What to do when someone asks you to sign a petition
Photo by Thomas Hawk
Rider Jared bought some headphones to enjoy his music on Muni. Little did he know that right after his purchase, he would overhear one of the most excellent exchanges between one very cranky rider and someone who was trying to get him to sign a petition. I’m tempted to copy this technique the next time someone asks me to sign my name on yet another clipboard. Read on. – Eugenia
As someone who spends a good chunk of his day on Muni and Caltrain, I listen to a lot of music. As my iPod earphones have been slowly making their way to white headphone heaven, I decided to take the plunge and buy some quality buds. After much deliberation between sound-cancelling and the regular version, I bought Bose’s around-the-ear model on Monday evening at their store in the downtown Westfield. I decided against sound-cancelling because I’m afraid to be struck by a bus and die. But if “Lost” has taught me anything, it’s that I’ll see you all in another life, brotha. Anyway.
Just like a little kid at Hanukkah, I asked the store owner, “Do you mind if I open it now so I can listen to them on my ride home?” After a few cuts and snips, I was on my way downstairs to the Powell Station sporting my new headphones.
For some reason Predictably, I had to wait a while until a lettered car appeared to take me to the Castro station (I was jonseing for some boba). Once it arrived (after I was told it wasn’t coming for another seven minutes), I hopped on and stood against the doors on the opposite side so I’d be closest to my exit.
One stop in, I see a guy in his 30s or 40s walking through the car and talking to people. Huh, that’s weird, I thought.
As he makes his way over to our side of the car I notice he’s holding a paper. I’m thinking, oh, he’s one of THOSE a-holes.
I love people who try to help a good cause, but I hate solicitors as much as the MILF from “The 40-Year Old Virgin.” As he approached me, I politely said no thanks (a few times… he was persistent) and he moved on down the train.
Here’s where it gets fun. As he was moving down the bus, he kept asking folks and they kept saying “no thanks.” Until he reached this one dude sitting down reading a book. Let’s recount the situation:
Solicitor: Do you mind signing my petition to…
Muni Rider (screaming at the top of his lungs): NO. YOU CAN’T PETITION. NO PETITIONING. YOU CAN’T DO THAT. THAT’S NOT ALLOWED. STOP IT. YOU’RE A BAD PERSON. STOP DOING THIS. YOU CAN’T PETITION ON HERE. STOP IT. STOP. DON’T BOTHER ME. STOP IT!!!!!!!!
The Rest of the Bus: (Silence)
He finally quit right before we hit the Church station. As the solicitor passed him again on his way to the front of the bus, I was afraid the psycho was going to shank him. But luckily he kept his cool this time around.
And do you know what pisses me off most about all of this? That I didn’t buy the noise-cancelling headphones.
So the message is: SCREAM AND THROW A CRAZED PETULANT HISSY FIT if encountered by a solicitor on Muni?
True. Solicitation on Muni is both prohibited and annoying. However, maybe that petition was for the Sean Elsbernd charter amendment regarding Muni reform, the signing and/or understanding of which would’ve greatly benefited any Muni rider.
Know what’s worse than an annoying petition? Fare hikes, route cuts, gross mismanagement, pissing, filth and violence on public transit. Maybe the petitioner you shut down was trying to correct those wrongs.
Or maybe it was a petition against lame articles about headphones written with a smug attitude. We’ll never know.
If the petition was actually relevant to Muni riders, then I guess we can blame all the irrelevant petitioners for poisoning the water first.