Wednesday, January 21

Free Newspaper, Sir?

This afternoon I managed to fulfil a long standing dream of mine: to hand out free newspapers at the exit of a popular train station. The paper in question was a local community rag aimed at uniting Muslims in the area. We spent around 45 minutes in front of Ilford station from around 7 onwards, hoping to catch the tail end of the rush hour coming home from work.

The last time I did anything like this was to collect at Oxford Circus for Islamic Relief a couple of years ago - that was quite fun and comfortable since we were there doing an obviously good thing with permission and on in an official capacity, we were indoors and so warm and it turns out that people actually liked to give and engage.

Today on the other hand was quite the opposite. We were there on our own to promote a local project and it seems that people generally have nothing but contempt for people handing out free stuff for them as they're trying to get home. It didn't help that it was freezing either.

It was interesting to see how moody and impolite some people were. I mean hey, I didn't mind the rejection much (being oh-so used to it by now) but a simple "no thanks" was absolutely appreciated every time it was said, even if it meant a newspaper would not have been taken at that time. Being blanked does hurt, and I'm glad I take the time out to thank-but-no-thanks those that try to stuff things down my passing by throat.

Still, bizarrely, it is a real test of character and confidence and by the end of the session we were giving away papers to passer-bys and pretty girls. As with anything else it wasn't as difficult as it was initially thought to have been but having said that I totally have a new found respect for those who do it on a regular, sometimes daily, basis.


  1. I would have started with the pretty girls.

  2. Mash,

    I was trying not to be too obvious.

  3. Anonymous12:36

    Many years ago, a friend had a job handing out leaflets and relayed to me almost the same experience that you have written about. She complained that people passing by were either rude or blanked her, and all she wanted was a polite “no, thank you”. Since then, if I don’t want what’s being handed out, I always smile and say “no, thank you”. The typical reaction from the person handing stuff out is either to look right through me with a blank expression, frown with annoyance, or immediately turn to the next person. I’m hoping I’m making a difference even if it isn’t acknowledged!

  4. Did you just select the Muzzies to hand out the paper to?

    ok, dumb question. No white poeple exist in that region >_<