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Shalom, Christmas Shoppers
December 3, 2008 6:51 PM   Subscribe

"We're not selling here -- we're hunting!" The young man or woman at the mall kiosk who grabs your shoulder and says "Can I have twenty seconds of your time to show you something amazing?" might be a young Israeli saving up for a pre-army jaunt to Asia or South America. The U.S. kiosk trade has become popular enough in Israel to inspire a folk-rock song by musician and kiosk veteran Rami Feinstein. The Wall Street Journal offers a generally admiring profile of the Israeli "natural-born closers." The Capital Times, in Madison, WI, wishes they'd buzz off.
posted by escabeche (115 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
They are WAY too aggressive for my taste. I noticed one particularly annoying woman who would single out women of a certain age and start hawking her skin creams in a really loud voice. I stopped going to the mall because they were so bad. The WSJ was far too kind to them.
posted by etaoin at 6:54 PM on December 3, 2008


It's also about badgering, intimidating and encroaching on the personal space of shoppers, say some of those who have been approached by salespeople

If I have to feed my kid on commissions... fuck your personal space, homes.

Go ahead and say one cause is worth it and one isn't. But then you're just talking matters of taste.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:58 PM on December 3, 2008


"No thanks, I just ate." worked amazingly well for the skin cream kiosk last week.
posted by mcrandello at 7:00 PM on December 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


The worst part is it was just a reflex reaction after all the bourbon chicken I'd had shoved at me in years past in the food court :^(
posted by mcrandello at 7:03 PM on December 3, 2008


"Excuse me, but can I see your hands?"
"Sorry, they're not mine."
posted by danb at 7:06 PM on December 3, 2008 [5 favorites]


Don't... go... to... malls?
posted by rusty at 7:07 PM on December 3, 2008 [14 favorites]


I didn't really need another reason to not go to the mall (do I even know the closest one? I just go to Costco and Target..) but I'll take it.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 7:14 PM on December 3, 2008


Had a couple of these jokers in the kiosk next to me when I was working at a Dip n' Dots at the local mall. They were quite likable folk overall, but I was glad that as a fellow wage-slave they never latched on to me as a customer.
posted by AdamCSnider at 7:16 PM on December 3, 2008


dear mr. beese...

get a real job, and get out of my face. oh, and screw your kids.
posted by billybobtoo at 7:20 PM on December 3, 2008 [14 favorites]


Wow, that's crazy! I was at the mall last weekend with my wife getting highly irritated that she kept stopping at the kiosks. The nail care kit, the collogne/perfume stand, even the pet crab guys - all middle eastern. I was wondering why but I didn't say anything except to tease her about wasting my whole day (and theirs) when she keeps going up to them and letting them do their whole pitch with absolutely no intention of buying anything. I'd rather not waste their (or my) time.
I was also stunned to see that they were closing the 'Virgin Megastore' although I don't know why I should be... can't be all that profitable to be a giant music store anymore. Still, it's the size of a wal-mart and it's in the center of AZ Mills Mall. I can't imagine what they'll do with that space now.
posted by Bageena at 7:21 PM on December 3, 2008


I think linking twice to the same article in a single FPP is pushing that article too aggressively.
posted by qvantamon at 7:28 PM on December 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


If I have to feed my kid on commissions... fuck your personal space, homes.

Hey, I'll bet you'd make a great spammer!
posted by me & my monkey at 7:32 PM on December 3, 2008 [5 favorites]


Enhanced Marketing Techniques.
posted by acro at 7:35 PM on December 3, 2008


Hey, I'll bet you'd make a great spammer!

Well, at least one not encumbered by the difficulty of choosing between your disdain and my kid going hungry.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:44 PM on December 3, 2008


Sellers? Or operatives? The Israeli Art Student Mystery.
posted by grounded at 7:51 PM on December 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


I'm really impressed with the comments posted in that article by The Capital Times. There would be people demanding ICE raids and capital punishment in my local paper.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 7:52 PM on December 3, 2008


I don't mind giving dirty looks to aggressive salespeople. It works. You don't have to be nice to everyone all the time. Or I keep my earphones in and pretend not to hear them.
posted by anniecat at 7:56 PM on December 3, 2008


I wonder if these kiosks are bad for the malls in the long run. My impression is a lot of Americans shop because they enjoy the experience-- if you make the experience less enjoyable, they'll shop elsewhere or shop less.
posted by justkevin at 7:58 PM on December 3, 2008


Wow, the pitch in the song is word for word exactly what I was told recently when the salesguy at one of these nail carts in a mall spotted me with unpainted nails.
posted by Dragonness at 8:14 PM on December 3, 2008


Operators often offer a kind of package deal, where they subsidize housing and transportation for their temporary workers sex slaves.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:16 PM on December 3, 2008


Oh my God! These people approach me all the time at the mall. The exchange usually goes like this:

Pushy saleslady: Can I ask you a question?

Me: No.

PS: [glare]

M: [walkawayquicklyquicklywalkaway]
posted by mynameisluka at 8:17 PM on December 3, 2008


I have no trouble ignoring those kiosk employees. I can't really comprehend people who feel they are obligated to stop and listen to a spiel because some stupid salesperson wants them to.
posted by jayder at 8:17 PM on December 3, 2008 [7 favorites]


I have encountered these people. If I'd known their transgressions were an intentional sales strategy and not merely a new employee being stupidly overzealous and annoying, I'd have told them to see how moisturized their cream could have made the inside of their rectum instead of being polite but firm. I have no sympathy whatsoever for that kind of strategy. It feeds on, and consumes, society's kindness and takes advantage of nice people who don't want to hurt the feelings of others.

Joe Beese: If I have to feed my kid on commissions... fuck your personal space, homes.

Well, it's a hell of a bad strategy on a lot of people. Try it on me and even if I don't detect your attempt to take advantage of me, I will still come out of it buying nothing and with a hell of a negative impression of you, your product, and your company. And now that I know it's intentional, the next time it happens I'm lodging a complaint with the mall management. It does make the shopping experience less enjoyable.
posted by Mitrovarr at 8:22 PM on December 3, 2008 [8 favorites]


Pushy saleslady: [Faux-personal pushy saleslady tactic]

Me: Sorry, I don't know you. *grins broadly, does not look back*
posted by hermitosis at 8:23 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Joe Beese: 1) It's Holmes, not Homes. 2) You seem incredibly quick on the draw and annoyingly off key...consider chilling out a bit, hmm?
posted by Burhanistan at 8:25 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sometimes I wish I had kids. Man, then I could justify anything! Because it's for the kids! And I wouldn't have to worry about those false dichotomies anymore because, you know, I have kids!
posted by grouse at 8:26 PM on December 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


Well, it's a hell of a bad strategy on a lot of people.

