They Don't Just Ring Your Doorbell Anymore

| | Comments (10)

Last night, while browsing the how-to book section at a mega bookstore (yes, Bookstore Diva, your chain, although not your store) and just quietly minding my own business, I was ambushed by an overzealous Jehovah's Witness.

I was polite to him for about five minutes too long. (Chronic politeness is a South African affliction, you see.)

When I eventually managed to flee, and went to find the boy to tell him the whole story, he suggested that we should complain to management so that the guy could be thrown out. As upset as I was, I didn't really think that I had grounds for a complaint. I mean, isn't the very spirit of a bookstore centered around the exchange of ideas and freedom of speech?

The boy argued that what the guy did is a form of harassment. What do you think? Remember though: I was polite to him at first. Also, do you think we could've and should've complained to the store's management?

But, since this has been the third strange encounter that I've had in the past few weeks (stay tuned to the still-in-slow-progress Travelogue to read about the other two) the most important question that remains is: What IS it about me that weirdoes seem to find so incredibly appealing?!?

But just so you know, if your answer to that last question includes the phrase: "Like attracts like," I'll send you a virus!

10 Comments

TimT said:

Why do you attract these people? Why does anybody?!! The answer...

Because you exist!

One of these days, I mean to print out a card for use on those occasions when I am accosted by hippies, communists, fascists, Jehova's Witlesses, or any others of their ilk. It will say something like this:

NO!

I am not interested in saving the planet, saving my soul, saving your soul, saving the whales, etc, etc, etc.... but thanks for asking. Have a nice day!

miked said:

first off, it's not just you south africans who suffer from chronic politeness, it's also us Canadians eh.

Now what is it that attracts wierdos? Personally I think they can spot a sucker... me included. Someone who will give them the time of day... that sort of person. It's pretty easy when you think about it. People who are uptight very rarely make eye contact with others... they're in their own world.

As for do I think this incident qualifies as harassment. That's a grey area. In my opinion if nicely told the person you didn't need another watchtower and you're comfortable where you are... and he still harassed you... then you can scream and get the managers attention. On the other hand, the dude shouldn't be peddling anything on private property... so forget what I just said, the dude should be tossed out.

I'm sure a mega bookstore has a policy against such things.

Natalie said:

Okay, I know I'm being technical here, but Miked above wrote: "In my opinion if nicely told the person you didn't need another watchtower and you're comfortable where you are... and he still harassed you". I don't think the guy harassed you at all, so I don't think he'd be capable of still harassing you.

We have a problem in the western world, especially in the US, of feeling entitled to our space and our likes and interests--and I'm not saying that's a bad thing, necessarily--but it seems like culturally and societally, it's getting to the point that person A can't approach person B with some crazy viewpoint without B feeling "harassed." I'm so happy, Red, that you're questioning whether you had grounds for a complaint at all! (I'm not picking on Boy, I'm just saying).

Fifty years ago, people didn't fire up a lawsuit because they were stupid asses, and people didn't shout "harassment!" the minute a stranger got on their nerves. We live together, and we're going to have to deal with each other. If you tell someone, "Not interested, thank you," and they continue to speak with you, they are dense and rude. If you say the same thing and they start to call you obscene words or placing a voodoo spell on your children, that's harassment.

Airmatix said:

Friends don't let friends drive drunk.

Cheekybums said:

Next time you get approached by a stranger that start talking about something you don't want to talk about, make as if you don't understand him/her and start to mumble words in a different language that won't make sense to them. I'm sure that will make them leave.

miked said:

harassment is anything that makes one feel annoyed. Meaning it's open to interpretation... everyone's different.

Annika said:

I hate to get involved in a debate (making jokes about other people's faith is much more fun) but harassment is most certainly NOT anything that annoys. Anything that makes you feel threatened, perhaps. But annoyed? If that were the case everyone on earth would sue their siblings. Except for the only children. I don't know who they'd sue.

deeleea said:

I'm with Annika... if harassed meant annoyed I'd be suing Flick for eating out loud.

Don said:

I think you should've kicked him in the nuts...

Red Dahling,
You have really inspired a hot debate amongst the peanut gallery. This is what happens when you go to another location of the mega bookstore,where I'm not around to defend your honor. If I had been around, Brigitte & I would have thrown him off of the balcony and into the Inner Harbor. Back to the debate... Maybe nice people give off a certain aroma that only salesman & weirdos can smell. People will come up to me and start telling me there whole life story,and all I said was hello.It happens to me more often than not. I wish I was better at being rude,but I'm I'm not. I believe that even weirdos have feelings too. I don't think that I actually answered the question.

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is a South African girl living in South Africa. That doesn't sound very original, we know, but you might find it remotely interesting when you learn that she has only recently returned to South Africa for the first time after a nine year, one month and two week (non-stop!) stint in the United States where she accidentally became an outlawed alien (also known, especially in immigration circles, as an 'illegal immigrant.' We prefer the term 'outlawed alien' ourselves). During her reversed exile from her homeland, she kept herself occupied by winning this website (but only after shamelessly bribing the judges) and thus being unleashed on the web where she slowly, leisurely became the World's Laziest Blogger; by being a nanny and by attending sci-fi conventions in search of other aliens. In the US, she also made her sailing debut, her international acting debut, tried and failed to learn the piano, and never learned to cook. She is hopelessly addicted to coffee, dogs (especially Labrador Retrievers), how-to books (with a particular fondness for her copy of the Time/Life A - Z Medical Encyclopedia), and she tends to grossly overuse parentheses (we're not kidding) during her attempts at writing, which you may - if you really have masochistic tendencies - subject yourself to by reading the words to the right of this column. If you REALLY and truly STILL want to know more, you can read her C.V. here.
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comments
  • bookstorediva : Red Dahling, You have really inspired a hot debate amongst the peanut gallery. This is what happens ... [go]
  • Don : I think you should've kicked him in the nuts...... [go]
  • deeleea : I'm with Annika... if harassed meant annoyed I'd be suing Flick for eating out loud.... [go]
  • Annika : I hate to get involved in a debate (making jokes about other people's faith is much more fun) but ha... [go]
  • miked : harassment is anything that makes one feel annoyed. Meaning it's open to interpretation... everyone'... [go]
  • Cheekybums : Next time you get approached by a stranger that start talking about something you don't want to talk... [go]
  • Airmatix : Friends don't let friends drive drunk.... [go]
  • Natalie : Okay, I know I'm being technical here, but Miked above wrote: "In my opinion if nicely told the pers... [go]
  • miked : first off, it's not just you south africans who suffer from chronic politeness, it's also us Canadia... [go]
  • TimT : Why do you attract these people? Why does anybody?!! The answer... Because you exist! One of the... [go]
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