No one likes chuggers. Everyone has a preferred tactic of dealing with them. (Mine, if I can’t dodge them completely, is to say flatly and at once “I never give out my bank details on the street” and walk on. Occasionally they try to argue with me, but I’m not stopping for that.)
I’ve found that humour helps. ‘Do you want to hear my joke for the day?’ usually gets people to stop. If they listen to my lame, cheesy joke, they’ll usually hear me out about the charity as well.
Of course there’s a bit of flirting sometimes, but it’s a matter of definitions. If I talk to a guy, it’s conversation; if I talk to a girl it could be called flirting. Although I did go out for coffee with someone once…
“You’ve got a pretty smile,” another says with a creeping grin. “Come and talk to me.” He tries to grab my arm. I walk away, as fast as I can.
These interactions happen on a regular basis. Often it’s the usual, the leery-beery tiresome street harassment of daily life, the drunks, the creeps, the men who want to make women feel uncomfortable.
Sometimes, they are not. The men in the incidents outlined above are wearing bibs and told to harass women in the street by major charities. The techniques employed are identical. The objectifying icebreaker. The assertion that they “only want to talk”. The unwanted contact, the grabbing, the following.
The only differences between “chugging” and bog-standard street harassment is the bib, and the fact that you know exactly what it is that the chugger wants.
In Glasgow, from the end of April, chuggers will be restricted to 13 locations (half in the city centre, half elsewhere), a maximum of five at any one location on any one day, and will be out chugging only two days a week at any one location. The timetable and locations are listed here, to give you fair warning and blank them. This is the first regulatory agreement signed with the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association (PFRA) in Scotland.
Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said:
“The issue of street-fundraisers is a source of annoyance to many shoppers and visitors to Glasgow. However we recognise that charities have the legal right to fundraise on our streets, but we must ensure that people working, living and visiting Glasgow are not inconvenienced by this practice.”
But really – is there any reason to tolerate chuggers at all?
A former chugger who wanted to remain anonymous told the Telegraph it was a lucrative job:
“I got £7 an hour, plus £30 for every sign-up you got after the eighth, which meant that the better fund-raisers were on a stupendously good wage. Continue reading