Citizen complaint of the day: The fundraisers blocking the sidewalks of the medical area
By adamg on Thu, 06/30/2016 - 11:25pm
They're bad enough downtown, but now they've invaded the Longwood Medical Area, a concerned citizen complains:
Please do something about these "fundraisers" who harass everyone who walks by. It is obnoxious and invasive. It's particularly upsetting because many of the victims are people who are just trying to get their child to the hospital. These solicitors should not be allowed to do this. They step out in front of you and try to cut you off/body block. It makes me extremely uncomfortable. This is a near-daily occurrence.
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It is definitely an awkward place to be doing it. All the foot traffic is for a pretty serious reason. They try and stop me all the time and don't seem to understand what, "I have a doctors appointment in two minutes!" means... I can't even imagine if I was down there for a serious reason. Ick
It's not a social interaction
It's a commercial interaction, not a social interaction. Therefore the rules of polite social interaction don't apply. "Piss off and get out of my effing way" is entirely reasonable; much more so than, "I'd love to stop but I have a doctor's apointment in 2 minutes."
I like this way of looking at it, and everyone commenting here is making me feel better about the way my heart sinks when I see these people in my path, but here's my problem: Our area has such a limited window each year when it's a pleasure to be out and about. These chuggers are in many of the favorite casual strolling areas. And without our consent, they switch us from our pleasant strolling mood and force us to gear up to ignore or avoid another human, or at the other extreme tell them to fuck off. It may be the right thing to do, but it still takes a toll. I know I always feel worse after running the chugger gauntlet. It just seems unfair. (and most of us are probably good people who do give to charities, perhaps even the ones they represent!)
"Without our consent"? Dude,
"Without our consent"? Dude, you're out in public on a public sidewalk. Get over it.
Whoops, I forgot that consent
Whoops, I forgot that consent is a loaded word. I'd just like to be able to enjoy summer in the city without feeling like a jerk, is all. I don't think that's too much to ask.
In Downtown Crossing
In DTX, one of those Childrens International idiots was jumping up and down and flailing her arms to get my attention. As I walked past her, one of her arms hit my arm. It was intentional. I responded with a forceful elbow to her arm, which seemed to surprise her.
She accused me of "assault". I dared her to call the cops and of course she didn't.
These scum are the lowest form of non- human life. Attacking (and that's just what they do, verbal or physical) patients and visitors to a hospital as mentioned in the 311 complaint is despicable.
Are these the women walking
Are these the women walking around with flowers?
No, not the flower women
The women in DTX who want to sell you cheap plastic red flowers "for the children" are Romanis (commonly called gypsies) and have been doing that at DTX at least since the 1970s. I personally dont find them aggressive or intrusive.
The a-holes we are talking about here are fund raisers for various causes. In DTX the young, always white for some reason, idiots with blue vests who verbally and physically assault you to raise money for "Children International"
I was that scum. No I was
I was that scum. No I was just a woman struggling. I need a job, and this the job I got hired to do. I only lasted two days. My body hurt from standing all day, by 3pm I had cotton balls rolling out of my mouth. Yes they constantly told me do not let the people pass, block the sidewalk. I know, so sorry for that. I hated blocking people's path.
If you hire me, you will see, I am not the bad guy. My water was shut off, I have bills. I just needed a job. And I am sorry they upset you. They are good causes.
Oooh, that Pesky 1st amendment.
Sorry, bud, but their right to be on the street and annoy you is firmly established. Just ignore them or preempt them with a firm "No Thank You" and go about your business.
FWIW, Boston is a whole lot better than other cities when it comes to street solicitors. Las Vegas could teach locals a thing or two about how to really get in someone's face with objectionable materiel.
Perhaps you didn't read the complaint
Trying to cut you off and body blocking someone on a city street is not protected by the First Amendment. And although I don't hang around the medical area , that is exactly what they do in Downtown Crossing.
A "firm no thank you" ?
No way. These a-holes deserve nothing less than a firm "fxxx you"
Are you a man?
As a 5' 4" woman, it's not a 1st amendment issue, when these dudes literally will not move out or your way. Its assault and harassment. They are far too aggressive, Ive been blocked in DTX, almost came to blows with one near MGH, was followed/stalked by one in Copley.
They tend to also congregate around the Kendall Square T stop. And I too have had the overly aggressive types get in my face. One guy I almost slapped. He blocked my way when I tried to go around him. And some of them get nasty when you don't stop. When I see them, I try to exercise some sort of evasive action.
Please report them
They should be wearing vests with their organization's name on it. You can absolutely call that org and let them know their street fundraiser harassed you.
Actually, I think I will do that...thanks.
Call the police
The government can't make a law prohibiting them from approaching you irrespective of your gender. If they are outright harassing you then call the police have a case.
