Saturday, June 09, 2012

Things I'll miss about Korea #3: Pamphlet Immunity!

One of the small joys I get here in Korea is being ignored.  Well, to be fair, as a foreigner, I actually get quite a lot of attention from people in the street.  However, there is one situation in which I am often overlooked, and I am quite happy in these cases.

The people on the street who hand out flyers and pamphlets are quite insistent and in-your-face.  Also, I don't know if it is a byproduct of the politeness culture in Korea, but many more people seem to be willing to accept a pamphlet or flyer from a hawker here than the average person would be back home.  Perhaps that's why the practice seems to be more wide-spread, at least here in Seoul.  However, many of the people handing them out seem to be quite rude.  In one instance, I saw a man walk alongside a woman for nearly half a block, holding a flyer against her arm while making his spiel.  She was doing everything she could to ignore him, but he wouldn't have it.  I would have been livid if someone tried to do that to me!  The good news is, they generally don't.  When one of these people sees my foreign face, they assume that I can't read or understand Korean and generally ignore me.  (For the most part, they're correct, but I probably understand a lot more than they assume.)  There are exceptions (churches being the main one), but for the most part, street advertisers are simply something I don't have to deal with.

Another exception was a local gym that recently opened near my officetel.  They actually had an English-language pamphlet for me to read, and after looking it over, I am now a member there.  Sadly, in this case, street advertising actually worked on me.  However, it's quite a nice gym, and hopefully I can get into enough of a habit of going that I continue to lose weight after I return home to Canada.  No regrets!