No argument here. It would sure stir my bile if they tried it on me.

It's just that with the times as they are, I feel increasingly embarrassed at the thought of sitting in judgment on what someone else might have to do for a living.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:28 PM on December 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Joe Beese: It's just that with the times as they are, I feel increasingly embarrassed at the thought of sitting in judgment on what someone else might have to do for a living.

Personally, I consider pushy direct-marketing salesmen on the same level as spammers and telemarketers - and this level is right below non-violent drug dealers and two levels below illegal prostitutes. Even begging has more dignity, if you're not pushy about it.

You are stealing my time to make money (well, to try to make money, because I'll jam icepicks into my eye sockets and lobotomize myself before I buy something that was marketed in those ways.) The only difference between that and stealing my property is the degree of the theft. Plus, almost nothing worthwhile is marketed in these ways. If it was you could sell it honestly.
posted by Mitrovarr at 8:34 PM on December 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


1) It's Holmes, not Homes. 2) You seem incredibly quick on the draw and annoyingly off key...consider chilling out a bit, hmm?

1) Thanks for the correction. How wack of me! [Though if it will help excuse the error, the link - while etymologically referencing "homeboy" - no "l" - doesn't explain where Sherlock might come into it. Go figure.] 2) I honestly didn't think my statement that was provocative. Even now, while I could see someone completely disagreeing with a "my kid is important to me than anything else" philosophy, I don't see how they could take it as some kind of personal affront - as several here seem to have. But I'm new - and outnumbered - so I'll be happy to let it drop with any due apologies rendered.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:36 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I have to feed my kids! Fuck you and your personal space! MY KIDS! MY FUCKING KIDS! THEY DO NOT EAT UNLESS I RAM THIS FUCKING PRODUCT DOWN YOUR THROATUNTILITCOMESPOURINGOUTOFYOURASS take that you and your desire for a soft sell.

I tell you what. Give me the hard fucking sell, you'll get a hard fucking no. I didn't choose to have your kids, and I am not responsible for buying your shitty product because you have never heard of food stamps.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:38 PM on December 3, 2008 [9 favorites]


On preview ...

Nah, I stand by what I said.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:39 PM on December 3, 2008 [7 favorites]


mynameisluka:Pushy saleslady: Can I ask you a question?

When I responded with "If you aren't going to blow me, I'm not interested", they didn't bother me again that day. I wonder if it would have had the same effect had it been a woman.
posted by dr_dank at 8:40 PM on December 3, 2008


On the other hand, See's Candies has reappeared at my local mall, offering me free samples in a very polite manner. Mary See--she looks like gramma, but she's my own personal crack dealer come the holidays.
posted by gimonca at 8:43 PM on December 3, 2008


I don't like mall hawkers because they remind me too much of being pulled into a hawker conversation in Florence and getting my pocket picked.

Plus, I spend all of my free time online. Who would go to a mall voluntarily? *shudder*
posted by The Whelk at 8:43 PM on December 3, 2008


I love the mall. The Mall of America is the strangest place on earth, and I never get sick of it. Also: They have 3D movies.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:46 PM on December 3, 2008


Joe Bees: fair enough sir. We were all new at one point, then quickly became jaded and cynical. It's fun!
posted by Burhanistan at 8:46 PM on December 3, 2008


Sorry, Beese. I'm all kinds of typo today.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:47 PM on December 3, 2008


Dude: "Excuse me sir, can I ask you something?"

Avenger: "Only if I can talk to you about the saving power of Jesus!"

Dude: [vaguely disgusted laugh, walks away]

See, its funny because I'm really thinking of the great deals I get from my Honduran gardner, rather than the Hebrew carpenter.
posted by Avenger at 8:49 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I am not responsible for buying your shitty product because you have never heard of food stamps.

But I - having chosen, wisely or poorly, to have those kids - am now responsible for feeding them. Even at the cost of becoming the human vermin that aggressive mall salespeople are apparently regarded as.

That was my point - however poorly argued.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:50 PM on December 3, 2008


Mitrovarr: [These aggressive sales tactics] feed on, and consume, society's kindness and take advantage of nice people who don't want to hurt the feelings of others.

Amen, and worth repeating. Society's kindness is much more valuable and rare than any commodity that requires this kind of tactic.
posted by applemeat at 8:55 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Joe Beese: It's just that with the times as they are, I feel increasingly embarrassed at the thought of sitting in judgment on what someone else might have to do for a living.

Rather, it seems that perhaps you are feeling increasingly embarrassed of what you do for a living.
posted by applemeat at 8:56 PM on December 3, 2008


Two of these guys are renting most of my sister's B&B for the winter (it is off season so more reasonably priced.) I thought it was weird for people to travel all the way to Mid-MO just to sell some T-shirts, but now it all makes more sense.
posted by schyler523 at 8:59 PM on December 3, 2008


Joe Beese: But I - having chosen, wisely or poorly, to have those kids - am now responsible for feeding them. Even at the cost of becoming the human vermin that aggressive mall salespeople are apparently regarded as.

In that case, I have sympathy for your situation but not for your actions. It's pretty much the same as if you turned to mugging people, although to a much lesser degree.
posted by Mitrovarr at 8:59 PM on December 3, 2008


Rather, it seems that perhaps you are feeling increasingly embarrassed of what you do for a living.

Nor have I stopped beating my wife yet.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:00 PM on December 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


I feel increasingly embarrassed at the thought of sitting in judgment on what someone else might have to do for a living.

What it comes down to is: does one's way of making living capitalize on bad faith and manipulation? If so, you ought to be ashamed that you have to resort to that to "feed your children." I always thought it was a time-honored tradition for people to try to feed their families honestly, which would include not scamming the gullible, not stealing, etc. These mall vendors cannot claim to be selling their wares in an honest, above-board way, as they are resorting to high-pressure, manipulative sales and actually physically accosting prospective customers. So, even if they are "feeding their children," it is still reprehensible.

