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August 1, 2004

The Sheep Manifesto...

We have no patience with sheepherders. We're not sheep, and refuse to be treated as such. You shouldn't either. Sheepherders need a reality check today, and you can help them wake to their true lack of power.

Is this not making sense?  Then a simple example:

Recently we were shopping in an enclosed mall, and in the early evening entered one of the outlying stores.  While we were inside, a clerk locked the door back into the mall and put up a sign saying that the interior mall was closed and so this exit was no longer available. Obeying this idiocy would have resulted in our having to walk the perimeter of the mall to get back to our car, parked on the opposite side. 

Through the glass door we watched many other customers walking around, entering other stores. Pointing this out to the disinterested clerk, we were told it was "store policy" and there was nothing she could do about it.

We said that was fine, but that there was something we could do.  We walked around them, around the sign, pressed the interior latch on the door, and walked out into the mall. From the reaction you'd have thought we were swimming away from Alcatraz. The sheepherder screamed "you can't do that" and "I'll have to call security!" We, were polite and encouraged them to please do just that, we'd be happy to talk with them as well. We strolled away from her store through the mall, and into another store.

Discussing it as we left, we had actually hoped that we would set of an alarm. That would have been more fun and something the sheepherder would have been left to explain to the rent-a-cops.

Don't be sheep, here are a few pointers:

- Sheepherders try to exercise their will over yours with no backing from actual law.  Make sure you are right before moving ahead.  In this case we felt pretty good, there had been no sign warning about the closure of the door, and they were obviously lying about the mall closing.  The door had been closed and locked fifteen minutes before the hour.

- Encourage discourse. We let them know that we were going through the door, and said they would "probably want to lock it behind us." We didn't want to create a new entrance, violating their security, just our own exit.

- Make no physical contact with sheepherders, damage no property.

- Create a record.  Got a phone with a camera? Take their picture. Note their name, request the spelling of their last name. Record the conversation (aren't the latest batch of cell phones great!)  It's amazing how fast they go fetal when you turn things back on them.

- Above everything else: be polite. There's no reason to swear at sheepherders. You can imply that they are morons, but dismiss them civilly.  Practice a superior attitude, but let them draw that conclusion from your taking the high road. Trust us: the rudest thing you can do to a sheepherder is simply ignore their bleating. 

Other examples of places where sheepherders need a reality adjustment:

- Stores that, mere steps away from the register, require you to stop to check your bag against the receipt. Notable exception: If you joined a membership shopping store you probably signed something that said you would agree to this. Otherwise, we walk right past them.

- Restaurants that seat you near the kitchen, drafty doorway, screaming child, etc.  Inform them that this is not acceptable and you'll wait for the next suitable available seating. Stand in the way of things until you are seated. Be helpful and point out a different table that has been vacated or is being bussed. Watch them to make sure you retain your position in queue.

And many, many more. We're sure you can come up more of your own.  We'll be interested in hearing about them...


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