On the Couch with Jasminda



Do you have a pressing problem, annoying anxiety or community conundrum? Jasminda Featherlight, our resident roving Agony Aunt, is here to help. Jasminda will be responding to questions from our FOUR News Of The Area papers on a rotating basis. Send your concerns to Jasminda care of [email protected] and include your title, initials and suburb.

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Dear Jasminda,

Every time I go to the mall I get accosted by people trying to sell me things in the general thoroughfare. I find this a massive, unwanted intrusion.
Mr KL, Raymond Terrace

I can understand, Mr KL, but you have to treat this as a challenge. It is a game of tactical warfare, and the only way you can come out on top is by using some strategic moves. Do you have a young toddler who likes to scream in public? If not, maybe you can borrow one when you go to the mall. Salespeople are less likely to stop you if you are looking flustered.

You also need to work on walking like an Olympian. The heel, toe strut is an efficient way to avoid people. Or maybe like an Egyptian. That’ll really confuse them. Walk as close to the surrounding shops as possible. Go into them if you have to, and hide out amongst the clothing racks until they’ve accosted someone else. Avoiding eye contact is extremely important.

Pretend to be on the phone and make frantic, distressed gestures until you are out of reach. From experience, although tenacious, the stall-holders will not chase you. Once you are out of range, they will redirect their focus.

It is important to avoid answering what may seem like innocent questions: “How is your day? Are you keen for a healthy change? How do you feel about world poverty? Do you wish you could have younger-looking skin?” Once you answer, you’re done for. You will then need to respond to a range of questions, fill out your credit card details and sign up to goodness-knows-what, all because you dared to use a public thoroughfare on your way to buy six slices of devon and a loaf of bread from Woolies.

Having said all of that, there may be a stall that you are genuinely interested in. You can scan the merchandise or offer from a distance and then decide. Remember, you are in control.

Carpe diem,

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