Where I live we have a lot of panhandlers with very short memories. I say no. A lot. After a while, these people, who are as unobservant as they are odorous, get on my nerves.
I don't have money to spare.
I quit smoking.
I have nothing to give.
I am poor.
I dress poor.
They don't seem to see my financial situation as a factor in the "what can you give me?" game. We also have a lot of shit heads with something to prove. I have no interest in brawling on street corners any more. I have a few tips for solving all of these problems and getting people to leave you alone so you my go about your daily business unmolested.
  1. Don't look at people. This draws attention to yourself. If you would like to not draw a certain persons attentions, simply do not look at them. When they are on-comming traffic, look beyond them. When men look other men in the eyes, it invites confrontation, as when women do it, it invites conversation. I am not sure which one is worse sometimes.
  2. Wear headphones. A person who quite obviously cannot hear will walk unaccosted. To spare change off them, you would have to scream at them. This would make you look like more of an idiot than you already are, as well as, in all likelihood, fail to draw their attentions. If you succeed then they must remove their headphones, all so you can ask them for something. The intelligent panhandler knows when the odds are against them. In combination with #1, they will also not be able to motion to you, thus they do not feel ill of you and you may happily ignore them. This also gets men out of confrontation, as what generally begins sidewalk scuffles is a casually thrown insult. You cannot open up "fighting negotiations" when your would-be opponent cannot hear you. Granted, a person could assault you simply by hitting you first and speaking to you while you are on the ground but this is, by any standard, cowardly and even below the common juvenile thug. The only exception to this would be a mugging or rape as these require no formal opening conversation.
  3. Wear the "Don't you dare fuck with me today..." face. I wear it all day. I wear it in the cafe I hang out at. I wear it around pretty girls. I activly loathe most people, I don't really care to have anyone come and start idle chit-chat with me when the landslide odds are that they are going to be boring, annoying or fucking stupid. Sorry, I shall have to write a node "Ways for smart people to signal to other smart people". until it becomes the status quo, I shall continue to have few friends.
  4. Don't carry things the "clink" in your pockets.Keys, change, ammunition... *cackle*
  5. When in doubt, turn and glare. If they just won't back up, glare at them like you are nothing more than a pretty package, weak at the seams and unstable. Look as if your sole purpose on this earth is to act as a physical container for Satan himself until some moron pisses you off enough to explode; thus acting as a catylist for the chain of events that begins the irreversible count down to armageddon. Learn to smolder in an unstable fashion, it's very useful.
  6. Carry an asp or machette strapped to your belt. For the extremely paranoid. I don't bother, but it does work. It also gets you hassled by the police.
That is all. If I think of any other useful gems I will be sure to add them.

The tactics above also work well against touts and "looky-looky men" - that is, the numerous salesmen in touristy areas who will approach you and recommend you peruse their hand-held wares and maybe buy this genuine gold Rolex, no really, it's the real deal, it's got an R engraved on it and everything, only fell off the back of the lorry an hour ago, but for you, my friend? Twenty euros.

Anyway, both these sorts of people are a constant annoyance in certain cities, but of the few European capitals I've been to, none have been more filled with salesmen and touts than Prague. So, for your consideration, here are a few tactics me and my friends used in order to walk the streets of Prague unmolested. Please note that these tips only work in groups of three or more (at least, so far as I've seen - feel free to experiment).

  • While walking, look straight ahead. If you see someone who is likely to be a tout, look dead ahead until you get closer to them, perhaps about ten feet. If you think they're going to bother you, simply tear your gaze away from the horizon, meet their glance with a blank look, and grimly hold it for about a second. Then look away. I guarantee you, this always, always works if you have the right look on your face - that is, uninterested and possibly irritable. Nobody will bother you if they think you might bother them back.
  • Be silent. If you talk happily amongst your friends while walking, touts are more likely to think you'll be polite to them, even if you decline their offers. If, however, you all walk in complete silence, touts are more likely to think you're all miserable bastards and won't dare bother you.
  • Emit those vibes. Everyone knows how to do this. All you have to do is spread that sort of "I-want-everyone-around-me-to-die-horribly" atmosphere around you, preferably in about a ten-foot radius, in a similar fashion to the third step above. This is perhaps the most effective of all the tips in this writeup, with the one caveat that you have to be in a bad mood - or just an utterly miserable fucker - to pull it off.
  • 24/08/07: Additionally, liveforever was kind enough to send me a tried and tested technique of his own: 'I like to don what I think of as the "psycho killer eyes". Nobody bothers me when it is obvious that I'm thinking of how to get past them without going round them, and not being concerned with bloodshed in the course of the journey. Very effective.'"

If you are unfortunate enough to be hassled by touts and looky-looky men despite using these tactics, there's one weapon left in your arsenal. As they begin their spiel about the spectacular Darling Cabaret with the best strippers in the city and five free beers for a paltry cover charge, or whatever shite they happen to be peddling, simply glance uninterestedly at them out of the corner of your eye as they follow you and interrupt them with a well-placed "No thanks mate." Touts respond positively to interest; if you act like you could not possibly care any less about what they're selling, they'll abandon you as a lost cause and leave you alone. In fact, if you spend a lot of time around the areas where touts congregate, the more intelligent members of their elite society will recognise you as a dead loss and leave you alone permanently. Others may eventually decide to do the same. We became so proficient at this that by the end of our two week long holiday, we could walk down the whole of Wenceslas Square without being accosted by anyone, at all.

But only on one side of the street, of course. Sigh.

How do you get people to bother you?

I ain’t that ugly, don’t have leprosy, and normally don’t smell too bad.

In the supermarkets, perky marketing girls for Chipsy Doodlies or whatever will profer samples to every passing mom, child and shuffling old man clinging to a shopping cart for physical support, but suddenly clam up and look at the laundry detergent display as I pass. Do I look too desperate to sample the Chipsy Doodlies? Not desperate enough? For the love of fuckin’ Pete, offer me a Doodlie…

When I lived in LA, the Scientologists in their cheery orange jumpsuits working Hollywood Boulevard wouldn’t give me a second look. Even if I hung around for an extra second or two, with a blank, brainwashable look on my face. Am I a damaged demographic? Off the radar? Red state, blue state, red fish, blue fish? Obviously, I’m confused…

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