And as to the need to "feed your children": At least in my city, the holidays bring a marked increase in burglaries, undoubtedly fueled by some people's need to feed their children, who were unfortunate enough to be born to parents unprepared to raise them responsibly.

I guess it was small-minded of me to sit in judgment of the burglars.
posted by jayder at 9:05 PM on December 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


If I have to feed my kid on commissions... fuck your personal space, homes.

Go ahead and say one cause is worth it and one isn't. But then you're just talking matters of taste.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:58 PM on December 3


Yeah, man. Why don't we just set up some 3 card monty tables, get some grey market Panasornic electronics, and turn shopping malls into a fucking middle east ghetto, eh, homes? Those stupid rubes are just begging to have their money take it from them. You are precisely the kind of dummy that watches a movie like Glengarry Glenross and thinks Alec Baldwin is a heroic figure.

It is disgusting how this gutter capitalist attitude is glorified by that article. "Harness the culture of the bazaar?" That's the mentality that describes Wall Street over the last few years. This is the attitude that thinks in terms of getting money, not making it. So what if you scare 5 customers away for every one you pressure into buying, as long as you got some money out of them, right?

The entire purpose of the department store first, and then the shopping mall was to eliminate the aggressive hustle. The corridors between departments or stores were a designated no-sell zone where shoppers could linger and wander without pressure. Salesmen only approached when you stepped out of the lane and into the merchandise shelves or racks. The idea was that shoppers will buy more at the mall over the long run if they aren't pressured by crooks who learned business selling grey market crap to japanese tourists in 5th avenue electronics stores.

Now I understand the attitude that says "Fuck your personal space, homes, I gots to gets mine" is physically incapable of contemplating a long term that is longer that sunrise to sunset. But it might be worth taking a moment to ask why all the old money still has money, and why the new money, with its take-no-prisoners attitude, somehow never survives. If you live in the northeast, there were dozens of heroic departments stores, like Wanamaker's, Strawbridge and Clothier, Bamberger's, etc. The stores were all bought and sold by conglomerates years ago. But the families those stores are named after are still incredibly wealthy, are still very active in their communities, still donate to charity etc. Ask anyone who has every been to those stores when they were owned by the original owners and they will tell you they were not run by hucksters or hustlers. Those families didn't build epic wealth by hustlin' yo, they built it by building roots in their communities and serving customers.

We don't need hustlers hawking their wares and grabbing passers-by, and the mall operators who allow that to go on are idiots, because people will stop coming to the mall to avoid being harassed. If people want the ghetto, they'll just go the the ghetto, they don't need it brought to them.

As a veteran of mall kiosks, I can assure you that my partners and I made considerably more money than what is being talked about in the article by deliberately not pressuring people. The customer that comes to look will come back, if you let them. If you have an interesting product, i.e. if you put some fucking thought into what you are selling relative to what else is being sold at the mall, and if you price it right, the customer will buy. They will feel like they discovered a new product rather than feeling like they've been ripped off, and that personalizes the experience more for them.

The reason we don't have these bazaars here is because they don't work. You make less money. There are entire business school curricula that explain how and why this is so, but if, as the person in the article says, you are trying to sell ice to Eskimos, there's no point in me explaining it because you lack the intelligence, work ethic, and maturity to understand it.

Oh, and if you violate my personal space, homes, expect my foot to violate your ass.
posted by Pastabagel at 9:05 PM on December 3, 2008 [47 favorites]


It feeds on, and consumes, society's kindness and takes advantage of nice people who don't want to hurt the feelings of others.

This is what really irks me too -- not that it's just a hard sell, or annoying, but that the Kiosk Trolls actively predate on courtesy.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:08 PM on December 3, 2008 [5 favorites]


I love the mall. The Mall of America is the strangest place on earth, and I never get sick of it.

Finally, someone who agrees with me on this! My friends always ask me why I go there. I tell them it's because it costs money to get into the zoo.
posted by MrBadExample at 9:10 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


You don't have to be nice to everyone all the time. Or I keep my earphones in and pretend not to hear them.

I was a latecomer to the whole iPod thing, but when I noticed that as long as I was wearing earphones, I could ignore people, look right past them, and they'd just smile and move on to the next person.... I was sold for life. I never enter a store without them anymore.

Sometimes I even turn music on, but not usually.
posted by rokusan at 9:13 PM on December 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


Oh no. The Mall of America is AWESOME. Of course, some of its best features are only there a short while before they vanish, such as the fencing school that used to be on the third floor or Hulk Hogan's Pastamania.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:15 PM on December 3, 2008


Seacret Spa LLC, a Phoenix-based company that sells skin-care products using minerals from the Dead Sea,

Really? No qualifiers? Or better yet, "a Phoenix-based company that sells skin-care products".
posted by mlis at 9:15 PM on December 3, 2008


Ten for that? You must be mad!
posted by gimonca at 9:16 PM on December 3, 2008


One more thing: If you're trying to raise your kids right, the example you set by what you do to make a living is important. Consider the honest hard work that is represented in thousands of humble jobs, from fast-food to sanitation, that people do to feed their children. Those jobs are honest, above-board, and dignified.

On the other hand, what kind of parent wants their kids to come see them at work aggressively chasing prospective customers --- "Excuse me, let me see your hands" ... "Can I ask you a question?" --- "Come over here and have a seat, it will just be a minute, something very special from the Dead Sea to show you," etc.

Unless you want to raise your kids to have a cynical street hustler mentality, I would urge you to go with the humble-but-dignified route of fast food and sanitation work, of which their is plenty, supplemented by food stamps. You really don't want your kid to grow up with memories of mom hustling gullible holiday shoppers at the local mall. It's about half a step above feeding your kid by running a three card monte game, homes.
posted by jayder at 9:16 PM on December 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Pastabagel, we're thinking alike.
posted by jayder at 9:19 PM on December 3, 2008


I have seen kiosks, but never anyone aggressively accosting people or even approaching people who don't willingly approach the cart.

My response to just about anything like this is, "thanks, I'm good" without breaking stride. They're usually halfway through the next sentence when they realize I'm not stopping.

grabs your shoulder
Seriously? I do not let strangers put their hands on me. Just, no. I would either physically smack their hand off or tell them I was calling the police.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:19 PM on December 3, 2008


The Wall Street Journal offers a generally admiring profile of the Israeli "natural-born closers."

