I get handed at least one flyer a day on campus. There’s always someone who wants you to attend an event, buy something, donate (because we college students are just rolling in the Benjamins), join a club, or volunteer. There is literally a flyer for everything.
Usually, I am fine with at least smiling politely, taking the flyer and moving on. Sometimes when I'm feeling sassy I'll say, “No, thanks” and refuse the flyer. (A symptom of being an Oregonian, I can’t be rude to them, after all, they have feelings too.)
Last week, there was this little booth on the corner of my daily route that was filled with people trying to sell you an iPad. These people were relentless. Not only did they have a booth that was impeding the sidewalk, but their salespeople were spread out in every direction so they could catch any of the unsuspecting students that came within a 20-foot radius.
After a couple days of dealing with this, I began to become extremely annoyed, especially when one of them attempted to body block me when I was late for class. I don't like being rude to people, but I will if need be. So this got me thinking. Rather than being short with them, the best way to get these people off your back is to make them feel uncomfortable and confused. Here are a few of the retorts that I thought would suffice.
1. Ask, “Who’s your favorite serial killer and why?”
2. Tell them to watch out for the rabid dog that are on the loose.
3. Let them give you their pitch and stay quiet with a blank look on your face for at least five solid seconds, then start making rapid hand gestures as though you were signing at them.
4. This strategy actually works with any language. French, German, Spanish etc. all seem to do the trick.
5. Blow the whistle that’s on your backpack whenever they start talking to you. (A little rude, but effective.)
6. Say, “The voices warned me about you.”
7. Ask, “How hard did you cry when Michael Jackson died?”
8. When they start talking, look into the distance behind them with a terrified look on your face until they turn to look, then walk away.
9. Say your sentences with the words in the wrong order. Example: Don’t to you I really talk to want. Translation: I really don't want to talk to you.
10. When they start talking to you, look scared and start hyperventilating.
In order to fulfill its purpose, all of the strategies must be carried out with the utmost seriousness and commitment. If you pretend you speak French, you have to only speak French every time you pass them. When correctly executed, these replies have the potential to help you evade any annoying communication with people in general, not just flyer-pushers.