An app for annoying canvassers | WBEZ
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A smartphone app (we'd like to see) to evade the Greenpeace dude on Michigan Ave.

Greanpeace solicitor (not on Mich Ave! Flickr/thescorer)

We’ve all been there: Strolling down Michigan Avenue, not a care in the world, off to meet a friend for tea at American Girl Place when, “Do you have five minutes for (FILL IN THE BLANK) rights?” 

The guilt if you don’t stop! The time suck (it’s never five minutes) when you do!

Thankfully, we've come up with a way to properly deal with street canvassers.

Introducing CanvASSer, a new app for your smartphone!*


• MapPest: Up-to-the minute map of canvasser locations — including when they’re sleeping at parents’ Lake Forest home.

• Alta-Route: Text messages sent to your phone when within 100 yards of canvasser (200 yards for Jews for Jesus recruiter).

• Emergency!: Phone rings with imaginary call if you’re stuck with canvasser for more than 10 minutes (can also be used on first dates).

• Scratch n Sniff: App emits foul odor (your choice of musky, fetid, or Drakkar Noir), hopefully discouraging canvasser from keeping conversation going.

• Flashlight: This does nothing to fend off solicitors. It's just a light.

• Insta-insults: App assesses unfortunate physical traits of canvasser, texts you appropriate insults to use. (Warning: Pointing phone at yourself reveals your unfortunate physical traits.)

• Flip the Script: This feature provides talking points to canvass the canvasser. Comes with two choices for your charity: Scientology or Suzanne Somers (whatever she is pushing at the moment).

• Freeze! Put your hands in the air: App turns into a digital badge for the city’s "Street Solicitation Unit." It also accepts credit cards for any fines you assess.

• Don't Tase Me, Bro!: If all else fails, app turns phone into a taser.

* As soon as somebody builds it.

Mark Bazer hosts The Interview Show this Friday, at The Hideout, from 6:30 p.m to 8 p.m. Guests include band White Mystery, novelist Alex Shakar, and more. This story was co-written with Justin Kaufmann.

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