Tuesday, July 17, 2007

An apology for an opening line

A young woman tried to sell me something in the street today. She wasn't wearing charity insignia, so she can't have been a chugger. But she did have a clipboard and a predatory look in her eyes, so I'm guessing she was hoping to persuade me to switch gas suppliers or consider some surprisingly affordable form of insurance. But I never found out, because here's what she said as she zeroed in on me: "Sorry to bother you."

Sorry to bother me? Then why virtually rugby tackle me as I'm scurrying past, staring at my shoes, obviously trying to avoid eye contact?

A textbook example, I'd suggest, of how not to engage the reader - or, in this case, passer-by - with your opening line.