Purell Signs Deal With Greenpeace To Sanitize Its Sidewalk Solicitors

Agreement could protect hundreds of millions of vulnerable pedestrians from inadvertent handshakes

Doctors have identified sidewalk solicitors as the biggest threat to pedestrians during flu season.

They are as ubiquitous on city sidewalks as strollers and food vendors, those brightly clad solicitors from familiar charities, extending their hands and reeling you in with their smiles. What most people don’t realize is that these street hawkers shake about 150 hands per person per day — and you’re a casualty of their congeniality, absorbing cold, flu and other infectious microbes thriving on their outstretched palms.

But that’s about to change. Purell, the nation’s largest manufacturer of instant hand sanitizer, has just penned a deal with Greenpeace, as well as Oxfam, Children’s International, CARE, and Planned Parenthood to provide their street solicitors with small, wrist-mounted dispensers. Activated by the motion of the arm being lifted, the dispensers squirt a small amount of Purell into the palm before every handshake.

You no longer have to avoid the unwelcome handshakes of Greenpeace hawkers.

“The best way to explain it is to think of Spiderman,” said Craig Benson, Special Sales Director at Purell. “Instead of a web squirting from the wrist, it’s a stream of our hand sanitizer. Now, unsuspecting passersby can feel safe clasping the unwelcome hands of these human petri dishes.”

Told about the new sanitizer policy being implemented by many charitable organizations, pedestrians in New York City seemed pleased. “Those guys are worse than subway poles,” said Kim Wang of Queens. “If I accidentally forget and shake their hands, I rush back to the office as soon as I can to wash up.”

Jason Behrle walking along 42nd St. near Port Authority agreed with that assessment, “Last year, I inadvertently shook the hand of a woman working for Planned Parenthood and ended up with anthrax. That sucked! This should really help.”

Mr. Benson said that if sidewalk solicitors employ the Purell dispensers as directed that up to 95% of illnesses spread through direct contact could be eliminated.

In a related story, several major cities are considering putting limits on charitable solicitors to help protect the health, safety and sanity of pedestrians. The new provisions would allow sidewalk solicitation between the hours of 2am-3am only.

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