They annoy and sometimes scare me too although you won't believe it, since I'm a man and must therefor can never understand what it's like to be threatened or uncomfortable. Anyway...
If you feel someone is going beyond protected solicitation you should definitely call the police to have it documented and if possible record the interaction. The police can't go after solicitors in general but they can go after specific people if they are preventing you from moving or outright threatening you.
Not Unlike The 2nd Amendment
The 1st Amendment was also written too vaguely. Freedom of Speech should be specifically about political speech, not freedom to panhandle and solicit.
Just best to avoid that rabbit hole.
I have observed that these
I have observed that these solicitors frequently forgo attempts to solicit males, but will aggressively approach females. It's so obnoxious
Politely walked past one of these guys on Huntington Avenue (by where the Burger King was, across the street from New England Conservatory.)
I politely ignored him. No eye contact, just walked past.
He then shouted down the street at me, "Aw isn't that SO CUTE? She's pretending to ignore me!!"
I turned around and flipped him off.
Aggresive physical, attempted assault is not protected by the First Amendent.
While I generally agree with the ignore, or "no thanks",.
Sometimes, telling them to fuck off is the only way to get through to them.
Not a first amendment issue at all
The first amendment protects speech, not commercial activity.
Not 1st Amendment
If they're fund raising - then it's commerce. They need to be licensed and follow rules for that.
also a plague in Harvard and Davis squares
And Centre St. in JP
It gets so I cross the street just to avoid them and their patter. If it were an occasional thing it'd be fine but it's every damn day and they are so annoying. It's the age of the internet--just send me an email already. Don't block my path when I'm trying to go into the CVS. It's only marginally less annoying than showing up at my door with a clipboard.
Tell them you're a Trump voter
Then they'll assume that a) you hate their cause and b) you won't ever honor any financial pledge you make anyway
I call them charity panhandlers.
When I see them, I take out my iPhone and pretend I'm looking at something, and if they try to engage me, I just give them a half smile and just walk on by. It works even better if I have my earbuds in. They're annoying, but I also have a little sympathy for them.
"Chuggers" = Charity Muggers
I give them credit in that they actually put some effort to get in one's face, unlike the usual "God bless" crowd that waits for something to come by, like a sea anemones. But hey, it's a job, and not a job that I could do very well.
If I have to say something to pass by, I try to use the pick-up line from a different kind of sidewalk solicitor. "Would you like to be the voice of an unborn child?"
Confuses the hell out of them.
Yes, it's a job...
And if we all put a little effort into making that job as unpleasant as possible short of actually breaking the law, fewer people will be willing to do it; the fundraising companies will need to offer higher pay; fewer charities will find it worthwhile to hire them, and the problem will be reduced.
After four years of job hunting. I was hired to do this job. You need to raise $130 dollars a day. Stand on the hot street asking for donations. The causes are great. Really worthwhile. By 3pm I wanted to go home. I hurt, my mouth was so dry. Lol. I had two ten minute breaks. That felt like 5 seconds. My supervisor timed it to the minute. Lunch was 30 minutes. And I could not afford the place he forced me to eat in. I ordered toast. I was starving.
I am 55 years old, and Yes a tough job, peeing in Dunkins.
I ladted 2 days!
Aggressive lack of eye
Aggressive lack of eye contact helps stop them. And I mean Aggressive - do not even glance their way or act like you can see them. Only the most aggressive panhandler will try and approach you then. And those you just walk into like they don't exist. (I do this despite being female and it works even for me)
Doesn't work for me
I try to put on my best and most aggressive bitch face and they still bug me endlessly. I think I look too "nice." Then I open my mouth and they learn a thing or two. "Get the fuck out of my face!" is probably my favorite line.
No, no, no.
Aggressive eye contact. And two raised middle fingers.
I don't like the situation either, but i don't want to be rude, I usually walk near a pair of strangers, as if they're with me, or if I'm alone I tell them i'm late for a work meeting.
The times prior for when I've ignored them walking alone, I've been yelled at "Hope you feel better".....which i found infuriating.
"Jobs for the environment"
Ever see those ads in the spring trying to get college kids to work for them? This is what those jobs are. (And also going door-to-door begging for money.) Flip burgers kid, it's less degrading than this.
One of my friends fell for this
He was an environmental science major at some small private liberal arts college. (I will not post it here on the off-chance he ever finds this site.)
This got him involved in these groups as a career. He then spent several years working for almost-free. While canvassing, he was threatened with shotguns, stalked by the police, shouted at, and had dogs set on him (part of his canvassing was in the country). On top of this, he was then yelled at this by his bosses, as he should have obviously convinced the guy with the Vote Ultra Conservative Politician Confederate Flag sign on the lawn who threatened him with a shotgun to give an annual donation.
