No, I’m not talking about the homeless – that’s a topic for another day. I’m talking about street advertisement.
If you walk down the street in NYC on any given day, you will no doubt be accosted by one or more of these annoying purveyors of various information/offers/services/etc. All of them want something from you and they are all irritating. There are many different types. Here are the four most prevalent from least to most most annoying.
– “Do you like comedy?” The comedy club people. They’re generally nice, not very in your face, occasionally funny, and I know that they’re struggling comics trying to make it in a tough industry and that they get sets at the clubs by selling tickets. The husband and I bought tickets once and never went. We didn’t even mind. We figured it was a donation to the future of comedy.
– “Men’s Suits!” The flyer people. Mildly annoying. They sometimes step in front of you waving the flyer in your face. The flyers are never for things you actually want/need and the look of betrayal in their eyes when you decline their offering is brutal. Plus I feel guilty as hell because they are probably illegal immigrants being paid $.5o/hr.
– “Do you care about the environment/children/helpless animals?” Man I hate these ones. The charity people. YES I do care about all of those things and I happen to donate to a charity for all of them. However, you trying to guilt me into signing up for monthly withdrawals from my bank account to your cause by stopping me on my way to the bank is NOT the way to get me on board. Seriously Greenpeace! I would love to give you a donation, but no way in hell are you getting my credit card number!
– “Where do you get your haircut?” OH MY GOD! I fucking HATE these people. Here is my history with the haircut/spa people. Their rap is that if you pay $65-$85 you can come to the salon and get all of these wonderful services at a serious discount. This may or may not be true. I was duped by one of these people when I first came to NYC the summer before I graduated college. I thought, “friggin awesome! I can get a massage and a facial for just $65!” But in teeny-tiny print that I couldn’t read while standing in front the subway exit, it told me that it expired in a month. And since I didn’t get to go within that month, I lost $65. Fuck.
Because of this, I avoid them like the plague. So one day, years late, I was walking to Whole Foods for lunch. I hear, “where do you get your hair cut?” look at the guy, smile, and shake my head. He responds by following me and asking if I want a makeover. I say that I’m fine and try to get to the door. Behind me I hear, “really? Because you need one…badly?” Was there a need to be so mean. I was actually looking pretty good that day. My hair was done and I had a fresh mani and pedi. It’s not my fault that you want to be a hairdresser and need to shill for some shit salon on the Lower East Side in order to ascend the ranks.
I know everyone’s trying to make a living, etc, etc. But does this advertising work? How many clients do salons actually get this way? How many politicians trying to get on the ballot don’t get enough signatures because everyone on the street is afraid that they might be trying to get you to give money to baby Harbor Seals? Is it really worth it?