Its a free world. Apparently. I certainly value my freedom and ability to move around anonymously, care-freely, adhocly. And we often lead busy lives. Maybe we should slow down a little sometimes but that is for the individual to decide and not others. So don't be put upon, fight back and protect your liberty (and your bank balance at the same time).
CUP was originally set up to fight off those people who stop you in the street to do surveys or badger you to help charities, but such is the overwhelming response and support we have extended our remit to cover all areas where our daily lives are interrupted by obstrepulous 3rd parties. So read on, fight back and be free.
CUP Remit - everybody, everything and everywhere
If you try and walk down parts of Tottenham Court Road or South Molton Street in London during the day, you will invariably find your path obstructed by some do-gooder asking if you can spare a couple of minutes so he or she can sell something to you. Even if I am reading something they do it. Or sometimes on the phone. Give me a break! And it's not just London, it's happening all over the world even in Cambodia, Tokyo and Bolton.
So, members of CUP, chant the chosen mantra on such occasions:
"Sorry, no. I am a member of the Campaign for Unobstructed Pedestrianism and do not have time for you."
If you can speak in two colours like that then all the better.
Other suggestions from our fellow members include:
"Do you know who I am? Well lets keep it that way."
"Have you prior permission to talk to me?
I refuse to look at your documentation until you can provide mine."
I'll get a sign up page sorted out soon and will lobby for the equivalent of the mailing and telephone preference services. The idea is that these street obstacle people will have to instantly recognise that we have opted-out and stand aside allowing a free passage. Naturally I would advocate an opt-in polcy as being better but I think that is a little ambitious at this stage.
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In your home
What about those people who knock on your door trying to sell you religion, dusters, pizzas, driveways. Next time this happens to you grab the nearest bit of worthless rubbish - for instance a stone, a gerbil named Gerald, some naval fluff - and chant this chosen mantra:
"Sorry, no. I am a member of the Campaign for Unobstructed Pedestrianism. Would you like to buy this piece of worthless rubbish?"
You do run the small risk of the obstructer ignoring this unexpected sentence and continuing regardless. Shut the door in their face. However, if they answer yes, they would like to buy your valueless item, then sell it to them (for cash and don't offer a receipt or guarantee) and donate 20% to the CUP funds.
Now what about pushy sales calls. "Hello, I'm a sharp tongued, sharp suited, moralless cretin from the Selling Complicated Useless Machines (SCUM) Co. Is that Mr. Hedgerow? Hi, I'm Lance. How are you?". You know what is coming and such false familiarity is just a transparent trick to make you warm to the perpetrator. This should be punished swiftly and mercilessly. Retort with:
"Oh I am so glad you asked. I have been having a bit of a bad time of it recently. First there was the car crash and I hurt my ankle. Then this cold came on and you know I really can't seem to shake it off. And don't start me on about the guy at number 6 and his cars parked everywhere. I wouldn't mind but he hasn't even taxed them..."
They'll get the message soon enough. If they try to put you off your stride by interrupting say:
"Excuse me, I was talking. Are you always this rude?"
Ignore any attempt at an answer and carry on where you left off. Don't forget to include intimate details of the boil on your left buttock. Another trick they use is to use your first name. Immediately respond with:
"Do I know you? Please address me using my surname, Mr. Hedgerow, or just Sir."
If by some chance your name is not Mr Hedgerow then just stick to "Sir". One other thing you could do is just hang up buy where's the fun in that?
You've got to love the London Underground. They are so switched off that their main web site is the catchily named tube.tfl.gov.uk. Of course you can go to www.londontransport.co.uk/tfl but you can't go to www.tube.co.uk or www.thetube.co.uk. Having said that that the map of the system is beautiful. I digress. Travelling on the tube is mostly brilliant and convenient. However, it can be stressful of course and regardless it is always a pleasure to reach your destination station and leave, especially when coming up from a station that actually is underground.
On exiting some of the Central London stations, such as Oxford Circus, you will often encounter Tube Lurkers, sometimes known as Tube Zombies. These people will thrust bits of paper, magazine, old toilet brushes...anything they have been told to get rid of...in your direction and you may get a grunt from them as you brush past. This isn't too much of a problem except they often make the narrow exits to the street even narrower. The way to tackle them is to always have a piece of paper in your pocket, preferably with literature supporting CUP. As you approach make sure you are ready to whip it out and stand in front of them and don't move until they take it. If they move aside, follow them and thrust at them with a small jerking action.
The worst kind of Tube Lurker is the Magazine Distributor. These people will often have a stolen shopping trolley full of a cheap magazine which is 99% adverts. They think that because it is free, which is perhaps the only attractive proposition of the goods as the content is shite, that they can repeat the word "Free" several times and wave the cover in front of you. Your tactics here vary according to a) the size of the person b) how much time you have on your hands and c) how fast you can run. Here are some alternatives:
It is possible to be proactive in your efforts to thwart these ne'er do badders. There is another group of them who run scams of various sorts including the Nigerian $40,000,000 Bank Transfer scam (brilliant except you transfer money to them and you get nothing back), the Free Porn scam (wonderful except you download a phone dialer which attempts to get you to make calls to a premium rate or International number) or the Cheap Viagra scam (where you send your money and get no goods - I'm still waiting). In most of these cases you can do nothing but in the case of the first you can. You go along with it, pretend you are very interested, get them to meet you at airports where you don't arrive etc. all in the interests of messing about these crooks. Check out http://www.419eater.com to find Mike who is an expert in these things.
If you see me walkin' down the street, and I start to cry each time, we meet,
Walk on by, walk on by
Make believe you don't see the tears just let me breath and cry
`Cause each time I see you I break down and cry
Walk on by
I just can't get over losing you
So if I seem broken and blue,
Walk on by, Walk on by
Foolish pride that's all that I have left
So let me hide the tear and sadness that you gave me when you said good-bye
(bye) Walk on by, (Bye)
...sing the song.