November 19, 2013

Big Red Ambition: #85 Hand Out Quarter Cards on Ho Plaza

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This past week, I checked off #85 and handed out quarter cards on Ho Plaza for Hillel’s Big Red Bar Mitzvah (which was Saturday, and the best party of the year!) and Josh Malina, which happens to be tonight at 5:30 in Statler Auditorium — shamelessly promotion.

Handing out quarter cards on Ho Plaza is an interesting experience. I always feel like one of those sketchy men who stands on the corner of New York City streets and hands out CDs. People are either very receptive to you — these people are usually your friends — or they ignore you completely. The worst ones spat rude responses back at me — sorry that my trying to hand you a piece of paper ruined your day. Some people actually left me somewhat offended after my brief interactions with them.

Weirdly enough, you can learn a lot about a person from the way they respond to quarter carding. Some people literally took the quarter cards from my hands and threw them in the garbage in front of Willard Straight. I classified them as people who either hate me or don’t care about what other people think, considering they blatantly took the quarter card from my hand instead of just ignoring me, and threw it out in plain view. Some people pretended to be on the phone right before they came near me, conveniently able to ignore my flyer.

At some point during quarter carding, I realized that I do these things sometimes, too. When I’m in a bad mood or I just know an event won’t pertain to me, I ignore the person handing out quarter cards. If I got anything out of the experience of standing in the cold and handing out quarter cards to passers-by, it’s that I should definitely be nicer when I am the one getting handed the flyers. Being polite goes a much longer way than people realize. This is true in most aspects of life, and still I find it hard to be polite when I’m in a bad mood or distracted about something. Experiencing the other side of things was eye-opening and helped me take a step back and think about the greater impact of seemingly smaller actions.

The experience also made me think about the actual impacts of handing out quarter cards. I have to wonder if it’s the most effective method of advertising in today’s world. If the majority of people ignores me or throws out the card I hand them, was it a waste? Is it worth it to get a small percentage of students to actually read what you hand them, especially if the information goes out through email, Facebook, etc.? I actually don’t think that the method of delivery is the problem, but rather, what it is that is being delivered.

When I was handing out my quarter cards, EMS was also handing things out to people walking past: soap and hand sanitizer — much more useful than quarter cards. I think it would be way more effective if other groups did this, instead of just giving slips of paper. What if, for Josh Malina’s talk, we had given away cookies with Josh’s face on it? More people definitely would have been interested. Creative publicizing could completely revolutionize #85, if campus groups are up for the challenge. Personally, I would like to see more free cookies on Ho Plaza … just sayin’.