The SLC Vendor Gauntlet

Author: Ilya Kolesnikov

Having vendors in the SLC contributes to the abundance of choices for foods, and once in a while, on those very special days, an assortment of retro and renowned video games. The vendors have their tactics to lure you over, some benign, such as colourful advertisements, but others that I refer to as vendor harassment. Though some vendors seem to be passive and mind their own business, reading and waiting for customers, it has become an annoyance to walk through the SLC as a result of some aggressive sale techniques. For example and coincidentally, the day before I started to write this article, a friend was in the SLC food court and two CIBC representatives called out to him by his first name. I could tell that my friend didn’t know them, making the situation awkward. It was also evident that he had been approached by them before and that they were using information previously gained to pitch a bank plan to him. Smart sales tactic or creepy, intrusive behaviour in what is supposed to be a comfortable space for students?

Confederate flag

October 2, 2013: Flag vendor displays the Confederate flag, a symbol of slavery and racism, in the SLC. It was taken down after he was approached by multiple students who asked that it be removed.

Overcrowding is another problem posed by vendors, specifically during the first week of every semester, though it is becoming a year-round issue. A heavy volume of students is optimal for vendors. However it is tedious to maneuver around. The vendors must get their messages across resulting in awkward eye-contact or literally being stopped in your tracks. As a rule of thumb it is generally best to walk past vendors (who needs more credit card debt on top of your growing tuition debt?) though one can take the extreme of rerouting and avoidance of the area. Don’t let sale tactics get to your head. It doesn’t make you a bad or immoral person if you are not interested in what the vendor is soliciting. However if you are being harassed, state that you are not interested, or walk-away. To what extent are vendors allowed to market their products or services? Should there be more regulations placed on vendors on what they can or cannot do?

[Editor’s note: Have com ments or stories about vendors in the SLC? Email our editors at]

This article appeared in Volume 1, Issue 2 of The Chevron on 4 October 2013.