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I don’t believe that it’s the cooler weather that has brought out the sidewalk solicitors. It’s probably the fact that tourist season has begun (by my newbie approximation).

But each time I’m approached with “Do you have a minute?” or “You look friendly.” I wonder what sort of person is suited for this job. (My response to both of these conversation starters is “no,” by the way.) Like any telemarketer, you must possess or build a very specific skill set through this experience. Like unparalleled persistence and thick skin, perhaps?

I’m intrigued by whether their developed skills translate to anything useful in their endeavors and if the pay for this gig is worth these freezing temperatures, but you can bet your bottom dollar I will never stop to ask any of them.

Coming to NYC soon? Here’s my advice to shut up the solicitors:

1. Don’t even look at them. They are the people who smile wide and/or try to make eye contact like you’re a long lost buddy and they are shocked to see you on the street.
2. Practice walking briskly, and although noting the pesky existence of other human beings around you, do not let them know that they have been observed. Just walk past them, away from them, through them if necessary.
3. Don’t look them in the eyes.
4. Always say no.
5. Beware of creative solicitors: “Where did you get your hair cut?” is only a conversation starter for solicitors and creeps. Even in this situation I stick to my favorite response: “No.”

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