While working for the organization, he was asked to travel on business unpaid and couch-surf in strangers houses, often sleeping on the floor of a one bedroom apartment with six other people he barely knew. He was sexually harassed by female supervisors. He was unable to pay his student loan bills and was finally fired for no reason, which bankrupted him and caused him to be evicted and have to move home with his parents for a few years.
So no, do not do it.
Husband has responded to requests for money and "Why don't you want to help out such and such?" with "Because I'm still trying to get my own problems figured out. When that happens then I can help others."
Pick & Roll
I like to run a pick & roll around them. I walk with a fellow pedestrian between me and them and shoot by when that poor sucker is engaged. Gets harder when there are multiple chuggers...
I knew that clip would be forthcoming.
I also like the move
Where you take out your phone and announce that you're recording them, and then ask for their name, information about the "charity" and their permit.
But I can be a little confrontational.
I'm always temptEd to yell GET A JOB! at them. Whatever you do, don't encourage them!
They have a job
That's the problem - they get paid more for getting more donations.
I usually just give them a
I usually just give them a firm NO THANK YOU or and they don't bother me. The children's charity one (if they are doing something obnoxious to get my attention) I usually just say "if its not helping kids with 4 legs and a tail I'm not interested." Confuses the poor bastards.
Also, sounds like you need to work on your RBF :)
These "volunteers" care so deeply about their cause
The cost put on that care starts at $14/hr:
Some of you guys are funny
I just walk by them and they can tell just by my body language and dead eyes not to bother me. If they do ask, I say simply "No" or "Not interested". Most will usually make some sarcastic, insincere comment like "Have a nice day". They should consider themselves lucky no one has broken their nose or given them black eyes, but they chose their locales carefully to pick what they believe are the most vulnerable people who are adverse to making a scene in response to obnoxious provocation.
Coolidge Corner is another locale, especially for Planned Parenthood. I'm sometimes tempted to say to them this isn't the 1960s-early 70s. Abortions have been legal for 40 plus years, poor can get them for free, and every type of contraceptions are easily and cheaply available. And they're preaching to the choir a C.C., they need to go into the neighborhoods saturated with poor girls and women whose culture says having children when you're 16-17, or have no financial means to support them minus government bennies, and no stable partner, is OK.
Get a backbone, folks.
You are about twenty years behind
While there is still teen pregnancy, it is down. Way down.
I include grown
adult women, not just teens.
Ok, next time
I'll kick the guy in the balls.
"Neighborhoods saturated with poor girls and women" are unlikely sources of significant donations. Also, although abortions are currently legal, access to abortion and other women's healthcare is severely limited in too many areas of the US.
I have to wonder how many people complaining are new to cities. Say no and keep walking, or don't say anything. If they're aggressive, than tell them to get the fuck out of your face.
Usually I tell them that I'm below of legal age (since I can pass lol). It avoids conflict like the one time one of those assholes humorously quit their job in front of me because I ignored them...
It's aprt of the hustle
That "I'm quitting/getting fired" routine is part of their hustle. I declined one of these pests once and he said "it doesn't matter, I'm getting fired this afternoon anyway for not meeting my quota and I don't care". All well and good until another one of them did the same thing another time.
Most of these clowns only last a week or two at this revolving door job anyway. That's why professional fundraiser companies are constantly hiring. It's like what telemarketing was in it's heyday back in the 80s and 90s. There was always a call center (or "phone room" as they were referred to in those days) that would hire anyone. People used to do the whole "circuit" of telemarketing jobs.
My boss's lunch
Usually when they get me, it's around DTX and I'm on a lunch run, so I just walk quickly, hold up the bag-o-whatever and say, "My boss's lunch." I'm not sure why that would work and "Sorry, I'm in a hurry/no thanks/I have an appointment in two minutes" doesn't, but it does work.
Kendall Square, too
I've been working in Kendall Sq for about 3 months, after having worked in Longwood for the last 5 years. The first day I saw them in front my my new office I think I inadvertently blurted out a widely audible "Oh for f***'s sake!"
I really had a problem with the Children International ones who hang around outside Children's Hospital. I could easily see passersby thinking they represented the hospital.
at least I get exercise...
Sometimes I walk from the Medical Area to Brighton via Park Drive and Beacon Street, because I can't stand the idea of having to get past both the fundraising college students and the Spare Change guy at Longwood and Riverway. I'm sure he's a perfectly nice guy, but no, I do not want to buy a copy of the Spare Change Newspaper today, Spare Change, Spare Change, Spare Change, Spare Change...
