Demanding Civility

And the number is so low because people get annoyed into getting them fixed.

I have a dent in my car.  I got a little over a year ago after backing into a fence.  Ever since then I’ve been plagued by people asking me about it.  Not just the typical co-workers and my nosy former boss who noticed it in the parking lot.  But also from cops who I suppose are convinced that they’re Sherlock Holmes and that dent = crime (because let’s face it: police are idiots) and, most horrifyingly, from everybody else ever!

Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration.  It’s probably only once a month that I’ll get approached by some stranger in the parking lot of a shopping center soliciting for dent repair services.  I don’t suppose I’d mind so much if they weren’t so aggressive.  Simply ignoring them is not an option as they will follow you in their vehicles as you walk to the stores, constantly calling for your attention.  It can be even worse is if they catch you leaving the store!

Once, I made the mistake of telling one to “fuck off” after I’d gotten back to my car and so he obstinately kept his car parked behind mine, staring at me.  After a minute I got out to yell at him.  He kept asking “why are you being so rude?” and his friend whipped out his friend, pretending to call the cops as he craned his neck to look at my license plate said “I’m going to get you arrested!”  After a brief shouting match the two sped off, but I was in a pretty sour mood for the rest of the day (for more consideration than they deserve, I know.)  As a result I need to be much more respectful in regards to these things that keep popping up to harass me in parking lots.  Obviously, they’re unsavory people and I fear they might vent the frustration of being rejected on my car while I’m away.

Which really leads to my question: is civility something that should be demanded?  If you’re going to approach a stranger with a solicitation shouldn’t you be prepared to receive rejection?  Do Mormons go ape shit if anyone dares to slam the door in their face?  Can you really claim to be anything approaching a businessperson if you’re not just going to take the rejection and move on?  Or, as the potential customer, am I charged with the responsibility to treat these people with unflagging grace no matter how many of them I face and regardless of how uncouth their approaches are?

Also, these guys are regarded as scam artists.  They might fix the car without making it look worse, but from what I’ve often read they usually mess things up even more.  And if you thought they were aggressive before the transaction, wait until they start insisting you owe them money.

Also, could they be doing something illegal just by soliciting?  Shopping center parking lots are private property; the businesses operating there have paid money to the property owners.  If you’re operating a business on their property without permission that could be a crime.  Hmm, maybe I’ve found a way to deal with these bastards.


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