Chicago's Strangely Passive-Aggressive Greenpeace Volunteers

I don't know if this happens in other cities but in Chicago on nice days Michigan Avenue is spotted with Greenpeace soldiers who lie in wait for people to walk by, and then try to engage them in conversation so as to get your credit card number for donations.

That's fine, Greenpeace needs to make money, I understand this. But in Chicago anyway, I've noticed that there's a certain 'tude that a lot of the Greenpeace volunteers have, like they've decided you're already a planet-ruining jerk and while they'll try to talk to you anyway, if you don't seem to be up for engaging with them you've just confirmed all their worst suspicions. Combine that with a general overall personality trait of a sarcastic teenager and you end up with me trying to avoid these volunteers as much as possible. Tuesday though they were out in full force and I had the following exchange with one of them:

Greenpeace: Hi there (waving frantically as I walked by)

Me: Hi

G: How are you?

M: Fine.

G: Good. Have you ever heard of Greenpeace?

M: Yes.


Well, I guess I don't have much to complain about since the guy was just asking me some very simple questions but the tone of the conversation was getting a little strained, like it would have gone further like this:


G: Well how about some money then?

M: No thanks.

G: Fine!


G: Well, why not?

M: Because I don't have any extra money on me right now.

G: Yeah right.

M: Fine! Because Greenpeace is not a priority of mine, charity-wise.

G: What is? Shoe-shopping?

M: Shut up! You don't know anything about me! I recycle! I re-use semi-clean sandwich bags! Sometimes I don't flush the toilet if I only peed a little bit! I adopted my dog! Shut up!

G: (sarcastic applause) Oh way to go, you're a real hero

M: I hate you!

Anyway, I don't understand what the attitude is about, especially if this guy's first problem was that he didn't launch in with the sales pitch, letting me, the fish, get away. I'm sure that standing outside on the street trying to raise money for something is a drag and I bet there are a lot of impolite people who say rude things to their face but I don't get the same sense of mild rage from Girl Scouts or those guys who wear sandwich boards who hand out fliers for discounted men's suits. Maybe the Greenpeace volunteers need to change their sales pitch a little, like offer an adorable mini stuffed whale if you sign up, or go the NPR route of cheerfully reminding you that if you use the resources you should help pay for them while seeing punch-drunk on exhaustion. I don't know, all I do know is that I feel like due to my usual preference of walking down the street unmolested, the Greenpeace kids already hate me before they even talk to me and that doesn't get me reaching for my wallet.

Maybe they should sell cookies. But not vegan cookies because let's face it, that's like the taste equivalent of a styrofoam cup wrapped in a disposable diaper shoved in a dolphin-catching net.