Charity Mugging: Chugging

Charlotte Tarran complains about the new guerilla tactic of charities against students.

Charity Chuggers students university

“Keep your head down, don’t make eye contact”

“Shh, was that the doorbell? Who is it? Don’t let them see you!”

The above may be familiar phrases from horror films or when you’ve been trying to escape the creepy drunk guy on the bus. They’re also applicable to the well-known ‘chugger’ – (or if you’re socially unaware, the Charity Mugger). We’ve all come across them either in the street when trying to have a peaceful, uninterrupted shop or when you answer your front door in accordance with the ages old practice that follows the door knock, or more recently, the doorbell.

Now, I fully appreciate the work they are putting in for wonderful causes but is there really such a need to invade our homes and personal spaces getting us to cough up? I once had a ‘chugger’ chase me down the street to explain why he’s asked how old I was, in case I’d mistaken the tabard and clipboard as the recent disguise of the child snatcher.

I for one do not need men and women knocking on my door telling me about the good work they could do with my money. Students can barely afford to feed themselves and maintain a constant supply of alcohol, hell, the country can’t even afford to feed itself – what makes anyone think we’re going to give you money because you made the effort to come to us. (I’d like to mention here that I did once sign up to a monthly donation because the two men who came to my door were very attractive…I later cancelled the direct debit realising my foolishness)

I do give to charity and genuinely wish I could give and do more; I sponsor a guide dog and recently did a sponsored weeklong event for Care International. My dad gives regularly to Child line, my Mum sponsors a child in Africa and I put my change in the Cancer Research tin whenever I get a chance – I am most definitely not anti-giving.

But, wouldn’t we rather have the volunteers who are posted on the street to use guerrilla tactics doing something more productive for the charity? The effectiveness of these ventures must be impossibly low, how often do you see anyone actually stop and give their details? If we want to, and are able to give to charity we know how to. Spontaneity can be fun but not when it’s spontaneously signing away what little money the recession has left us with.