Saturday, March 29, 2008

cultural critique at the five and dime

I know you think I do nothing but roam city streets and buy stuff, which I categorically deny. But some of the most interesting cultural observations can be made while in contact with the maximum tangle of humanity, which in my case means while shopping, since I don't go to ballgames.


Scene: exiting the LaVerne Target

Grubby older man: Sign a petition to support victims' rights and keep drug users behind bars?

Meg: No, thanks. I'm for letting 'em out.

G.O.M.: YOU belong behind bars, you crazy bitch!

Meg: (extra perky) Have a nice day!


Anne said...

The man was incorrect. That is Marsy's law and is named after a girl who was raped. Her offender was released on bail and he came back and raped her again. It is a victim's rights bill to give the victims of VIOLENT CRIMES more rights, including the right to notification of release and the right to testify at bail hearings so they can ask the judge to deny bail to stalkers etc. It has nothing to do with drug users

Circulating petitions is a way for grubby (or clean) men and women of any age to make a little money. It is a boon for unemployed people.

Don't be so smug next time.

meg said...

What exactly makes me smug, Anne? Is it noting that the guy was grubby? Is it having responded civilly to being called "a crazy bitch"? Is it using the term "cultural critique"? Is it telling the story at all?

I did not read the petition, so I have no idea whether it concerned Marsy's Law. But I can't help but feel like you're upbraiding me for supposed opposition to a measure that wasn't even part of the original exchange.

And for the record, lest you think I was being merely flip, I *am* in favor of letting drug users out of jail. Then there will be more room for violent offenders and we won't be so beholden to the prison guards' union and private incarceration services.

Ed said...

According to the Legislative Analyst Office, Marsy's Law is a tad broader than Anne described, but I did enjoy reading the "trickle-down theory" being applied to petition gatherers.

Welcome back to Pomona, the land of the smug!

Ontario Emperor said...

One of the consequences of our petition process is that the most effective way to get a petition passed is for petition sponsors to entrust its passage to numerous low-wage petition signers who care more about the paycheck than the issue.

It reminds me of a Doonesbury comic strip years ago (back when five and dimes were actually five and dimes) in which one candidate's platform was reduced to "free cheeseburgers for the elderly." That's what happens to ALL of these propositions.

Garrett Sawyer said...

Bah, humbug! lol.

Anonymous said...

Many, many times I have walked out of a store and asked to sign a petition that goes against things that I firmly believe in.
Being gay, I have been asked to protect marriage from myself more times than I can say.
It is getting harder & harder for me to be polite to these wingnuts.

Anonymous said...

It is common-place for signature gatherers to use miselading info or a dummy measure as their way to entice people to come to their table. Last fall, one local gatherer was advertising a measure about keeping "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. When I went over to check it out, he had a variety of measures being pushed by conservative interests including the Electoral Vote Reform scheme. (When I declined to sign, I was insulted as well - likely the same a-hole. Another of our acquaintances has a similar story to tell) Long story longer; there was/is no such measure on the Pledge (why would it be a state baalot prop anyway?); just a ruse to get sigs.

I'll leave this unsigned, but Meg, it's me ;)

John Clifford said...

First: Meg, I loved your story. I just can't believe that it got so much response!

Second: I think the worst place to go has been Trader Joe's in Upland. The signature gatherers are ALWAYS there and always bothersome. I've never had that problem at TJ in San Dimas.

I used to believe that ANY issue was acceptable to be put in front of the voters so I'd sign petitions for issues I didn't believe in and would never ever vote for. I've changed my mind on that and now only sign petitions that I've thoroughly vetted and truly believe in . . . So I haven't signed a referendum petition in a Looooonnnnnggg time.

me said...


Trader Joe's in San Dimas has 'em too. One guy in particular, who I haven't seen in about a year, used to be at TJ San Dimas a lot attempting to gather signatures for various anti-abortion petitions. Always puzzled me why he was there of all places. dude had the vibe of a serial killer.

G of P

John Clifford said...

I'm guessing that TJ is more likely to have registered voters who sign petitions. But that may just be me profiling (oh, bad, bad).

Must say that I can't remember being harassed by petition folks at Stater Bros, but then we do get panhandlers, kids selling candy, and that irritating free ice cream or free hot dogs for making a donation "tent" that was there for several weeks.

John Clifford said...

Of course, after saying that I hadn't been aware of petitions at Stater Brothers on Garey, there he was a little less than an hour ago . . . with his card table and signs asking for support for Marsey's law and anti-gerrymandering.

The only good thing was that he didn't seem all that interested in getting anyone to sign, just kind of sat there like a lump.

Anonymous said...

I do petitions. It is the greatest gig ever. I go across country. Make great money, meet great people. Road trippin all the time. There are too many dirtbags in the business. Industry needs to be regulated. Background checks. It is crazy that our process is being turned over to junkies, alkies and homeless people. I am college educated, couldnt stand corporate world, couldnt stand office politics or groupthink. Doing this job would change your opinion of all the stereotypes you ever had. You will understand who the nice people are and who are the jerks in the world. BTW Marsy's is to make it harder for Murderers, Rapists and Sex Offenders to be released early from Prison. Allow victims more rights in parole release process. It is more "right wing", but if you have ever been a victim of said crimes you would be disgusted on how many murderers walk amongst us or rapists. I say read petition summary and take pitch with a grain of salt. All Summarys of petitions must be written by the States' Attorney General. So it isnt like some "nut" wrote it, unless it is a phony petition. Remember it is your Democracy whether people like it or not. I remeber one time looking at the petitons I carried and there were over $50Billion of proposals and some people wouldn't give a rat rear. That is why I firmly believe "People Deserve The Government The Get" in America.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous gay person - why bother being polite to these losers? There have been many times when I have stopped and actually read their petitions, which they really don't want you to do because it keeps them from hassling more people.

In many cases I found that the petition they were selling was drastically different than what they wanted signed. Further, you sign one and they're pushing more in your face.

These unemployable losers make a buck per signature; they don't give a damn about the issues, they just want names on the paper.

Garrett Sawyer said...

I'm not entirely sure why, but part of the reason they choose upscale locations, I think, is because they think they'll get more signatures from the customer base who tend to be more educated than say, those who walk into a laundry mat, liquor store, pawn shop, or Food 4 less etc; Or so I'm almost positive they assume.

People in front of stores I cope with:
Salvation Army
Kettle Corn makers (mostly just for the aroma)
The occassional girl scout

People I don't like:
Change beggers without a cause
Window washers
People who are talking to themselves (not including people on bluetooth headsets, lol)
And random wares and candy peddlers
Most likely more to this list, but don't care to think of more, mostly because I don't like

Anonymous said...

Petitions Rock. I mean at least we can research petition and the law cant change its mind like a politician. A petition cant break a promise. Read what you sign. I think that is part of being an adult. Confronting people and making decsions yourself and not be herded like sheep.

calwatch said...

I'm with the old John. I think these are people who are trying to make a living and so if I am not in a rush I'll help you out. It's better than giving the beggar in front some change. Besides, the bad laws end up being voted down by the voters anyway.