The more I think about it, the WSJ sucks more every day. Oh well. I wonder how long before blind items run above the fold.
posted by mlis at 9:20 PM on December 3, 2008


Whoa, what is going on with Rami's shirt in the WSJ link? It looks like he is emerging from a cocoon.
posted by Mr Mister at 9:20 PM on December 3, 2008


To be completely fair: when I'm in the mood for it, I do like the culture of the bazaar, or the crazy-busy markets full of people hawking things in a swirling flurry of impossible-to-follow activity. It's very fun. I even like arguing and haggling with vendors. And it's a pretty universal kind of fun once you get outside of the US/Canada where they seem so rare: the markets in Madrid, Johannesburg, Istanbul, Mexico, Tokyo and London are pretty interchangeable, really, other than the languages being pattered and the odd goods being sold. (They all have Panasornic, though, don't worry.)

But I DO NOT want that when I'm stopping for a coffee during lunch, trying on six pairs of shoes, or running out to the Radio Shack for some overpriced batteries, you know?

Malls are not markets. They each have their place. A mall is the shopping version of going to the movies, a market is like going out clubbing.
posted by rokusan at 9:20 PM on December 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


grabs your shoulder

I was touring temples in Bali not too long after the 2005 bombings. The hawkers there are exponentially more aggressive than any Israelis working US malls. I learned quickly to ignore while smiling in no particular direction, but once I did stop and peruse a stall and I basically had to yell at the guy and his wife to get out of my face and let me move on. They were desperate, though, and seemed to all be controlled by some kind of distribution cartel. They all spoke the same weird English phrases as well, like said cartel had given them training or something. Anyways.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:27 PM on December 3, 2008


If I have to feed my kid on commissions... fuck your personal space, homes.

You know who else thought the ends justified the means?
posted by GuyZero at 9:29 PM on December 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Do you like your hair curly? Do you like it straight?' " said Tal, who declined to give his last name. A list of business licenses granted in Davenport, Iowa, for It's All About Hair, however, lists his name as Tal Nemezar.

Sometimes I really like it when reporters are dicks.
posted by rokusan at 9:30 PM on December 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


HA!! That explains it! I actually bought something at the kiosk because the girl was frigging beautiful.
posted by Crotalus at 9:33 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Those Dead Sea bath salts sure travel a lot (saw them while working in Sydney, with pushy Israeli vendor and all). I imagine that explains why the Dead Sea level keeps falling.
posted by Iosephus at 9:33 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


They were selling that Dead Sea crap at the Houston Galleria a few years ago. The Israeli girl was kind of comely, and I did buy a damn nail buffer.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:37 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


The vitriol in this thread astonishes me. They're just kids, fer chrissake.

Is this a middle-American thing? Do you guys think that these horrible furriners are taking advantage of your friendliness and open-ness?

Ignore them if you don't want to buy anything. You are not obligated to respond to a stranger talking to you on the street. There's nothing rude about walking away and pretending they don't exist.
posted by jason's_planet at 9:40 PM on December 3, 2008 [5 favorites]


I noticed this in the summer. By the time the israeli cart girl was finished selling me a fucking microwaveable aromatherapy bean bag I felt like I'd just had a lap dance.
posted by autodidact at 9:46 PM on December 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


I will say, though, that grabbing people or touching people without their permission is completely out of bounds and that someone needs to educate these folks about how Anglo-Saxons view personal space.
posted by jason's_planet at 9:47 PM on December 3, 2008


"I can't really comprehend people who feel they are obligated to stop and listen to a spiel because some stupid salesperson wants them to."

Seconded. Honestly, just pull a Cheney and tell them to go fuck themselves. My time is valuable, and if people are going to try and actively squander some of my time I let them know how I feel.

Then again, I didn't go to malls in America that often (I did go to a Target connected to a mall). The internet is your friend, a place where money can be exchanged for various goods and services.

That said, I love shopping in Korea. Any price you see on something is merely a suggestion.
posted by bardic at 9:47 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


The vitriol in this thread astonishes me. They're just kids, fer chrissake.

Is this a middle-American thing? Do you guys think that these horrible furriners are taking advantage of your friendliness and open-ness?


Not to detract from the fact that the sellers are horribly annoying, you do have a point. Many people who shop at malls tend to be dead asleep (see Dawn of the Dead) and have really no internal mechanism for dealing with something that doesn't quite mesh with their expectation of a pleasant zombie walk through the nice shiny mall. If you observe people in countries where haggling and bazaars are more prominent, you'll find that they tend to be much more mentally lithe when negotiating public spaces. That, to me, is preferable to the close minded stupor that is the norm when going out to the mall. But again, we're talking about crappy cosmetics and other such unnecessary junk, so perhaps it doesn't matter.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:48 PM on December 3, 2008


Is this a middle-American thing? Do you guys think that these horrible furriners are taking advantage of your friendliness and open-ness?

Well, it's not that they are Israeli. I also balk when a panhandler walks up to me with his hand extended to shake. If you shake, he doesn't let go. There was a guy who used to worm his way into women's apartments and then rape them. He did it by offering to help them with their groceries.

There are a lot of polite people in this world, and forcing them to feel like rude assholes if they don't want to have their politeness used as a sales gimmick -- or just want to be safe -- is just reprehensible.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:51 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow, I had no idea. I noticed this last christmas, at a fancy downtown mall. I was waiting for my girlfriend when this attractive woman with an exotic accent grabbed my hand. She was selling some kind of nail buffer kit. Before I had time to react she was buffing my nails, explaining to me how this would make my girlfriends nail perfectly shiny, and how it would stay that way "no matter how many time she do dishes." (That pitch really stuck with me.) I was polite, smiled, and talked with her for a few moments, but really I was waiting for my girlfriend to come and rescue me. Finally I just pulled away, said goodbye and tried to hustle away. The woman followed me for a good twenty feet and then just yelled down the corridor at me. It was insane.

This year, at a different mall, I was again waiting for my girlfriend. I ended up pacing up an down the corridor as the various booth-girls yelled at me. I smiled and nodded but generally avoided eye-contact (something one learns in a big enough city.) It was a bit exhausting though. No more malls for me for awhile.
posted by elwoodwiles at 10:03 PM on December 3, 2008


The vitriol in this thread astonishes me. They're just kids, fer chrissake.

