Dancing with the Chuggers

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.

/ paddy


13 thoughts on “Dancing with the Chuggers

  1. How about “Have you found Jesus, son?” :D I always announce that I don’t speak dutch as soon as l see them heading my way, and they leave me alone.

  2. In running across a Greenpeace chugger, you’ve found the source of the plague – Greenpeace invented the idea of ‘face to face fundraising’ (or F2F) as it’s called. They’re proud of it, too.

  3. Alina: No, far too dangerous. Think if they HAVE already found Jebus, then they will think I am one of them. And that’s too horrible to imagine.

    Conor: I knew it, the bastards. But they’ll have to work a wee bit harder to get me back into the team. Although a free massage would do it!

  4. Alina’s suggestion is great. The next time I’m accosted on the streets of Stockholm, I’ll just stare glassily at the chugger and say “But I don’t speak Dutch” over and over again.

  5. It seems to be chuggers season in the UK too.

    You could do as my friend does and pretend you’re talking on your mobile phone as you walk past.

    With any canvasser, I just keep walking and say . . . sorry, no. I did this once though and I realised as I was walking away that the canvasser had just asked me if I’d had an accident in the last three years. So why the fook did I say sorry?

    • Probably the same reason you say “sorry” when you open the toilet door on someone sitting there. It’s *they* who should say “sorry” for putting you in that awkward situation by not locking the f*cking door…

  6. Martin: Yeah, that Dutch excuse would work in a wide variety of situations.

    earthpal: But the English/Irish always say sorry, even when it isn’t our fault. We’re kind of cute that way.

    One thing the chuggers do is ask, for example: “Hello, do you know who Amnesty is?” And they assume we will say “yes” and fall into their clutches. However, just try saying: “Sorry, I’ve never heard of him.” Or “That bastard owes me money! Where is he, I’ll tear his bloody head off!!!”

  7. Your posting reminded me of a brilliant response to those people who try to persuade you to receive a mail order catalogue. A woman I work with who is very “grand” was horror-struck when she was approached by one of these people. She drew herself up to her full height and said in her most haughty and sneering voice: “Do I LOOK like someone who buys their clothes from a catalogue!” It wouldn’t work with me, though. They’d just reply, “Yes, you do actually.”

  8. Whoops! Sorry for the false link thingy. I forgot it does that if you don’t put spaces in. Paddy, you can delete it or add the spaces yoursel

    I’ll skulk off and find another blog to sabotage now.

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