Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Got a minute for "the Most Annoying People in Lower Manhattan?"

The Voice has the story on "the Most Annoying People in Lower Manhattan": the college-age canvasser. (Subhead: "The young bleeding-heart carnivores who hunt you down on your lunch hour."

"Hi-my-name-is-Garth-and-I'm-from-Children-International-and-we're-trying-to-help-children-in-poverty. Children-in-abject-poverty. There-are-kids-dying-every-day- because-they-don't-have-something-as-silly-as-food-and-water. I-mean-even-a-bum-in-New-York-can-have-two-meals-a-day!"

Despite the fact that his breathless spiel is all monologue, Garth's job title is "dialoguer." It's a term coined by an Austrian company known as the Dialogue Group, which helped to develop this brand of street confrontation and brought it to U.S. cities a few years ago with a subsidiary called Dialogue Direct.

Garth pauses to catch his breath and then whips out a laminated picture of his own sponsored child, an innocent-looking boy sitting in a hut thatched with palm fronds. The location, he says, is the Dominican Republic. He checks to see whether he still has the attention of the woman in front of him. He does, but then realizes he's talking to a reporter.

"Children are dying and you're wasting my time!" he says, scowling. Mramor drops the laminated photograph back into his duffel bag. He doesn't apologize for seeming rude. "Being nice doesn't work," says the irritated college student. "I signed up two people today by being an asshole, and I'll continue to do that. Have a nice day."

[Voice photo by Andy Kropa]


Alex in NYC said...

We call them "Charity Muggers".... and they must be stopped.

L'Emmerdeur said...

They never talk to me, because they can tell I'm just looking for an excuse to give someone a curb sandwich.