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Thread: 'Distraction-free shopping'

  1. #1
    Wanna cuddle? RabbitMage's avatar
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    Default 'Distraction-free shopping'

    I wandered by a Target today and saw a guy sitting outside, registering people to vote. Target hasa policy for a while to provide what they call "distraction-free shopping" to their customers. Basically no person or group, regardless of reason or cause, can position themselves in front of the store to solicit anything. Not signatures, not Girl Scout cookies, not donations, nothing.

    According to their official policy, "We ask all solicitors and petitioners to respect our policy by ceasing their activities and leaving our property. However, frequently they refuse to comply. We partner with local law enforcement agencies to assist us in having unwanted solicitors and petitioners removed from our property."

    I've never seen anyone removed from the front of a store before. Instead what happens is there is usually a big angry red sign stating that what this person/group is doing is against store policy.

    I'm curious about everyone's thoughts on this policy or similar policies other businesses have enacted. Should the store call law enforcement to remove people? What about the people who are knowing violating the store's policy?

  2. #2
    Elephant Feirefiz's avatar
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    I would expect stores to prevent 'distractions' and yes, that includes calling law enforrcement if necessary. In practice it should rarely come to that. A more or less polite reminder from security or other staff should be enough. Thank god it isn't much of a problem here. All you will typically see are occasional approved charity sales or information booths in the common areas of malls.
    Quote Originally posted by RabbitMage View post
    I've never seen anyone removed from the front of a store before. Instead what happens is there is usually a big angry red sign stating that what this person/group is doing is against store policy.
    Now that would piss me off. I don't know about America, but here if you want someone kicked off your private property chances are you will succeed. Either you approve or you don't.

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    The Queen Zuul's avatar
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    If they ask a group that has settled itself in front of the store to leave and that group fails to do so, calling the police seems perfectly reasonable to me. The sidewalk in front of the store isn't a free-for-all land.

    I've never seen the big angry sign you mention and I've never seen anybody removed from in front of a store. Instead, I usually just don't see people on the property of stores with that policy. And I'm okay with that.

  4. #4
    Prehistoric Bitchslapper Sarahfeena's avatar
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    I agree with Zuul. If it's their property, I guess they can do what they want with it.

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    Oliphaunt
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    Yes, they definitely should be able to call the cops to remove the solicitors, but they probably don't want to end up on the evening news for having Girl Scouts arrested.

    That would probably be bad for business.

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    The Queen Zuul's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Orual View post
    Yes, they definitely should be able to call the cops to remove the solicitors, but they probably don't want to end up on the evening news for having Girl Scouts arrested.

    That would probably be bad for business.
    Unless it was the Childfree Hardcore Store.

  7. #7
    Padding Enabler Panther Squad's avatar
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    This is a reason why I (did?) enjoy shopping at Target. Except for the shriners, around here you're accosted for your money by cheerleading squads or the damn salvation army. When I had the income, I had money taken out for my area's United Way, an association that actively provides for families in need.

    But I think for a company that at least likes to give the image of being liberal-friendly, a lot of common associations that solicit donations outside of stores could cause conflict. I admit, I've thought about complaining to my local grocery store about the Salvation Army and suggest they try to get donations for the local Franciscans -- you know, the people who are actually standing on street corners and handing out food to the homeless and not using the money for political gain.

    Anyway, I think my point is that they're probably smart to not have this for people like me who do actually get upset when a group we don't agree with is soliciting donations. So by disallowing it they don't have to get involved in any such issues.
    comcast guy - m4m - 18 (nb)
    seem like we had that connection when we looked at each other
    you had a blue shirt on nice asss,dought you will see this but dosnt hurt to try, but id love to play with you. tell me what you where fixing, or the street name,or describe me.

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    The Apostabulous Inner Stickler's avatar
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    I remember there was a to-do a year or so ago because the local Target wouldn't allow the Salvation Army to solicit in front of the store. It was spun as mean old target hates the salvation army and it took a lot of time and effort to make it clear that this wasn't an anti-salvation army thing, it was a policy thing that affects all solicitors. Basically, I don't care if you want to solicit in front of a store, I'm going to ignore you anyway and stores that are clogged with them are going to be avoided. I don't give a shit if girl scouts are taped being handcuffed and escorted off the property.
    I don't think so, therefore I'm probably not.

  9. #9
    Wanna cuddle? RabbitMage's avatar
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    I wanted to get a few opinions before I chimed in with my own.

    I think private businesses absolutely have the right to restrict activity on their property, and especially if someone has been asked to leave and refuses, then they're opening themselves up to law enforcement involvement and legal action.

    Also, what kind of a jerk continues to sit there after being asked to leave? "Excuse me, sir. I'm sorry, but company policy is that we don't allow solicitation in front of the store. I'm going to have to ask you to pack up and leave." "Uh, no." I would avoid such a person/group on principle, because seriously, what a dick.

    I agree with Panther (I actually agree with Panther a lot, we should hang out sometime) that it's a smart move for them. There are a few organizations I flat out refuse to donate to for political reasons and I hate being hassled by them as I'm trying to do my shopping. So much so that I also tend to avoid stores where I know they'll be present.

