Three days a week I work in an office on AU's Tenley Campus. The location is nice because it's convenient to the Tenleytown neighborhood and all of the stores and restaurants there. Generally, during my lunch break I'll walk to one of the nearby establishments to get a sandwich or something else for lunch. One place that I frequent is the local Whole Foods (it's cheap if you know what to get). Nearly every day next to the Metro station, people (generally my age or younger) are standing around in t-shirts from organizations like US-PIRG and Greenpeace asking people, "Would you like to help save the environment today?" Now, if you know me, I'm fairly moderate but still want to do what I can for the environment -- within reason. Taking a survey for an organization that clearly has an agenda that's going to skew the results is not helping save the environment. (How many trees died to make the paper for that survey?)
These people also have a short memory. I have walked by the same person three days in a row and she has asked me to take the survey each day. They also like to stand strategically so you have to walk by in order to get where you are going. Here's my issue with that: It's my lunch break. I'm hungry, and I don't want to be accosted by environmentalists. I'm going to purchase a Coca Cola product at the CVS 100 yards away. I'll probably enjoy it, too. I don't shop at Whole Foods because they carry organic products. I shop there because the stuff tastes good, and they have a pretty good variety. The bottom line though, I don't want to be hassled while I'm taking a break from work or otherwise occupied.
You might imagine how I felt then when last Friday I exited the secure area at Denver International Airport to claim my bag and a 19-year-old girl walked up to me and said, "Would you like to take a survey to help save the environment?"