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Putting ‘Canvass’ Claims To The Test

— This week I blogged about a lawsuit by Target to get pro-gay-marriage activists to stop accosting customers at the entrance to their stores. Target says the activists, who belong to a group called Canvass for a Cause, are rude and aggressive in their dealings with Target shoppers and some stores get ten complaints a day about them.

The executive director of Canvass for a Cause, however, told me they were perfectly respectful and took no for an answer. “Ninety percent of the time people tell us ‘I don’t want to talk about it’ and we say OK,” he said.

The group’s opening line when approaching customers is, “Do you support gay marriage?”

It so happened that one day after I filed my blog post I went shopping at the Mission Valley Target with my 6-year-old daughter and there the activists were… at the front entrance. As I exited the store I was approached by one of them and decided to put the claim I’d heard to a test.

“Do you support gay marriage?” the woman said to me.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” I said.

“You don’t want to talk about it?” she said.

“Yes. Is that okay?”

“Sure,” she said after a slight hesitation.

My experience didn’t quite make the executive director a liar. Yet when I told the woman I didn’t want to talk about it, her tone was more what you’d expect from the question, “What do you mean you don’t want to talk about it?!”

Readers… let me know if you’ve been approached by folks like this and tell me what your reaction was. Were they cheerful and respectful and it was no problem, or did you feel like you being questioned by the Spanish Inquisition?

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