When Did Street Solicitors Become More Aggressive Than Panhandlers?
Working and spending time in and around center city you get accustomed to panhandlers. From time to time you toss them some money and possibly something to eat. For the most part they ask and if you ignore them they move onto the next person. I admit that the number of panhandlers has grown over the years but I’ve never felt the need to adjust my course or cross the street. However lately walking around center city has become cringy and awkward . I find myself looking way ahead and almost peeping around corners like a person who’s dodging the playground bully. However, it’s not panhandlers I am avoiding it’s street solicitors.
There was a time where I only encounter them around 17th & Walnut St. then out of nowhere they multiplied and are now canvassing the area. With their colored vests and clipboards it almost looks like DUI checkpoints every other block.
I get it, I get it many are there for a good cause however I’ve experienced some just trying to sell services. Either way their aggressive style and pseudo cat calling is a bit extra. Some of these folks can cover the field better than the Eagles’ secondary. There have been times where I would literally throttle down my speed so that another unsuspecting pedestrian can set the pick.
Surely there are better means to raise many or awareness for a cause right? I mean maybe set up a pop up tent with refreshments and let folks spin a wheel for prizes or whatever happened to signing up for something and getting a free t-shirt? Instead we’re left with cold pitches like “Hey you look like a friendly person” as you’re forced to show off your juke moves and hope you don’t sprain your knee in the process.
It’s not like I don’t want these organizations to flourish and I understand these folks are trying to make an honest buck but I am sure we can all come to terms with a better solution than these clipboard gauntlets we have to fight through. Since I am not a person who just bitches about things, here are a few suggestions.
- Set Up A Stationary Tent – If we like your cause and want to donate, we’ll approach you.
- Partner-up with a Store– Set up shop in a store or building lobby and have some give-a-ways or coupons to those stores for signing-up.
- Join Forces With the Musicians– The kid on the violin on Walnut gets it. Serenade the people and the money will come. Organize an impromptu concert with street musicians. That would get my attention.
- Set-up Outside of a Beer Garden-Don’t know about ya’ll but I am more in my feelings and in a giving spirit after a few brews. Better then trying to talk to me leaving work before before the sun rays get a chance to beam on me.
- Partner Up With Uber-Have a solicitor in the back of an Uber on all Uber Pools. This way you get to spew your whole pitch and the other passenger can’t go anywhere.
For now this is all I could muster-up. But I am not sure if these organizations take heed to my suggestions, they can make center city more walkable again.