Thursday, August 18, 2011

Do You Need to Defend Yourself from Canvassers?

You know, those people hanging out on street corners, clipboard in hand, collecting signatures (and sometimes money) to save the children, the whales, the unborn, the undead, . . .

Apparently in downtown Seattle some canvassers are getting too aggressive. Councilmember Tom Rasmussen is considering a law to do something about it.

Hear about it, and some opinions, on KUOW-FM, where yesterday Mr. Rasmussen and others answered questions posed by host Ross Reynolds and listeners who called and emailed in.  http://www.kuow.org/program.php?id=24293

Sure some canvassers are annoyingly aggressive. However, I don't see the need for a law to deal with them. A simple "no thank you" and walking on should do the trick. (Yes, I do teach that, and other verbal safety skills, in some of my self defense classes.)

For instance, I am walking around Westlake Mall (seems to be Canvasser Central these days) and am approached by a young man (or woman) asking for just a few moments of your time to save the children. I will make a snap decision: to give them some of my time, or to say "no thank you" and walk on. Either choice is fine, as long as it is MY choice and I'm not just getting sucked into it because that's what good folk like us do. My choice would be to say "no thank you" and walk on, secure in the knowledge that I'm already doing the right thing because have a charitable giving plan already in place. If that canvasser then feigns shock that I don't care about the children, I will WALK ON. I do not feel I need to answer to him. I owe him nothing, and will not get sucked into a time-wasting, energy-draining conversation web.


Remember the sage advice of Eleanor Roosevelt: "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." It's up to each and every one of us to spot emotional manipulation and deal. It's just the right thing to do.

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