenda. Picnic? Why should we have to smile and make excuses to those who are being intrusive to push their pet project? I don't bother people in their day to day activities to preach my causes. That would be rude, irritating, and certainly worthy of a rant.


andrewj May 29, 2011 @ 8:40 p.m.

I guess you've never had to do anything this difficult for a living. Get a job.


Barbarella Fokos May 29, 2011 @ 9:31 p.m.

Andrew, if I could find someone to pay me to follow you around all day and poke you with a sharp stick, would that be okay? ;) I can't imagine it would be an "easy job."


Fred Williams May 30, 2011 @ 12:55 a.m.

Barb, it's sad really.

Petitions used to be a way for those without money and power to get something on the ballot.

Nowadays, with paid petitioners being the norm, they've become mostly the opposite.

Companies like the La Jolla Group, run by Bob Glaser, make a good business out of prostituting democracy this way. Whatever the cause, as long as the money is good, they can get it on the ballot with their army of impoverished and often desperate signature gatherers.

It's all perfectly legal of course, just immoral. It should be against the law to pay people to collect signatures. That way, only actual citizen activists would be there, occasionally, to try to get your support for a worthy cause.

As it is today, the title of whatever they're touting is often misleading, so it's best not to sign anything. Which of course just works to the advantage of the wealthy and powerful...who have corrupted this referendum process through misuse.

In the end, Californians all lose because of these paid signature gatherers...and the political parasites like Glaser who organize them for big money. The prostitution of petitioning is just one more reason why our democracy is in such poor condition.


I Am Stardirt May 30, 2011 @ 1:51 a.m.

Thoughtful post Fred. I couldn't agree more. I used to become angry at these people until I changed my attitude. I do not consider an expectant look, an act of harrassment. I smile and keep walking. What could be more simple than that. I suspect my anger had another source and I was projecting it onto a convenient target.


Barbarella Fokos May 30, 2011 @ 9:20 a.m.

I agree with Diana, way to lay it out there objectively and reasonably, Fred. When people are paid per signature, and they need the money, they are to me merely panhandlers, some more pushy than others. And it's not just an expectant look -- they step in my path, they ask personal questions, and some, after a "no thanks," don't let up. I happen to agree with some of the causes, but I'd rather give directly to a nonprofit, and not support this often misleading method.


Barbarella Fokos May 30, 2011 @ 9:50 a.m.

Side note: In the past, I've done phone banking in support of equal rights (pertaining to gay marriage). It was volunteer work, a cause in which I strongly believe. Some of the people I interrupted at home were not very pleasant. But I also understood I was calling them, so I didn't take it personally.

On two recent occasions -- one with an ACLU clipboard, the other with a gay rights clipboard -- I approached the canvassers and inquired as to what it was they were promoting specifically, so that if I agreed I could sign. But they didn't want my signature -- they wanted money. When I said I don't pay people on the street just because they have a logo and a t-shirt, that I preferred to send money to organizations directly. In both instances, I was argued with. "Don't you want to support what I do?" one said. "How can you say you truly believe in this but aren't willing to make a payment right now?" said the other. I wished them good luck and after several minutes, extricated myself from the "discussion."

I now avoid ALL of them, regardless of the cause scrawled on the t-shirt. I'm not saying what they do is easy... just that it's annoying.


I Am Stardirt May 30, 2011 @ 8:59 p.m.

In order to save you from future harassment from the Medical Cannabis People, Radical Uterus (who chose to become a vegetarian for the holiday weekend) tweeted the President in response to his message to Veterans. I hope this helps.


Fred Williams May 31, 2011 @ 1:55 a.m.

Ah yes, phone banking. I've done more than my share of that over the years, Barb.

Funny thing is, if you want to stop the political calls from coming, tell the caller immediately that you support whoever the other candidate may be. If it's Fred, say you're voting for Bob, and if it's Bob say you're voting for Fred.

This means both campaigns will mark you down as someone not to call again.

If you just agree and say, "Okay, I'll vote for Fred", you'll get more calls to remind you to come to the polls or beg you to volunteer or even give money.

Worst is to be honest and thoughtful, saying "I'm undecided". You'll be bombarded with calls until the election.

That's how it works. And it really doesn't work well any more, does it Barb? Most people today have a mobile phone, which campaigns cannot call en masse. So you end up mostly getting answering machines -- or the occasional elderly person picking up the phone.




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