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.

7 replies on “Curse of the Chuggers”

  1. Haha I love how they form a line between Burton and George IV like an inescapable fishing net of good nature.

    I have discovered a way of dealing with the chuggers. Instead of looking at the floor (which only lets them know that you have noticed them) you stare them straight in the eye and with a huge smile across your face, just shake your head from side to side, say “sorry” and breeze past.

    It feels like you’ve just disarmed an entire army.

  2. Knowing my luck if I pretended to be on the phone as I walked past it would ring or I’d get a text message!

  3. “Haha I love how they form a line between Burton and George IV like an inescapable fishing net of good nature.”

    Brilliant! That’s the worst spot, you can never get past them there. I usually go around the florist’s stall there just to get away!

    Sammy: the trick is to have a finger on the volume key, ready to mute the phone if it does start to ring… a trick I’ve used many times to avoid certain folk I don’t want to speak to!

  4. I think you’ll find that people rights are being infringed. Harassment is illegal and so are some of the method employed buty chuggers, such as obstruction, personal abuse, lying about their cause etc etc. Best way to get rid of them is to complaint to your local licencing department of your local council. New laws are coming out in 2010 to empower councils to control chuggers and I suggest complaining to them is the best way to solve this issue.

  5. I am a ‘chugger’ and was accused of harrassment when I asked someone if they were having a good day (standing at least a meter away from the person) After 2 and a half years, this leads me to believe that peoples understanding of ‘harrassment’ is varied and if yours is being asked for ten mins of your time out of your whole day then that’s your business not mine, why not try being polite back and tell me a short and simple no? I realise that having to see many fundraisers a few times a day or more is annoying but that is a job that must be done and it is the most effective way of charities being fundraising. The people who do genuinely harrass people are usually new and are few and far between. They are usually found out quickly and fired. We are not all pushy, annoying etc. but again, it is very hard to not annoy someone at some point in the day, as to some, the action of me waving is an annoyance. If you ever feel the urge to be rude to one of us, why not, instead smile and say no thanks. It ruins my day completely when I have gone out of my way to be nice and as polite as possible to people and I get a constant stream of abuse back. We are human beings too and doing a harder job then most like to think. I am sure that those of you with daughters, grandaughters, sisters, GF’s, sons etc etc would not like to see them being abused for no good reason.

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