In the Netherlands, it seems to be quite common lately to hire some students, put them on a busy main street or outside a supermarket, and have them target every passerby by asking 'Can I ask you something?'.
These people are always selling stuff I am not interested in (newspaper subscriptions, services that deliver food to your house every week) or they are trying you to sign up to become a permanent donor for a charity (in which I am also not interested).
My approach so far has always been:
- Do not make eye contact
- Continue walking without changing pace/trajectory (unless one jumps in front of me, then I swerve)
- Reply 'You just did' (gentle, joking tone of voice, smile on my face) if they ask me 'Can I ask you something'
Usually, this either generates a weird look if somebody doesn't get the joke, or a chuckle if they do. Even bystanders seem to like it. But yesterday, a lady came to me saying that what I was doing was very impolite.
Are there any better ways to dismiss street vendors?