Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Do Not Ask

A Universal Sign for 'Go Away'
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I think it must be something to do with my face (or maybe this happens to everyone), but I think I get more than the normal ammount of requests for directions. As I spend a lot of time travelling all over it is therefore more than possible that I will not be able to give any meaningful answer.

So, to save my time and theirs, I propose a universal signal for 'Do Not Ask'. This needs to be both polite in all possible places and sartorial situations i.e on the beach at Bondi and at tea with the PM.

I had thought a green 1/2" spot on the left cheek (or possibly both cheeks, to be more visible at a distance).

eight_nine_tortoise, Mar 30 2009

'Not Today' Badges/Buttons _27Not_20Today_27_20Badges_2fButtons
[xaviergisz, Mar 30 2009]

{1}: Device for a message writing hat http://www.pdahut.c...495&cat=1510&page=1
[Jinbish, Mar 31 2009]

{2}: Don't talk to Strangers http://www.youtube....watch?v=MVPcoZ3Mxhs
[Jinbish, Mar 31 2009]

l_27chapeau_20du_20mort [hippo, Mar 31 2009]

[link]






       Dress like a tourist.
phundug, Mar 30 2009
  

       I don't recall the book, but in some sci-fi novel or other the society was so crowded that when you wore a certain "privacy cloak" it was an indication that everyone was to ignore you.
normzone, Mar 30 2009
  

       Carry a clipboard and threaten to conduct an extensive survey on people that stop you.
Aristotle, Mar 30 2009
  

       Just smile and wave boys...smile and wave.   

       Learn how to drool.
xenzag, Mar 30 2009
  

       Grow a beard. It will also serve to conceal the green spot. If you opt to dye your beard green, you could always use so large a fan that it cannot be seen.
bungston, Mar 30 2009
  

       Next time someone asks you, say "Sure, just let me ask my friend here". Then turn and start talking to nobody.
phundug, Mar 30 2009
  

       Bungston, I already have a beard (as I very quickly grew out of our societies morning "cut yourself with a blunt object" ritual), so its rather dense of me that I did not think around that problem. Perhaps the dot could be placed high on the cheek, were hair does not grow.   

       21Q, one of the things that makes me think it’s a face thing is it does not matter what I am wearing. I could be in black bike leathers or a 3-piece pin stripe, it makes no difference. So apart from uncosmetic surgery I think I am stuck with it.
eight_nine_tortoise, Mar 31 2009
  

       [Aristotle] has it. A smile, a jacket with a huge charity logo on the back and a clipboard will have them crossing the road to avoid you. While making you seem cheery and caring.
wagster, Mar 31 2009
  

       //I had thought a green 1/2" spot on the left cheek (or possibly both cheeks, to be more visible at a distance).//   

       Or you could put the rest of the clown makeup on, then they'll leave you alone.
Spacecoyote, Mar 31 2009
  

       I get this too - I was walking around Sydney for the first time a couple of years ago and two sets of people asked me for directions. Luckily they asked me for streets which I'd just walked down so I was able to sound knowledgeable.
hippo, Mar 31 2009
  

       I suggest a small piece of the wood of quercus robur, discreetly fastened under one's lapel, which could be sported at will.
coprocephalous, Mar 31 2009
  

       A lurid Hawaiian Shirt, massive camera and thick American accent should do it - unless you're in America (esp. Hawaii) in which case, try having very pale skin and looking like you just got off the plane. (oops, that's what [phundug] said all the way up there ^^^)
zen_tom, Mar 31 2009
  

       I got asked for directions to Covent Garden a few months ago. That's no surprise, to be fair - London can be quite confusing at the best of times. However, you'd think the policeman asking me would have known his own beat.
theleopard, Mar 31 2009
  

       Green is an interesting colour choice, remindative of the proud republic of the Republic of Ireland, which is charmingly coincidental because the native Irish are helpful to a fault when it comes to directions: when asked to direct the hapless non-native to a location the askee does not know, they will provide a set of initially plausible directions which increase in both complexity and inaccuracy as the instruction wears on, such that the directions, if followed, will result in the previously only slightly lost individual finding him or herself up to his or her balls in cow-rutted peat bog, far from their intended destination. From this it appears that the Irish approach to ensuring that they are never again asked for directions (secifically being completely unhelpful in a polite and active manner) has been adopted by the Irish en masse, perhaps, possibly even probably, as a disgruntlement tactic in a long term, low level and apparently amiable war against the many feckless, cap-sporting tourists presently clogging up their byways.
calum, Mar 31 2009
  

       Rather than an indicator of one's Garbo-esque wish to be alone, maybe we should look to take the disturbing matter of being disturbed out of the disturbers' hands and be the masters of our own turb.   

       The solution, my friends, is not visual, but nasal. Whatever the garment or decoration, as long as it stinks like skunk wearing Lynx then you'll be avoided by biligerent direction requesters and friendly companions alike.   

       If a stench-based tactic is deemed to have undesirable effects, such as the requirement to wear a peg over one's nose, then I suggest a hat. Hats can be the very pinnacle of a sartorial statement. It can be especially effective at warding off would-be pesterers if it emits an ear piercing musical sound (such as the shriek of cockerel that's had it's big toe stood on). A set of earplugs can be discreetly incorporated into the hat.   

       Finally, if the ear-plugs are a deal breaker, then we can resort to a visual deterrent. I'm still a proponent of a hat, this time with a laser writing system embedded into the brim (It's a wide-brimmed hat, possibly a 10-gallon hat. Our focus is no longer on sartoria). Much like the device that draws the graphics for the keyboard (link {1}), it can write a particular message on the floor, or another nearby surface. The message can be user defined, but default settings include "Don't ask me. I'm new here", "Go away", and "Do you want to see some puppies?" (link {2}).
Jinbish, Mar 31 2009
  

       I like the hat theme, as being bald I generally have to wear one anyway to avoid the rain/the sun.   

       Calum, my mother worked in Ireland for a bit and lived on a vast sprawling estate that only had one road name (but not on the entrance road) and 3 lots of house numbers all starting at 1. Just great for directions.   

       I have tried the Hawiian shirt trick, in Chicargo, it did not work. You just get others In Hawiian shirts asking you directions.
eight_nine_tortoise, Mar 31 2009
  

       {2} Meow Meow Meow, Meow Meow. Would probally work in most situations.
eight_nine_tortoise, Mar 31 2009
  

       Halfbakery axiom #37: there are very few problems that cannot be solved by designing a sufficiently ingenious hat.
wagster, Mar 31 2009
  

       [wagster] Ah, Sensei, you speak wisely (plug: l'Chapeau du Mort provides a short-term fix to many problems)
hippo, Mar 31 2009
  

       I agree, the hat idea is probably the most creative solution, but I have encountered many folks who do not wish to be disturbed and have achieved this appearance simply by the wearing of stereo headphones, be they simple earbuds or any of the larger types.   

       Despite how effective this can be, I must advise caution against any desire to actually listen to music at particularly high volume levels, since it would drown out even the most earnest of passersby trying to tell you your pants are on fire.
Canuck, Mar 31 2009
  

       //If you opt to dye your beard green//   

       On those occasions they would call you "El Diablo."
nomocrow, Mar 31 2009
  
      
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