Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, July 05, 2021

Assuming you aren’t a shut-in, you’ve encountered the public-space scourge known as the “charity mugger”:

Now I, like you, tend to sneak away by crossing streets or donning headphones when I see them approaching. And apparently we’re not the only ones. More than two-thirds of Brits admit to crossing the street to avoid what they call “chuggers,” short for “charity muggers.” A solicitor for the ACLU said that of the thousands of people who pass her every day, only 30 stop to listen and a measly five donate. Which raises the question… Does this approach really do anything besides annoy people?

At first blush, this comes off as a uniquely urban phenomenon, in that bustling sidewalks provide the sheer number of face-to-face opportunities for these solicitors to do their things. But I’ve encountered practically the same action in suburbia: High school athletics boosters ambushing patrons as they exit supermarkets, relief workers staking out rush-hour traffic-light intersections and walking up to idling driver’s-side car windows, etc. I actually admire the tactical location-effectiveness at play.

That doesn’t mean that I like being bugged by them.

So my solution is to just blow right by them. Not crossing the street to avoid them, and thus inconveniencing myself — I just keep walking, and let the chuggers keep babbling on about Amnesty International, Greenpeace, etc. in my wake. I might or might not wave them off, or grunt something, but that’s the most they’ll get out of me.

I make no apologies for this behavior. When I’m walking down the street in Midtown or wherever, it’s usually with a purpose. I’m certainly not looking for an excuse to get delayed. The intent doesn’t really matter — I’m on the sidewalk to get from one place to another, and I see no reason to spend even one second on false courtesy toward an unsolicited come-on. False courtesy being a two-way street, because I know that they’re not engaging me in order to make a personal connection: It’s strictly business. To me, that means the rules of decorum are out the window anyway, and thus I’m not obliged to acknowledge the normal human interaction that would apply. If that hurts the chuggers’ feelings, it’s their problem, not mine — in fact, they need to get another job if they’re affected that way.

So that’s my solution to potential “chuggings”: Just keep chugging along. Sometimes the best defense is a good offense — in both the literal and perceptional senses.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 07/05/2021 11:35pm
Category: New Yorkin', Society
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While dissecting yesterday’s news about how Yahoo’s omg! is now the leading gossip site based on Web traffic, I pretty well rejected the premise that this success was due to a less-snarky “positive” tone in its coverage.

But, for the sake of argument, let’s say that that was true. Accordingly, if Yahoo! wants to get down-and-dirtier with its celebrity dishing, there’s a simple way to inject an edgier tone:

Go from omg! to omfg!, of course. Because we all know what that “f” stands for, right? Perfect for not-so-nice exposés.

No omfg.yahoo.com exists just yet, but I’m sure it’s forthcoming. Brand extension doesn’t get any easier.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 07/05/2021 11:56am
Category: Celebrity, Comedy, Internet, Media
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