people really have no clue .. linux social experiment

An experiment that someone did in Austin

I spent a day doing something I see people do every day and never give them another thought.

There is hardly a street corner or intersection in Austin Texas that does not have bedraggled soul standing there with a sign in his hand. Sometimes they have spouses, some have kids, sometimes they have dogs…but regardless of who they have with them, there is a constant.

They all hold signs.

….What if I were to stand on a street corner with a sign in MY hand? One in which did not ask for money, food, a job or sympathy, but offered to give people something for free? What if I offered people waiting at the stoplight of a busy intersection free Linux disks?

Guess how it turned out? I’m not suprised at at all

….My “sign” was a 3×3 cardboard boxtop with the following message.

Stop paying for the privilege of using your computer. Get your free Linux disks here.
Ask scroungy-looking guy for details.

And in droves, by the dozen and then by the hundreds…they ignored me. I made it a point to attempt eye contact with everyone in the closest lane to me. When cars were stopped at the light, I had several disks in one hand and the sign in the other. It was amazing how many people found things to fiddle with in their cars when I looked at them. As the traffic idled at the light, I would walk down the median and hold up my sign so they could see it clearly. It was shortly after the morning work rush hour that it began to happen.

People gave me money…

And cigarettes…

4 gave me gift certificates to local eateries.

Some gave me phone numbers.

Go figure.

They were not reading my sign. They just assumed I was begging for money, and they handed it out the car windows and quickly retreated to their sanctuary. Most had the power windows rolled up before I could say thank you.


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