A Disturbing New Trend

The most annoying form of advertising, by far, is the guys that pass out little business card ads around the city. They do it on the subway, and they like to hang out around subways, particularly at the top of escalators, where they can push their unwanted ad-cards on you.

Pushy Moto-cabbies

Then there’s the most annoying form of transportation, the motorcycle guys. They carry around an extra helmet and park outside subway stations so that when you come out they can yell “hello!” at you (translation: “want a ride?”).

Well, it seems that the motorcycle guys have taken a lesson from the ad-card kids, and starting just recently they now get right up in the faces of commuters coming off the escalator outside the Zhongshan Park Station to badger them (see picture at left). Ah, what a perfect union of unpleasantries.

I’m a wuss, so I took this picture from a distance. They noticed me photographing them, though, and it did kind of freak them out and make them unhappy. (Take that, pushy motorcycle dudes!)


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. I hate it when people stand at the top of escalators, be they handing out cards, trying to get people to ride on bikes, or just morons who get off an escalator and just stand there.

    The last category especially ticks me off.

    I can put up with pushing in line, spitting in public… these are just cultural differences; it’s my problem. If someone pushes in line, the worst that happens to me is that I have to wait another 10 seconds to get served. I walk past a gob of spit and within 0.01 seconds I’m far away that germs can’t get at me.

    But obstructing the disembarkation point of a moving walkway is just stupid. People will be moving through this area… you yourself just got off a device which carries people from point A to point B… it’s not as if they can go around you… what are you thinking by getting off it and not moving away?

    It especially irks me when the person does it accidentally. It’s one thing for someone to stand at the top of escalators looking for business, (we all have to make a living) but when the person in front of you in an escalator gets off, and just stops instead of getting out of the way, they’re spoiling for a push in the back. I usually drop my shoulder and give them a shove, giving a loud ‘哎呀’ to make it look like an accident.

    The other category of people that annoy me sometimes are the people who stand at the entry of the escalator holding the rails, one foot on the metal platform before it starts, one dangling over the moving walkway. They haven’t got used to escalators yet, and think it’s some kind of game where you’re not allowed to touch the yellow lines…

    Next episode in 空调wawa’s series of rants: people who walk through a turnstile at a metro station, and just stop to consider where they are going, instead of getting out of the way of the person coming immediately behind them.

  2. I’ve never experienced the push motor-taxis, but personally I’ve always found the programmed bullhorns advertising at full volume in the grocery stores to be the most annoying. Unfortunately, you have to have your iPod turned up just a bit too loud to drown those babies out.

  3. Perhaps, John, you can contrast with Japan.

    Japan: “Sorry to trouble you, please consider doing us the honor inspecting our store? Here, have some tissues. I’ll just go back to maintaining a polite respectful distance over here.”

    China: “Watch? DVD? Watch? DVD? Watch? DVD?”

  4. Haha, I just posted about how much I like the motor-cabs. I stand by my claims! (Although yes, the helmet shoving kind of sucks…)

    I just wonder if anyone actually reads those ad-cards? Every person I see receive one usually justs tosses it immediately. It can’t possibly be effective enough to make up for the cost of labor. (Oh wait….)

  5. Not a problem to you if with a headphone. lalalala =) (don’t peek)

    @coljac, John once did it, try searching the archives.

  6. Matthew Stinson Says: July 26, 2007 at 1:00 am

    In Shanghai, do you get the kids working the expressway and slamming cards into the orifices of nearby cars (or throwing them into open windows) as they weave through traffic? We get that in Tianjin on the outer ring road, and the kids have worked out in the sun so long that they look 15 going on 50.

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