King's Eye Land: Scramble Light solicitation pushy; peddlers annoying

Been solicited lately? Annoyed? Take heed: People everywhere are learning to avoid the intersection of McKinley and Riverside.

Each week, a new peddler takes a shift. The goal: Force flyers, handbills and brands of Truth on people who aren't interested.

A few times a year, everything (including interpretations of Truth), gets preempted by capitalism as new peddlers dole out credit card applications. For those offended by a brazen objection to religious solicitation, call Visa. Just like God, they're everywhere you want to be.

People can't pass that corner without the opportunistic approaches of peddlers. I can't even go in that general direction without a peddler venturing far out to catch people like me. I swing wider and wider each week, vainly attempting to pass unbothered.

So, I have stopped going that way mostly out of the sheer desperation to avoid being hassled. Why is this a big deal? Why can't I just deal with it?

We walk in a personal bubble, even if we're with friends. Sure, we're on a public street, but our conversations and our personal space is private. We keep to ourselves when we go from place to place. Whatever happened to leaving people alone?

Let's break this down:

Don't get in the way. No, it doesn't take me long to snatch a handbill from a peddler's hand, but it takes me forever to pass a trash can that is safely out of the peddler's line of sight. Do not interfere with the course of my education, or whatever else made me do all this walking.

Don't hand me religion. I have my religion, and I'm not showing it off, and I am certainly not handing it out on the street, or forcing it on anyone. Religion is a personal, inner connection to a greater power. Religion can't be sold, bought or processed. Religion should be practiced, preached, understood, educated and respected - but not solicited.

Don't hand me flyers for meetings, shows, gatherings or parties. I have my life, and I rather enjoy doing nothing with my free time. When something interests me - and things often do - I will not expect a flyer. I can get a flyer from the trash.

Don't hand me a credit card form. Debt sucks, and I don't want its chains to get any tighter. Targeting college students who generally have no concept of debt is wrong. Go away.

They're all peddling something, and whether it's a religion, an activity, a credit card or a call to action, the goal is the same: Get as many people as possible to do something. Make them fall in line. "Get them to be just like us."

Homogeny is dangerous. I'm not interested.

So, don't hand me anything. Don't try. Don't insist when I say no. Don't follow me as I pass. Just get out of the away.

How else will people find out about new things? We're here to learn about others, and that I wholly support. Put up a table and a big sign and sit down. Interested people will approach.

To the peddlers, I say respect people's right to not be interested. Learn about people like me and respect people like me. Leave us alone so that we have a chance to leave you alone.

Write to John at kingseyeland@bsu.edu


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