I think you're seeing vitriol creep from the narrow topic (teenage Israeli kiosk hawkers) to some broader rants about all kiosks, all malls, and aggressive salesmanship in general.

If we stayed on topic it could get uglier though. I mean, we've got clever Israelis pulling slick sales jobs on gullible Americans... and you can add your own "starting them young" joke here.
posted by rokusan at 10:10 PM on December 3, 2008


jason's_planet: There's nothing rude about walking away and pretending they don't exist.

Actually, that's incredibly rude. And they're making me do it. Which makes them assholes who force other people to either be huge jerks or buy their crap. That's their whole strategy.

People shouldn't be jerks who ignore strangers who talk to them, and for the most part they aren't. But every time someone uses that to exploit them - for sales, for scamming, for anything - they're more likely to be more of a jerk themselves. That's why people shouldn't be allowed to exploit niceness. It's why we can't have nice things... err, people.
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:14 PM on December 3, 2008 [13 favorites]


If I have to feed my kid on commissions... fuck your personal space, homes.

Look, I take your point, but if you are looking to get eaten by a pack of ravening piranhas (or perhaps be mauled by a dead sheep), this is pretty much textbook stimulus — ding! — for the torch and pitchfork crowd.

Pick your battles.

Treat this advice for what it is worth — I don't usually do four metaphors in a single sentence, but obviously I am in the mood.</small?
posted by Wolof at 10:45 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Apologies for not closing the tag properly
posted by Wolof at 10:53 PM on December 3, 2008


Not to detract from the fact that the sellers are horribly annoying, you do have a point. Many people who shop at malls tend to be dead asleep (see Dawn of the Dead) and have really no internal mechanism for dealing with something that doesn't quite mesh with their expectation of a pleasant zombie walk through the nice shiny mall.

Thank you. I think that it also has something to do with the auto-centric nature of American life. Most mall-goers sleepwalk through public space because a shopping mall is the only place where they're actually out walking and dealing with other people. They're just not used to it. They don't pick up the same skills that you pick up in cities where you have to walk crowded streets and handle public transit systems.

There are a lot of polite people in this world, and forcing them to feel like rude assholes if they don't want to have their politeness used as a sales gimmick -- or just want to be safe -- is just reprehensible.

People shouldn't be jerks who ignore strangers who talk to them, and for the most part they aren't.


This thread has been a real eye-opener for me. I honestly didn't know that people felt the way that you two did. I naively assumed that the attitudes I'd picked up here in New York, where a certain defensive aloofness is just part of the urban survival manual, were universal.

I'm sorry that you guys are so upset about these creepy people gettin' up in your grill. Maybe you might want to fine-tune your boundaries a little bit. If people are approaching you with an exploitative agenda in mind, why are they entitled to politeness and friendliness? They're nothing but assholes; give them the treatment that they deserve.
posted by jason's_planet at 11:09 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't understand some of the responses here. Surely it doesn't have to be a binary choice between appalling rudeness to the kiosk kid or caving to their high pressure sales tactics?

There is a third way! Smile, say ''No thanks,'' and keep walking. If they follow, just keep on keeping on walking away. You've done your bit to acknowledge them and offer a polite refusal. If they ignore that, well, their discourtesy is not your responsibility.

We have irritating kiosk sellers in Australia (usually credit cards, charities and gym memberships, but more lately crappy cosmetics too) and that approach works for me.
posted by t0astie at 11:22 PM on December 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


Sometimes I wish I had kids. Man, then I could justify anything! Because it's for the kids! And I wouldn't have to worry about those false dichotomies anymore because, you know, I have kids!

Shut the hell up! You're annoying my kids!

did that work? was it justified? no? dammit!

Maybe it's because I grew up in Chicago and got busked on a daily basis when I worked downtown, but I have no trouble saying a quick, smiling "no thanks" or "not interested" or even nothing at all, and moving on, be it from a beggar or a salesperson or a telemarketer or anyone else who at first glance appears to be trying to get something from me that I'm not likely to want to give -- and I've never thought of it as being rude, because trying to get something form me that I'm not likely to want to give is rude.

of course, I'm not shouting "fuck off", either; just a quick dismissal so they can move on to a more likely target and I can get on with my day. It's about efficiency for both parties, not rudeness. Then again, I love to haggle, too -- maybe I'm just not a typical American.
posted by davejay at 11:46 PM on December 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


If you lovely, kind people don't buy my widget, I'm going to be forced to put my kittens to sleep. If you've ever had to put down a kitten because of feline leukemia, you know about the gut-wrenching guilt that tells you that you are now bound for hell. Any person with a sliver of compassion would never wish that on another person. Also, I'll be forced to put my pet lobster Larry into a boiling pot of herbed and salted water. Do you really want to look into the face of a kitten-killer every morning as you brush your teeth?
posted by cytherea at 11:51 PM on December 3, 2008


Personally, I found the kamikaze hard-sell kinda charming... at least when delivered by strikingly attractive Israeli 20-year olds.

Oh, and kudos to grounded for citing one of the old "Israeli Art Student Spook Ring" stories... compared to which, most espionage anecdotes are kinda dull. (They lack the soothing touch of a good watercolor, perhaps.)
posted by darth_tedious at 12:39 AM on December 4, 2008


If I have to feed my kid on commissions... fuck your personal space, homes.

If you get close enough into my personal space, you'd better hope your long-term disability insurance is gonna feed your kid.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 12:48 AM on December 4, 2008


If I have to feed my kid on commissions ... illegally work in US while on a tourist visa, so that I can save up money for my post-army, 12 month backpacking trip around India or Central America. We all deserve a chance to relax on a beach, for a few months, right?

There. Fixed that for you.
posted by genome4hire at 1:11 AM on December 4, 2008 [8 favorites]


When I'm in the ME, even if I am inclined to buy something I see, the endlessly hostile and pushy sales tactic makes me want to just walk away. In Israel, this crap is acceptable. And you can't walk ten feet in the Khan Khalili without having fifty men yelling "MY FRIEND!" at you. And this endless hard-sell basically ruined my trip to the Great Wall, because even when I bought a warm can of Coca-Cola the hawkers wouldn't get lost and let me just enjoy the moment. But if that's what I wanted, that's where I would go. I agree - these guys are being dicks by forcing me to be rude to them, just like the Jehovah's Witnesses who knock on my door.
posted by 1adam12 at 1:32 AM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


AstroZombie: and I am not responsible for buying your shitty product because you have never heard of food stamps

Or condoms, for chrissake.

