I smell a little funky.
I spent my entire morning in parking lots stalking people and pleading with them to a.) Give me their blasted names and b.) Let me interview them for a completely innocent story.
Most newspapers and journalists will call it “Man on the Street” reporting. I call it “Hanging out in store parking lots because I’m not allowed inside buildings” (see earlier excerpt entitled, “I got yelled at by a mall cop”).
This weekend, for Florida, is a tax-free holiday.
So, of course, I was told to find out if people are shopping, what are they buying and find out if there are any good deals.
This is not my first rodeo, so to speak, in parking lot reporting.
It started when I first got on day shift. My boss wanted to know what average people thought about some subject and told me just to go to some place where a lot of people are.
That was easy: Walmart.
I came back with good quotes, a variety of people from all over the county and wrote the story up quick. Since that day, all parking lot stories go straight to my desk.
Most times it’s been fine. Every now and then I get frustrated because it takes me forever to find someone who will talk with me.
Everyone is weary when it comes to talking with the media.
Today, underneath a gray sky threatening to pour on me at any minute, I stood in Walmart’s parking lot not having any luck finding a shopper with more than three items.
Then, here comes a man with a cart full – GLORY!
I approach like I always do, “Excuse me sir, sorry to bother you. My name is Angel, would you mind if I asked you just a few simple questions for a story I’m working on?”
Then, I explained it was a nice feature on the tax-free holiday. Nothing racy, nothing hard to answer, really just a nothing story if we’re going to be honest.
He said no.
I said, “It’s nothing bad and I see you’ve really done quite a bit of shopping. I promise I’ll take up less than five minutes then I’ll leave you alone.”
Side note: All of this is said in my sweetest, little girl voice that I use like a spider trapping prey (WaHaHa – evil laugh).
He again said no.
At this point I gave up and was just irritated since I’d been getting drizzled on and in the hot, humid Florida air for going on 15 minutes.
“Well, when I get wet you should feel bad,” this was said in a joking manner, but with completely serious undertones.
He didn’t care.
I finally got someone, came back and wrote the story.
But alas, I have the rest of the day with the stench of my parking lot reporting lingering on me and the anger of rejection keeping my mood from being a little less pleasant than usual.