Dear Urban Diplomat: How should I respond to overzealous street fundraisers?

Dear Urban Diplomat: How should I respond to overzealous street fundraisers?

Urban Diplomat: Way Over Asking (Image: rjt)
 

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I was shopping on Queen West recently and was accosted in three separate instances by those relentlessly cheerful street fundraisers. Aren’t there rules governing these people? They’re everywhere. More important: what am I supposed to say to them? My go-to tactic—ignoring them­—makes me feel guilty.
—Way Over Asking, The Danforth

Urban diplomacy can be taxing, sweaty work. After a long day patrolling the city for decorum breaches, sometimes I don’t feel like saving any rainforests or orphans. If a charity mugger approaches on a day like that, I pull out my cell and fake a phone call—mostly because if I break stride or say anything else, they’ll unleash their rhetorical magic on me, and suddenly I’m a platinum-level donor. If you’re looking for an honest way out, just smile and say, “Not today,” and pick up the pace. As far as laws go, there aren’t any. Provided the chuggers aren’t clogging the sidewalk or harassing passersby, they can solicit with impunity.

Send your questions to the Urban Diplomat at urbandiplomat@torontolife.com