How Toxic Are You? Or, why you shouldn’t accept flyers on the street

August 29, 2008

I work in a building in the center of the city in which I live. In fact, to make it easier for verbose people like me, the part of the city in which I work is known to many as “center city.”

In this place called center city, my building’s corner is like the red light district for marketers. This past spring, it seemed like every day I came into work with a bag of free goodies that they were handing out on the street. Free stuff is always awesome. I got caffeinated water, Red Bulls, cereal, M&M ice cream. Actually, scratch that. Free stuff is usually awesome. Two weeks ago, they were handing out free samples of cat food. Cat food? Seriously? That took it one step too far.

Earlier this week, I walked to work and on my corner there was a dude handing out pieces of paper. The first thing that popped into my mind was the Mitch Hedberg joke: “Whenever I walk, people try to hand me out flyers. And when someone tries to hand me out a flyer, it’s kinda like they’re saying, ‘Here—you throw this away.’”

But…in marketing land a piece of paper isn’t just a piece of paper…it’s a coupon for 10 Quiznos or a free full body massage. Naturally, I dismissed Mitch’s advice and held out my hand reminding myself of the rule of thumb: free stuff is usually awesome.

Here is what I received:

how toxic are you?
how toxic are you?

May as well take the test, I thought to myself, despite a little voice in my head that sounded a lot like Brittany Spears singing “don’t you know that you’re toxic.” Who cares what I know or think I know? This test handed to me by some random on the street will tell me definitively if I’m toxic. Plus, maybe if I flip over the piece of paper, I’ll find out that I can mail it in, postage already paid, for a free iPod or something.

My answers:

1) Y
2) Y
3) No comment
4) Y
5) Y
6) Y
7) Y
8) Y
9) Y
10) Um, not really…. N (finally!)

Boy, that kinda sucked. Only one response indicating that I may be a healthy person. At least I didn’t completely fail….hopefully this doesn’t mean I’m ineligible for my free iPod…

I flipped over the piece of paper. To my dismay, I saw this:

Are you kidding? In freebie heaven, L. Ron is trying to scam me for $40? I totally should’ve listened to Mitch Hedberg from the get-go.

All in all, I learned a very important lesson. I’m only taking hand outs from people dressed in Styrofoam costumes from now on. Even if they’re handing out cat food.

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2 Responses to “ How Toxic Are You? Or, why you shouldn’t accept flyers on the street ”

  1. RustedJesus on August 29, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    I’m on a new campus and being inundated with flyers for choir, church, student government, john mccain, obama, frats and sororities, all kinds of clubs. All of which are free, but none of which give me free stuff.

  2. revisingproust on August 30, 2008 at 3:38 am

    i know. it’s totally weird in office-land. or, marketing land.

    maybe ’cause they *think* we have money to spend on their products?

    ha! if only they knew that our lifesavings goes directly to a lil’ company that i like to call common vision llc (with a division called

    maybe i shouldn’t leave comments when i’m drunk, no?

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