Anyway, if these are "just kids," they don't have kids of their own to feed. Make up yer mind.

I have no sympathy for these people at all, sorry. I've had to sell for a living too. And there is a line between selling and hard selling; it is also directly relevant to consider whether what one is selling is a product people need, want, and of which you yourself are proud, and selling bullshit crap at inflated prices and relying on the pitch rather than the product. I bet you repeat sales for these guys are zero.

Mitrovarr: Personally, I consider pushy direct-marketing salesmen on the same level as spammers and telemarketers - and this level is right below non-violent drug dealers and two levels below illegal prostitutes. Even begging has more dignity, if you're not pushy about it.


Hey, my (hypothetical) drug dealer sells stuff I want and need (hypothetically speaking). He doesn't call me, I call him (hypothetically). If his product isn't worth the price, he loses my business (hypothetically), so he has an incentive to form a relationship (even if an entirely instrumental one) that respects my terms (hypothetically).

Same for prostitutes (hypothetically).

So on balance, I put drug dealers (non-violent) and prostitutes far above these pushy kiosk kids, the chuggers who block the street, multi-level marketers, spammers, and TV infomercial pitchmen. They are, at least, in an honest business. It's just illegal is all (and most of the "bad consequences" of drug dealing and prostitution follow from the illegality).

Personally, I just get really, really aggressive when someone is really aggressive with me. It's in my neurobiological hardwiring, maybe because I'm a guy. But you do not *want* to get in my face with a pushy pitch unless you have at least two inches and 20 pounds on me or are alerting me to a true emergency.

But then, I'm with rusty above -- who the f**k goes to the mall anymore? I don't think I've been in a shopping mall in 20 years. They sell nothing I want, at absurd prices, in a horrific environment designed to make shopping into "entertainment" for people who are easily amused.

Derail: And besides, I already support the Israeli military, and sustain its friggin' economy, unwillingly, by being an American taxpayer. Enough of my money already goes into that maw. I didn't realize I was also supposed to adopt an Israeli teenager.

posted by fourcheesemac at 3:22 AM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


...even when I bought a warm can of Coca-Cola the hawkers wouldn't get lost ...

Of course not. You'd incited them by actually buying something. If you didn't haggle over the price, you'd appear to them to be the Mark of the Year, and nothing short of violence would stop them. Let me guess, though - Badaling?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:44 AM on December 4, 2008


I don't see what the big deal is. I've run around in the Fashion Square pretty recently and the kiosk people have never been the least bit pushy. I've caught them trying to make eye contact and start talking to me, but as long as you don't return the eye contact and you keep walking they respect your space. They are fully aware that people are annoyed by pushy salespeople, and as a result they expect to be ignored most of the time. As long as you don't behave like a customer, there's no sales pitch.
posted by mullingitover at 3:57 AM on December 4, 2008


A polite "Thanks, no." After that, if they're persistent and I have time, - we're off to the races!

Interrupt their patter and get their attention, then,

"How do you cope with the balding?"

-or-

"I was born right where we are standing. Literally. This used to be my grandmother's farm and I was born here one weekend when my parents were visiting. They stole the land from us when my father died. He died right over there, by the Sharper Image. Heart attack. I like to come here every year on my birthday, just to remember how much I hate them...." (and etc., it's nice if this can segue into a rant about, oh, lack of parking spaces or unclean bathrooms or whatever small thing has pissed you off recently.) Make sure you end it with, "OK, I see where you're coming from. Have a nice day anyway."

Follow them as they do their spiel, but only ever answer "no." Whatever the question. Look as deeply into their eyes as you can bear to the entire time. Make it awkward. "no."

Ask them for a tissue, then something to drink. Then ask them where they are staying, if they like it, if they like the area. Don't listen to their answers. Ask them what they do for fun. When they try to leave to go after someone who might buy their product, follow them. Ask them for some lunch money. Insist they buy you lunch, you're friends now.

Ideally when you leave them they consider doing something else for a living.
posted by From Bklyn at 4:04 AM on December 4, 2008 [11 favorites]


It does not seem hard to remain civil and reject the kiosk offers with a quick "Not today, thanks. I'm in a hurry". It also works in Italian mercatini, especially if accompanied by a friendly smile.

Rejecting the offers of real estate salesmen is a bit harder : during a birdwatching trip to Sanibel Island my husband and I were pursued by an unshackable saleman: "not interested, thanks" did not work, neither walking away fast. What finally worked was my husband turning around, staring the salesman in the eyes, and saying "We are poor".
posted by francesca too at 4:40 AM on December 4, 2008 [3 favorites]


The Natick Collection, a mall in Natick, Mass., forbids cart salespeople from calling out to customers as they pass.

This is the first positive thing I've heard come out of that "luxury upscale shopping experience" or whatever they're trying to call it this week.
posted by Spatch at 5:43 AM on December 4, 2008


I tend to see Beese's original point. He is obviously willing to do whatever to feed/take care of his family. That being said, at least he is "willing" to go to such extremes to be there for his family. As for people invading your "personal space" Is someone coming up to you and asking "Hey wanna try this crappy product?" for like 5-10 seconds really that big of an invasion? Seriously? As for the whole "you chose to have children not us comments", wow again if I had kids and they needed fed I would more then likely do the same thing. Whatever it takes to give them a good life. If that involves asking someone if they wanna demo my product and wasting 5-10 seconds of their life then so be it. If this is an invasion of personal space and a waste of your life then so are all other forms of marketing.

Also I think the whole overly nagging Israeli kiosk worker is being blown out of proportion here. I have been bugged by them all you do is look at them as human beings and say "I am not interested in your product, please leave me alone."
posted by Mastercheddaar at 5:47 AM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


My friend came up with the perfect way to deal with pushy kiosk vendors. In my area it mostly consists of people trying to sell cell phone plans.

When they ask you a question, just smile, flash them the peace sign and walk away.

It makes you feel a lot less rude.
posted by Kronoss at 5:52 AM on December 4, 2008


These kids are exactly like the ones from Greenpeace or PIRG that infest downtown; easily avoided, relatively harmless, and a brief dismissive hand-wave sends you on your way unmolested.

...but before you wave that hand, think of what you're losing. There are so many opportunities for humor here, and you're walking away from them! Just like that!

