Feb 252007
Authors: Drew Haugen

To all you campus passer-outers: Your advertising methods are ineffectual. Therefore, I feel it is my duty to terrorize you – or at least avoid your presence.

It’s a sunny day, and I’m strutting my stuff down the Clark freeway in my Ugg boots (yeah, I’m feelin’ sexy). Like usual, the LSC-Yates Corridor is clogged with commuters.

Perfect. They’ll serve as cover.

These silky baby-blues have carefully spotted my adversaries along the route and I see them before they see me.

Good. Like that. I have the element of surprise.

“Free coupon book? There’s a two-for-one dog-waxing coupon in here .” They politely solicit passersby, who inattentively glide past.

Then comes the smell of burnt fecal matter. Faint on the slight breeze at first, then stronger.

Out of their periphery they catch a glint of flame, and the coupon dispensers turn on heel to find their stack of coupon books soaked in cow-manure and set ablaze.

Through the flames that lick the sky the coupon dispensers can see an Ugg-clad culprit retreating into the forest of the Natural Resources Building, giggling with glee.

The Solicitor-Ripper strikes again.

Let’s face it: The last thing I want is a stranger stuffing my hands with coupons, concert flyers and petitions I have no interest in on my way to class.

As a consumer, the messages I get from solicitors on campus are 1) “automatically ignore me” and 2) “Here, stranger! Would you throw this crap away for me?”

To pass out things on campus, you should be required to bring your own recycling bin to place 50 feet behind you on the sidewalk.

If I want your coupons, I’ll seek them out. Similar with events, petitions, and any other thing you want to push on me whilst I’m struttin’.

Sometimes I get caught off-guard, and I don’t happen to have any excrement or incendiary devices with me. This is when I employ evasive maneuvers.

I have two different types of evasive maneuvers in my playbook. The first type is passive. These are simple techniques that employ props.

Allow me to illustrate. You catch a glimpse of a blue-coated petitioner in the sunlight down the sidewalk: “Do you have a minute for the environment?”

I always have a minute for the environment, but not for you.

Boom. Go right to that iPod. Cell phones work well, too. When you approach your clipboard-wielding assailant, your nose is sunk into the index of your music or you’re buried in a transcendental conversation with your battery-dead cell phone.

You’re too busy for the hustle and bustle of daily life and petitioners: You’re plastered to a small plastic device that says, “Nope, I’m busy” to anyone who hopes for a moment of your time.

You’re a college student on your way to take an afternoon siesta: The environment can go to hell for the moment, along with that petition.

The second type of evasive maneuver I use employs active techniques. These maneuvers usually include props, too. Trees, snowdrifts, building features, and, most importantly, other people.

This time it’s the fundamentalist Christians, assuring you of your eternal damnation on a beautiful sunny day near the Plaza. Yup, I think you guys are right: I can see the Apocalypse from here.

If you have a blocker-walker, you can blow past your assailants as they pull in your blocker; your blocker telling them “not interested” distracts these hounds a few precious seconds for you to make your escape.

If a blocker is not readily available, then open spaces are advantageous. This could mean cutting a diagonal through the area in front of the library, walking over the gravel next to Clark, or bypassing the Plaza by walking the small sidewalks on either side.

Let’s be honest: The time for personal solicitation is over. Not only that, even verbal solicitation like telemarketing is a thing of the past.

You think it’s rude for me to avoid solicitation? You think I’m a self-involved ass for walking on by? Well that may be, but my siesta is a few minutes longer because of it.

And that’s good enough for me.

Drew Haugen is a senior international studies major. His column appears every Monday in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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