I don’t know what the layout of your mall back home is, but maybe you’ve seen this—big aisles with store fronts on either side, and in the middle of the aisle, a row of carts selling hair extenders, massage devices, perfume, sunglasses and the like. The employees of these carts work on commission and they are not afraid to yell at you and tell you what you need. Some are more agile and cat-like as they weave in and out of crowds stopping people, spraying them, attaching things to them, man-handling them, and trying to sell at all costs.
Trying to check your mail in Reid between noon and 1 p.m. feels the same, except the people who are halting your progress aren’t gruff strangers who you can blow off and not feel bad about. They are fellow students, maybe even friends, and they are every bit as pushy as mall salesmen.
It’s great that you want to give up your lunch break to sell something you care about, but perhaps you could make yourself a little less obtrusive. Calling out to people, for instance, is not necessary. If I am interested in your table, I will approach you. If your offering is more complicated than t-shirts, feel free to explain yourself to those who stop and act interested. Give your pitch, but resist the urge to engage people in debate. Nobody should have to defend their choice not to sign up for your list serv, register to vote, climb your rock wall, or join you and your dog hitch-hiking across country fighting injustice. “No thanks” should be enough to end any discussion. Even if you’re pedaling moral high ground, you are still just a pushy salesman.