    There's also the discrimination angle. "Well why do you let the Girl Scouts sell cookies, but you refused my Boy Scout troop?" "Why can that guy register Republican voters, but I can't come out tomorrow and register Democrats?" And so on.

    In short: Good policy, I approve, people are dicks for not following it.

  10. #10
    Elen síla lumenn' omentielvo What Exit?'s avatar
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    I like Target's policy. I hope more stores adopt it. It would be really rude to stay after being asked to leave.

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    MOON GIRL FIGHTS CRIME Myrnalene's avatar
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    I really fucking loathe being harassed by Girl Scouts or other solicitors every time I go to the store to get a loaf of bread (I used to buy groceries at a Publix that allowed them to set up shop in front). I know this is gonna make me sound like a social defective, but I just don't want to have to deal with aggressive nine-year olds in my face every time I go in and come back out. If I wanted to buy your overpriced cookies, I'd fucking order them from the catalog your mom's passing around the office, Cindy Lou Who.
    everything in nature is sort of gross when you look at it too closely. what is an apple? basically the uterus of a tree - terrifel

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    Padding Enabler Panther Squad's avatar
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    Girl scouts should only approach you if they are offering the exchange of cookies for currency
    comcast guy - m4m - 18 (nb)
    seem like we had that connection when we looked at each other
    you had a blue shirt on nice asss,dought you will see this but dosnt hurt to try, but id love to play with you. tell me what you where fixing, or the street name,or describe me.

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    I wish there were girl scouts by the grocery store more often. Thin mints and trefoils!

  14. #14
    Wanna cuddle? RabbitMage's avatar
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    I do love me some Girl Scout cookies, but I'm okay with them being a little harder to find if it also means some jerkoff outside a store can't harass me to try and get me to join a political party.

    I AM REGISTERED ALREADY THANK YOU

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    Padding Enabler Panther Squad's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by RabbitMage View post
    I do love me some Girl Scout cookies, but I'm okay with them being a little harder to find if it also means some jerkoff outside a store can't harass me to try and get me to join a political party.

    I AM REGISTERED ALREADY THANK YOU
    Rabbit, back when I was a punk I used to give them any one of the wild names I went by and they'd call me and leave baffled messages.
    comcast guy - m4m - 18 (nb)
    seem like we had that connection when we looked at each other
    you had a blue shirt on nice asss,dought you will see this but dosnt hurt to try, but id love to play with you. tell me what you where fixing, or the street name,or describe me.

  16. #16
    Sophmoric Existentialist
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    Quote Originally posted by Myrnalene View post
    I really fucking loathe being harassed by Girl Scouts or other solicitors every time I go to the store to get a loaf of bread (I used to buy groceries at a Publix that allowed them to set up shop in front). I know this is gonna make me sound like a social defective, but I just don't want to have to deal with aggressive nine-year olds in my face every time I go in and come back out. If I wanted to buy your overpriced cookies, I'd fucking order them from the catalog your mom's passing around the office, Cindy Lou Who.
    AMEN.

    Double AMEN.

    AMEN AMEN
    Sophmoric Existentialist

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    Quote Originally posted by vison View post
    AMEN.

    Double AMEN.

    AMEN AMEN
    Yeah, but you're in Canada, and the Girl Guides don't have cookies as good as the Girl Scouts.

  18. #18
    Oliphaunt Taumpy's avatar
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    I imagine the policy comes from corporate in order to remain completely politically neutral, and therefore keep from offending people enough into shopping at Walmart. It could be something they leave at the store manager's discretion whether or not to enforce.

    I would also guess whenever it's not enforced it comes down to two things. One, the store manager can't be bothered to do anything about solicitors, or two, the particular solicitors you're seeing are ones that the store manager has recognized as being ones his customers appreciate being there. Despite the opinions of all the social defectives in this thread, I don't think charities bother that many people enough that they want them gone. And I think a lot of people enjoy the easy warm and fuzzies they get from giving the Salvation Army a buck at Christmas.
    Last edited by Taumpy; 15 Aug 2010 at 05:05 AM.
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  19. #19
    Sophmoric Existentialist
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    I don't. There are more appropriate ways of collecting money than having someone beg on the street.

    And I particularly hate it when groups are just holding out cans, begging, when they could be doing a car wash or something like that: the Air Cadets of our area ACTUALLY stand outside the grocery store with begging cans!!! I must remember to write a letter to someone . . . .

    Sometimes they are selling poppies for Remembrance Day, but I stopped buying poppies, even though I think Remembrance Day is one of the most important anniversary recognitions that there is. But the poppies they sell nowadays are such cheap crap! Either get better poppies or find some other way to remind us. As the veterans die off, it gets harder and harder to make young people understand what it was all about.
    Sophmoric Existentialist

  20. #20
    Wanna cuddle? RabbitMage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Taumpy View post
    And I think a lot of people enjoy the easy warm and fuzzies they get from giving the Salvation Army a buck at Christmas.
    The Salvation Army doesn't give me warm fuzzies, though. Screw those guys.

