Those red fleece-vested Children's Miracle Network volunteers who harass you on the street to sponsor a sick kid. God, you people are just the worst. I know that they're just trying to save lives and build hospitals around the world and I recognize that that's noble and beautiful and blah, blah, blah, so keep your emails to yourself. But really, they're the worst. And here's why:
First of all, those be some strategic bitches! I first encountered the Fleece Mafia when I worked in midtown Manhattan and they worked along 42nd street, which I took to get to and from my office. I ended up re-routing my morning commute to avoid their shenanigans, but I've had enough run-ins to know how they work:
1.) They work in pairs and are staggered down the street. That way when you see one and veer towards the other side of the sidewalk to miss them, you run directly into another (see helpful Microsoft Paint document below.)
2.) They're engaging. They don't start off by directly asking for money. They first ask about you. And you love talking about you, don't you? Normally they'll start by innocently asking how you are. And the thing is, they seem to genuinely care about the answer, which I always accidentally appreciate. Seriously, it always gets me. Like I just can't deny someone the privilege of knowing that I'm doing, "okay, thanks." BUT DON'T FALL FOR IT! YOU CAN'T ANSWER! Because then they've got you. You might as well just punch yourself in the heart, give them your wallet and walk away. Because people are sick and if you give them an inch, they'll take a mile. You think you're having an innocent conversation about yourself with an attractive fleece-vested individual and all of a sudden you're sponsoring a kid in Africa for $30 a month—which is only a dollar a day when you really think about it, L0LZ!
3.) They're normally young and attractive. This increases the odds that you'll answer when they ask how you are. I've had my heart broken this way before and it's not pretty. One time I was walking down Madison when I locked eyes with an attractive, slightly punk-looking, regulation hottie. I gave him the old Meg McBlogger sex-smirk, and he responded with a full-blown ear-to-ear smile. "Hey," he said casually. "Hi," I said coyly. "What are you up to?" "Just gettin' coffee." "Well what if instead of buying an overpriced cup of coffee every afternoon, you decided to make a difference in the life of—" GOD DAMNIT! He was wearing the red fleece vest under his leather jacket, that sneaky motherfucker! I pushed him out of the way, picked up the pieces of my heart and got a venti latte at Starbucks, which I threw away without drinking to prove a point.
4.) They've got some BALLS! Whatever strategy you normally use to deflect solicitors in the street won't do a damn thing to deter those fleeced-assholes. Listening to music on your i-pod? They'll shout. Read their lips. Not making eye contact? They'll get up in your personal space and make sure you see them in your peripheral vision. Got a "don't fuck with me," look on your face? Yea. They'll fuck with you. Trust me.
It's not that I don't want to help people. I do. I really do. It's just that I don't have the means. Despite this fabulous lifestyle I lead of wearing Target and stealing toilet paper from work, I don't actually have a lot of disposable income. So I don't appreciate you making me feel like a soulless asshole for not wanting to give $30 a month to a non-profit founded by the Osmond family. I've got bigger fish to fry, thank you. Like my rent. Specifically, like how I couldn't come up with $300 of it last month. So my condolences to Mufasa in the Sudan, but I really don't want to sleep in a refrigerator box tonight. I think I'm going to go keep the $30 a month, if that's okay with you.
Also, don't fucking harass people for money in the morning. I don't know about you, but the morning for me is just a big one-woman battle not to cut a bitch. I got Khakis McGee walking in front of me with her big fat ass waddling to and fro so I can't pass her and a woman walking behind me who keeps ramming her god-damn baby stroller into my ankles. At this point, my #1 priority is to keep myself from playing the ass of the woman in front of me like bongo drums before turning around and shouting, "HEY LADY, KNOW HOW TO MAKE MONGOLIAN BABY? HERE'S A SPOILER: I KILL YOUR CHILD AND EAT IT WITH SOME TERIYAKI SAUCE IN THE END! KEEP KNOCKING INTO ME AND I'LL GIVE YOU A DEMO!"
Given that information, maybe it's not the best idea to get all up in my face and ask, "Got a minute?" because, guess what Gandhi? I don't. So I'm going to look away and keep walking. And after I do, I wouldn't suggest that you laugh it off and say, "Welp, I guess someones in a hurry! I'll catch you later!" ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Yes asshole! I am in a hurry! It's 8 fucking 45 on a Monday morning! I'm not taking an early morning stroll before I go to a jerk-off club meeting! I'm in a hurry and I have things to do, I'm sorry, trust me, I am! Maybe we can rap about Malaria and what horrible person I am some other time.
My new strategy for dealing with the Fleece Mafia is to simply say "recession" when they approach. I can't suggest it enough. Don't even make it a full sentence like, "Oh, I'm sorry, it's a recession." Just say it quick and forcefully. "Recession." I dare you to argue with that, fleece-fucker.