Don't shit on that Spare
Don't shit on that Spare Change guy. He is very nice, based on the interactions I've had with him, and he puts in the time and effort on that corner doing this one particular thing (Spare Change printed an article about him at some point because he moved the most copies or something or other--he seemed quite happy hawking that week's edition to passers-by). Just about everyone working in Longwood who takes the D-Line knows his face. I've never seen him be aggressive or upset, and he always parts with a "thank you--have a nice day," even if you just walk past him. He is Best Spare Change guy. I used to slip him a $20 for a paper once in a while because I admired his work ethic and demeanor.
Copley Sq., too
These chuggers hang out in Copley Sq. outside the building where I work, too.
I hung out in NYC often enough in the 1980s that I know how to avoid in-your-face hucksters, handbill-pushers, survey-takers, and panhandlers of all kinds. Walk quickly without altering your course, keep your eyes firmly fixed gazing forward, keep your hands at your sides, avoid eye contact, and do not respond *at all* if they attempt to engage you.
Will it take a fatal at the
Will it take a fatal at the intersections of Rt2 and Alewife pkway or Mass Ave and Alewife pkway before Cambridge or Arlington starts writing fines for panhandling between lanes or the left lane and median etc??
Children's / Children's
I used to work at Children's and they were very aggressive- and I didn't like that the ones from Children's International stood outside the hospital. I can totally see people getting confused by that, especially since people come from all over the northeast (and beyond) to bring their kids to that hospital.
Now I work near DTX and my strategy is to be involved with a fake phone call. I'll walk by them, avoid eye contact at all costs, and hold my phone up to my ear while saying things like "Yeah, ok" and "Uh-huh" and "What about next weekend?"
It works pretty well.
I have to wonder if these sketchy professional fundraising organizations engage in discriminatory hiring practices. I don't think I've ever seen a single one of the professional fundraiser pests on the street anywhere who looks a day over 22. I certainly understand that the bulk of people applying for such a job falls within the college age demographic, but you can't tell me someone over 25, perhaps in dire need of funds, never at any time applied for this type of job. But I see no evidence of it.
Would you know?
You also see no evidence of some nefarious age-discrimination conspiracy. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but unless you can think of a motive, there's nothing to support this conspiracy belief. There are real age-discrimination problems in the workplace, but temporary jobs like this are not where you find them.
Yes all the bosses are under
Yes all the bosses are under 25. I was the old woman over 50, struggling. I lasted two days. Most are college grads. You are correct on most.
But young, no doubt. My water was shut off last week. Trust me I lasted two days.
I would rather be in an office , with a,/c.
I did not even have busfare. Trust me, I have a great resume. I am bondable, no cori, no sori. I worked a Smith Barney.
But finding a job after 50. Next to impossible, unless you have powerful friends.
One of these days, I'm really
One of these days, I'm really just going to rip into one of them with something like this:
"Hey, ya know people are just trying to get where they are going and don't want to be harassed by a bunch of twerps like you jumping out in front of them and pretending like you give two shits about their day. Personally, I blacklist every organization I see that has people out here doing this. I will not give $1 to them, ever. So, tell your boss or whoever it is you work for that as long as you idiots are standing out here harassing me on my commute, your organization is not getting any money from me. And I'll be sure to tell the same thing to everyone else I know."
Hope that made you feel better
Hope that made you feel better, because it's unlikely to change anything. The odds that they would report this to their boss are exactly zero. I mean, even if they were working for this charity out of love and conviction, and not because it's a job, what would they say? "Hey, this aggrieved person who never had any intention of contributing to (insert cause) threatened to not give money to (insert cause) because we asked him for money"?
I am an easy target as I walk with a cane and not able to move all that swiftly. I rarely, if ever, carry a purse or bags now to keep my free arm/hand free at all times. It really can be frightening when they continue to walk along side you.
I have 2 scenarios I use depending on how totally frustrated I am when walking between medical appointments.
I keep my phone out with the camera on. I raise the phone as if to take the picture - which I am ready to do - ever so sweetly telling him/her 'your mother must be so proud. Let's put this up on Facebook and Linked-In for everyone to see. Sorry, what's your name again?' And then they are gone....
Or if I am really in a foul mood; I drop the ice-grip (5 pronged metal teeth) on my cane. If they get within my personal space; my cane finds itself grabbing the top of their foot as I try to get by.
I rarely have a problem by BI. The hospital police do a pretty good job of keeping the chuggers away. BI owns the property around most of their buildings right up to the street - so it is not public space.
I did that job for two days.
I did that job for two days. Before I needed hospital care. They are not given choices of where they can be placed.
I was controled like a puppet all day. Where to ask for donations, where to pee, where to stand, how to stand. When to take a break, where to eat.
I just wanted a job. But am over age 50.
Even my granddaughter, who wanted some air jordon sneakers. Said it was a bad job.
I will have nightmares forever about that job.
After reading your comments.
You have no idea! It was hell!lol