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The Gauntlet - A little less than a happy high
komos
komos
The Gauntlet
Every morning, I pass anywhere from 6 to 10 hawkers pushing either The Metro or the recently introduced and horribly named Boston NOW. Even leaving aside the fact that both of these free dailies produce effectively meaningless content - the one posts verbatim from the news wire and the other borrows two week old stories and uninspired blog items - the sheer amount of effort that is being put in pushing the papers is becoming difficult to accept.

I get it. The papers are locked in a struggle to get in front of as many eyes as they can so they can justify their existence through advertising revenue. That's pretty easy to piece together. The level of aggressiveness that's being shown, however, is starting to put me off to both papers. Not only have I had to dodge around hawkers strategically placed to block access to the stands for still other papers (most notably, the Phoenix), I've had to ask one to move on multiple occasions because he was blocking the exit from the T station. Today, three hawkers in a line had all but cordoned Winter Street. It's like Panhandling - EXTREME!

The crazy thing is that it occurs to me, each and every time I pass them, that their goals could be achieved just by stacking all of the papers in the trash. It'd still count as papers in circulation, and that's where all they end up anyway.

...unless you're grabbing them for the free sudoku.
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Comments
watchamacallit From: watchamacallit Date: May 8th, 2007 06:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
I only take the Metro for the (insanely easy) crossword. The complaints about the hawkers have really escalated now that there is 'competition' between the two papers.
komos From: komos Date: May 8th, 2007 06:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
I told one of my cow-orkers that I try to finish the Metro crossword before I hit the river coming from the north, and he just glared at me.
watchamacallit From: watchamacallit Date: May 8th, 2007 06:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
I try to finish the crossword between Sullivan and NEMC and then do the su doku on the silver line (NEMC to East Newton in the South End... 3 stops maybe?). It's surprising how often I succeed.
(Deleted comment)
komos From: komos Date: May 8th, 2007 07:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
I used to wait for the free T paper, but I've gotten so annoyed that I'm just carrying books everywhere. Fark'em.
inahandbasket From: inahandbasket Date: May 8th, 2007 07:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
they totally freakin piss me off. It was ok when it was one guy who knew you and nodded as you walked by (not taking a paper), but there are two guys pushing the Metro alone at the one entrance of Davis I go in. Occasionally there's a third by the turnstiles! Then the "NOW" folks as well..

gah. I'm all worked up now.
komos From: komos Date: May 9th, 2007 10:13 am (UTC) (Link)
And just like that, they're gone from Downtown Crossing.

... only to be replaced by the "Would you like to save Darfur?" zombies.

inahandbasket From: inahandbasket Date: May 9th, 2007 10:14 am (UTC) (Link)
"Sure! Who wouldn't? I seem to spend Darfurs at an outrageous rate, saving some up would be nice..."
gatz From: gatz Date: May 9th, 2007 10:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's to the point at Park Street where you have the Metro guy downstairs by the exit (he's not so pushy), then when you get to the top of the escalator there's another Metro guy and a BostonNOW guy either at the top of the stairs blocking the door, or directly outside the door blocking your exit from said door. With luck, you pass them but as you said, run smack into a clan of Darfur-savers. And they run the polite line from "Would you help us save Darfur?" to "Sign our internet petition? It doesn't take that long." Idiots. I almost want to answer their question with, "Yes, I would. However, being as 'Darfur' is not a beloved and prematurely canceled TV show, I cannot in good faith believe that signing an internet petition is going to do anything. Would you like this copy of BostonNOW?"
komos From: komos Date: May 9th, 2007 10:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
You mean, Darfur has bigger problems than the fact the Fidelity has a couple of Chinese oil companies that are exploiting Sudan's resources in a couple of its funds?

Remember Atto in Black Hawk Down?
[...] I do know something about History. See all this, it is simply shaping tomorrow. A tomorrow without a lot of Arkansas white boy's ideas in it.
schizohedron From: schizohedron Date: May 10th, 2007 01:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sic the Falun Gong protesters (if you have them in Boston) on the Darfur zombies. Direct the winners at the remaining free-paper drones. Then use these folks as your flying wedge to blast through any rent-a-riots that materialize on the thoroughfares once the full tide of Election Year '08 crashes upon our shores.
komos From: komos Date: May 10th, 2007 09:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like how you think.
bushidokelt From: bushidokelt Date: May 9th, 2007 10:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Its funny the hawkers for the "Boston Now" seem to emphasize the now.

Hawker: "boston NOW?"
Me: "maybe LATER?"
komos From: komos Date: May 9th, 2007 10:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, they need to get market share NOW else LATER they may not be around.

I don't know if you've read any of the media watch articles on this, but the publisher of the NOW used to work for the Metro, and the parting of ways was not at all amicable.
superbgirl From: superbgirl Date: May 11th, 2007 01:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
I totally know what you mean. I usually don't have trouble on my normal commute, although sometimes they are a little pushy outside of Government Center in the mornings. On Wednesday I had the joy of changing up my commute a bit when my bus (express from Woburn to State Street) was redirected to Sullivan due to some road work on Congress street. So when I got to Sullivan- I figured I'd just take the orange line to Ruggles & come over from there instead of having to switch to the green line. So, I come out of the turnstiles (although they aren't turnstiles anymore- what do you call those things? screens??) and got BOMBARDED by about 3 Metro guys, 3 Boston NOW guys (which I almost got because I thought it might have something to do with the National Organization for Women) and a Globe/Herald salesman. I was able to skirt by them all, but it was scary how they get right in your face & walk backwards trying to get you to take their paper!

I then proceeded to pick up 3 copies from the stack by the stairs because I'm one of those sorry individuals addicted to the free sudoku & crossword.
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