If there is one group of people I despise more than the telemarketers who try to sell me a car warranty over the phone, it’s the mall kiosk people who stalk me to the edge of the mall walkways. I’m typically a pretty polite person – but being harassed by mall pests trying to sell me overpriced crap makes me feel a bit rude.

As an aid to those of you who are also annoyed by the kiosk stalkers, I have created this convenient list of ways to fight back. Most of these tactics are geared toward having the kiosklings avoid you in the future. [Note: some of these tactics are of questionable legality. We assume no liability for their use.]

  1. Ask embarrassing questions. If they are selling lotion, you might ask “Isn’t this the lotion that gave Aunt Mary that nasty rash?” or “Didn’t the FDA recall this stuff last week?” “Wasn’t your CEO involved in that Ponzi scheme?” is a good fit for a variety of business. Not only will these questions annoy the kioskamarketer, they might scare away a few actual customers.
  2. Trapped. As you see the kioskers attempt to stalk you, give the secret signal and have a group of your friends surround the kioskers in a tight formation, allowing minimal personal space.
  3. The enemy of my enemy. If the kiosk has a phone number, sign up for a bunch of giveaways (Win a Free Cruise!) and use the kiosk’s phone numbers. You’ve essentially added them to the “do call” list.  Failing that, sign them up for a bunch of junk mail.
  4. Too many customers. You have hundreds of friends on Facebook, right? Have all of them show up at the kiosk at the same time. Browse the merchandise, ask questions, even form a blockade around the kiosk. Make every attempt to keep the kioskers occupied in order to protect the general public.
  5. Turn ‘em in. Aggressive behavior is often a violation of the kiosk’s lease with the mall. Threaten to contact the mall office, and follow through.
  6. Why doesn’t … Ask the probing question – “Have you ever wondered why [name of high end store] doesn’t stalk their customers? Probably because they don’t sell crap.
  7. Competitor. Walk up to the kiosk with a notebook in one hand and a tape measure in the other. Start taking notes about all of the products, and take measurements of the kiosk. When the employees ask what you are doing, tell them that you are planning to launch a competing business twenty feet away.
  8. Turn the tables. Instead of having them zoom in their sites on you and track you down, sneak up on THEM and turn the hunter into the hunted. Try to sell them your time share property or get them involved in a multi-level marketing scheme.
  9. Go “double maverick” on them. Spread fake vomit around the kiosk’s area. Put up “crime scene” tape. Bring your garbage bags from home and leave them in the kiosk area. Organize a marbles tournament on the floor. Talk about alien abductions. Put up signs that say “Danger! Land Mines!” In general, make them think you’re a little nutty.
  10. Chemical warfare. Store up a nice dose of body odor. Spend a lot of time at the kiosk, sharing your aroma with the employees.

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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