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December 9, 2003


How to petition in NYC

Having recently gained some experiencing in doing some on-the-street petitioning for a local Democratic political organization, I thought I'd share some of the trends I noticed in who are the best kinds of people to approach when you're collecting signatures. I was petitioning for a Democratic candidate, but I suspect that these rules apply for all forms of public outdoor solicitation, like asking for people to do a survey, try a new processed snack food, or go on a date with you.

Here is a ranking of people likely to offer you their signature, from from most likely to least likely:

  • Elderly ladies who used to be actresses (warning: this group will be very receptive to whatever you want them to do, but may want to chat with you for 15 minutes, thereby extending the total time you will be out on the street.)
  • Other elderly ladies
  • Elderly gentlemen
  • Middle-aged gay men
  • Middle-aged women who look like they listen to NPR
  • Men in their 20's and '30's (this relatively high ranking may be in part because I am a woman; however, do not just swap "women" for "men" in this ranking if you are a man. It won't work.)
  • Young men wearing headphones (I know, you wouldn't think they would even be able to hear you. I think the headphones are just for show or something.)
  • Latino men from the Bronx
  • Non English-speaking delivery people
  • Older angry-looking people who appear to have given up on finding any happiness in their lives, and therefore don't have much of an interest in signing anything. What good would it do anyway, right?
  • Young women (seriously, they were the absolute worst. Not only would I have not gotten a single signature from a woman under 35 if Whiskas hadn't happened to walk by and represent for her demographic, but most young women would not even look at me or say "no, thanks" like almost everybody else who didn't sign my petition did.)

I would also recommend that you pack a hot water bottle or pocket-sized radiation device in your coat if you are going to be petitioning outside on a 33 degree day. -amy
So, Amy. According to your taxonomy, when approaching people for dates on the street (which I admit I try maybe only once a week or so), my best bet is approaching old ladies? "Very receptive to whatever you want them to do," you say? I can definitely live with that...

"Excuse me, Ma'am. Would you like to sign my petition? My petition of love, that is..." -adm

categories: NYC
posted by amy at 2:56 PM | #


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