A chugger, before you ask is a charity mugger – you know the sort, people who assail you whilst your trying to do your shopping stating that this will take “two seconds”. Fifteen minutes later you’ve done a huge survey for some charitable cause and possibly also been persuaded to give them some money each month.
Now, I’m not saying that these are not good causes, they are very worthwhile, and I have even started making donations to a charity after being pounced on by a Chugger a while back.
However, Lichfield seems to be overrun with Chuggers with their ID badges dangling round their necks and big clipboards clutched to their chest. You can’t walk down any of the main shopping promenades without one jumping out from behind a phone box or shop front asking how your day is and… oh, do you have a few minutes?
I got stopped by one this morning – a very nice chap, someone you’d want to go for a drink with maybe, even let him go through his spiel with me (I didn’t sign up to anything by the way). I generally try to avoid them though – take as wide a berth as I can from them and, here’s a good tip, don’t make eye contact with them. If you do then they’ve got you locked into their tractor beam and will inevitably pull you in with no escape!
However, even with your head firmly fixed to the floor or the heavens you’ll still hear the inevitable “excuse me sir/madam”.
It wouldn’t be so bad if they were only an occasional occurrence in the city centre, but they seem to be there most days of the week – and hunting in packs. This can be quite an annoyance when you have limited time, or rushing to Greggs on your lunch break, or meeting someone in town. It can be quite hard sometimes to resist telling them where to go in no uncertain terms, and that slight feeling of panic/dread you feel when you see one up ahead, then he spots you….
Surely charities have other, better ways of gaining people’s attention and money? Most have ways of joining them and donating on their websites, have charity shops (which I do enjoy going in, have nothing against them!) or other ways of getting their message across?
The last thing I would want to see is these charities getting a bad name or putting people off giving to their undeniably good causes because of these Chuggers jumping on people in the city centre.