Next time, think for a moment before you send them away. Think of the hilarity that could ensue. Please? For the sake of the children?
posted by aramaic at 6:32 AM on December 4, 2008


As for people invading your "personal space" Is someone coming up to you and asking "Hey wanna try this crappy product?" for like 5-10 seconds really that big of an invasion? Seriously?

If you live in a major city and encounter these pushy pitches 3-5 times per day, every day, then yes.
posted by applemeat at 6:46 AM on December 4, 2008


When these young Israelis stopped me in my local (Long Island) mall, I let them show me their nail-care products. The girls were cute and friendly, and I actually kinda dug having super-shiny nails for the day. I didn't buy any of their overpriced product, but it was certainly not the most unpleasant five minutes I spent in the mall that day.

Also, this song is an awesome example of turning a depressingly commercial situation into a poignant piece of art.
posted by ericbop at 6:55 AM on December 4, 2008


Them: "May I ask you a question?"

Me - especially if they are female and good looking: "Are you going to ask me for my phone number so we can go out on a date?"

Them: "No..."

Me: (keep on walking)

Of course, I have no idea what I would do if one of them should ever answer "Yes".
posted by willmize at 7:06 AM on December 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


I was hailed by a young woman at a cosmetics kiosk when I went to the mall last weekend, and I just smiled and walked on, partly because I have some of that big-city brusqueness cited above, and partly because my "cosmetics" regimen consists of Dial soap, Old Spice deodorant, and a Headblade. But I can see why some people would not want army veterans grabbing grandmothers in malls and laying on the hard sell so that they can fund their vacations.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:39 AM on December 4, 2008


Yeah. The pushy mall kiosk people are annoying. And, sorry to say, when someone is pushy and rude to you in this situation, and you respond "No", and keep on walking, that is not rude. It is the correct response to rude behavior. (Smiling, saying "No, thank you", and engaging them in conversation for more than one second is too nice. Saying "Fuck you", and walking off is too rude.) /end rant

But... some great ideas here for future reference. Especially willmize. And I must confess, when in a more ebullient mood, I have once talked on for many minutes with the pretty Dead Sea salt girl at the Roosevelt Field mall.

mynameisluka - I take a slightly different approach...
Pushy Salesperson: Can I ask you a question?
Me: [Big smile] Sure! [Walks quickly away]
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 7:48 AM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry that you guys are so upset about these creepy people gettin' up in your grill. Maybe you might want to fine-tune your boundaries a little bit. If people are approaching you with an exploitative agenda in mind, why are they entitled to politeness and friendliness? They're nothing but assholes; give them the treatment that they deserve.

Ah, yes, the classic "everyone everywhere must act as if they're in New York City, otherwise they're doing it wrong" argument.

Sorry, but some of us aren't into your "universal" values, are never going to be into them, and would much rather live in a place where you can actually make eye contact and say "hi" or "s'up" to people on the street without entering into a pushy, ten-minute scamantacular song-and-dance.

And yes, when people come here from elsewhere (Israel or NYC, doesn't matter much to me) and try to take advantage of our way of life just to push a bunch of plastic bullshit, many of us don't like it -- not because "they're entitled to politeness and friendliness", but because we like having a culture in which politeness and friendliness actually exist, and that's not going to last if the default response to any attempt at conversational engagement is the cold shoulder. So maybe you might want to "fine-tune your boundaries a little bit", namely by realizing that not everybody wants to live in the big city, nor do we necessarily want big-city values.
posted by vorfeed at 9:31 AM on December 4, 2008 [5 favorites]


Just keep walking, avoid eye contact. If they speak to you anyway, a quick "No, thanks" and keep walking. This has always worked for me.

I was at the mall, by the way, because that's where the Angel Tree is. We did all of the actual shopping away from the mall. But then we had to bring all that stuff back.
posted by owtytrof at 9:52 AM on December 4, 2008


Politeness and friendliness?

Big-city people have seen me drop cash, picked it up, followed me, and given it back. Big-city people volunteer to switch seats on a crowded train so my partner and I can sit together on our way to work. Big-city people often help me get a toddler, a stroller, and all the rest of my crap onto the city bus. Big-city people have stopped in midtown, midday foot traffic to pick up all the pieces of my cellphone and help me up after I tripped in a crosswalk. Big-city people have gotten off the subway on their way to work to hand someone their forgotten umbrella or scarf or mp3 player. Big-city people kept an injured elderly woman company and brought her water until the EMTs arrived.

I could go on and on, but there will always be some people who can't get over the fact that people who aren't like them have the same capacity for decency and kindness that they do.
posted by sondrialiac at 10:58 AM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Man, I totally fly under the radar of these guys. I wish I could bottle whatever asshole-be-gone pheromones I secrete and sell it at a mall kiosk.

I think it's a combination of avoiding eye contact (you can take the girl out of New York but you can't take the New York out of the girl), ignoring strident hails from strangers, and basically dressing like a broke-ass graduate student. Oblivious + poor = not worth the effort.

If someone is pushy/rude to me I have no problem being rude right back. I'm never rude up front, and if a salesperson is pleasant I don't blow them off even if I'm not interested in their stuff (a polite "No thanks" works fine here), but hardselling assholes don't deserve courtesy, in my opinion.

Actually the worst pushy salesmen I ever encountered were a handful of guys in India, which sort of surprised me because Indians in general seemed very polite, friendly and respectful (I've been in many other places where the culture was generally more in-your-face, yet the touts weren't as bad). I was a sitting duck because I had to wait in one spot for my friends to return, and these guys kept waving necklaces in my face, about a handspan from my nose. They wouldn't take no for an answer, so eventually I just had to sit there in stony silence, staring off into space ignoring the hell out of them, flapping a fan in front of my face to keep them from getting any closer. Great - another memsahib is born. I resented them tremendously for forcing me to be an asshole, but there was absolutely no way I was gonna buy anything from those jerks. There's plenty of nice shopkeepers to patronize.
posted by Quietgal at 11:23 AM on December 4, 2008


Meh. I give enough money to Israelis just by paying my taxes each year.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 11:24 AM on December 4, 2008


I could go on and on, but there will always be some people who can't get over the fact that people who aren't like them have the same capacity for decency and kindness that they do.

