Joe Thomson Accosting people on the streets: there has to be a better way

An odd thing about bigger cities is the amount of people trying to hawk their wares in the streets. You’d think by now everything would have migrated online, where slick websites can be had at the fraction of the cost of whatever rent is on Yonge st. However there is still a great deal of shops (not the most reputable) that use the age -old tactic of ‘yelling at passers by’ to draw attention to their stores. 

Often it’s a shabby looking gentleman out front who tries to convince you to come into the shop. I have to question the marketing savvy of these people. It’s 2012 and the best idea you could come up with is stationing a vaguely interested guy out front to coerce passersby into your fly by night shop? I’m not enticed; I’m scared away.  I know a scared white kid probably isn’t their target market anyway, but who exactly decides to enter a shop because someone half-heartedly tells them about a sale? Is anyone doing this?

Once a guy said to me as I walked by, “yo nigga 20% off”. I didn’t know what to say as he stared at me in a slightly menacing way.  I’d never been called “nigga” by anyone before.  I have to admit it felt kind of good. I still passed on the sale, though, due to the abundance of shirts with guns and/or marijuana leaves on them.

And then you have the pamphlet people like those ‘black history guys’, who hang out in Dundas Square. Apparently they’re spreading the word through a grass roots, one-person-at-a-time strategy.  They clearly have never heard the word ‘internet’ - you know, that thing where you can reach out to the entire world and target millions of people at once.  “Fuck that, lets just print out some shitty pamphlets on neon paper and stand on a street corner angrily harassing anyone who walks by. That seems like a better option, Kinko’s is just over there anyways.” I love complex, world changing, ideas that come in the form of a crumpled up, sweaty package anyways.

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