5 Ways To Avoid Annoying ‘Help My Cause’ Panhandlers

The title may mislead you to think that I’m a total prick and I am OK with that. I am not here to discredit this work that people do, referring to the enthusiasts who stand on crowded streets, spark up conversations with strangers, and ultimately try to raise awareness (or get you to commit X amount of money) for great causes. Kudos to those people and their inner-passions to make the world a better place. That being said, I find this type of awareness building completely interruptive and painfully awkward. I prefer utilizing the Internet (i.e. – Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS) and your personal social networks to raise awareness and funds. Seeing this as such a pain point in my daily commute to work, I devised an ultimate plan to avoid these bastards at all cost. (Note: Before you begin your trolling, my wife and I donate time / money each year to to a new cause…it feels good to help those who need it and we’d definitely recommend checking out this list of charities to participate in). Find the best five ways to avoid interaction or commitment via below – including a scale of difficulty to pull off and a measurement of the level of douche you will be perceived as (5 being the largest).

1. Listen But Don’t Buy

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Douche Level: 1 out of 5
Difficulty:  Hard
Details: You’re too nice to politely decline a conversation with a stranger, especially when you know they are going to be pitching a good cause. Caught off guard, you stop and listen. If you genuinely are interesting in hearing what this person has to say, this is a breeze. The tough part is letting them go through their entire spiel, then declining to participate – earning the ‘Hard’ difficulty.

2. Cross The Street

Douche Level: 1 out of 5
Difficulty:  Easy
Details:  If you can spot a panhandler from a significant distance away, simply stop and cross the street. These people aren’t aggressive enough to walk 1/4 of a mile towards you if you are looking to head in the other direction. A similar tactic that works, if with friends / coworkers, is to hide on the opposite site of the group when walking past.

3. No Thanks

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Douche Level: 5 out of 5
Difficulty:  Easy
Details: Simply say “No, Thanks.” and continue to walk. It’s a total douche move because you’re basically saying that your time is more important than anything they have to say. That being said, it works 100% of the time.

4. I’m Running Late

Douche Level: 3 out of 5
Difficulty: Medium
Details: Acknowledge the panhandler but before they start their true pitch, let them know that you don’t have time to hear the entire thing or sign-up. You have an important meeting in less than 5 minutes and you’re office is a good block away.

5. The Important Call

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Douche Level: 3 out of 5
Difficulty: Medium
Details: If you spot a panhandler down the road…take out your phone, put it to your ear, and start talking as if you’re in an important conversation. Get loud, yell out random times (i.e. – “4:00? That’s bullshit…they said 2:30!”), or spit some dramatic lines about health (i.e. – “so the doctor said there’s nothing we can do?”). People are not going to try and start a conversation with you if you’re already on the phone…it’s rude and ultimately, they know they will not get you to convert. If you’re really talented and can fake a vibration motion mid-conversation, this method can work as well.

  • http://www.mountrantmore.com Tom

    You did not include my personal favorite method, “Pretend They Don’t Exist”. Simply refuse to acknowledge that anyone is even talking to you, just walk right by without making eye contact or saying a word. Douche level is definitely a 5 but it works 100% of the time.

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