I don’t have to tell you my name.
Normally I say “no thank you” or continue to walk past charity workers, but every now and then they engage in behaviour that gets me really heated. I was tricked one time when someone called out, “Hey, you dropped…”
I stopped in my tracks, slightly confused because I was confident that I didn’t drop anything. The voice had come from someone with some flyers and a clipboard, and I think they could tell that I was pissed off. What’s more, they had a look of pure guilt on their face, and didn’t know how to follow up. So I scoffed and continued on my way.
The next time that happened, I caught the person mid sentence.
“Hey, you dropped—”
“No I didn’t!”
I didn’t slow down. I heard a nervous but mischievous laugh as I kept walking.
You might laugh, but it’s not funny. I understand you need to do your job. But if you lied and tricked me to get my attention, what makes you think I’m going to support your cause? Not a good look.
I once had someone call out to me and say, “Where are you from?”
Don’t. Freaking. Ask. Me. Where. I’m. From.
“Sydney,” I shouted back enthusiastically, and kept walking.
“Sydney?” they repeated, with a laugh that sounded as if they had been defeated.
Look, I’m not an idiot. But don’t ask me a racist question to get my attention.
Earlier this week I was on my way to the bus stop to go home. I felt nauseated so I left work early. I passed some charity workers who had been there that morning.
One man called out as I walked past, “Hey there love.”
“Don’t call me that!” I shouted as I turned my head, and kept walking.
I don’t think he heard me, because he was already occupied talking to someone else. Oh, of course he was. 🙄
I was genuinely surprised at my reaction because it came out of my mouth without me thinking. At the time I just wanted to go home and really didn’t want to talk to anybody.
Just yesterday, I was meeting someone who was buying my old polaroid camera from me. I was on my way to the meeting spot when a charity worker said to me, “Hi! You’re looking bright and beautiful today, my name’s Bob. What’s your name?”
“I don’t want to tell you that, I don’t share my name with strangers.”
He gave me a look.
“My name’s Bob… I’m not a stranger.”
We’re not at an event or a party or a meetup. I literally have no idea who you are. I have zero obligation to tell you my name. Just because you told me yours, doesn’t make you suddenly not a stranger.
I’ve used this line before, and the response is never negative – the person respects my wishes and still shares who they are representing and their cause, because at least I’m nice about expressing my unwillingness to share my name.
I don’t spend my days thinking of clever responses to charity workers.
We have dark patterns on the web that make us subscribe to things we don’t want – pre-selected checkboxes, confusing language, and other trickery that businesses use to get what they want from us. In a time where technology is a big part of our lives, we are exposed to lies and deceit and immediately boycott brands and companies that use tactics to gain our trust. We are unimpressed by popups asking us to subscribe, and leave websites immediately.
So when one of these workers uses similar tactics in real life, I only stick to the same moral values I have in, well, all areas of my life. I’m not being a bitch, or nasty, I’m literally behaving the same way I would with anyone. Just because someone is working for a cause doesn’t mean that I excuse irritating or deceitful behaviour.