Wednesday, January 18, 2012


There I was.  Produce section of the grocery store.  Doing the produce thing when a clean cut, friendly faced hispanic man approached. 

"Hola, habla español?", he said.

"Si, un poco", I replied.  At this point I figured he didn't speak English and possibly needed some grocery-shopping related assistance.  I put on my invisible Spanish-thinking cap and readied for his question.

Instead, I was presented with a Jehovah's Witness pamphlet in Spanish.

What the eff??

He continued to speak to me in Spanish while flipping through the pamphlet with nice illustrations of happy, healthy dark-haired people.  I stood there, saying nothing in response because I was too busy wondering why he had targeted me.  Was it that (a) I look like an hispanic person who does not speak any English? (b) I look like an hispanic person who does not speak any English and who is on a path to eternal damnation? (c) he was really a dirty old man who is into kinky Spanish spoken things, and this was his way of weeding out the potentials? or (d) something evil was afoot?

Furtherly mystifying was that I had just come from a tutoring session and was in my relatively professional version of myself, rather than a non-English speaking version of myself. 

I didn't ponder that for too long, however, because what I REALLY  wanted to know was... why was this happening to me in the produce section of a grocery store?  I can't remember ever being subjected to that inside a place of business.

Eventually, I was able to basically tell him, "Gracias, but what I really need are some tomatoes", and we parted on good terms.

Later I was thinking, I couldn't do that.  Just go up to people and start giving unsolicited advice.  It seems such an intrusion.  Plus, there are some who just Don't.  Like.  It.  Especially with topics involving religion or politics.  It's like asking for a punch in the face.

I'm curious about how others feel about unsolicited advice.  Are there some areas where it's welcome, but others where it's not?  What about giving it?  Comfortable?  Uncomfortable?  Un poco?


  1. I definitely could not give unsolicited advice. Part of me admires the dedication to the cause on the part of those who do this. I just couldn't. I'm a people pleaser. I don't like to tick people off.

    My neighborhood seems to be an attractive place for the religious messengers. I've become skilled at scoping them out and "closing up shop" when they head my direction. I hate to tell someone I don't want to hear what they have to say. I will if necessary, but most of the time I just don't answer the door.

  2. You know, there are very few things that get me going, but folks who knock on my door with this are one of them. I even have a sign telling them to GO AWAY (nicely). Unfortunately, I pulled the "my dad's a minister so no thank you" card once and now I have a huge red target on my front door because they would LOVE to convert such a gem as myself.

    In the produce section? I'm 99.9% certain I'd tell the manager. We have a big policy against anything like that in most of our stores, even the girl scouts have a tough time finding places to sell cookies.

  3. I remember this little girl who came to play when we first moved to this town and didn't know anyone. One day she came home with us from school and I discovered I had locked us out of the house. As we ran around the neighbourhood knocking on doors looking for a ladder to borrow the little girl said, "This reminds me of when we go around to tell people about Jehovah!" Doh!
    I'm afraid I like giving advice if I think it can help people. I don't give unsolicited advice though...but I do like to give it.

  4. "Get off my lawn." No problem delivering that message. At all.

    I like the idea of "I'm not interested, but let me introduce you to someone who is" -- and lead him straight to the manager.

  5. that is I am sure some violation of some company's policy.

  6. I never like to give or get unsolicited advice or get panhandled on some sales pitch. Maybe it is my role in purchasing - I get several cold calls each week for something I don't need or want. Usually, I simply smile and say "No, Thank you" but sometimes my inner AH has to respond with something to mess with them.

    On several occasions, I have been approached by someone selling or pushing something and I will respond by trying to sell them something back (Would you like to buy some Scout Popcorn? or Donate to my dog rescue group?). That seems to put them off.

  7. I have had religious people ask permission to speak with me in the subway or on the street, never inside a store. I have never had anyone insist on talking to me on a religious topic once I have declined.

    Political rants are another matter. I just keep walking.

  8. I have a lot of respect for Jehovah's Witnesses, even though I do not agree with some of their fundmental beliefs and have had many long chats with local members. I have never been grabbed in a shop, though. He was probably genuine - can't see much milage in being a fake Witness somehow!

  9. I don't like to be on the delivering or receiving side of any kind of solicitation. The past few days at work, I was asked to go on a "sales blitz". A manager and I went to tons of businesses to see if they had hotel needs and invite them to our open house. A few times I was treated as a 'solicitor', and even though I kinda was, I still didn't like it. There's no way I could do this for a living. I like to make people happy, and some of the looks I was getting when they found out why I was there - well, let's just say I wasn't making them happy. :)

  10. I hate unsolicited advice! I have a no solicitors sign on my door. I enjoyed reading this--you're too funny!