Or, to put it another way, death to the chuggers! The town where I live seems to attract lots of market research and lots of charity muggers. The former are annoying, but easy to wave away with an absent minded “sorry, in a terrible hurry”, but that doesn’t always work with the fake good cheer and over-familiarity of the chuggers. They annoy me in a couple of ways.
For a start, I object to being stopped in the street by someone I’ve never met in my life. That doesn’t make me a heartless bastard, leaving thousands of poor children to die of cancer or fester in orphanages, despite what our nylon-bibbed friends might try to suggest. In the privacy of my own home I’m capable of quite miraculous bursts of empathy. I can even fill in a direct debit form… without help!
If the guilt tactic is my first objection, the second is the fact that my goodwill and empathy is being watered down and compromised by a ‘middle man’ taking a commission. I imagine their argument is that, in return for their commission, they generate far more donations to charities… but do they? Or do they just create a generally bad feeling of obligation and, again, guilt? Are people put off for good by these tactics, meaning that they never take the time to look for the charities they *really* want to support?
It’s more than this, though. I think the chuggers also annoy me by being part of a wider problem, which includes the clipboard-wielding market research people, the cheap phonecard distributors, the advertising leaflet people, the god-botherers… they’re all part of a general background noise that doesn’t need to be there.