By Michal Shvimer
I started canvassing for Planned Parenthood about a month and a half ago. This would be a good gig for a good cause, I thought. And it is, don’t get me wrong. But it certainly comes with its set of disappointments.
Luckily, I canvass in Boston, one of the most progressive and supportive cities regarding reproductive health, so the people that pass by are typically supportive. Nevertheless, after standing outside and yelling/smiling at people for five hours, some remarks get me heated.
Correction: I wish they got me heated. It’s cold. They just make me mad.
I try to grab people with this classic one-liner: “Hi, we’re standing up for reproductive rights, and we’d love your help today!”
Here are some of my favorite responses and my immediate reactions to them.
- I don’t have any money with me, sorry!
You’re on Newbury Street! Of course you have money. You’re not taking a leisurely stroll down Newbury Street. You are here for one of two things: an overpriced smoothie or overpriced jeans. Don’t lie if you don’t want to contribute. Just smile at me and continue on your merry way. Please and thanks.
- I’m just a broke college student.
So am I. That’s why I’m standing in the street asking people to donate to Planned Parenthood for my day job, which first of all, I’m not doing for the outstanding pay.
You just walked out of the Prudential Center holding shopping bags, wearing a Canada Goose and quite literally in the middle of ordering an UberX home. You have money, you just don’t want to spend it on a one-sided transaction. Keep yo-self honest.
- Sorry, in a rush!
It’s just that, like, a sloth could be walking away from me faster than you are. I can tell when people are genuinely in a rush because, well, they typically seem rushed. However, you took the time to stop, look me in the eyes, tell me you’re in a rush and then proceed to meander away.
- We’re all set, thanks.
This one strikes a particular nerve if it comes from the man of a heterosexual couple. I see the woman’s eyes lingering, her interest peaking, but he shuts down the conversation before it even starts.
Hello, sir! Maybe she’d like to learn about the status of her reproductive rights. It’s not up to you to decide. Also, you don’t speak for the both of you in any case. And hunny, if he doesn’t want updates on Planned Parenthood, he’s cancelled.
- I support you!
Then why, may I ask, are you walking away? If you want to tell me that you support the cause I’m standing for, take a few minutes to hear about the issues we’re advocating for, and maybe donate to the cause. Even a $5 donation would make you walk the talk. The latte in your hand probably costs more than your support would.