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August 25, 2011

Sign at Lunardi's Grocery Store in east Los Gatos regarding solicitorsI thought it was just me who hated finding people (other than Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts or the like) parked outside of the grocery stores in Los Gatos and San Jose – always asking for money or a signature on a petition, usually from a charity or cause I never heard of before.

Admittedly, I’m a bleeding heart. I especially cannot resist kids who need funding for band uniforms or field trips. But I don’t like being accosted for money when shopping for groceries and don’t usually give unless it’s through the mail or in a church (really intensely dislike the door to door causes, oftentimes selling magazines to “keep me off drugs” – only exception being kids in local schools).

All of this is to say I somewhat chuckled when I popped into Lunardi’s at Blossom Hill and Los Gatos Blvd yesterday and saw this big sandwich board outside the door. I empathized.

My understanding is that if the store permits Cub Scouts, Bluebirds, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts or any other kind of scouts, it also must allow medical missionaries, paid political signature gatherers and anyone else with any cause to stand outside their door and bug patrons for signatures or cash donations. (Anyone: tell me if I have this wrong.) Apparently, if it’s open for one group, it’s open for all.

Lundardi’s says that if we don’t like the solicitors, we should talk with our state assembly person. Is that really the only answer?

Whole Foods asks patrons not to contribute to solicitors A couple of weeks after taking this first photo of the solicitor sign at Lunardis, I saw something at Whole Foods in Los Gatos telling people not to donate to them. (This reminded me of a “do not feed the squirrels” type of thing.)

I might be wrong, but perhaps the better and more immediate answer, sadly, is to tell the scouts and others of good will that the front porch of a grocery store isn’t the right venue for their popcorn, cookies, pretzels, or whatever. We’ll still buy the pretzels and the cookies, but it doesn’t have to be in front of Lunardi’s, Safeway, Trader Joes, Whole Foods or Nob Hill. Those clever scouts know how to find us (and we know how to find them).

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