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    Quote Originally posted by RabbitMage View post
    The Salvation Army doesn't give me warm fuzzies, though. Screw those guys.
    Well, no, me either, but that's because you and I are degenerate perverts.

  22. #22
    The Queen Zuul's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by RabbitMage View post
    The Salvation Army doesn't give me warm fuzzies, though. Screw those guys.
    Quote Originally posted by Exy View post
    Well, no, me either, but that's because you and I are degenerate perverts.
    It's what makes you so gosh darned lovable.

  23. #23
    Oliphaunt Taumpy's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by RabbitMage View post
    The Salvation Army doesn't give me warm fuzzies, though. Screw those guys.
    Yeah, me neither. But I sincerely doubt many people give it more thought than, "hey, a pain-free way to help people! props for me!"

  24. #24
    Oliphaunt The Original An Gadaí's avatar
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    The cunts in my local supermarket let local groups come into the store and pack your groceries for you in exchange for a donation. It is really intimidating and I've been meaning to register my disapproval of it. They're basically guilting/embarrassing you into some rich kids' trip to the USA for a dance-off or some shit like that.

  25. #25
    MOON GIRL FIGHTS CRIME Myrnalene's avatar
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    The Salvation Army is morally questionable and OH GOD THE BELLS THE BELLS...........

    For me, the holiday season means schlepping across some treacherously icy parking lot, trying not to fall on your ass while those bells ring incessantly in your ear.
    everything in nature is sort of gross when you look at it too closely. what is an apple? basically the uterus of a tree - terrifel

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    Elephant Feirefiz's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The Original An Gadaí View post
    The cunts in my local supermarket let local groups come into the store and pack your groceries for you in exchange for a donation. It is really intimidating and I've been meaning to register my disapproval of it. They're basically guilting/embarrassing you into some rich kids' trip to the USA for a dance-off or some shit like that.
    I can't tell you how much I would hate that.

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    If it's not for a cause that I would particularly consider "charitable", I would have no issue telling them to just fuck off. And I mean I'm pretty nice in retail type situations. That one would bug me enough to dig up swear words to use if they pressed me.

  28. #28
    Oliphaunt The Original An Gadaí's avatar
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    I have to be careful though because a lot of these people would be customers in my shop so I can't alienate them or they won't spend their readies with me.

  29. #29
    Curmudgeon OtakuLoki's avatar
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    A large mall in California had tried to set up rules to ensure distraction-free shopping, by banning all speech between strangers that wasn't mall-related. I can't say, for certain, what the intention of the mall management might have been, but I suspect that it was calculated to try to forbid religious witnessing. Certainly that's how the situation that sparked this case seems to have been an attempt to shut down a witnessing.

    The court has struck down the mall's rules, as being unconstitutional - a violation of free speech. I think that the court made the right decision. The rules were too broad, and would have to be too sporadically enforced.

  30. #30
    MOON GIRL FIGHTS CRIME Myrnalene's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Loki's article
    The opinion quotes from the deposition of Gavin Farnam, the senior general manager of the Galleria.

    "If you're going to talk about any other subject (other than the mall) … then you're prohibited from going up to strangers and speaking to them, is that correct?" he was asked by a Snatchko attorney.

    "That's not correct," Farnam testified. "It doesn't prohibit you. It just means you have to come in and fill out the application for third-party access for noncommercial" speech.

    What if, the attorney postulated, he is excited about the Super Bowl and says to a stranger, "Hey, hope you're supporting the Patriots," or "Hope you're supporting the Giants this week." Would that violate the rules? he asked.

    "You can go in and again fill out a third-party access, if that's what a person chooses to do," said Farnam
    OK lulz, that's taking things a bit far.

    ETA: And this application must be submitted to the security office four days in advance.
    Last edited by Myrnalene; 16 Aug 2010 at 11:54 AM.
    everything in nature is sort of gross when you look at it too closely. what is an apple? basically the uterus of a tree - terrifel

  31. #31
    The Queen Zuul's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Myrnalene View post
    ETA: And this application must be submitted to the security office four days in advance.
    That is the funniest thing I've read all morning.

  32. #32
    Oliphaunt jali's avatar
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    The Publix in my area has a strict "don't fuck with the customers" rule and I love it. They do occasional in-store drives, but the cashiers don't try to guilt you into giving.

    The Kroger store allows so many organizations to hang around outside that it's stressful to have to run the gauntlet of beggers on the way in and then again on the way out of the store. They ALWAYS have those donation cardboard things at the register and the cashiers are required to ask if you want to give to whatever they're supporting that week.
    They weren't singing....they were just honking.
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  33. #33
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    After having been in the Middle East/Asia for a while, I've learned an easy way to deal with beggars and hawkers: Don't talk, don't make eye contact, don't acknowledge their existence, and keep going. If you feel you must be somewhat polite, give a slight smile, shake your head, and keep going.

    Alternately, if these people irritate you enough to actually make you angry, go home and don't leave the house unless it catches on fire. The Outside is a scary place, filled with people who may have opinions that differ from your own.

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