I did not mean to say that big-city people "don't have the same capacity for decency and kindness that they do", and if you think that my statement reads that way, I apologize for stating it poorly. What I meant was that others should not necessarily have to accept big-city standards of personal space and personal interaction, and I stand by that. Obviously, most people in the big city will stop and help you if you need help, and obviously, most of them are capable of being polite and kind once personal interaction has begun, but it is equally obvious that initiating personal interaction with strangers on the street in the big city is not viewed the same way it is around here.

Personally, I like a certain degree of willingness to engage with strangers, and I resent the implication that the only correct response to these kiosk vendors is for everyone to adopt big-city standards, rather than ejecting or shunning vendors who won't keep to our standards.
posted by vorfeed at 11:35 AM on December 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


Ah, yes, the classic "everyone everywhere must act as if they're in New York City, otherwise they're doing it wrong" argument.

I was not trumpeting the virtues of New York. I was abruptly recognizing that my views of public behavior and etiquette weren't shared by everyone posting here and trying to understand this different mindset.

but because we like having a culture in which politeness and friendliness actually exist, and that's not going to last if the default response to any attempt at conversational engagement is the cold shoulder.

You misread what I say. I was simply suggesting that, if 99.5% of the random strangers you encounter are up for a casual "Hey, how you doin'", keep on relating to them at that level. But if the other .5% are space-violating pests, give yourself the freedom to cut them off and ignore them. And that you need not feel any guilt about cutting them off because you have the right to define you how relate to people and if people are trying to relate to you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable and exploited, you have the right to end the encounter.

That's what I meant by "fine-tun[ing] your boundaries."
posted by jason's_planet at 11:39 AM on December 4, 2008


up for a casual "Hey, how you doin'"

You are Joey Tribiani AICMFP.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:07 PM on December 4, 2008


I was simply suggesting that, if 99.5% of the random strangers you encounter are up for a casual "Hey, how you doin'", keep on relating to them at that level. But if the other .5% are space-violating pests, give yourself the freedom to cut them off and ignore them.

And my point is that, in a culture where it is genuinely not OK to cut people off or ignore them, this solution simultaneously shames its implementer and severely dilutes the social utility of that shame, which is the only thing keeping people from accepting this behavior with regards to the 99.5% as well as the .5%.

In short, of course people have the freedom to cut people off and ignore them, but the idea that we shouldn't feel at all bad about it quickly leads to exactly that: a culture in which people don't feel bad about it. And, again, that is not necessarily what everyone wants.
posted by vorfeed at 12:37 PM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


"just part of the urban survival manual"

I always get a kick out of this crap -- how New Yorkers (almost always those who are actually from elsewhere) like to frame their experience of living in the city in terms of "survival", as if strolling about the vegan cake shops of Williamsburg is somehow akin to battling for your life on the streets of Mogadishu. Or even the streets of New York circa 1988.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 12:46 PM on December 4, 2008 [8 favorites]


Packing like a sardine into a subway car and playing tourist/beggar/hawker-slalom twice a day, 250 days a year does begin to feel warlike, after a while. But you do develop, after some amount of time, a thin, impregnable force-field around your aura that works pretty well against Dead Sea Mineral/RC Helicopter/Euro Steam salesmen. Or you leave.
posted by jckll at 12:54 PM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


I could go on and on, but there will always be some people who can't get over the fact that people who aren't like them have the same capacity for decency and kindness that they do.

Or even (*gasp) more so!
posted by Pollomacho at 1:00 PM on December 4, 2008


I always put one hand up to my face blocking my eyes from them as I walk past-in other words, making it plain that I am ostentatiosly ignoring them.

They laugh, but they leave me alone.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:57 PM on December 4, 2008


fourcheesemac: So on balance, I put drug dealers (non-violent) and prostitutes far above these pushy kiosk kids, the chuggers who block the street, multi-level marketers, spammers, and TV infomercial pitchmen. They are, at least, in an honest business. It's just illegal is all (and most of the "bad consequences" of drug dealing and prostitution follow from the illegality).

You misunderstood me. I also consider nonviolent drug dealers and illegal prostitutes to be superior to pushy salesmen, telemarketers, and spammers. Here's the part of the comment you probably misread:

...and this level (the level occupied by these people) is right below non-violent drug dealers and two levels below illegal prostitutes...
posted by Mitrovarr at 4:41 PM on December 4, 2008


"I don't understand some of the responses here. Surely it doesn't have to be a binary choice between appalling rudeness to the kiosk kid or caving to their high pressure sales tactics? There is a third way! Smile, say ''No thanks,'' and keep walking. If they follow, just keep on keeping on walking away."

Fuck you, holmes! Some of us have to feed our kids by punching mall hawkers in the dick and genital area for other people who are too timid to do it.
posted by Eideteker at 5:08 PM on December 4, 2008


Check, sorry about that mitrovarr.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:27 PM on December 4, 2008


I avoid the mall. I despise the mall. That said, there was a Nickelodeon event at a local mall that my son and my niece wanted to see. They were about two and three at the time...walking, but slowly and rather randomly.

Neither of them wanted to go in a stroller, so we were walking from the mall entrance to the event, holding hands, with me in the center, and a kid on either side. We hit the Dead Sea kiosk not far from the entrance. Guy approached, I said no thank you, and continued to try and herd the kids. He followed, I said "NO! Thank you!" and kept walking.

He reached down and grabbed my niece and tried to buff her fingernails and I said, "Son, this is Texas. I will drop you where you stand, and I won't even see the inside of a police car if you don't release that child instantly."

I reported them to mall management AND the police, but nothing, as far as I know, was ever done to stop them.

Aggressive vendors in malls make it way too stressful for me to deal with. I don't want to feel like I'm constantly under attack when I'm trying to find a pair of shoes. I don't like being rude. I don't want to have to put my defenses on high alert in between Macy's and Nordstrom's. It's horrible, and I won't go to any venue that allows those vendors to harass customers.
posted by dejah420 at 7:36 PM on December 4, 2008 [4 favorites]


Yeah, man. Why don't we just set up some 3 card monty tables, get some grey market Panasornic electronics, and turn shopping malls into a fucking middle east ghetto, eh, homes?

Actually, that would get me to go back. Just imagine, like some mysterious Moroccan bazaar, complete with twisty little alleys that lead to smokey dens of...deliciousness. Let's do dis!
posted by telstar at 11:50 PM on December 4, 2008


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