I luv chuggers

Chuggers – charity muggers.  The word is a portmanteau, like smog (“smoke” and “fog”).  The people in brightly-coloured corporate-branded gear who:

  • Stand in the town/city centre
  • Step right in front of you
  • Try to force you to come to a halt (for the benefit of the ex-military among you – without even giving a cautionary word of command – how thoroughly unprofessional)
  • Try to persuade you to part with your hard(ly)-earned cash for a heart-rending cause

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m as generous as the next guy.  I just like to be an un-ostentatious giver and donate to charity and good causes quietly.

My usual approach towards chuggers  is usually one of the below:

  • Ignore them and walk at a 90-degree angle away from them, generally at a slightly quicker pace than normal
  • “Take a call” on my mobile and then speak loudly in English, usually about the results from the sperm bank (thanks, Dom Joly, for that idea… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkasJd3eHL4 )
  • Let the chugger stop me and then ask if they speak English.
    • If they say yes, I put on a broad Ulster accent, and that normally makes them give in
  • Speak to them in Russian, to the effect that I don’t know what the chugger is saying

All these options are far more creative than just telling them to get lost or words to that effect.

Today, however, I tried a new technique.

Twenty metres ahead of me, I sighted five chuggers.

Action stations!

Grab mp3 player from daysack.

Switch it on.

Full blast.

Hannes Wader sings: Auf, Auf, Zum Kampf!  Yes, indeed, Genossen.

Chugger approaches me.

I come to a halt.

Chugger launches into her script.

Me (mp3 still blasting out, earphones still inside), shouting at 90 decibels:


Chugger gestures to me to remove my earphones.

No way.  The only thing that is red about me is my hair, not my politics.  Nonetheless, nothing gets between me and Hannes Wader’s songs.

Me (again 90+ decibels):


Chugger relaunches into her script again, this time pointing at the slogan on her flyer.

Me (again 90+ decibels):


Chugger realises she is wasting her time, shrugs shoulders, calls me a rude word ( I can lip-read, folks), and I continue my trip to the library.

Henning Wehn was right.  The English do indeed like nothing more than having a laugh.


Have a charitable day, won’t you!


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