Chuggers: High Street Vampires

Does this sound familiar to you? Its a busy days’ shopping, you’re feeling frazzled, and you simply want to get everything done for the day and sod off home. And then, this vision, clad in smiles, mateyness and faux charm materialises in front of you.

Oh shit. A chugger. Alien strangers, and a total pain in the arse. A malign curse on modern life. People going about their normal business should never have to tolerate such ill-mannered intrusions on such a regular basis. Do you know anyone who has got a good word to say about chuggers? If you do, theyre a rare find.

Not me. I detest these parasites with a passion.

Despite protestations to the contrary, chuggers are not volunteers. Theyre paid staff, subcontracted by charities to increase donations, earning money with every naive sucker they manage to sign up. Bank details and a commitment to a minimum of four monthly donations after? Thank you very much; now get lost.

What a scam. Ask any chugger what the yearly turnover of their charity is, how the money will be spent and what portion of your contribution is actually going to help their cause, and all of a sudden, they know nothing. Ask them how much they earn for each person they engage, and they become all coy. Having done this many times, I’ve yet to receive a decent answer.

Along with other councils who have taken a positive stance against such activities, a South London council has banned chuggers from their streets. Why not take it a step further ensuring that ALL councils just ban them full stop? Of course, lots of charities do wonderful work, which is why many of us give freely to them out of choice. But the charity sector has evolved into big, big, big business over time, resulting in the adoption of fundraising methods that are becoming ever more extreme and aggressive in nature.

Last month, poppy seller Olive Cooke, 92, took her own life after she was inundated with letters from charities she felt were taking advantage of her kindness. Charities that target elderly homeowners and cold call them are just as bad.

It’s not as if we don’t donate. British people are incredibly charitable, giving about £10 billion a year to various causes. Yet some charities are noting a downward trend in the amount of donations they receive. What a surprise! People are increasingly angry about the militant tactics employed to obtain funds – and the lavish way they reward themselves in the process. There is a distinct lack of transparency on executive charity salaries, which just arouses even more suspicion and ill-will.

The fact is, is that charities are becoming increasingly uncharitable; even those that began with the noblest of intentions.  However, should those noble causes include a charity CEOs six-figure salary?

So do I want to give generously? Not today, thanks.


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