Dear Urban Diplomat: What can I do about the pushy newspaper guy at my subway stop?

The man who hands out newspapers at my subway stop is what I can only describe as violently cheerful. He sings, repeats cheesy jokes and beelines for commuters who try to avert their eyes. On the rare occasion someone accepts his frantic offering, he yells out, “Yes!” I usually live and let live, but this guy is next-level annoying (and I’m willing to bet he’s frightened at least one small child). How do I get him to tone it down?

—Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Danforth Village

Anyone who can maintain a smile while braving the elements and disgruntled commuters deserves a medal. I don’t doubt his over-keen antics are grating, but if he’s not a danger to himself or others, you’re going to have to suck it up. The only thing more taxing than being subjected to a frenzied newspaper distributor is having to get up before the crack of dawn to be that guy. I humbly suggest you adopt the tactic that assuages misanthropic TTC riders the city over: noise-cancelling headphones.


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