There is a infestation of chuggers in Stockholm at the moment. A chugger is a “charity mugger” – one of those intense young people who run up to you in the street and announce: “Hello! How are YOU? So nice to SEE you! Please join my charity and save the world!”
Now let me get this straight: I will NEVER join a charity just because some chirpy youngster in a shiny jacket and pert breasts asks me to, even if it is a charity I want to support. No way in hell mister. I think it is a very dishonest and irritating way to go about it and, above all, it is extremely annoying in a city that is already filled to bursting with annoying things.
It’s just that voice they use – that “Hey, how are you, how’s it going” thing that they do. Chuggers, please take note: that voice is reserved for people who know me: friends and so on. I do not want people who do not know me to talk to me in that way, and I don’t care how pert you are. Understood?
My hatred of these people started when I was approached by a Greenpeace chugger a while back. She asked me to join and I said “Well, I don’t know that much really about Greenpeace. I mean, I know what they do, and I know what they claim to stand for, but I don’t really know who’s in charge or what their real agenda is. So I will need to look them up first.” The girl looked at me funny and said: “But it’s Greenpeace! Of course they are good, everybody knows that!”
And that is where she lost me. Pay attention chuggers of the world: nothing or nobody is 100% “good” and everybody has an agenda. I contribute to charities but I am still aware of this fact – just because I give money to something does not guarantee it will get used for that purpose.
Creating a standing payment to a charity is a serious decision, and should be looked into carefully. Throwing a tenner at a teenager on the street may do something, but it may also just be a way to assuage my consumerist middle-class guilt. So by all means give to charities, but just check them out first, and make sure the money isn’t going to some cult leader who likes to blow all your money by frolicking in a bath of custard with glistening muscular sailors.
Now all I need are a few sure-fire replies that will shut the chuggers up instantly. As soon as they approach me I could say one of the following:
- Can you spare a few crowns for a sandwich?
- Great, I have been looking for you for weeks!
- Sure, I’ll join if you come to a disco with me tomorrow. Bring your sister.
- Sounds great! But first tell me – have YOU heard about the Orphans of Satan…?
If anybody has any ideas, plases let me know. And the more surreal the better.