Day 4: Picketing Sprint
posted by August 22 at 12:50 PMon
On Tuesday I got an e-mail from a frustrated Sprint customer who hasn’t received a $30 rebate that was due four months ago. Sam promised the company that if it didn’t cough up the cash, he’d take to the streets. But Sam was way too busy teaching science at the Pacific Science Center to picket the downtown Sprint store. He needed someone to make a creative sign, yell, and air his grievance to all. He also needed a turkey club; light on the mayo, pickles on the side.
I bought Sam’s sandwich from a colorful looking hoagie place at Westlake Center and a Mrs. Fields cookie for dessert and delivered them to him at the Pacific Science Center.
Then I rode the monorail back and got to work crafting a sign. I couldn’t settle on one slogan so I wrote down two: “GIVE SAM HIS REBATE, SPRINT!” and “SPRINT OWES SAM $30.00!”
I stood outside the store and began chanting: “2, 4, 6, 8, Give Sam Goldberg His Rebate”
After about five minutes, a man who looked to be the manager came up to me and told me that I couldn’t hold the sign in front of the store because the sign had Sprint’s name on it. I thanked him and put my sign down. After he left I picked up the sign and continued to chant. Shoppers stared back at me with blank expressions.
A minute or two later another Sprint employee came out of the store and asked me how much money her company owed me. I pointed to my sign and told her Sprint owed my friend Sam $30. She giggled and took a picture of me with her camera phone.
According to Aaron Caplan at the ACLU, I had every right to be on that sidewalk and to carry a sign with Sprint’s name on it. “So long as you’re not preventing people from entering the business,” Caplan says, “you have a constitutional right to be on the sidewalk.” When I called the Seattle Police Department, they backed up the ACLU.
Today I called the Sprint store and asked to speak to the manager. I asked him why he tried to put a stop to my constitutionally protected protest and he told me that he did not wish to comment. I also asked him when Sam Goldberg would receive his rebate and he told Sam to go to the Sprint store where he bought his phone.
As of 11:45 this morning, Sam has still not received his rebate, nor has he been contacted by Sprint. If he does not receive his rebate in a week, I will picket the Sprint store again.