Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Kleenex Pushers

I’ve often wondered why the Kleenex pushers work in groups. They all descend on you at once, like vultures or piranhas or something, forcing packets of tissue into your hand, insisting that you are a good person, and asking you for money. What could I possibly need all that Kleenex for? Am I supposed to choose one lucky Kleenex pusher and give them my money? It isn’t as if one packet of Kleenex is far superior to the next, is it? As you can see the whole scenario is rather overwhelming.

The trickier ones place packets of Kleenex to Rachel’s ever-extended hand and then expect me to pay for them. I usually just end up giving the Kleenex back and not paying them because I find it horrible that they take advantage of my child to get a few LE.

The more determined ones will follow me for several streets whining about this and that. I don’t buy their Kleenex, either, because they’re just annoying.

I usually ignore them all, truthfully, and I feel rather callus about that. But how many little packets of tissue could I ever possibly need?

Yesterday Rachel and I went out walking and I kept a pound in my pocket to give to a beggar. Oddly enough we didn’t see a single beggar the whole time we were out, so it was still in my pocket when we went out with Andrew this evening.

Keeping with the ordinary, I saw a lady peddling her Kleenex. She looked truly poor and her baby honestly sad, unlike the other lady who’s been pestering me (she refused the food I offered her and laughed when I offered her some change. And her baby is super chubby. She keeps telling me he’s hungry and I’m like, “Are you kidding me? His rolls have rolls!”).

Like most other Kleenex pushers tonight’s  shoved her wares up in my face, like perhaps I didn’t see her or hear her. Or maybe waving Kleenex directly under someone’s nose makes the Kleenex more attractive, or at least reminds the person that they might just need it someday.

I don’t know if it was her Kleenex-waving skills, or the way her face was so pleading, but I decided she was the one to get my pound. She took the money and told me I was a good lady and then, get this, she wouldn’t give me the Kleenex.

One pound is a bit much to pay for 5 sheets of lousy tissue, in my opinion. Much more overpriced than buying a box of Kleenex in the store. But to pay a pound for a packet of Kleenex and then to have that Kleenex taken from your hand…

I suppose she really needed the money. But why did she even offer the Kleenex to me in the first place? Why didn’t she just flat out ask me for money?

At least the Kleenex pusher/Indian giver and I are friends now. She smiled and waved at us on our way home and called me a good lady again. Not that I gave money away to be called “good lady.” I actually gave my money away for a packet of Kleenex.

I will admit I was a little miffed about the whole situation. I’m not sure why because it was only a pound, which is like 18 cents. It’s not like that broke the bank, but Andrew has a cold and really could have used a tissue just then.

I’m not sure when I’ll be buy Kleenex off the street again. I feel like I kind of got the bad end of the deal this time around.


  1. This totally reminds me of Ghana! I know exactly how you feel. I love reading your updates, by the way, and I'm glad you guys are doing well.

  2. Interesting. We could honestly use some more Kleenex here....instead we get the chewing gum pushers who want a little over 1 USD for 4 pieces of gum. RObbery!

  3. I miss the Brazilian shoe shiners. At least they are peddling something that actually earns the money they are asking for.

  4. Crazy... my mom used to feel bad for the beggars in Turkey until she saw their bosses chasing them around for their money. That's when she realised it's a racket and quit giving them anything.

  5. Sometimes, people just need money... perhaps, that was her only package of kleenex... picked up off the street, it's her only means of getting money... See.
    This is why mom wouldn't let Auntie Arlene take me to Mexico that one summer...